Jefferson City eighth graders prepare for “academies” next fall

Feb 11, 2014

Credit Camille Phillips / KBIA

High school is right around the corner for eighth graders, and for those in Jefferson City, a new academy system will be waiting for them. The district’s eighth graders are in the process of selecting and applying for academies for next school year.

The students have the options of choosing from seven academies:  Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Human Services; Industrial and Engineering Technology; Health Services; Fine Arts and Communication; Business, Management and Technology; and Global Studies. Each academy will be divided between 300 and 500 students. Administrators believe that the division of academies will foster relationships between educators and students.

“They’re going to be seeing the same teachers,” district spokesperson David Luther said. “They’re going to have the same principal, secretary, etc., in that area. They are going to have their peers with them. We think they are going to feel a lot more of a bonding with the school itself,”

To prepare students, educators have given students interest surveys and have held meetings and information nights for students. They have also held academy jamborees at the high school where the academies sent representatives to inform students and parents of each academy. Students were given the opportunity to select their academy at the jamborees as well.

“It gives them some information that can lead them and point them into the academy that at least matches their interests, their likes, their abilities, and the things that they do now,” Lewis and Clark Middle School counselor Jan Heislen said.

The academies will continue to teach students the traditional school curriculum, but it will be taught in a way that prepares students for their career field.

“The academies being very specific is a misconception that a lot of people have,” Luther said. “They are very broad. We will still have our students learning math, science, social studies, and language arts. Our classes will just be geared towards something,” Luther said.

Students also will have the option to take a class outside of their academy. An example would be a student that takes band even when he or she is in the Human Services academy.

  The academy selections will be finalized February 27, and course selections will be complete by March 5.