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Publication Title:

Striking the Balance: Career Academies Combine Academic Rigor and Workplace Relevance


Thomas J. Smith

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Alignment with ARRA:

ARRA areas aligning with this product:

  • Data Use
  • Standards/Assessment
  • Turnaround Schools
  • Teacher Effectiveness

A major priority for the use of ARRA funds is to provide intensive interventions to the lowest performing schools. While exploring various restructuring options, state- and local-level educators and policymakers will need to explore innovative programs that keep students engaged while preparing them for graduation, college, and the workforce. This snapshot offers a view on one high school's approach to transformation through the implementation of the Career Academy model.

For more details on how ARRA funds can be applied to the improvement of high schools, please view our ARRA resources on our ARRA Web page.

Publication Key Points:

This snapshot takes a closer look at the implementation of the Career Academy model, an innovative approach to infuse career relevancy and critical thinking skills into the academic curriculum, in a high school in Oakland, California. This snapshot explains how one school is preparing students for college and career success by addressing challenges along the way.

Publication Key Challenges:

Educators today face the challenge of needing to prepare students to thrive in the workplace while ensuring that they are exposed to a high-quality, rigorous academic curriculum. Career academies are one way that schools are blending a college-preparatory curriculum with workforce readiness skills.

How Audience(s) Can Use This Product to Address Challenges:

This resource is designed to provide educators and policymakers with a snapshot of one high school's implementation of the Career Academy model. Some suggested uses for this product are:

  • Distribute to state chapters of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA);
  • Share with state-level personnel responsible for high school restructuring;
  • Share with partners in the business community who are or may become involved in partnerships with schools;
  • Encourage appropriate state-level personnel to develop a PowerPoint presentation on content for use in district meetings regarding high school improvement;
  • Forward to district personnel responsible for high school improvement;
  • Suggest that state personnel encourage districts to share in newsletters and other correspondences; and
  • Link in e-blast to districts from state, etc.

Production Citation:

Smith, T. J. (2008, August). Striking the balance: Career academies combine academic rigor and workplace relevance. Washington, DC: National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research.

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