Jamboree to give students, parents peek at academies

Eighth-graders who live in the Jefferson City School District are invited to attend the “Academy Jamboree” scheduled Monday night at Jefferson City High School.

Held between 7-9 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria and gymnasium, the event is designed to acquaint students and their parents with the seven career academies school personnel are implementing next fall at Simonsen 9th Grade Center. The plan is to roll out the academies to the entire high school in the years to come.

Public, private and home-schooled students are all invited to attend. Although the Jamboree targets mainly eighth-graders, Assistant Superintendent Myron Graber said younger students and their families also can come.

“Hopefully, this information will help as they move forward in the selection process,” Graber added.

The event will be organized like a trade show convention. Participants will be free to circulate from booth to booth to ask questions and learn more about each academy. As envisioned, the seven academies will be: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Human Resources; Industrial Engineering and Technology; Health Services; Fine Arts and Communication; Business, Management and Technology; and Global Studies.

At each “stop,” teachers, principals, counselors and business partners will chat with students about what they can expect to learn. Although they are still “works in progress,” Graber said people can also pick up sample draft curricula for each academy.

Two formal presentations — designed to give listeners an overview of the whole concept — will be at 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the gymnasium’s stage.

Topics for the night include: what each academy offers, how to select an academy, how to evaluate your area of interest and curriculum samples.

Currently there are 637 students enrolled in the eighth grade at Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and Clark middle schools.

Although they can sign up for an academy on Monday night if they prefer, students have until Feb. 27 to make a final decision. It is not a first-come, first-served process.

Administrators are using a dot system to help students prioritize their choices. Each student will be given 11 dots to distribute; they can allocate four of those dots for their highest-priority choice of academy and distribute the rest among their remaining interests.

“The goal is that every student gets his or her first or second choice,” said David Luther, assistant to the superintendent.

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