What’s one of the greatest challenges for today’s teachers and students? How to prepare students to thrive in the most competitive global economy the world has ever known, where workers won’t just have multiple jobs over the course of a lifetime – they’ll have multiple careers! And, in our fast-paced, technology-driven marketplace, many of those jobs haven’t even been invented yet!
To learn how one school is meeting this challenge, Thursday morning brought us to Louisville, Kentucky, to visit Jeffersontown High School Magnet Career Academy – the home of the Chargers.
The school serves a diverse student body of 1,400 students, including many from low-income families. Learning is organized around career themes, through four academies. The Design Academy features engineering, Computer-Aided Design and Drafting, and Web design; the Build Academy features robotics and electronics; the Create Academy houses the fine arts; and the Lead Academy offers JROTC and business. All of the academies offer all the coursework needed to prepare students for college and careers, along with specialized technical training and certification and the opportunity to earn college credits along with a high school diploma.
These career academies have strong support from the surrounding cities and from the region’s employers, who see it as key to developing a competitive workforce and filling high-demand jobs. For instance, the Design Academy houses the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, based on a model first launched in 1990 by the Ford Motor Company to encourage students to pursue education and build successful careers in business, engineering, and technology. Last year, the Jefferson County Public Schools was named a Ford Next Generation Learning community – on of 18 communities in the U.S. to earn this designation. The goal of the program is to help districts and communities implement plans that improve student performance and readiness for college and careers. Funding from Ford and America’s Promise Alliance will help the district roll out its plan.
Watch Secretary Duncan wrap up day four of the Ready for Success bus tour: