Polk County Early College would like to thank Polk County Community Foundation for their gracious grant-funded support in our “Project Unplugged and Outdoors.”

Applications for Polk County Early College may be printed from our website or picked up from the school. The box containing the applications will be located beside the main door on the picnic table. Please return the completed applications by sliding them underneath the main door. Thank you.


In partnership with Isothermal Community College (ICC), Polk County Early College (PCEC) is among the North Carolina Public Schools’ network of Cooperative Innovative High Schools (CIHS). As such, we are a student-centered, public high school where students engage in an accelerated academic program in technology-integrated classrooms focused on a small, supportive, individualized learning environment. Students typically obtain an associate degree or another college credential-without incurring tuition or textbooks costs to families-along with a high school diploma in our four-year program. The expectation is that every student will graduate ready for college, careers, and life.


Student and Community Characteristics In alignment with our purpose as a Cooperative Innovative High School, the PCEC target population, comprises first-generation college-goers and students from socioeconomically challenged backgrounds. This is accomplished by way of the application process used to select students from the district’s public, private, charter, and homeschools.  

The school day is set up on a modified four-block schedule that allows students the flexibility to attend both their honors-level high school classes and their college classes. 

     In addition to teaching their high school courses, our instructors have been approved by ICC to teach college-level courses. In addition to our school’s academic support, students have access to resources and services at the ICC campus, such as the Writing Center, Tutoring Center, and library. Instruction and academic support are provided by four teachers: one science teacher, one social studies teacher, one math teacher, and one English teacher. Additional staff includes a college liaison and a technology coordinator/instructional liaison. 

     Desired Outcomes and Results The school’s broad vision was developed through collaborative discussion among faculty, staff, and administration to align with the vision of Polk County Schools and to meet the needs of our students in their preparation for future roles in the workplace, family, and community. The success in these roles demands our attentiveness to local and state and national focus on individualized, targeted pathways that correlate with emerging workforce and college-going trends.     





District’s Mission Statement:

Students will graduate as responsible citizens prepared to succeed in higher education or the career of their choice.

School’s Mission Statement:

Polk County Early College’s mission is to graduate confident, ethically responsible; lifelong learners prepared to succeed in higher education and the changing world beyond.

College’s Mission Statement:

As an integral community partner, Isothermal Community College exists to improve lives through learning by providing innovative, affordable educational programs and inclusive opportunities for personal, professional, economic, and cultural development.



√ Do you like to complete your assignments on the computer?

√ Are you self-motivated?

√ Are you an independent learner who likes to learn at your own pace?

√ Do you like to have flexibility in your use of time?

√ If there were no bells to begin and end class, would you be committed to learning online?

√ Do you have good communication and reading skills?

√ Do you want to take Latin, French, German, or Chinese?

√ Do you have a strong personal commitment to learning?

√ Do you want to accelerate your learning?

√ Do you want to earn college credits while you are in high school?

If you answered “yes” to the questions above, then you are a good candidate for Polk County Early College

Please contact Mary Greene for an application at

828-894-2698 or email mgreene@polkschools.org





What degrees do you offer?

High School Diploma

Associate in Arts Degree

What is early college?

It’s a result of a joint program between our PCEC, Isothermal Community College, and North Carolina’s New Schools Project. Students will take college courses in order to work towards an associates degree.

How does PCEC differ?

Small Classes which means more personalized teaching. Two years of tuition-free college.

Which students succeed?

Academically aggressive individuals and interested lifelong learners.

Will students earn college credits?

Students are enrolled in college courses and take dual enrollment classes for both high school and college credits.

What is the application process?

  • Early College Application
  • Writing Sample
  • Three recommendations
  • Transcripts from grades 6, 7, and 8*
  • Attendance Profile*
  • Discipline Profile*
  • Standardized Test and EOG test scores, percentile, and level

*You can obtain this information from your child’s middle school/high school counselor.

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