Academic Information and Policies

By choosing admission to BCEC, students and families are making a serious commitment to become part of our school community.  Because we can only enroll a limited number of students each year, students who are fortunate enough to get a spot must be willing to take advantage of that opportunity.  Because Early College becomes the students’ base high school assignment.  Any change to that assignment requires a team meeting with the student, parents, teachers, counselors, and the principal.  We do recognize that students may determine that this is not the best fit for them, and a transfer to a student’s district school will be considered if the team determines that it is in the best interest of the student.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a high school diploma at Buncombe County Early College, students will complete at least 28 credits according to the North Carolina Future-Ready Core/UNC Minimum Graduation Requirements.  This includes:

4 English credits -- I, II, III, IV
4 Math credits -- I, II, III, and one credit beyond Math III
3 Science credits -- Earth Science, Biology, and Physical Science and/or Chemistry
4 Social Studies credits -- World, Civics, American History I and II
2 Foreign Language credits
1 Health and PD credit
10 Elective credits -- to be completed with college courses

As noted, students must successfully complete a minimum of 10 college courses (3 credit hours of above in order to earn the required high school elective credits.  Also, Early College students will complete one course or a sequence of A-B Tech courses to earn other high school course requirements.  Currently this includes:

Health and PE -- PED 110 and HEA 110
4th Math -- MAT 143 or MAT 152 or MAT 171
English III and English IV -- ENG 111, ENG 112, ENG 242, and ENG 252
American History I and American History II -- HIS 131 and HIS 132
Biology -- BIO 111 and BIO 112 (currently optional)

Students must earn the requisite scores on the A-B Tech Placement test (NCDAP) in order to enroll in these courses.  Additionally, students must earn credit for ENG 111 and ENG 112 in order to proceed with most courses at A-B Tech.

If a student does not earn the requisite score or successfully earn credit for ENG 111 and 112, it may be necessary to determine a more appropriate pathway.  Likewise, if a student is repeatedly unsuccessful in earning college credits with a grade of C or better, it may become impossible for that student to earn a high school diploma. In either case, we would need to explore a high school completion plan instead of an associate degree pathway, and a transfer to another high school may be necessary.  

Please be advised that students who do not complete a full academic year at Early College will not earn credit for classes that meet year long.

Promotion Guidelines

To be promoted:

to 10th Grade, a student must have earned 6 units.

to 11th Grade, a student must have earned 13 units.

to 12th Grade, a student must have earned 20 units.

To graduate, a student must have earned 28 units of credit and meet all other state and local requirements (1 semester course = 1 unit credit)


Grades at BCEC should give students and their families accurate and meaningful feedback that supports and encourages student learning. According to state Board of Education policy, the scale for high school course grades will be:

A:  90-100  

B:  80-89

C:  70-79

D:  60-69

F:  Below 60

Progress Reports and Report Cards

At the mid-point of each nine-week grading period, paper progress reports will be provided to all students in each class. Teachers are expected to call parents when a student is not progressing satisfactorily. In addition, teachers will regularly maintain student grades in PowerSchool system. Students and parents can check grades at any time with a code for online access to their grades.

Report cards are given to every student at the end of each nine-weeks grading period. The report card will identify the student’s nine-week grade, cumulative number of absences for each class, and academic progress comments, if the subject teacher feels these are appropriate. At the end of each semester, a final semester exam grade and a final semester grade will also be reported.

Reports cards for students who have earned a D or F in any class will also be mailed to the home address on file.  Parents are welcome to pick up a copy of their student’s report card in the main office or call us to request that we mail a copy home.

After-School Support and Tutoring

All students are encouraged to take advantage of after-school study support sessions offered daily (except Thursdays) from 2:15-3:45.  Any Year 1 or Year 2 student staying after school must report to the study support room and sign-in. Students must remain with the teacher until 3:45 unless a parent comes in the office to sign them out.  All students must be picked up by 4:00 pm. Because this time is set aside specifically for students to enhance their academic achievements, students must have a legitimate educational reason to stay.  Any student who stays after school but fails to report to, remain in, or participate in the study support session will jeopardize their privilege to receive after school support and may be subject to disciplinary consequences.   

