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The Career Academy Concept - May 2001

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									U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention




                                                                                                           May 2001 #15




                    The Career Academy Concept
By Joseph N. Coffee and Scott Pestridge
It has long been known that some students do not perform well         x A team of teachers (with a lead teacher/coordinator) who have
in traditional school settings. In the Bulletins Combating Fear         joined the program by choice.
and Restoring Safety in Schools (Arnette and Walsleben, 1998)
                                                                      x Voluntary enrollment by students who are allowed to focus on
and Reaching Out to Youth Out of the Education Mainstream
                                                                        a discipline of their choice.
(Ingersoll and LeBoeuf, 1997), the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) encouraged the establishment           x Opportunities for students to engage in a full range of elective
of partnership academies, schools within schools, and school-to-        and nonacademy courses and other school activities.
work programs as part of a comprehensive strategy to meet the
                                                                      College preparatory curriculum with a career theme. Career
educational needs of these students and provide them with alter-
                                                                      academies combine academic and vocational curriculums into an
natives to delinquency.
                                                                      integrated career theme (e.g., health, public safety, engineering,
Career academies are schools within schools that link students        finance). The combined curriculums include the following:
with peers, teachers, and community partners in a disciplined
                                                                      x Academic courses that meet high school graduation and col-
environment, fostering academic success and mental and emo-
                                                                        lege entrance requirements.
tional health. Originally created to help inner-city students stay
in school and obtain meaningful occupational experience, career       x Common planning time for the teaching team.
academies and similar programs have evolved into a multifac-
                                                                      x Projects that bring together skills acquired from academic and
eted, integrated approach to reducing delinquent behavior and
                                                                        career classes.
enhancing protective factors among at-risk youth. Career acade-
mies allow youth who may have trouble fitting into the larger         x Counseling to ensure the student has a postsecondary plan.
school environment to belong to a smaller educational communi-
                                                                      Partnerships with employers, community, and higher edu-
ty and to connect what they learn in school with their career aspi-
                                                                      cation. Career academies establish partnerships with local
rations and goals. Career academies provide at-risk youth with an
                                                                      employers to build stronger connections between school and
alternative to joining gangs and offer these youth an opportunity
                                                                      work, providing students with a range of career development
to become assets to their communities.
                                                                      and work-based learning opportunities. Academies also establish
                                                                      partnerships with community organizations, parents, and higher
Key Elements                                                          education institutions. Essential components of these partnerships
The career academy concept has three key elements (Stern,             include the following:
Dayton, and Raby, 1998):
                                                                      x Employers provide mentoring and job shadowing (i.e., oppor-
A small learning community. Career academies are organized              tunities for students to observe employees at work) in career
as small learning communities in which students traditionally           fields.
stay with a core group of teachers over the 3 or 4 years they are
                                                                      x Community partners develop a steering committee to oversee
in high school. National organizations supporting career acade-
                                                                        academy operations within a selected career field.
mies agree that these small learning communities should include
the following components:                                             x Parents support a student’s decision to enroll in an academy
                                                                        and also participate in academy activities.
x Several classes or disciplines offered solely to academy stu-
  dents in grades 9–12 or 10–12.                                      x Institutions of higher education give students college credit for
                                                                        completion of course work.
A Promising Program                                                    Joseph N. Coffee, Executive Director, National Partnership for
The Criminal Justice Academy is one of five career academies at        Careers in Public Safety and Security, 901 North Pitt Street, Suite
Walbrook High School in Baltimore, MD. A 4-year, citywide              320, Alexandria, VA 22314; 703–836–4880 (ext. 20);
comprehensive educational program, the academy partners with           jcoffee@napehq.org (e-mail).
the Baltimore City Police Department, Greater Walbrook Com-            For information on Walbrook High School’s Criminal Justice
munities, and the Baltimore City Public School System to provide       Academy, contact Sergeant Yolanda Whiting, Director, Wal-
students with a rigorous academic program that qualifies them for      brook High School Criminal Justice Academy, 2000 Edgewood
higher education and/or a career in criminal justice. Students learn   Street, Baltimore, MD 21216; 410–396–2004; ywhiting@usa.net
basic skills and receive prerequisite training for careers in law      (e-mail).
enforcement. Academy graduates who elect to attend the Balti-
more City Community College and major in criminal justice re-
ceive up to 15 college credits for completed academy courses. In
                                                                       References
spring 2000, 49 students graduated from the Criminal Justice           Arnette, J.L., and Walsleben, M.C. 1998. Combating Fear and
Academy. Seventy percent of the graduates went on to study at an       Restoring Safety in Schools. Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S.
institution of higher education.                                       Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of
                                                                       Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Career Academies and At-Risk Youth                                     Ingersoll, S., and LeBoeuf, D. 1997. Reaching Out to Youth Out
Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation has conducted a            of the Education Mainstream. Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S.
5-year evaluation of career academies, covering 9 academies and        Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of
1,900 students. The evaluation report (Kemple and Snipes, 2000)        Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
documents the following findings:                                      Kemple, J.J., and Snipes, J.C. 2000. Career Academies: Impacts
x Career academies reduced dropout rates by nearly one-third for       on Students’ Engagement and Performance in High School. San
  at-risk students (those identified as least likely to do well in a   Francisco, CA: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.
  traditional school environment).                                     Stern, D., Dayton, C., and Raby, M. 1998. A Report: Career
x Students enrolled in career academies attended high school           Academies and High School Reform. Berkeley, CA: University of
  more consistently, completed more academic and vocational            California at Berkeley.
  courses, and were more likely to apply to college than their
  counterparts who were not enrolled in academies.                     Joseph N. Coffee, D.P.A., is Executive Director of the National
                                                                       Partnership for Careers in Public Safety and Security at the National
x Career academies provide at-risk youth opportunities to set          Association for Partners in Education. Scott Pestridge is a Program
  goals and reach academic and professional objectives that may        Manager with OJJDP’s Special Emphasis Division.
  have otherwise been unobtainable.
                                                                        The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component
                                                                        of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice
For Further Information                                                 Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice,
In spring 2000, OJJDP helped to create a support group to pro-          and the Office for Victims of Crime.
vide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies, school
systems, and other community agencies interested in developing                                                                             FS–200115
and improving local career academies. For information on techni-
cal assistance and other aspects of career academies, contact


 FS–200115                                                                                                  Fact Sheet




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