To meet the demands of North Carolina’s changing economy, smaller learning academies offer a curriculum focused on a specific career pathway. Career academies, formed in partnership with the National Academy Foundation (NAF), create and sustain meaningful connections between school innovation and career readiness. Optimally, career academies prepare students for both college and a career pathway -– including careers in medicine, engineering and finance –- at the same time.
Often characterized as schools-within-a-school, career academies are situated on the campuses of comprehensive high school, early college high schools, magnet schools or charter schools and serve a small community of students. These schools sustain ties among teachers and students for two or more years and provide work-based experience for students and their teachers.
NC New Schools and NAF partner to offer a unique blended approach to supporting school and district efforts to accelerate student learning and improve career readiness for students. Through a framework of outreach and planning, initial implementation and ongoing support, the two organizations help schools and districts increase instructional effectiveness, the quality of student preparedness and staff capacity. This framework includes a range elements that play a pivotal role in supporting a school or district’s desire to expand academy options for its students.
Customized support services for districts, schools and academies incorporate the power of NAF’s academy development and structure combined with NC New Schools’ proven talent development services:
- Leadership Support Services: Principals and academy leaders are empowered to develop a shared mission, serve as agents of change, share leadership and cultivate a culture of high expectations. Through individual assessment as well as common and differentiated supports, leadership development within academies is distinguished as an ongoing process of learning, support and facilitated practice.
- Learning Support Services: Innovative learning practices require to students read, write, think and talk in every class, every day. NC New Schools and NAF have successfully blended research-based classroom practices with cutting edge, industry-driven curricula to ensure that all students have the necessary skills to graduate ready for college and careers.
- Professional Learning Support: Academy teachers and leaders engage with others in both the NC New Schools and NAF networks in active exploration of key problems of practice. Networking opportunities focus on rigor, new standards and instructional and assessment strategies to support learning, collaborative planning and problem solving.