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State approves new high school

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Friday, December 8, 2017

The N.C. State Board of Education has given final approval to a new high school in Rocky Mount that will open in the coming academic year.

In collaboration with Nash Community College, the Center for Industry, Technology and Innovation (CITI) High School will open with state funding in the 2018-19 school year. CITI High School was one of five Cooperative Innovative High Schools statewide the Joint Advisory Committee recommended for approval to the State Board of Education, the State Board of Community Colleges and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors this month.

The purpose of the high school is to target first-generation college students, students who are at risk of dropping out of high school and students who would benefit from accelerated learning opportunities, a press release from Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools stated.

“We are excited about the approval from the state board for our new Center for Industry, Technology and Innovation and look forward to the groundbreaking and what it is going to offer our students and community,” Dr. Mark Cockrell, chief academic officer of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, said in press release.

CITI High School will offer a five-year track similar to the Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School, which allows students to earn a high school diploma and one or more associate degrees before graduating.

“This is something we have needed for a long time,” Nash County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robbie Davis said in an earlier interview about the new high school.

The application process for CITI High School will also be handled in a way similar to the early college, Christine Catalano, executive director of middle school and advanced programs for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, told the school board when the school was first proposed to the board in September. Admission to the school will be open to all rising ninth- and 10th-grade high school students in the school district.

The school plans to enroll up to 100 students in the first year of operation and increase enrollment by 100 students each year until it reaches 500 students. Final enrollment will be determined each year through a lottery process.

Superintendent Dr. Shelton Jefferies also expressed excitement over the new high school, which will share space with Rocky Mount Middle School.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity that CITI High represents for our students and families of Nash-Rocky Mount,” Jefferies said in a press statement. “When you think about the opportunities of dynamic employers like Cummins (Rocky Mount) Engine Plant, CITI High School will build that bridge where our students are able to access high quality opportunities that they can transition to immediately out of high school. This is a new day for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.”

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