Learning for the real world: How the Academy pathways prepare students for life after high school

Guest Post \
June 04, 2019

By Michael Douglas, Akron Beacon Journal

The leadership team at the Akron Public Schools understands well the important role the district must play if the city is going to achieve the goals it has set. Without the district raising its overall performance, the city will have a tough time halting its population slide, let alone adding residents. It also will be difficult to overcome the dismaying pattern of black exclusion from local economic opportunity.

If the district rates at the top or near the top among the large urban school systems in the state, that isn’t good enough. The moment requires something better, and that explains the design and implementation of college and career academies across the district, now well on the way and continuing. It goes to the grant announced this week by the GAR Foundation, routing $529,000 to the district during the next three years, most of the money going to teacher training and development.

Students and families aren’t alone in needing to make adjustments. Teachers also must adopt new approaches, their part in learning indispensable to student success.

The point isn’t to see 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds choosing pathways for their lifetimes. Rather, the academy approach builds on the interests of students, following the logic that a more engaged student is better positioned to learn. More, it does encourage students to see there is a purpose in all this schooling — as preparation for the real world.

Header photo c/o Akron Public Schools