What is an academy?
An academy is an organizational tool which helps create a smaller learning environment for students. Academies increase relevance and rigor of the curriculum by focusing on career interests of students. Academies help students receive a more personalized education. Each academy helps students focus on what they need to be successful once they leave high school. Students need to be well prepared whether they decide to attend college, a trade school, or the world of work.
Academies also promote teamwork among teachers and link high schools to employers, communities and higher education. Teachers will serve as individual advisors to assist students in meeting the challenging course of study.
Are academies for all students?
Academies can benefit all students. The interests and needs of each student will determine what program they enter and what courses they choose to take. Students can certainly benefit from smaller groups and more individualized attention.
What would a typical schedule look like for a student in an academy?
Students involved in an academy would have a traditional schedule for ninth and tenth grades. The schedule would consist of state mandated courses and courses required for graduation. After career development activities in the course, Freshman Seminar, and through the advisement program, students and parents would be asked to designate one of the four academies as their area of interest. Course work in the eleventh and twelfth grades would be selected to complete state graduation requirements, as well as the county’s six credit "career focus" requirement. The six credits would be selected from the academy chosen as an underclassman. If a student’s area of interest changes, their academy selection will be adjusted.
What does research tell us about academies?
Research tells us that the following factors are the key to success of academies:
- A supportive environment among students and their teachers
- Academic career linkages and increased sense of curricular relevance
- Support from parents, employers, and community members
- A focus on achievement, and plans and objectives for after graduation
Which academies will be offered at Winters Mill?
Four different academies are offered at Winters Mill. Please double-click HERE to view the WMHS Academy Strands handbook for more details.
All students are required to select one of the four academies as their career focus. Within that academy, students shall choose one of the Career Strands. A total of six (6) credits shall be earned through one of the following options:
Option A: Select one Career Strand and complete a total of six (6) credits.
Option B: Select one Career Strand and complete four (4) credits. Select a second Career Strand and complete two (2) credits.
The Academy Achievement Award is given to students at graduation. It recognizes academic achievement, as well as outstanding attendance during their high school career. Students who meet the following criteria at the time of graduation qualify for the Academy Achievement Award:
- Successful completion of a minimum of six academy (6) credits (Option A or B)
- A minimum of 3.0 as a non-weighted cumulative grade point average
- An overall attendance average of 94% in grades 9–12