While the computer age has done wonders on many levels of society, Krewson said over time we lost a lot of humanity. High school career academies have been established in the United States for more than 45 years, according to The National Career Academy Coalition. Helsel passed out copies of an article published in November 2009 by the coalition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of career academies. It was written by Betsy Brand, executive director of the American Youth Policy Forum. A career academy is commonly defined as a smaller learning community within a larger high school which: is comprised of a group of students that takes classes together for at least two years and is taught by a team of teachers from different disciplines; provides college preparatory curriculum based on a career theme that helps students see relationships and connections between academic subjects and their application in the real world of work and a specific career pathway; and develops partnerships with employers, the community, and colleges which draw upon their resources and increases opportunities for students to engage in internships and work-based learning and provides adult mentors to motivate students and spur achievement, Brand said in the article, using information she gathered from the Career Academy Support Network website. Brand estimated there were more than 1 million students in career academies nationwide. Helsel wasnt sure if there was a school district in Schuylkill County that had tried to establish such a program, but believed Blue Mountain was the first. And Jason Bendle, the superintendent/principal at Saint Clair Area, thought Blue Mountain was off to a successful start. I believe school districts, business leaders and government need to work together to continue to grow and create opportunities for students across our county, Bendle said. Im excited that youre having these important conversations where youre examining what were teaching students in the classroom, and how we can better partner with business and industry. We know that the jobs in the future are going to require some form of post-secondary education. So if we can give them a strong preparation while theyre K through 12, thats going to propel them as they move on to that post-secondary education, Kelly Austin, PhD., chancellor at Penn State Schuylkill, told the crowd at the start of the event.
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