GW Career Academy

GW Career Academy
February 16, 2017 GWHS

GW Career Academy

As a high school our day-to-day business is a complex matrix of processes and structures that we have developed to meet the needs of our students. It is beneficial to periodically take a step back and evaluate the the guiding mission that is at the heart of the work we do. At George Washington High School we endeavor to provide a learning environment where, over the course of four years, students gain the knowledge, confidence, and guts it takes to be successful in college and career.

That is why I am excited to share with you the introduction of a DPS Career Academy that will become part of the George framework starting next fall.

It is an unfortunate reality that there are students who, for a multitude of reasons, find themselves off-track academically in such a way that graduation from a traditional high school is unlikely. The standard practice is to transition those students to a pathway school or career academy that has resources more appropriately aligned with the unique needs of these students. In most instances students are able to find success and graduate within five years. However – they are leaving behind the community and network they built in the early years of their high school journey.

In examining our success against our mission, the Collaborative School Committee felt that transitioning off-track students out of George wasn’t in tune with our promise to graduate every student college and career ready in four years. We have found that when we recommend transitioning to an alternative pathway school, many students are reluctant to do so because it jeopardizes their identity as a GW Patriot. Without the supports that a pathway school can provide, these students fall even further behind and graduation becomes unlikely. To that end we have asked the district to place a career academy at George. The GW Career Academy (GWCA) will serve the needs of approximately 80 11th and 12th graders from George and the surrounding area who would otherwise be at risk of not graduating. We feel this is the best way to serve these students who are in need of enhanced intervention services and more individualized attention in order to graduate on-track and on-time.

Though we will be sharing a building and expanding our community, the GW Career Academy will be a separate entity with its own funding, administration, and staff. This allows for resources to be uniquely allocated to best meet the particular needs of the students enrolled at the GWCA. Students who attend the GW Career Academy will be able to maintain their status as a GW Patriot while benefiting from the specialized supports and classes designed to refocus off-track students.

I am excited about this new opportunity for George. On Wednesday, March 1 at 5:00pm in the GW Library we are holding a forum to answer your questions and also share how this model has been successfully implemented at other high schools in DPS. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out with any questions. I can be reached at scott_lessard@dpsk12.org.