DEFAULT ACADEMY PROGRAM.
If your school is chosen to join the Real World Revolution, you are unique. Each Academy-proposal is tailor-made to your school's history, community, unique course offerings, structure, and student interest, among countless other factors. Here's what yours may look like.
ScHEMA is an original acronym developed by Real World Academy for this project, standing for Science, Humanities, Exploration, Math, Arts. In this way we assure the minimum number of fields/careers are represented, unlike older standards such as STEM and STEAM, which only weakly involve the humanities and arts. All Academy proposals are modified from this basic schema.
<schema>: a conception of what is common to all members of a class; a general or essential type or form.
SAMPLE ACADEMY SYSTEM.
Allied Health Track (+3 Electives in Advanced Biological Science Courses)
Physical Sciences Track (+3 Electives in Advanced Chemistry/Physics Courses)
(+3 Electives in English/Literature/History/Business/Law Courses)
Business & Law Track
(+3 Electives (and more encouraged) in Vocational Programs/Courses such as Culinary, Arts, Computer Technology, Foreign Languages, etc)
Technical Skills Track
Engineering Track (+3 Electives in Math or Computer/Technology Courses)
Technology Track (+3 Electives in Math or Computer/Technology Courses)
(+3 Electives in Art/Music/Choir/Acting Courses)
Visual Arts Track
Performing Arts Track
SAMPLE COMPONENTS OF REAL WORLD ACADEMY'S SYSTEM.
Academy projects, driven by students and guided by teachers/guidance counselors/mentors, would be part of the curriculum for graduation, much like an honors assignment or thesis. “Team building” is the goal, regardless of the student’s honors status. Students in teams would define and execute a project and present it to the student body at the year’s end. The teachers/counselors within the Academy would serve as “headmasters,” to consult and guide the project to its completion. With honors and non-honors students working together toward a common goal, the hope would be to demonstrate that all students can succeed, pushing non-honors students to advance into the honors category.
To further build the concept of the team approach, projects can include partnering with local charities and nonprofit organizations, to demonstrate the importance of contributing to your local community.The students and school system are encouraged to tap into local university students, professionals in the workforce, retired educators, etc. to act as mentors within the program.
Weekly "Genius Block"
RWA proposes weekly allotted time for students of different Tracks and Academies to collaborate on Real World Projects. Various Tracks enable students to obtain specific skill sets, which attribute to role assignments within projects. This creates opportunities for local businesses and universities to collaborate and mentor high school students, which offers them a glimpse into the "Real World."
Student-centered movement. Uniqueness and encouragement for career-minded exploration begins in high school. This time, the movement is centered around students, unlike the traditional system, which is modeled after factory systems in post-WWII era America.
Works for everyone. Already-committed students know which Academy and Track to pick right away. Undecided students can ‘rule out’ Academies (and thus fields) that do not interest them, so they have a clear plan during their senior year application cycle. Undecided students actually benefit the most.
Social cohesion. Students of similar interest are linked together, and work as teams, regardless of the honors system. Such positive collaboration amongst students would replace misguided behavioral norms with a passion-prompting social standard.
Key metrics. Increased student retention, SAT I and II scores, AP Exam scores, general college/vocational acceptance rate, and selective secondary school acceptance percentage.
More competitive college applications. Original research, entrepreneurship, or a community project is a required component of junior/senior year.
Model school systems. By taking the step towards the future (not our words, the Federal Government's actually), your school will be a guide for other high schools to find inspiration and a successful example of ‘education done right.
Built-in, automatic exposure to career paths and the pursuit of passions. Let the Academy-system work automatically, and this will come naturally.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ACADEMY-STYLE SYSTEMS.
Q: Students are too young to think about career choices.
A: Being in an academy system imposes no restrictions or obligations on any career choices. In fact, students who are undecided are poised to benefit the most because they will be switching Academies and experience more than a student who remains in one Academy. As far as age being a factor in career choice, This is perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions we as Americans have about education. Most of the world has students decide career and graduate choices by the end of high school. It is never too early to at least BEGIN thinking about careers, but it IS certainly possible to be too LATE, to which most teachers and counselors will attest. We postulate that if students are not scholastically engaged by the end of freshman year, they are unlikely to ever become serious students.
Q: I'm a teacher (or administrator), and I like what I teach. I don't want to change the way things are done.
A: Let teachers teach how they want. Let students learn how they want. We like that. We also like the courses offered by high schools. Real World Academy does not propose ANY alterations to any courses, staff, or administration. We simply propose providing a course map for different vocations and implementing opportunities for students to work on independent projects.
Q: But I'm a teacher and I do want to be involved in some way.
A: Great! Teachers are essential to the success of Academy systems. For more details about how teachers can help as well as benefit, see our section for Teachers on our Join the Revolution page. We NEED your help!
Q: Do Academies need to be in separate buildings?
A: No! In fact, we highly discourage this at all costs. The entire purpose of Academies is to afford flexibility and interdisciplinary cooperation, which is completely lost in the small number of schools that have adopted such a rigid system.
Q: What will this cost?
A: With the exception of a nominal fee to cover costs for the initial implementation, the RWA system is designed to be simple, self-sustainable, and zero-cost. In fact, since our structure is aligned with the STEM goals, there will be the opportunity to bring money into the school system in the form of federal/state grants.
Q: Is this compatible with state requirements?
A: Again, since the course roster is exactly the same, RWA is compatible with all state education requirements for graduation as well as Common Core, with the added bonus of being compatible with guidelines for STEM and other grants.
Each of our ScHEMA Academies were inspired by those who exemplified passion but were unable to achieve their full potential. We will reveal more as time goes on:
Arts Academy: Inspired by Robert Neapolitan