Smaller Learning Communities Coming to SFHS: New Approach Promises to Improve LearningMonday, November 03, 2003 By Janet Landa
Imagine yourself coming to school and attending an academy revolving around what especially interests you. Barbara Trees, Academy Facilitator, and other faculty members plan to implement Smaller Learning Communities (SLCs) that are based on career focused programs such as Business and Technology, Health Career, Public Service, Humanities, and Fine Art and Performing Art. These academies will consist of a group of students who will have the same teachers for two school years while sharing several classes with similar content. For example, if a student is interested in an academy like Health Careers, their mathematics class would consist of medical topics, as would the rest of their classes. Also, these SLCs will provide interested students with opportunities such as internships with local partners. "Career academies have helped students get more out of school and to create goals they know how to achieve," stated Trees. The main goal of implementing SLCs is to personalize education that will ultimately, according to Trees, have students at SFHS achieve higher academic performance. This is what the school district wants and what the state and federal government will support if implemented. SFHS has accepted a $50,000 planning grant for SLCs. Once SFHS develops a plan, then it can accept a $500,000 implementing grant for three years. According to Trees, SFHS is trying to emulate the success of South Grant Prairie High School from Texas, which is a model of a successful high school based on these types of career academies. By the school year 2004~2006, these SLCs are going to be established at SFHS.