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Why Academies? Board Looks at the Research

Board Academic Steering Committee: Nov. 11, 2013

Deployment and Implementation of Academies

With construction underway on the campuses of Kelly Walsh and Natrona County High Schools, the Board Academic Steering Committee asked to see deployment milestones and the plan for implementing an academy structure within our high school system. Kelly Hornby, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, shared the “Deployment 3 Year Plan +1” milestone targets. He said currently teachers are being trained on academy-based learning and informed in how their areas of concentration will fit into the academy structure. Upcoming work will include professional development for teachers and counselors on project-based learning, HS course guide alignment, aligned schedules, and integrated curriculum. The goal is to have a fully operational academy structure in 2015-16.

Structure of a Pathway

Wanting to better understand how the academy system will work within our district, the committee asked what a year looks like at each level of high school in a specific plan of study.

Mr. Hornby provided the group a sample plan of study and how electives in the student’s chosen pathway would be woven into the student’s schedule. When planning a student’s high school education, Mr. Hornby said the student should decide if earning a certificate in their chosen field is important. If so, specific courses in the chosen field must be completed prior to graduation.


Can a student change pathway at any level? 

Want students to take a variety of courses 9, 10, 11, but should start narrowing it down by end of 11 to be able to demonstrate skills.

 Is a capstone project going to be required by every graduate?

Board said not at this time.

Research Behind Academy

     Currently students can take “concentrator” classes in CTE. Concentrator classes are three classes taken in succession, in a specific field.  At KWHS, 94.34 % of CTE students who took advantage of a concentrator sequence graduated on-time. There are about 200 CTE students currently in a concentrator sequence in the district.

The committee also discussed the misunderstanding of the suggested 180-minute blocks in the proposed high school schedule, the confusion surrounding curriculum integration, and how interdisciplinary teams will plan curriculum. The group agreed it needs continued discussion about the structure of academy and pathways.

The Academic Steering Committee meets again on Dec. 9, 2013 at 4 p.m

Members present: Trustees Elizabeth Horsch, Trustee Rita Walsh, Trustee Paula Reid, Trustee Audrey Cotherman, Trustee Pat Keefe, Mark Mathern (staff), Steve Hopkins (staff), Trustee Dana Howie, Kelly Hornby (staff), Shauna VanderLinden (staff)



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This entry was posted on December 1, 2013 by in In Focus and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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