The path to career and college readiness has changed at several high schools here in Fayette County.
When students went back to class this past August at three Lexington high-schools, ninth graders entered what’s called a freshman academy. Students in their sophomore, junior and senior years entered academies that align with their future career interests.
Arianna Black is in the academy for medicine at Frederick Douglas High School. She’ll graduate high school with a nursing assistant certification. That means she’ll be about ten steps ahead of her peers when she enters college for her nursing degree and fewer required classes means fewer student loans when Black graduates. Cheryl Carrier is the Executive Director of Ford Next Generation Learning which helped fund the academy program. She said it not only saves on expenses for college students, it helps those who want to enter the workforce directly out of high school. Fayette County Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk called the new approach to learning and creating college and career ready adults is an educational game changer.
Students in the Academies of Lexington will learn through the lens of a career they may be interested in such as engineering, healthcare or technology. They will also have a chance to job shadow and intern. Tates Creek, Frederick Douglas and Bryan Station High Schools are now the Academies of Lexington. They’ve been designated Ford Next Generation Learning communities and join a network of schools in 17 other states and the United Kingdom.