BE2 Business/Education Expectations

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What is Business/Education Expectations (BE2)?

What is the Horry County Early College High School?

The Horry County Early College High School was established in 2006 in Horry County, South Carolina. The school was founded on the belief that many students have the potential to be successful academically and move on to college, and would perform better in a smaller school setting.

This idea was made into a reality thanks to the original partnership among Burroughs and Chapin, Horry Georgetown Technical College and the Horry County School District, five higher educational institutions (CCU, Clemson, USC, FMU, SC State and Lander) and numerous business partners. This network of higher education institutions, businesses, and the school district form the Business Education Expectations (BE2) Partnership, which is actively involved in the school's programs and raising money to enrich the school. Horry Georgetown Technical College donated the space for this new, smaller school, in their Conway Campus and students from all over the county make up the student body. When the students graduate, they can receive a high school diploma and a two year associate's degree at the technical college, specializing in the career area of their choice.

The Student Body

To be admitted into Early College High School, certain criteria must be met. Students who excel in their current Horry County high schools do not need extra attention to be academically successful because they have already proven to be successful. The students that make up the student body of Early College High School make average grades, are well behaved students, and have obvious potential but are not flourishing in a large school environment.

A New Approach to High School

The small school movement and the Early College High Schools are attempts to improve high school education and the transition from high school to college through a seamless program of studies.

In the late 1990's U.S. Secretary of Education, Richard W. Riley, convened a panel of leading thinkers to investigate the lack of productivity of America's youth during their final two years of high school. The work of this group led to the publication of "The National Commission on the High School Senior Year". This study later referred to as "the senioritis study" laid much of the groundwork for numerous new approaches to high school education.

The ECHS initiative is rooted in the belief that encountering the rigor, depth and intensity of college work at an earlier age will inspire average, underachieving and well-prepared high school students to compete and achieve at very high levels. This bold solution, based on the principle that academic rigor, along with an exciting and comprehensive educational program coupled with the opportunity to save time and tuition dollars, are powerful ways to motivate students to work hard and meet serious intellectual challenges. This high school exemplifies the new 3 R's, Rigor, Relevancy and Reality. ECHS focuses on young people for whom a smooth transition into higher education is now problematic. EChS students include those who lack academic preparation needed to meet high school standards, students for whom the cost of college is prohibitive, and for young people who must balance school, work and family obligations. ECHS is designed somewhat for students who come from families in which they are first generation college students, knowing there is lots of academic talent, but perhaps not a clear understanding of the navigation of the educational routes, particularly that of higher education.

ECHS has been designed to provide the necessary curriculum, courses of study, professional development, enrichment and organization to become an exemplary site of learning.

Excellence in Curriculum

ECHS students will be offered college level experiences through strong partnerships with Horry-Georgetown Technical College, Coastal Carolina University, University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Francis Marion University,Clemson University and Lander University. BE2 helps facilitate the different educational programs and opportunities between the Horry County Early College High School and each institution of higher learning.

What is different about the students' experience?

In addition to the academic focus, the school also strongly believes in student involvement in the business community. The program is set up as a partnership between the school and business community to bridge the gap between the "high school bubble" and the "real world" - these students actually learn how to make the rubber meet the road. This partnership with the ECLS program will also provide resources for research and development and teachers and students with an education that translates to greater opportunities for economic and personal success.

Some of the activities that the students experience are:

  • enrichment trips to college campuses
  • learning to play golf through the golf clinic
  • taking ball room dancing classes
  • building relationships with mentors from the Grand Strand business community
  • Students have all been provided with flash drives for taking their work home
  • Meeting and learning from speakers like Ephren Taylor, the US's youngest sitting black CEO of a major company
  • Participating in summer career exploration experiences during the summer at companies all over Horry County

Excellence in Teaching

Outstanding teaching is the key to excellent schools. Teaching and learning occur best when educators enjoy their work environment. Another thrust of the proposal provides a set of teacher enhancements and rewards, both educationally, monetarily and intrinsically. Additionally, these schools and the business partnerships provide extra incentives for teachers to become nationally certified educators.

Excellence in Community Involvement

Parent empowerment and community engagement have been defined in a manner which gives parents and the community supportive and in-depth roles in the design of these schools. Many first generation college students will graduate from ECHS with focus and clarity concerning life choices. ECHS graduates will have skills to go to work, with an AA/AS or technical degree in hand, as well as a scholarship opportunity to Coastal Carolina University, Clemson University, Francis Marion University, University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University and Lander University. Summer career exploration experiences coupled with quality career counseling will allow students to see the light at the end of the tunnel as they are working through the rigors of the educational experience. It is imperative that parents have the skills to assist in their students new educational endeavors. Parents will be offered training and skills that allow them to enrich their student. The role of community in the development and implementation of mentoring as well as the student community servant leader program will be successful when all understand that this a new and rich educational institution, developing constantly.

Excellence in Corporate Involvement

BE2 enriches student's lives by orchestrating the mentor program, organizing summer career exploration opportunities, and providing funding for enrichment experiences like golf clinics and trips to college campuses. Business Education Expectations manages the funding of the Horry County K-12 Foundation, which provides money for all of these ECHS activities. The Foundation's funding is made up of generous donations from Horry County businesses including Burroughs and Chapin, AVX, State Farm Corporate, Centex Homes, Bank of America, Family Dollar and The Jackson Company. Other companies, like Ripley's Aquarium and The Pelicans, have been extremely supportive in many ways by hosting major events.

The BE2 Board is comprised of Doug Wendel, Shep Guyton, Diedre Williams, Mark Lazarrus and Andy Lesnik. These professionals have worked tirelessly to provide a firm foundation for the Early College High School throughout this first year, and accomplishments have been stellar.

Individual Involvement: Each student has a mentor

BE2 has recruited, trained and placed business mentors for each student at the ECHS, this has been a powerful experience for each student. BE2 has also pledged to provide summer career exploration experiences for each student desiring the opportunity. The business community has embraced this concept and has been interactive in making it happen.  Many mentors have already expressed interest in having their student work with them over the summer.

Financial Support

The Early College High School is a joint effort between the private sector and the public schools and universities. Corporate donations make the school financially sustainable.

The school is a public school, receiving public school funds as well as educational funding such as the South Carolina dual enrollment and lottery systems education programs. Higher education partners assist the ECHS through the utilization of staff, facilities and program design.

A major funding and development program has been developed to secure additional funding. The foundation for fiscal sustainability of the ECHS is the Business Education Expectations (BE2) and the creation of the Horry County K-12 Foundation has provided funding for many enrichment activities during this first year.

School's Success in the First Year

  • 134 of 138 freshman completed the year at ECHS
  • 49 of 134 (37%) earned the benchmark score on COMPASS reading test
  • 94% earned six high school credits

End-of-course testing

  • 96% passed Algebra I test (70% or higher)
  • 86% passed English I test (70% or higher)
  • 57% passed Physical Science test

Activities provided to students by BE2

  • Ephrem Taylor, Youngest Black CEO in the country came to speak and motivate the students
  • Mentor and Mentee Activities
  • Golf clinics
  • Ball room dancing
  • College exploration trips
  • Honor Roll Lunch at the Ocean Club