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J.D. Clement Early College High School Earns Honor

Gloria Woods-Weeks, Ed.D.

Nestled on North Carolina Central University's campus, Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School (JDC-ECHS) shines brightly among North Carolina high schools. 

Clement High School was recently named one of the nation’s top schools by the United States Department of Education, which listed it among 362 institutions selected nationally as a 2019 Blue Ribbon School based on academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps among students.  The honor recognizes the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students are able to master challenging and engaging content. 

“Being recognized as a Blue Ribbon School is a gratifying acknowledgment,” said Gloria Woods-Weeks, Ed.D., the school’s principal. “We strive to make a difference in the lives of students and prepare them for post-secondary education and this honor recognizes our hard work,”. 

The Blue Ribbon process examines student scores, student subgroup scores, and graduation rates in the following categories: 

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools – The state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools – The state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Opened as a public magnet high school during the 2004-2005 academic school year, the state Board of Education designated Clement as an autonomous cooperative innovative campus. (An article highlighting the 10-year anniversary of JDC-ECHS was included in the spring 2014 edition of NCCU Now Magazine.)

The student body includes potential first-generation college students, English language learners, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and those who are underrepresented academically. 

The name honors Josephine Dobbs Clement, the first African American woman to serve on the Durham County Board of Education and the board’s first female chairperson. She became a Durham County commissioner.

Each academic year, Clement Early College High School receives over 400 applications for freshman class enrollment, although there are only 100 openings to fill. 

The accelerated program provides individuals an opportunity for students to graduate from high school with up to two years college credits. 

In NCCU’s Class of 2023, graduates of Clement are prominently represented. That status may be attributed to the school’s principal. Woods-Weeks, a Double Eagle, has served at the helm of the school since 2012. 

“To serve as principal of this great school is nothing short of spectacular,” Woods-Weeks. “Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School is located in the same building where I was once educated; its success is personal to me.”

Other factors contributing to school’s success include a personalized approach to teaching. J.D. Clement faculty members implement a customized curriculum and emphasize a high performing, collaborative learning style, which helps students achieve and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. The school’s graduation rate is 100%, and it was recognized as one of Newsweek’s top high schools in the country in 2017 and 2018.

Incoming students become acquainted with the campus during summer bridge programs, and may begin taking entry level college courses beginning in ninth grade. Taking full advantage of the dual enrollment option, students are eligible to begin college as a junior upon graduation. 

Woods-Weeks strives to strengthen and enhance the partnership with NCCU. 

“We must continue focus on the partnership to ensure more understanding of post-secondary education and promote student success,” she adds. 

Woods-Weeks was named 2017 Principal of the Year by Durham Public Schools and previously was named as North Carolina Assistant Principal of the Year by the N.C. Principals and Assistant Principals Association during her tenure as assistant principal at East Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill.

With high expectations and standards, student success is inevitable, she said.

“Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School will continue to provide a nurturing, positive, caring environment where every student feels welcome and has a great sense of belonging,” Woods-Weeks adds. 

Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
by Media Relations and Internal Communications Coordinator, Kia C Bell [ this function might malfinction on the test server ]
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