Plans are now underway for an environmental science academy and a freshman leadership academy at Knightdale High School.
While Knightdale High School has had an applied sciences academy since it started in 2004, the career academy is getting reinvigorated and with a new focus, said Ruth Steidinger, senior director of high school programs for Wake County Schools.
Steidinger said Joy Frankoff, the new school to career coordinator for the school system, is working closely with Knightdale staff to ready the environmental science program for the coming school year.
“We are shaping the focus to make it more effective,” said Steidinger.
In academies, students must complete the standard course of study for high school students, but electives are infused with whatever the academy focus is, Steidinger said.
“Some of the things you would see would be service projects related to an environmental focus, the opportunity to job shadow in industry and CTE courses,” said Steidinger.
Frankoff is working with Wake Technical Community College so that students can graduate with credits towards Wake Tech certifications and associate degrees, said Frankoff.
“I am real excited for the possibilities for these students,” she said. “These students coming through the academy are going to be so much more marketable. They are going to be career ready and college ready.
Frankoff said the academy also has leadership component to it.
“What we’re working is building towards that internship,” she said. “There will be job-shadowing first and then an internship.”
The second academy at the high school will be a freshmen leadership academy.
The purpose of the freshmen leadership academy is to provide educational experiences in leadership development, communication, problem solving and team building, said KHS principal Carla Jernigan. About 30 to 40 students will be selected to participate in monthly seminars and field trips.
For instance, in September, students will participate in a leadership development seminar, in October, a ropes course, in November a town of Knightdale tour, in December, a community service project. In each month of the school year, there will be an activity or program. All current ninth graders have the opportunity to apply to the program, Jernigan said.
Knightdale’s former academy included animal science, food science and plant science courses. It also included a course called future decisions in science. All of Wake County’s career academies are based on popular career interests for students, Jernigan said.
“Given the enrollment numbers for our animal, food and plant science courses and student interest in going green, environmental studies seemed to be a more appropriate theme for our academy,” Jernigan said. “The academy concept is not new to KHS. We aren’t creating a new career academy. We are enhancing our existing career academy.”
Jernigan said currently about 30 students in grades 10 through 12 were involved in Knightdale’s academy. She said the goal is to increase these numbers to 30 to 50 students at each grade level. The school is in the process of inviting people from the business community to serve on an advisory board for the program.
“I am excited to see this academy grow in a new direction –– a direction that will not only impact our school environment, but our community and our planet,” said Jernigan. “Students will have an opportunity to extend their learning experiences beyond the classroom and gain real world knowledge that will impact their lives forever.”