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The Rapid City Area School District's Academy Model provides all students with access to career-connected learning experiences. The model consists of three Academies and nine Pathways. Explore below to learn more about the RCAS Academies & Pathways model with a complete explanation of the student experience at the bottom of the page.
Freshman Academy
Freshman Academy
Students will explore each of the six RCAS Academies and engage with content in digital citizenship, computer applications, and workplace skills.
Academy of Advanced Technology
Academy of Advanced Technology
Pathways include: • Business, Entrepreneurship, & Hospitality • Construction
Academy of Arts, Humanities, & Human Services
Academy of Arts, Humanities, & Human Services
Pathways include: • Human Services • Performing Arts • Visual Arts
Academy of STEM
Academy of STEM
Pathways include: • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources • Engineering • Healthcare • Information Technology

Rapid City Pathway Approach

The Rapid City Pathways Approach (RCPA) is the effort underway (launched in 2018) to bring career pathways into RCAS schools, as well as build strong connections to employers, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations.

The purpose of the RCPA is to equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need to explore career options in high school.  This approach will help students develop a plan that leads graduates to a successful transition beyond high school including postsecondary education and training, careers, and life responsibilities.

The RCPA entails three areas of work:

  1. Building strong connections with employers, institutions of higher education, community-based organizations, and families; 
  2. Creating a K-12 approach to career awareness and exploration;
  3. Enhancing our course offerings by developing pathways programs for our students.


For a list of frequently asked questions about the RCAS Academies & Pathways, click here.

What is a Career Pathway?

An academy is a small learning community offering multiple pathways.

A pathway is a course of study housed within one of three academies broken into nine pathways (high school graduation requirements will be embedded) offered in our high schools. Each career pathway includes 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.

Identifying Student Career Interest

In our RCPA, during elementary and middle school, each student will be learning about a full range of careers, and during their 8th grade year, will identify a “career interest” to guide further exploration.  This career interest will be revisited each school year and can evolve or shift.  The student’s career interest will influence their choice of career academies, career pathways, work-based learning experiences, postsecondary education and training, and employment opportunities.

Student Experience

The academy and pathways system is designed to support career exploration as well as the development of a college, career, and life readiness plan to ensure student’s graduate high school ready to thrive in their future.


To learn more about the student experience in the RCAS Academies model, click here.


To learn more about how to support your student in their career development, click here.