The RCAS Academies will allow you to understand how what you are learning now will matter in your future. Through career-connected learning, you will participate in career exploration and gain the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the 21st century. This will help you develop a college, career, and life readiness plan that leads to opportunities beyond high school, whether that is a credential, certificate, military service, and/or college. In addition, you will experience elevated engagement in coursework through relevant project-based learning and confidence from real-world experiences.
The Academy Structure
RCAS will offer several pathways organized into six academies that are not only tailored to our regional needs, but also address national and global workforce opportunities. Each academy will include two or more career pathway programs.
An academy is a small learning community organized into one or more pathways that includes career-connected learning and provides students with increased personalized attention.
A pathway is a course of study housed with one of six academies (high school graduation requirements will be embedded) offered in our two comprehensive high schools and, in some cases, in partnership with institutions of higher education. When fully developed, each pathway will include two or three courses organized around a career theme and offered in a planned sequence of courses that move from general knowledge to deeper skills.
Within an RCAS Academy, a student will take:
- An Academy Introductory Course;
- A Pathway Foundational Course;
- An optional Specialized Pathway or Capstone Course; and
- Electives, including Fine Arts, World Language, Physical Education, and Special Offering courses.
In 9th grade, all students will be in Freshman Academy. The Freshman Academy is a small learning community with a network of teachers focused on helping you make a successful high school transition and future academy and pathway selection. This Academy will provide coursework in core content areas, elective opportunities, and career and academy exploration through the Freshman Seminar course. At the end of your freshman year, you will be required to select one of the six RCAS Academies to enter in 10th grade.
In 10th grade, you will learn more about the careers offered in your chosen academy through a year-long academy introductory course. In addition, you will gain exposure to your chosen academy through an industry tour organized during the 10th grade year. After 10th grade, you are given the opportunity to transition to an alternative academy selection if your first academy was deemed as not a good fit or interest to you.
If you select to change academies during the established academy selection times, you will be required to enter the academy introductory course for your newly selected academy. If you decide to stay with your first academy of choice, 11th grade will expose you to a pathway foundational course. Pathway foundational courses will be taken to connect your learning in the academy introductory course with preparation for a deeper understanding of your chosen pathway.
In 12th grade, you will have the opportunity to become more specialized in your pathway by enrolling in a capstone offering, to include dual enrollment, industry certifications, and specialized courses. Specialized pathway courses will allow you the opportunity to consolidate and apply learning from your academy introductory and pathway foundational courses into a meaningful and relevant career-connected experience.
Students will meet graduation requirements within the RCAS Academies model through meaningful course sequencing.
GRADtime will be a regularly scheduled period of time when students engage in advisory content in all 4 years of high school. This will allow you to engage in academic, social-emotional, and college, career, and life readiness opportunities and the gain the knowledge and skills needed to fulfill the RCAS Profile of a Graduate.
All students will earn a .25 credit/year toward graduation requirements through GRADtime.
The purpose of the RCAS Academies is to help all students make well-informed decisions about college and career aspirations. it is up to the individual student, with advice and support from their parents and caregivers, to decide what direction is best for them.
Each of the RCAS Academies and pathways are designed with three potential outcomes. By including all three options in every program, we make our pathway programming relevant for all of our students whether immediately following high school they wish to enter the workforce or college. These outcomes are not mutually exclusive:
- An industry-recognized certification while in high school or after a short-term training program;
- An associate degree at a two-year or technical college; and
- A bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.
Each academy and pathway will offer seamless connections to postsecondary education and training, including the opportunity to earn college credit and/or industry certifications.
Beginning with the incoming class of 2020, the RCAS base diploma will require a minimum of 24 credits for graduation, In addition to the base diploma, students may earn advanced endorsements that are in alignment with the student’s College, Career, and Life Readiness plan. To learn more about the graduation requirements for the graduating class of 2024 and beyond, click here.