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WCHS academy changes
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

The structure of the academies at Warren County High School has been reorganized. 

Academy schools are smaller schools located within the larger high school. They integrate academics with technical know-how in an occupation or industry that has important ties to the region.

According to WCHS principal Clark George, the solution to several issues is consolidating the current academies.

“We’ll have two big academies then under those academies, we would still have those pathways and a principal over a certain group of kids and their guidance counselor would stay the same,” explained George to the School Board. 

Here’s a look at the two restructured academies and pathways within each: 

• Business and The Arts Academy – Marketing, office management, law, CADD, culinary arts, creative arts/ humanities, education and AP/ dual pathways

 • Science and Industry Academy – Agriculture, medical, construction, transportation, advance manufacturing and AP/ dual pathways

During the School Board workshop, George, along with the other grade-level principals, expressed the belief that this change will be an improvement allowing students to have more diversity in their electives.

“If a culinary student wants to own a restaurant, they need some business classes so this is going to help take those two pathways and mold them together and make the kids more successful once they graduate,” said George.

As for student academy enrollment, currently, the process involves a heavy education about the academies through 9th grade career exploration. After students tour the academies, they fill out a survey to rank based on interest.  Around 85 percent of students get their first choice.

Health sciences, culinary, childcare, criminal justice and marketing are among the most popular academies. According to guidance counselor Kari Burnett, if there are more students than seats, they number the forms and do a random draw. Currently, no one requesting a change has been denied. 

However, last year 150 students didn’t turn in a survey.

Several other School Board members questioned the principals.

“Say you have a student who wants to pursue the medical pathway, does that for a year or two and then decides they want to go into law,” said Tanya Bess. “At what point do you say you can’t change academies?”

Answered Shockley, “Unfortunately, at the end of that junior year it’s hard because it is a completer issue. They have to have those three credits.”

In addition to the academy changes, George mentioned several ways to increase parental involvement, including a Parent University in August which will run like a conference. He also hopes to encourage 8th grade students to visit WCHS as well.

The academy changes will go into effect next school year.