Newport, N.C.

July 26, 2019


I have seen many comments on Facebook and in letters to the editor debating the types of students accepted to MaST. And that these “at risk” kids do not deserve this opportunity. “At risk” does not mean these children are bad or behavioral problems or failing.

The term “at risk” is being used as an adjective, therefore it makes them seem they are doing something themselves to be labeled as “at risk” or failing out of school. You are stereotyping these children.

In actuality, some of these children are being put “at risk” by outside sources. Poverty, broken homes, in foster care, illness, neglect/abuse, homeless/misplaced, parental drug abuse, an incarcerated parent, racism, low parent education, family structure, non-English speaking, minorities, too many responsibilities at home, no support at home, learning disabilities, ADHD — the list goes on and on. I am fairly certain any administrator, teacher, counselor or social worker in this county can help you better understand this target student.

You have no clue what these kids are going through in their home situations.

You have no clue what these kids are going through in their home situations. These are just a portion of the children targeted for MaST. These children are choosing this to help them rise above what they are facing on a daily basis. They are not bad children. It is the factors in their life that put them at a disadvantage to other children. It doesn’t mean they can’t learn and rise above.

A smaller setting with focused instruction taking away the issues they face in a larger school on top of what they face daily at home will help them succeed to high school graduation and even achieve a certification or associates to be work ready. They are building a vision of themselves as college bound. They thrive in this atmosphere and they proved it by having the highest average GPA of the four high schools.

First generational college goers — I really hope this one is pretty self explanatory. They are at a disadvantage because of their low parent education. They are your average middle of the road kid. They will be building that same vision of themselves as college bound.

There are also openings in the lottery as well for students who could benefit from accelerated learning but aren’t having their needs met at traditional schools. This in itself makes MaST a very well rounded school academically, socially and economically.

The Early College model is designed to push children through their barriers to college. It is geared toward teens academically capable who might not thrive in a traditional setting. All of these children had to receive three teacher recommendations and were scored by a rubric and then drawn from a lottery overseen by the chief Academic Officer of CCPS.

Yes, there will be some kids who don’t make it in just like the Tiller School, sports teams and lots of other opportunities out there for them.

MaST is the first step in forward thinking for these underserved kids in Carteret County. There wouldn’t be 133 Early Colleges across 100 counties in North Carolina if it didn’t work.

And making it a trade school only restricts what they can accomplish. That is why the early college model was chosen over trade school, to give the kids unlimited opportunities and choices not just a few paths.



(15) comments


By your interpretation every high school student in the County is "at risk" and deserves the perks of MaST including smaller class sizes and an AA degree handed to them with their high school diploma.


Osprey, again; not every child is taking the associate degree path. It is about diversity. It's about trades, it's about helping the kids who do NOT fit at traditional school for a host of reasons. Why are you continually stuck in your thought about AA degree and East numbers? And by the way, no degree is handed to anyone. They are earned through dedication and hardworking! You friend are not seeing the big picture. According to the Carteret County Economic Development study on Carteret County Marine Science Econimic Impact Assessment along with EIGHTEEN local opinion leaders which include Beaufort Mayor Rhett Newton, CCS Heather Dietzler, and many others....all think that there is a need to of science literacy in the county to keep kids IN THE county who are ready to enter workforce. There is a NEED for the Early College model. The BOE of Carteret County within their policy manual guidelines they are REQUIRED to listen to county opinion leaders. Many leader and many many mayors in the county are nodding yes. We hope the BOE will be a team leader helping our eight MARSCI leaders of the county grow as we are providing huge economic impacts through gains in Carteret County business revenues and employee incomes. We need more workers and want them to be from Carteret County without having to outsource.

David Collins

The author mentioned the Tiller School . My daughter attended the Tiller School. It was a nice warm and nurturing environment and quite socialist in nature. The teachers were .... let us say different and all embracing of the collective. Towards the end of our run there was a move toward the parents that could pay “helping and sharing “ with those that chose to have more children than they could afford to rear. Imagine that ! Thankfully we pulled out . This early college was dreamed up to fast track youngsters into state supported colleges. These colleges really do not like this program. It dilutes the whole experience and lessens the value of a 4 year degree with their name on it is what was spoken . A liberal arts bulls==t degree is one thing but a degree in something that really matters is quite different . To say that going into a trades program is limiting the student is quite untrue. There are many successful business men that started out small and grew their companies into national giants in their fields . Success is not necessarily measured in what your field of expertise is but how you manage to grow and prosper with it. Perhaps the best thing would be to drop back to the way this was handled in the old days. Starting in the 8th or 9th grades the students chose either the college track or the trade school track. One group learned how to do things the other learned how to think about it . Actually , it worked pretty well. It got us to the Moon .


