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Career Academies

The academy is a smaller learning community that focuses on a career theme and is integrated into the students’ studies including their core curriculum courses. Each year the same group (cohort) of academy students takes a Career and Technical Education course aligned with the career theme and one or more core classes together. This school within a school model may be either a three- or four-year academy.

Each academy student participates in several work-based learning activities such as job shadowing, career fairs, career themed industry tours, and an internship. Academy students are prepared to participate in these experiences through their cohort academy courses. Each academy student is required to do an internship between the junior and senior year that relates to the academy theme. The internship will be for 135 hours.

WCPSS Career Academies

School Program
Apex High School Academy of Information Technology
Athens Drive High School Health Science Academy
Broughton High School Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Entertainment
Cary High School Culinary Arts
Enloe High School Medical Bioscience
Enloe High School Design and Merchandising Technology Career Academy
Garner High School Fire and Safety 2014 -2015
Heritage High School Game Art Design
Knightdale High School Academy of Environmental Studies
Middle Creek High School Academy of Sustainable Energy Engineering
Middle Creek High School Digital Media
Sanderson High School Academy of Finance
Southeast Raleigh High School Engineering Academy
Southeast Raleigh High School Biotechnology Research
Wake Forest High School Construction Technology Career Academy

View map of existing and future Career Academies

Establishing new academies

High school principals must complete a new academy proposal questionnaire to the Career and Technical Education Director’s office in order to be considered for an academy.  Career Academies that meet all of the required criteria will be recognized as Wake County Public School System Career Academies and will be eligible to receive additional funding for relevant Career Academy activities and additional months of employment, if available, for a Career Academy Coordinator.  To earn designation as a Wake County Public School System Career Academy, this document must be submitted no later than the last day of April prior to each new academic year.  Principals will be notified of their school’s eligibility status by June 30 each year.

Implementation of an academy requires the following:

  • Career theme, integration and cohort model: The academy is a smaller learning community that focuses on a career theme and must be integrated into the students’ studies including their core curriculum courses.  Each year the same group (cohort) of academy students takes a Career and Technical Education course aligned with the career theme and one or more core classes together.  This school within a school model may be either a three- or four- year academy.
  • Work-based learning: Each academy student participates in several work-based learning activities such as job shadowing, career fairs, career themed industry tours, and an internship.  Academy students are prepared to participate in these experiences in their cohorted academy courses.  Each academy student is required to do an internship between their junior and senior year that relates to the academy theme.  The internship will be for a minimum of 135 hours earning 1.0 credits.
  • 21st-century skills and project based learning: The development of 21st century skills is included in all academy courses. Project based learning and experiential learning are used to train students in 21st century skills such as oral and written communication, collaboration/teamwork, professionalism, leadership, ethics, globalization, flexibility/adaptability, critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity/innovation.
  • Heterogeneous student population and college/career ready: The academy should reflect the school’s student body in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and ability levels.  This creates exposure to a highly engaged peer group.  All academy students will be prepared for college and careers.
  • Advisory board: Career Academies have a partnership with the community through the Academy Advisory Board. The board is comprised of career theme industry volunteers, the academy coordinator, school administration, parents, representatives of postsecondary education, and students when possible. Advisory Boards must meet a minimum of four times per year. The Advisory Board members lend industry expertise as it relates to work-based learning, curriculum, teacher professional development, and student preparation of 21st Century Skills. Members also advocate for student and internship recruitment, public relations, and marketing of the academy.
  • Academy coordinator

Resources

  • The National Career Academy Coalition creates and supports a national network of existing and emerging high school career academies. They engage administrators, teachers, students, business, government and community partners, and families in an ongoing dialogue and provide services to help meet the needs of academies.
  • Career Academy Support Network (CASN) offers comprehensive support and staff development for Small Learning Communities and Career Academies at which students can fulfill requirements for college entrance while learning to relate their academics to the world outside high school.
  • National Academy Foundation (NAF) Supports a national network of career academies that are based in public high schools as serve youth ages 14-18.
  • National Centers for Career and Technical Education