SLCs and Career Academies

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Where can I get help?

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A number of organizations are specifically devoted to supporting SLCs and/or career academies. In the first category, the best source of help is the Education Northwest. It is ecumenical in its approach to SLCs, helping any that follow the national definition, and in particular those with federal grants.

Several agencies also specialize in supporting career academies. The Career Academy Support Network (CASN) at UC Berkeley helped develop this website.  Spending time on its website is a useful endeavor.  In addition to the many documents (Resources section), there is a national directory of academies, and a "Toolbox" of editable documents useful in implementing academies. There is also a brief description of the other organizations working actively in this field (including links to their websites), and a database of curriculum well-suited to academies. What follows provides some highlights.

The National Academy Foundation, based in New York City and Berkeley, is the largest organization devoted exclusively to supporting academies, with over 500 affiliates in its network. It has many documents available on its website, provides extensive curriculum in its career fields (finance, travel & tourism, information technology, and pre-engineering), holds an annual conference during the summer, and provides a variety of services to its academies. It charges a fee to join ($10,000 initially) and has a year-long planning process for new entrants.

The National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) has little staff but a board of directors comprised of members from most of the other leading academy organizations, and offers a national conference each fall, an accreditation-like evaluation system with on-site visits, and a variety of documents.

The California Department of Education (CDE) has a staff devoted to the support of the California Partnership Academies (CPA), and a grant program that provides about 300 grants annually and is growing. It sponsors an annual conference each spring, offers a number of documents at its website, and conducts an annual evaluation of its academies.

Other organizations with a less direct focus on academies but a continuing interest in them as a component of high school reform include:

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and its High Schools that Work network, framed around ten principles that academies support, perhaps the largest such reform network in the country, which holds a large conference each summer and a variety of materials and related activities.

The  Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS) at Johns Hopkins University has developed the Talent Development model, with a well developed ninth grade program for at-risk students that leads into grade 10-12 career academies

The National Partnership for Careers in Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security is a coalition of agencies interested in this field and offers workshops and course & program materials on this topic.


Planning Guide for Career Academies

Dayton, Charles. Career Academy Support Network, UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Education, Updated 2010.

Who needs to do what, when, to launch a career academy.

Organizations that Support Career Academies

Career Academy Support Network

Organizations that provide training materials, services, research and other resources that support career academies.

Getting Connected: A Resource Directory for Career Academies

MDRC and the Career Academy Support Network, UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Education; Updated 2010.

Listings of guides, handbooks and website links for academy teachers and administrators. Getting_Connected.pdf (345.9KB)


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Last modified on 2/2/2011

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