I have to disagree entirely on colleges disliking the 2 year degree and lessening the value of the 4 year. The most respected job, nursing, consists of a 2 year degree and put out numerous qualified nurses that proceed to earn 4 year degrees. Many which then obtain masters and PHDs. My husband and myself being part of this population. With the N.C. universities, most have contracts that are almost a guarantee into their transfer system. With the qualifying grades, colleges are more than happy to accept them. They view them as hard workers who put in time during their high school years. This comes from more than a I’ve heard but instead I know from communicating with more than my fair share of them


As a teacher, not all kids need to have all 4 years of high school to be well rounded adults, but they all need some sort of direction. I understand the controversy regarding the lottery but maybe instead of re opening MAST, they should instead allow all students to earn a 2 year degree in high school, whether it be a 2 year associates or a trade certification. Allow all 3 schools to offer this program and allow the kids to qualify by passing the same testing they need to do to attend CCC and/or allow them to do a GED during school & head into the trade program. Since not all kids necessarily have perfect/high grades before they go into college, why not just apply the same logical placement testing that CCC requires before they enter the program. Do all of this in the high schools, with the students either being transported back and forth to the comm college or taking classes online in a computer lab @ the HS>. This would level the playing field and enable kids who just want to do a trade to move on that much faster into their field.


Thank you for your service and for providing input. Sounds good, but that sounds like a change at the State Level to allow all students to earn a 2 year degree in high school. If you're replicating the same thing at all 3 high schools, that means hiring those well versed in the trades at all 3 high schools, which is already a challenge from what I understand. Then you have to maintain the facilities, with Capital Funding, which always takes a hit at the local level. Financially speaking, it would be wiser to create a central location and coordinate with MaST to build out the vocational trade program there and house it all under one roof. One location with all vocational assets in one central location beats 3 different locations with 3 times the amount of capital outlay.


That is what most programs do. While pursuing an associates degree in high school, a high school diploma is also earned. That would benefit people up and down and make high school more flexible for everyone. We can afford to fund that with no pain at all. Just add a penny to the tax rate.


Crystalcoastculture there are also many leaders who oppose keeping MaST open. You friend fail to see the big picture. Why should the County taxpayers fund another high school when we have available space in our schools? Vo Tech courses are already available for high school students. Without a long term funding commitment from the State keeping MaST open will cost taxpayers and negatively affect the majority of the student population in the County.


Osprey, I feel as though you making assumptions. The county has spoken, they want another option for kids providing more resources for underserviced kids. Where is the data that MaST is going to be detriment to student population? WCHS and Croatan are overflowing. If you are thinking of it being ECHS student population that is not caused by MaST that is caused by a lack of economic development and affordable housing on the East side of the County. Have you seen the prices of builder permits and tap fees for lots? They are triple the price in Beaufort. Local builders stay clear of single lots in Beaufort - it's too pricey. Besides we will see an affect of I40 come in and we will see an increase in population within 5 years. Also, not all students have access to dual enrollment or vocational schools. Only those students who are at honor levels and whom are approved by principals at their discretion. High Schools have severely tightened up on eligibility on dual enrollment allowances....but no one seems to be talking about that. Many students at MaST are not at the honor level and that is the point of the program. It brings the students an environment that they feel more comfortable in with additional attention from the teachers to bring them up to that level that they otherwise may not obtain. The model works and is exceeding expectations. WCHS/Croatan is over crowded it appears we should be grateful that there is some relief there. Either way, I respect your opinion and appreciate that we can all have an open forum for discussion. I for one, would not enjoy having to make the decision that the BOE has to make. Godspeed.


I hear what you are saying, but I do also feel that students who wish to be at MAST should be allowed to be, not just those who are chosen randomly. I know that would be terribly expensive but if you are saying that all of the schools are that overcrowded, there should be some sort of other option or MAST should expand to allow anyone who wants to attend. However, that being said, perhaps the long term solution is to build another school and redistrict for East so that all kids can benefit. I think there will be no easy solution, sadly.


Pretty sad that we do not encourage students to pursue a meaningful career. At least these kids will have a good job and pay taxes unlike all the homeless addicts around here.


Beachmami's suggestion sounds logical and fair to ALL students.




Beachmama13, what is not considered is the introvert student who feels isolated in a traditional high school setting. My child has always had the grades but those started decrease due to not feeling included by his peers. I would pick him up from school and cry because he was in the back alone with the other kids socializing?! He is just incredibly shy, even around family members that he doesn’t see routinely! His first year at MaST he used words like “friends, family”, terms he has never used before! He thrived at MaST and my son did a 180! As much as MaST did for him, I knew he wasn’t ready to return to a traditional high school of 1000. He was becoming depressed in his traditional school but since MaST, I can’t even find the proper words to show how this school was more than the traditional or normal school! He loved his teachers and Principal and all staff! He made friends with people he wouldn’t have ordinarily met because these kids went to different schools...the schools within their district! He needed MaST and he loves MaST! He has thrived for the first time in his school experience!! I think early college is a wonderful must be since the state of North Carolina has many of these schools!! God bless!


I completely understand what you mean about the introverted student. However, because the slots are lottery only, how is that fair for the introverted kid who doesn't get in? I know for myself I have an older child I chose to homeschool because of the bullying at the middle school level. We were living at the time at an area with the same sort of lottery system, but he didn't get in. The lottery system doesn't mean that only the underserved students get in - it is just a random choice of who is allowed to participate. What about the kids who aren't chosen in the lottery system? Shouldn't they be allowed the same services given to those who benefit from a smaller class size and everything? My only issue with MAST would be leveling the playing field so that all students who wish to be there are allowed to be there instead of randomly chosen students.

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.