From SPS Communications:
The high schools' three programs are supported by the District's Career and Technical Education Department. Students select a career pathway of their choice and take all other course work for graduation. Students have many opportunities to connect with the business partners who make real life experiences for our students. These work-based learning opportunities make the connection with the classroom and what the "real world" is asking of graduates.
There are only eight academies in the state of Washington, and four of those are in Seattle Public Schools. These programs have a long history of success at the three high schools, but this is the first year that the programs have qualified for the award.
In 2012, 98 percent of seniors graduated, 88 percent plan to go to college, 10 percent plan to enter the military or other, and 41 internships were completed, providing students an economic benefit of $73,800.
Update: I asked about the demographics of the students in these academies and Mary Davison, the CTE Manager for SPS, was kind enough to provide them to me.
Out of 374 students:
- 27% Hispanic/Latino
- 4.55% Native American/Alaska Native
- 17.65% African-American, Black
- 34.49% Asian
- 37.70% White
- 5.35% Other/Muli-Racial
- 62% were F/RL (based on school stats, not individual)
End of Update.
Just as we all can be critical friends of the district, we also have to pause and realize the really good things happening our district. These are alternative pathways that give students real-world experience and a choice of direction for their academic lives. I note that these academies exist in many regions of our district.
I also note that once again, Seattle Schools DOES lead the pack in this state in innovation. Many of the kinds of programs that SPS has - like the academy system, like the dual-language/international system, like our STEM schools - are all programs that in other areas of our state and nation come only via charters.
SPS didn't wait around for charters to get these fine programs up and running. They did it on their own and should be lauded for it.