At River Ridge High School we currently have three Career Academies, the Academy of Engineering, the New Media and Communication Academy, and the Teaching Academy. Beginning in 2016-17 we will also have a Fine Arts Academy and a Business Management and Analysis Academy.
About the Academies
Career academies are small, personalized learning communities within a high school that select a subset of students and teachers for a two-, three-, or four-year span. Students enter the academy through a voluntary process; they must apply and be accepted with parental knowledge and support.
A career academy involves teachers from different subjects working together as a team. Staff teams, who often share common planning time, work together to implement the key features of the model and provide students with exposure to the career field. Students are grouped together for several periods every day with a core group of teachers. This promotes a family-like atmosphere and results in close student-teacher ties.
A career academy includes the following essential elements:
- A small learning community
- A college-prep curriculum with a career theme
- Partnerships with employers, the community, and higher education
By design, these three central elements of a career academy lead to a school that is rigorous, relevant, and relational. As such, career academies are an excellent example of a reform model for Florida’s policymakers and practitioners to consider in high school reform (http://www.fldoe.org).