Innovative partnerships are changing the face of education.
Colleen Pegram, principal of SandHoke Early College High School in Hoke County, reports that her school, partnering with Sandhills Community College, enables students to earn both their high school diploma and associate’s degree in a five-year program. The students begin by taking classes at the high school and finish by attending classes on Sandhills’ campus.
“What a great opportunity!” says Ms. Pegram. “Many of our students are the first in their families to earn a college degree. This program works to make every student college-ready by going seamlessly from high school to earning an associate’s degree in one program.”
Two classes have now graduated from the SandHoke program. “Of the first graduating class, 80 percent went on to work on their bachelor’s degree,” reports Ms. Pegram.
Ms. Pegram is enthusiastic about the future for the almost 250 students now in the SandHoke program. She is equally passionate about the school’s partnership with Sandhills.
“There are 76 early colleges in North Carolina and I meet with other principals regularly,” she says. “I shake my head when I hear some of their stories about difficulties with their community colleges. The team at Sandhills is wonderfully cooperative and helps us help make dreams come true. I couldn’t ask for a better partner than Sandhills.”
Ms. Pegram, a native New Yorker, had 22 years of service in the U.S. Navy before transitioning into an educational career, earning master’s degrees in school administration and in teaching.
“I have traveled the world and I know a good school when I see one,” she says. “Sandhills Community College is providing excellent opportunities to area people of all ages.”
She reports that the two schools are now working together to explore possibilities of providing educational opportunities for the students’ parents. “Such a program would change the whole dynamics of a family’s future,” she says.