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Bladen County Schools has been approved by the state to open an Early College. That was the topic of discussion at the Bladen County Board of Education Planning Retreat held on Saturday.

While the district was approved to open an Early College for the 2017-18 academic year, the letter did not reach Bladen County Schools staff in time to prepare for opening the school this year. Instead, the target date to open the Early College is now fall 2018. According to reports, funds for the Early College from the state are approved for the next two years in the amount of $275,000.

The proposed Early College which will be located at Bladen Community College. The school will be a part of the Bladen County Schools System and the school system will need to provide the necessary staffing for the school, according to reports. There will also be transportation needs. According to reports, Dr. Robert Taylor told the board the Early College will be a good investment and could become an incentive for some students to remain in the county.

Some board members expressed concerns about the costs for an Early College. According to reports, Dr. Taylor told the board there may be some items that will have to be paid for with local funds, but mainly, the needed items can be covered by shifting of resources.

The Early College program in North Carolina is designed to target students who are at risk for dropping out or those who will thrive in accelerated, challenging learning environment.  According the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Early College Program is designed to “expand students’ opportunities for education success through high quality instructional programming.”