A Homecoming for Best Practices – Part 2


That is the only word that can describe many of the career academies available in St. Johns County schools. Career academies provide smaller learning environments where students are involved in hands-on, real-world projects. Areas of study span from banking to architecture, information technology to biology.

On Friday, Chancellor Rod Duckworth and I traveled with Dr. Joe Joyner to a handful of the district’s career academies, witnessing the excitement and innovation of participating students. I thought I had seen just about everything when students from Bartram Trails High School unveiled their sculpture created from more than 200 recycled bottles.

Not to be outdone, both Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine high schools featured similar project-based learning exercises. My next stop at Ponte Vedra High School’s Academy of Biotechnical and Medical Research was definitely an eye-opening look into the meticulous science of biology. While watching each student don safety goggles and handle delicate lab equipment, I felt like an extra on the set of CSI.

The school also features another career academy focused on international business marketing, with quite an impressive computer lab. There I met a wonderful young lady set on becoming more computer proficient than Floridians twice her age.

Chancellor Rod Duckworth works with students from the St. Johns Aerospace Academy at St. Augustine High School.

My last stop for the day was the St. Johns Aerospace Academy and St. Johns Academy of Future Teachers at St. Augustine High School. I can tell you there is no greater joy than watching young people develop skill sets to make their dreams come true. And, meeting with so many aspiring teachers, it certainly felt like these programs had come full circle.


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