Student Support Meetings

If we have concerns about a student’s progress in any area, we may suggest a meeting with the parents to discuss the nature of the concern and to identify the most appropriate goals and supports.  These meetings typically include teachers, counselor, and administration. These meetings are most often held after 2:00 in Birch. Parents are always invited to request a meeting for his or her student.

Testing and Assessments

All courses require a comprehensive exam at the end of the term.  High school students are required to take North Carolina End-of-Course Tests in Math I or Math III, Biology, and English II.  Students must also take NC Final Exams in other high school courses. Final tests or exams count as 25 percent of a student’s final grade in each high school course. There are no exam exemptions in Buncombe County high schools.

According to state requirements, each tenth grade student is required to take the pre-ACT (the state-mandated test for assessing college readiness) during the Fall semester. According to state requirements, each eleventh grade student will be required to take the ACT test during the Spring semester. Each twelfth grade student will be encouraged to take either the SAT or the ACT for 4-year college or university admissions.

College Placement Test

All Early College students will participate in college placement testing.  Year One students will take the NCDAP test during their first year as a baseline assessment of the students’ abilities to complete college level work.  The students will then take the college placement test at the end of each year until they achieve the necessary scores to place into any college course with a pre-requisite testing score.   Students with qualifying PLAN, PSAT, ACT or SAT scores can use these for placement.

Graduation Project

All graduates in Buncombe County Schools are required to complete a culminating Graduation Project, which includes a research paper, mentor experience, product, and oral presentation.  Starting in 2018, the Graduation Project at BCEC will be completed in stages, beginning in Year Three. Students may choose to complete some components during the Summer. Grading for the project follows the Buncombe County Schools rubric.

Curriculum and Sensitive Issues

Buncombe County Schools has a clear policy regarding teaching about sensitive issues.  The policy recognizes that sensitive issues are an inherent part of our democratic tradition and an indispensable part of education.  In addition the policy outlines the expectations for teachers when course material may be controversial or sensitive in nature. If you are interested in learning more about these expectations, please refer to BCS Board Policy #650.

Because Early College students are also A-B Tech students, they will study material with mature content much earlier than other high school students.  Please be advised that college course objectives, class discussions, textbooks, computer filters, and library materials are not modified for high school students.  Of course, we will make every effort to ensure that the classes in which your student is enrolled are appropriate for him or her, but we cannot monitor all information to which students have access on the college campus.

Four and Five-Year Plan Options

BCEC students typically take five years to complete the necessary courses for a high school diploma and associate’s degree. Because we are a responsive learning community where students are empowered to create and achieve their own personalized pathways, Buncombe County Early College can also work with students for whom it makes sense to complete their degrees in four years.

A BCEC student who is motivated and ready to graduate in four instead of five years with their high school diploma and an Associate in Arts or Science degree must take a more rigorous course load each semester, more dual enrollment courses (classes taken for both high school and college credit), and/or summer classes. The decision to accelerate is typically made in the Fall semester of Year Three.

There are both benefits and drawbacks to electing to accelerate the Early College experience, and we will share this information with students who may be considering the 4-year options.  Students who elect for the accelerated four year sequence can always choose to slow down and finish in four and a half or five years if they determine that is necessary. Along with our advising, students are responsible for ensuring that they are on track for graduation and are taking the courses that they need each semester.

Student Academic Grievances

According to Buncombe County Board of Education Policy #3432, students and parents should have redress for grievances regarding the evaluation of academic performance in high school courses. Therefore, at any time a student believes he/she has a grievance regarding the evaluation of an academic assignment, the student may report the grievance to the principal. The student should provide his or her name and a description of the grievance giving rise to the complaint. The principal will investigate the incident and reach a decision within three (3) school days. The principal is empowered to change the grade if, after investigation, the principal determines that the evaluation was arbitrary and capricious. A written copy of the decision will be sent to the student and parent/guardian.