Morehead City, N.C.
July 8, 2019
TO THE EDITOR:
My name is Clark Johnson, and I am here to give a parent’s perspective of the MaST Early College High School, and to ask that you continue your support of this valuable program. I read this letter at the Board of Education meeting on June 11.
As you are aware, we have just completed our first year at MaST. By most accounts of parents I have spoken to it was a great success! The students enrolled there have gone out on a limb to try something new in Carteret County. Despite significant setbacks that occurred this year, including the devastation of Hurricane Florence and the tragic death of a beloved classmate, the students have risen to the challenge of combining high school level and college level coursework.
There are well over 100 early college high schools throughout North Carolina. The Wilmington area has five. With the exception of Pamlico and Jones counties, all the counties in southeastern North Carolina have at least one early college high school.
Our program offers the opportunity to complete college level coursework, in fields of study that are geared toward benefiting our LOCAL industries. With time, MaST promises to create a highly skilled workforce for LOCAL jobs that will help support our maritime focused economy, as well as create jobs to keep our kids in Carteret County.
Statewide, this model often benefits first generation college students and creates an alternative for students who may not succeed in a regular high school setting. The program offers small class sizes with great student/faculty interaction and individualized courses of study. Our diverse student body has grown closely together this year despite their different backgrounds. Our students love their faculty and it is apparent that the outstanding faculty love our kids!
Let’s look at what the MaST students have accomplished this year;
Based on first year data:
• Based on high school course enrollment
• 98% earned English I credit
• 98% earned English II credit
• 93% earned Math I credit
• 100% earned Math II credit
• Based on CCC course enrollment
• 92% earned ACA 122 credit
• 97% earned CIS 110 credit
• 98% earned HEA 110 credit
• 92% earned PED 110 credit
• 100% earned engineering credit
• 100% earned marine propulsion credit
• 100% earned Geography credit
• 100% earned sociology credit
• 100% earned psychology credit
• 100% earned aquaculture credit
These represent over 500 college credit hours earned! These are outstanding results! Results such as these offer great proof of the promise of MaST! Shouldn’t we celebrate their success? Please don’t take a step backwards and remove your support for this valuable program.
I have heard of concerns that MaST takes away funding and teachers from our other three high schools. I concede that may be true; you as a board would have more knowledge on the budget than I do. Thankfully, Carteret Community College partners with us to offset a significant portion of the expenses. Another point to ponder is that through MaST you are reaching more students than our traditional high schools otherwise would.
My son was accepted into MaST from a homeschooled background, as well as at least two of his classmates. And there are several other homeschool families who have expressed interest in next year’s class. When you add this to the point of creating another model for other traditional students to succeed in high school is it not worth the investment for our kids?
Please consider joining us in lobbying the N.C. Legislature to continue funding the early college programs. Please do not “yank the rug out” from these kids who were wiling to try something different to achieve their educational goals. Give the program a chance to succeed, as the first-year results overwhelmingly show. The investment in our kids now promises a positive return for the economy of Carteret County in the future!