The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

Academies lays out new goals for the year

This school year, Principal Sah Brown has made a point of improving and increasing student participation in Jackson-Reed academies. Academies are a series of classes related to one academic area. The classes are just one part of the academy, which also come with opportunities to help prepare students for a career in that field. There are ten academies at Jackson-Reed. 

Summer Bridge, an introductory program for incoming 9th graders, was run by the academy heads this year along with a new academy director, Tammy Lorenzo. Lorenzo oversees the Athletic Achievement Academy, ROTC, and the International Studies Program. She is “beyond excited to join the JR team and looking forward to working with such an intentional and dedicated group of education leaders.“

These three Jackson-Reed academies do not have NAF status, JROTC has CTE status but not NAF, but Lorenzo hopes to acquire the status for them this year. She says that CTE provides, “funding recieved from the federal government to fund career readiness programs such as the academies”, so turning ROTC, AAA, and WISP into CTE or NAF academies would “increase the amount of funding and opportunities offered to the students in those academies”. NAF is different from CTE because it provides a curriculum for the academies, but not necessarily funding. 

Regina McClure, the director of the STEM Academies (Biomedical, Information Technology, and Engineering) says that earning a NAF certification is important because it “loops students into an alumni network”. This network provides students with mentorship, internships, professional development, and networking opportunities that will benefit them when they go off to college or get a job. 

McClure’s main goals for the academies this year are expanding student leadership, growing diversity, empowering a greater percentage of the academy juniors to complete the required summer internship, and planning work-based learning experiences that align with the classroom curriculum. To achieve these goals, she has created more student leadership positions, increasing from four to seven different student leadership teams with roles ranging from social media to recruitment. 

Brandon Wims, the director of the Hospitality and Tourism, Finance, Audio/Video, and Digital Media academies agreed with McClure on goals for the academy this year. He said that he wants to “increase the number of students who get into academies.” This means joining an academy, completing the correct course sequence, participating in work-based learning trips, like college visits or other field trips, and completing a paid internship. He wants everyone at Jackson-Reed to take advantage of the opportunities that the academies offer.

To reflect the school community, the academies want to nurture a more diverse and inclusive environment. McClure will continue both the Gender Equity in STEM club and the monthly racial diversity listening series, as well as add a new club: a chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. She says these groups will help “create mentorship and support within the STEM fields.” She hopes that the clubs will help foster a sense of community in the academies. 

Another large goal for the academies this year is to work on work-based learning experiences for students. Last year, they focused on building industry connections, but McClure says “this year is all about aligning these industry partnerships, as best we can, with the curriculum students are engaged with in the classroom.”  

Looking forward, the academy directors hope to build on the progress from last year to make the academies an inclusive environment and ensure that all academy students access the opportunities they offer.

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