Moore County continuously supports diverse educational opportunities to serve students with varied educational needs and backgrounds.
Residents are fortunate to have access to a variety of educational options through public, charter, private and post-secondary institutions. All of these schools provide high-quality instruction and are dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of students whether to prepare them for further education or for entering the workforce. These students will become the future decision-makers and workforce leaders in our communities.
Both Moore County Schools and Sandhills Community College are now offering new unique programs that Moore County’s students can take advantage of to best meet their individual needs.
Moore County Schools (MCS) has created a new program called “blend+ed”, a homeschool/public school partnership designed to allow homeschoolers to create a customized high school experience that meets their needs — from having access to a variety of curriculum to participating in sports and other extracurricular activities, offered both online and in-person.
The blend+ed program allows students in any of the county’s three high school districts (Pinecrest, Union Pines, and North Moore) to choose from a blend of online learning with traditional or homeschool classes, or enrollment in online courses to supplement homeschooling.
Each student is assigned a guidance counselor who will work to personalize courses to suit individual needs. Counselors will also facilitate enrollment in everything from advanced placement and honors courses to career and technical programs and activities like band, chorus and theater.
As with any public school, enrollment in the blend+ed program is completely free, and Chromebooks used to access online classes are available for a $25 fee. Any student enrolled in at least two courses per semester through the blend+ed program is considered full-time.
Families also have the option of using blend+ed curriculum to replace homeschooling entirely. Students have the choice of graduating from their homeschool program, or earning a diploma from MCS.
Those enrolled in the blend+ed program can also take advantage of the school system’s partnership with Sandhills Community College (SCC), which allows students to dual-enroll, earning college credits through online classes.
Through the state’s Career and College Promise program, SCC’s “curriculum” classes — college English, math, science and social science — have been open to high school students for almost a decade.
Not only have college-bound students been able to get a jump start on their two- or four-year degree, but they’ve taken those courses free of charge while they’re still in high school.
SCC has recently expanded its educational options for Moore County’s high school juniors and seniors. In addition to curriculum classes, these students will now have access this coming year to technical education programs including allied health, advanced manufacturing, construction, automotive services, and firefighter training through SCC’s new Workforce Continuing Education Career and College Promise Program.
Courses that will help students toward earning industry credentials will be offered free of cost, and the course credits will count toward high school graduation. That wasn’t possible until recently, as the N.C. State Board of Education only amended its Career and College Promise policy to allow high school credit for courses in workforce pathways in June of 2019.
Not only will classes in this particular continuing education program grant high school credit, they’ll also qualify students for the Sandhills Promise scholarship program. Students who take four dual enrollment courses while still in high school, with a “C” grade average, can attend SCC tuition-free for up to two years after high school.
“This is a great way for students to get the professional certifications that they need in the form of college courses,” said SCC President John Dempsey. “If they want to use them to transfer they can do that, or they can go right to work. It’s a real opportunity for kids to have a leg up on a genuine career by the time they turn 18.”
Graduates of SCC’s continuing education programs have gone directly to work at major companies like Unilever and Kolcraft, earning salaries well beyond the average for those with only a high school diploma to their credit.
The program is open to juniors and seniors who have turned 16 before the first day of class, but the schools are enrolling students for both fall and spring this summer.
For more information about Sandhills’ Workforce Continuing Education Career and College Promise program, visit www.sandhills.edu/career-and-college-promise-program-for-high-school-students-2/. Interested Pinecrest, Union Pines and North Moore students can enroll through their high school counselors.