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College and Career Readiness in North Carolina: High School Career Academies

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By angelb, on July 1, 2011

While compiling information on high school programs to boost student achievement (often as an initiative supported by District and School Transformation),  I found that many high schools participating in district and school transformation offer career academies to their students. Research on career academies at the national level has demonstrated their effectiveness. My research team is building career academies (from general to highly specialized) into our model as an indicator that might predict successful high school turnaround and/or transformation.

The Career Academies Coalition writes, “Career academies address academic rigor, relevance of instruction, and build relationships between students and adults. Career academies have thrived because of their dual objectives of career and college preparation, the broad cross-section of students they serve, the evidence of their success, and the deep relationship between research and practice.”

I am always scouring the Internet for articles that support the shift from education in the abstract sense to more applied learning. Once I began researching North Carolina high schools’ career academies, I learned that there are tangible connections to professional fields that are of interest to high school students. For instance, many health sciences career academies present students with the opportunity to become certified as nursing assistants while in high school. This can give students applying to nursing school professional experience prior to beginning their course of study.

To read the Coalition’s policy paper on career academies, paste this URL into your browser:

Thanks for reading,


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