The North Wake College and Career Academy reflects the imagination some school systems around the country and in North Carolina are using in varying the traditional approach to high school education, and it’s a promising endeavor.
But at this “academy,” high school students will be able to graduate with a high school diploma and with a certificate in one of five career areas of study: culinary arts, early childhood education, emergency medical science, hospitality management and IT technical support.
If those sound like promising fields in a time when graduates are plentiful and choosing their careers based on the potential for available jobs, that’s what North Wake is counting on. The fields were chosen based on market studies of what job skills will be most in demand and an assessment of what students’ interests are. And, the Wake County schools also kept in mind offerings at the Vernon Malone College and Career Academy in south Raleigh and in other specialty schools — to avoid duplication.
The training students receive will give them college credit, and they can take that credit to Wake Tech, which has a spectacularly broad choice of study, or to other four-year institutions.
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The school is ready to go, having been in a previous life a supermarket and a 9th grade center for Wakefield High School.
The school’s mission reflects sound reasoning on the part of the county school board, which believes in a well-rounded education but recognizes that some students are ready to choose careers before others are.