Innovative high school model brings real world connectivity into the daily academic experience to engage students in education and empower them to own their future success
Atlanta, GA— Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and Junior Achievement (JA) of Georgia today announced an expansion of their partnership to include JA Academy, a model to redesign high school education to make it more relevant, experiential and authentically connected to life beyond the classroom walls.
The partnership between APS and JA began nearly a decade ago. In 2013 the two organizations extended their partnerships with the launch of the JA Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center, which houses JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. Since 2013 every 6th and 7th grade student in APS has participated in these 360-degree learning experiences that combine in-class curriculum with real-world project based application. JA Academy will provide APS students the opportunity to expand upon the learning from middle school in a fully immersive model that incorporates real world connectivity and cross-curricular learning as core components of the daily high school experience.
JA Academy will enroll its first class of 150 APS students at B.E.S.T. Academy High School at Benjamin S. Carson, located near Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods, beginning August 2017. Enrollment is open to all rising ninth and tenth grade students, who reside within the APS attendance zones, and the school will continue to grow as students matriculate to the next grade level.
JA Academy operates as a school-within-a-school with the overall goal to drive better outcomes for all students by developing a framework that can be replicated into the broader school, and eventually scaled throughout the school system.
“We truly believe to create more pipelines to economic opportunity and to lift an entire generation, we have to work in partnership with our school systems to reimagine public education,” said Jack Harris, President and CEO of JA of Georgia. “We are honored to partner with Dr. Carstarphen and APS, and together deliver a solution that brings innovation to education, elevates the quality of our curriculum and educators, and ultimately empowers all students with the skills, competency and motivation to thrive in today’s complex economic environment.”
JA Academy is designed to provide four years of rigorous standards-based education that integrates business connectivity directly into the education process. The framework creates an interdisciplinary learning environment that engages students through dynamic real-life case studies, which provide exposure to a myriad of industries and careers, and creates purposeful connections between academic concepts and real-world application. The curriculum also gives students hands-on experience through work based learning, collaboration with mentors, and engagement with post-secondary institutions.
JA Academy at B.E.S.T. will be the third school and school system since 2015 to integrate this model, and JA expects to expand to two additional systems by 2019.
“The attitudinal and academic growth among our first year JA Academy students cannot be overlooked. This framework is not only revitalizing curriculum, but also heightens the level of professional development and support for the teachers, which is undoubtedly a key factor for success,” noted Harris. “JA is proud to work with Atlanta Public Schools as we continue to build the model and be a part of APS’ efforts to continue to construct a district of high performing schools.”
“We are grateful to everyone who makes our partnership with Junior Achievement of Georgia possible,” said APS Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen. “The JA Academy is an example of our mission in action that focuses on collaboration to ensure that every APS student will graduate ready for college and career. A program of this caliber will expose our students to all the business world has to offer them.”
For further information on JA Academy, visit http://www.georgia.ja.org/jaacademy/.
ABOUT ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 98 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us