THE GOIZUETA FOUNDATION AND JOSEPH B. WHITEHEAD FOUNDATION GRANT $2 MILLION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE JA-MBA

Grants will support Junior Achievement's efforts to develop an innovative high school model that prepares students for personal and professional success.

The Goizueta Foundation and Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation have each awarded $1 million to Junior Achievement (JA) of Georgia to support the development of the Junior Achievement Magnet Business Academy (JA-MBA) that will be piloted on the campus of Banneker High School in Fulton County. 

Called "JA-MBA" for short, the innovative high school model is the first of its kind in Georgia. The launch of the JA-MBA represents a partnership between Fulton County Schools and Junior Achievement that provides students the opportunity to participate in hands-on, full immersion learning with a business and entrepreneurial focus. Students will complete three pathways – Business & Technology; Entrepreneurship; and either Marketing & Management or Financial Services. The funds will support curriculum development, teacher professional development, case studies and specialized activities aligned to the business community.

The JA-MBA will be piloted at Banneker High School, located in the southeastern corner of the county, beginning this August. It is open to all rising ninth grade students who reside within Fulton County Schools attendance zones. Initially the program will house 150 students in ninth grade, with the program growing in size as students matriculate to the next grade level and a new freshman class enrolls. At full attendance, the JA-MBA program will serve approximately 600 students by 2018.

JA-MBA will operate as a "school within a school," with the overall goal of driving students to achieve greater educational, personal and professional success. The benefits of the program are expected to extend far beyond the JA-MBA school walls by achieving systemic impacts on Banneker's surrounding school population.  

"The JA-MBA is designed to provide unmatched business connectivity to expose students to professional opportunities and deliver experiences where they can apply their knowledge in real-world situations," said Jack Harris, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Georgia. "Thanks to the partnership with Fulton County Schools, experiential and authentic learning will be the foundation of the high school experience for the students enrolled in the JA-MBA." 

Ken Zeff, Interim Superintendent for Fulton County Schools, agreed. "We are excited to bring this option to families," he said. "Finding, developing and supporting community engagement and leadership is a hallmark of our charter system model and we are pleased to have established this productive partnership with Junior Achievement to the benefit of students from across our school district."

Programs like the JA-MBA also serve as a way to combat the skills gap and income inequality that plague much of the country, including Atlanta. In fact, according to a recent report issued by the Brookings Institution, Atlanta currently ranks highest in the nation for income inequality. JA has worked hand-in-hand with leaders from the business and education communities to discuss the needs and develop viable education options that are authentic, relevant and engaging to cultivate a generation of highly aspirational and skillful individuals. 

The JA-MBA is designed to provide rigorous standards-based education infused with relevant and engaging learning experiences that prepare students to thrive and meet the demands of today's economy.  Through interdisciplinary case studies and business challenges, students will explore careers while developing an understanding of essential business concepts. The curriculum also will give students hands-on experience through internships, collaboration teams, job shadowing and executive guest lecturers. 

"We have high expectations for the JA-MBA and believe that piloting the program with Fulton County Schools at Banneker High School is the ideal launching point. The overall vision for the JA-MBA extends beyond the initial location with plans to develop a model that is scalable to other schools and districts. JA is grateful to The Goizueta Foundation and Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation for their support in developing an innovative learning model to empower young people with the skills and knowledge to achieve a lifetime of success," said Harris. 

Click here to find out more about the JA-MBA.  

About the Fulton County School System

The Fulton County School System is the fourth largest school system in Georgia. Approximately 96,000 students attend 100 schools in the cities of Alpharetta, Chattahoochee Hills, College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Palmetto, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Union City. The district also serves students in unincorporated Fulton County. For more information, visit www.fultonschools.org.