CALIFORNIA PARTNERSHIP ACADEMIES: WHAT ARE THEY?

There are about 200 Partnership Academies in California, each selected through a grants competition, and many additional “Academy-like” programs. Each is housed in a public high school and structured as a three-year school-within-a-school. They incorporate a variety of innovative educational features, including:

  • A school-business partnership as a foundation, and a joint educator-employer Steering Committee to guide the program;
  • A team of cross disciplinary teachers who coordinate curriculum;
  • 100-150 students, grades 10-12, selected through a voluntary application process;
  • Strong academic curriculum, made meaningful through a career focus;
  • Parental involvement and support;
  • Rigorous evaluations, and clear evidence of improved student performance, as well as performance-based funding;
  • Matching support from grant receiving districts and supporting employers;
  • Links to post-secondary training and employment.

WHAT ROLE DOES TECH PREP PLAY WITH CALIFORNIA PARTNERSHIP ACADEMIES?
  • Promotes a seamless transition to the post-secondary institution
  • Develops career awareness necessary for students to make wise choices
  • Articulates specific courses designed by academies that may be used for college credit
  • Links business partners to the academies for necessary work-based learning opportunities

WHY SHOULD CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS BE INVOLVED?
  • To influence California’s educational system as it affects employment;
  • To create a quality workforce for the future, capable of competing globally;
  • To play a role in developing our youth to their potential;
  • To bring educational innovation to our schools

HOW DO ACADEMIES SUPPORT EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION?
  • They extend learning beyond classrooms, into the workplace and community.
  • They join the rigor of strong academies with the relevance of a career focus.
  • They use assessment that mirrors what workers are expected to do.
  • They stress the importance of modern technology, and use it in instruction.
  • They point students toward clear post-secondary goals, both education and work.
  • They bring an entire community of collaborators together to strengthen education.
  • They prepare students for high performance workplaces.

HOW DO WE KNOW ACADEMIES ARE WORKING?

Because of the performance-based funding, data must be collected every year on every Academy student. This shows that Academy students:

  • Have a substantially lower school drop-out rate than the state average;
  • Dramatically improve their attendance and grades the first program year, and continue an upward pattern through twelfth grade and graduation;
  • Almost universally attend post-graduate training programs or go to work upon graduation, or in many cases, do both;
  • Say they strongly prefer the Academy approach to the regular high school program (as do Academy teachers).

HOW MUCH DO THEY COST?

Each state-funded Academy receives a yearly grant. Only those students that meet attendance and credit standards established in law receive funding. The maximum grant is $81,000 per year, which averages about $600 per student.

Most Academy support comes from in-kind local sources, especially people’s time: teacher time to coordinate the many program elements, and employee time to be speakers, mentors, and job supervisors.

WHAT ARE THE BUSINESS ROLES IN A CALIFORNIA PARTNERSHIP ACADEMY?

Employer involvement is essential for the success of an Academy. This takes five specific forms:

  • Steering Committee membership. Such committees meet 4-6 times/year, and coordinate business involvement, including curricular input.
  • Speakers to present information to participants regarding the industry, and related careers and training.
  • Hosts for field trips and job shadowing, to show students typical work setting in the Academy’s career field.
  • Mentors, usually for juniors, to serve as career-related big sisters and brothers, providing role models and information.
  • Job supervisors, during the summer following students’ junior year, and part-time for seniors, to make their work place learning meaningful.

There are over 500 California employers working with individual Academies, in over 20 industries, including: health, marketing, domestic and international trade, agriculture, banking & finance, media/ communications, electronics, construction, hospitality & tourism, transportation, the environment & natural resources, printing, and high tech manufacturing.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about State Partnership Academies contact either of the following:

Susan Cummins-Tidyman, Consultant
California Partnership Academies
California Department of Education
(925) 820-4364
Fax: (925) 820-6050

Charles Dayton, Coordinator (CASN)
Careers Academy Support Network
Foothill Associates
230 Main St
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 265-8116
Fax: (530) 265-3271

More information can be found at http://casn.berkeley.edu.

For information about academies within region 8 (Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties) contact:

Dr. Ron Fontaine
Categorical Services Director
Kern County Superintendent of Schools
1300 17th St.- CITY CENTRE
Bakersfield, CA 93301-4533
Tel (661) 636-4529
Fax (661) 636-4135