Tuesday, September 14, 2010

After School Academy

Today, I post on something a bit more mundane than the earth-shaking policy issues discussed in some prior posts. Nonetheless, I thought it would be interesting to mention some of the things that we are doing to address an important objective of the district--to attract more students into a college bound success path. Our school district has begun a number of initiatives to increase the number of students who are actively engaged in college preparatory work. The one I want to mention today is the creation of three College Bound After-School Academies. We know that many of the students who fail to thrive in high school or who fail to go on to college actually have the potential to thrive. One of the ways to get these students on the learning path is to make a connection between learning and a successful career. Last year, we held two sessions with parents and successful students from "first-generation" students, that is students whose parents did not go to college or other post high school career preparation (technical college, community college, etc). We heard that one of the keys to success is getting involved with other students who have "made the right choices," that is, to work hard, stay in school, and take difficult course work.

That's the goal of these academies, to provide a weekly session for students who need a boost to get on, or stay on, a strong academic path.

The Health Career Service Academy meets Monday afternoon from 3:30 pm—6:30 pm. It provides students with "the opportunity to explore careers involved in promoting health/ wellness and diagnosing and treating disease. Occupations include skilled jobs in nursing, laboratory, information technology, radiology, pharmacy, home health care, nursing assistance and more!" The students will learn CPR and 1st Aid, hear from many health care professionals, participate in service learning experiences." And, as part of the program, they will create a personalized plan for college and career success in the health field.

The Engineering & Math) Academy meets Tuesday afternoon from 3:30 pm—6:30 pm. It provides opportunities for students interested in a career in science, technology, engineering or math? "This program gives you the opportunity to explore careers that involve the design, development and creation of products using technology and machines. Occupations include skilled jobs in machining, metal and plastic processing, computerized machine operations and programming, engineering, drafting, welding and more! You will experience a broad range of STEM careers first hand." Students will go on field trips to local businesses, explore local colleges and create a personalized plan for college and career success.

The Super Success Skills Seminar - Digital Media Career Focus meets on Thursday afternoons. This program is designed to better prepare students for college and career with a technology focus. Activities include: creating your personalized path to post-secondary education, attending field trips; participating in team building and leadership activities; experiencing college first hand and listening to community speakers.

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