Fayetteville/Fort Bragg/ Sandhills NC

VOL6 ISS2 2016

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — FAYETTEVILLE | FORT BRAGG | SANDHILLS REGION VOLUME 6 — ISSUE 2 68 EDUCATION EDUCATION BY ALYSSA LAFARO There's beauty in having options. It's like sitting down at a restaurant to find that the menu has any- thing your heart desires — mouthwatering soups, mile- high sandwiches, better-than-grandma's pastas. Hungry yet? That's what choosing schools in Fayetteville, North Carolina, is like. There are an abundance of appetizers, entrees, and desserts to choose from: elementary and sec- ondary, public and private, online and at home, charters and academies. The fifth largest school district in North Carolina is the Cumberland County School (CCS) system — committed to empowering all students to collaborate, compete, and succeed in an increasingly interconnected world. More than 14,000 CCS students are military/federally connected. The CCS has built a support system for the military child and is one of the found- ing members of the Military Compact and Military Child Educational Coalition (MCEC). The system has a very diverse student population that repre- sents more than 47 countries and 85 native languages. CCS is a fully accredited school system, which certifies that it is focused on continu- ous improvement, data-informed decisions and student achievement. The school district exceeds the state average in most subjects. The number of schools exceeding growth is significantly higher than the state and school districts of comparable size. The CCS has joined the United Way of Cumberland County and its community partners in a joint-mentoring initiative encouraging community mem- bers to get involved in the life of a child because CCS be- lieves "Mentoring Works!" (For more information about how you can become a mentor or volunteer in the school system, visit www.cvs.ccs.k12.nc.us.) Since the late 1990s, the CCS system has offered a Choice Program that lets students transfer to schools out- side their home district to study topics that best fit their interests. The program is accessible for young children in elementary school all the way through high school, where students can earn up to 60 college credits — thanks to a partnership with Fayetteville State University (FSU) — before graduation. Early college high schools provide students with a mixture of high school and college courses, so that, upon graduation, they receive a high school diploma and an associate's degree or up to two years of college credit. Two of these schools are located in Fayetteville. Located on the FSU campus, Cross Creek Early College High School serves more than 240 students and has a 100 percent graduation rate. In 2014, it ranked 445th in Newsweek's list of the best 500 high schools in the nation. Students who attend may start taking college classes during their sophomore year and can receive up to 60 college cred- its. They also benefit from various programs such as the 2016 "Career Cruise-In" 10-day summer program, which allowed rising seniors to tour different businesses and participate in workshops to learn job- seeking skills and techniques. The only international early col- lege in North Carolina, the Cumber- land International Early College High School also partners with FSU and guides students who want to "com- municate, collaborate and compete locally, nationally and international- ly." The school offers cultural studies; language classes including Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin; and an "Inter- national Club," where students can learn about different countries from around the world. It has a 100 per- cent graduation rate and was named one of the top 10 schools in Cumber- land County for the 2014-15 school year. Cumberland County houses three charter schools — two of which opened in the last two years alone. Fay- etteville's first charter school, Alpha Academy opened in 2000 in a church gym with just 60 students in grades 6-8. Today, it houses nearly 900 students from pre-K through ninth grade and, in June 2016, completed a 40,000-square-foot expansion featuring new classrooms, science and computer labs, a conference room and a 600-person auditorium. The Capitol Encore Academy, located in downtown Fayetteville, focuses on burgeoning artists in grades K-6. Its mission is to build a community of students "who inspire others with principles of design and artful thinking through the integration of academic excellence, virtuous character and disciplined artistry." Head 18 miles north toward Fort Bragg and you'll find the Anderson Creek Club Charter School, located in Spring Lake. Nearly 230 students in grades K-12 are enrolled at the rural school's "data-driven, rigorous, instructional program," and 200 more are on its waiting list. >> public or private, on campus, online, or at home

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