Contact Person: Elizabeth Downey
High school academies are centers within existing high schools that offer advanced technical and specialized courses that successfully integrate career and academic preparation. Each academy emphasizes instruction in one or more career fields. Advanced technical and specialized elective courses are available at academies located at Chantilly, Edison, Fairfax, Falls Church, Marshall, and West Potomac High Schools for students interested in pursuing careers in international studies and business; engineering and scientific technology; health and human services; or communications and the arts. Enrollment in the academy elective course offerings provides juniors and seniors with career and academic preparation for future learning in college and career fields. Students enrolled in the academy elective courses are provided with opportunities to participate in shadowing, mentoring, and/or internships with local businesses. Course offerings at high school academies are continually evaluated to ensure that such offerings reflect the dynamic career opportunities available as well as connect academic knowledge with technical applications. In SY2001-02, the academies enrolled a total of 2,651 students; in the current SY2012-13, the six academies enroll more than 4,600 students.
The budget for High School Academies can be found on page 54 of the FCPS Program Budget http://www.fcps.edu/fs/budget/documents/approved/FY13/FY2013ProgramBudget.pdf
In 1994, the School Board unanimously endorsed a report by the Career and Technical Preparation Task Force, Securing Our Students’ Future in a High-Tech Global Economy (1994). That report recommended the establishment of “professional technical” academies in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) to integrate career and academic preparation by offering advanced technical and specialized courses for eleventh and twelfth grade students. These academies, now called high school academies, were viewed as “one of the most promising approaches for connecting education with employment and highlighting the effort to provide contextual learning experiences for students” (p. 33). The report also proposed organizing the high school academies around four career clusters that represent the expanding areas of the 21st century workforce: International Studies and Business; Communications and the Arts; Engineering and Scientific Technology; and Health and Human Services. Following approval of the task force report by the School Board, a Career and Technical Implementation Committee developed detailed plans for the academies including initial site recommendations, focus, and suggested course offerings. In SY1997-98 , two high school academies began operating at Chantilly and Marshall High Schools. Four more academies have since opened at Edison, Fairfax, Falls Church, and West Potomac High Schools.
While most of the courses offered at the six high school academies fall under Career and Technical Education, there are courses which come from other disciplines as well. Fine Arts offers academy courses that focus on dance, theatre, and music. World Languages offers academy courses in Chinese and Korean. Mathematics offers an engineering mathematics academy course. The information contained within this High School Academies program profile focuses primarily on the CTE course offerings. For additional information related to Fine Arts, World Languages, and Mathematics, please refer to the respective program profiles at the following links:
World Languages at http://commweb.fcps.edu/programprofile/overview.cfm?programID=92; and
Mathematics at http://commweb.fcps.edu/programprofile/overview.cfm?programID=91.
The Virginia Department of Education offers an opportunity to increase the rigor of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs through the designation of Governor’s STEM Academies. The Governor's STEM Academies are programs designed to expand options for the general student population to acquire STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) literacy and other critical skills, knowledge and credentials that will prepare them for high-demand, high-wage, and high-skill careers in Virginia. Each academy is a partnership among school divisions, postsecondary institutions and business and industry. STEM literacy is an interdisciplinary area of study that bridges the four areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM literacy does not simply mean achieving literacy in the individual strands; STEM classrooms shift students toward investigating and questioning the interrelated facets of the world.
In May of 2012, Chantilly Academy was awarded status as A Governor’s STEM Academy. Two new STEM programs have been added to the Academy’s current offering--Engineering Technology for Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology-CyberSecurity. Each of these programs is available for enrollment by all students in FCPS division high schools. These exciting new two-year programs offer extensive dual enrollment opportunities (college credits) with Northern Virginia Community College. Other High School Academies are currently in the process of applying to be Governor’s STEM Academies.
Academies support Student Achievement Goal 1.3: explore, understand, and value the fine and practical arts. By reasonable interpretation, “the knowledge and skills students develop in fine arts and CTE courses form the basis for 21st century skills that require cultural literacy, inventive thinking, problem solving, and creativity.” Evidence of support can be found throughout the CTE academy courses by way of industry validated course content, opportunities to earn credentials and advanced placement credit, and career exploration and preparation through mentoring, job shadowing, and internship experiences. One of the measurements used for Students Achievement Goal 1.3 is “the number of seniors earning a CTE related industry credential.” To access the 2012 monitoring report for Student Achievement Goal 1.3, please use the following link: http://www.fcps.edu/schlbd/monitoringreports/goal1monitoring.shtml.
Additional information may be found on the CTE website at http://www.fcps.edu/is/cte/academies.shtml .