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New signature academy courses at Jefferson County Schools

Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 12:01 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2022 at 2:33 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Jefferson County Schools students will have access to more educational opportunities. Starting in the Fall of 2022, students from all 13 high schools will be able to apply to a signature academy to pursue a specific field of interest ranging from the arts to career technical education.

“In many cases, students will be able to walk out the door with the credentials they need to enter the workforce immediately with a well-paying job or continue on with their post-secondary education,” said Dr. Walter Gonsoulin, Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools. “The goal of signature academies is to expand the educational options for all students regardless of where they live or what school they attend. We are seeking to provide more opportunities and eliminate obstacles.”

The signature academy concept groups JEFCOED high schools into four zones: Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western. Students will be able to apply to any academy at any school within their zone.

“For example, a Mortimer Jordan student might want to work towards an associate’s degree in medical office administration. That Mortimer Jordan student would then apply to the Center Point Academy for College Excellence (ACE). Or, a Hueytown High School Student has an interest in biomedical science. That individual would apply to be a student at the McAdory Academy of Biomedical Science,” said Gonsoulin.

Jefferson County Signature Academies
Jefferson County Signature Academies(Jefferson County Schools)

Students who apply to an academy at a different school will not transfer to that school, but will only visit the campus for that one course. Core curriculum classes will still be taught at the student’s home school.

Buses will shuttle the students between campuses for signature academy courses. It is important to note that all academies will be optional. Students are not required to apply.

There will also be other career tech pathways at students’ home schools.

“We’re not taking anything away, we’re adding to our already existing framework, and this is just the beginning of what we hope to accomplish. We’re very aware that there could be growing pains. But we’re willing to face those if the end result is better serving our students. That’s the goal,” said Gonsoulin.

The application portal will open on March 7th.

Students can also view information, including academy options and required courses, on their individual school’s academy website. Each page can be accessed through jefcoed.com/academies.

Jefferson County Schools Signature Academies
Jefferson County Schools Signature Academies(Jefferson County Schools)

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