Improving instruction and connecting students’ career interests with local and regional workforce demands
Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia received the Using Career-Themed Academies to Transform Large High Schools Award from the Southern Regional Education Board. Jonathan Patterson, Gwinnett’s associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction, accepted the honor at the 30th Annual High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Gwinnett school district teamed with SREB and its High Schools That Work program in 2013 to transform five of the county’s comprehensive high schools into college- and career-themed academy high schools. Today that number has grown to seven high schools.
The career themes include international business; media, arts and communications; health sciences and human services; and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
The seven high schools have implemented the instructional strategies of the Literacy Design Collaborative, the Mathematics Design Collaborative and SREB’s Advanced Career STEM-based curricula. They have increased focus on career and technical education by redesigning assignments around projects that often involve both academic and career pathway classes. The district has also worked diligently to find time to connect academics, career pathways and workplace learning.