Business and finance academy gives students involvement opportunity

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Staff Writer

The word, academy, is being tossed around quite a bit in Pike County lately.

Previously, most people thought of an academy as a "military" concept in education but now Pike Countians are acknowledging academies are schools for specialized instruction. And, these specialized schools will offer the county’s secondary students opportunities to be more involved in their education, and an atmosphere of excitement is surrounding the concept.

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Academies are small learning communities comprising groups of students within public high schools. Academy students take classes around a career theme with the same team of teachers for two to four years.

After several trips to academies throughout Florida during the past two years, educators and business and community leaders met to determine which academies would best serve the Troy and Pike County communities.

The committee proposed four academies – a culinary arts academy at Charles Henderson High School, a business and finance academy at Pike County High School, an agricultural academy at Goshen and a global studies academy at Troy State University and the Troy/Pike Center for Technology.

The culinary arts, global studies and business and finance academies are being introduced this year and are creating a lot of interest on the campuses of all three high schools.

Sharon Denison, business and finance academy lead teacher, said, because the Troy City and Pike County schools systems are working together, students will be able to cross district lines, upon acceptance, to come to the business and finance academy.

In the first year of implementation, all three high schools are offering prerequisite courses to their ninth grade students.

"The ninth graders will take two courses – strategies for success and word processing and desktop publishing," Denison said. "During their sophomore year, they will take

accounting I and II. Then, in the spring of their sophomore year, they will be eligible to apply for admission to the academy, which will be located in the business and finance academy wing of the new building that will replace the oldest building on campus."

The academy wing will have two classrooms, a computer lab and a full-service branch of First National Bank of Brundidge.

Denison has 20 students enrolled in the prerequisite classes at Pike County High School and Charles Henderson has 19, but the number enrolled at Goshen was not available.

Denison said the mission of the National Academy Foundation is to create academy programs by partnering private industry and the public sector in order to provide quality, industry-specific education and work experiences for high school students nationwide as preparation for careers, college and all areas of their lives.

"The academy is project driven and team oriented, but, at the same time, requires a higher level of thinking and learning," Denison said. "The students are gently pushed in a direction they have never been."