KHQ TODAY

Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

Springfield+Public+Schools+%28SPS%29+district+takes+the+first+steps+towards+moving+the+city%E2%80%99s+high+schools+to+an+academy-based+program.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

Springfield Public Schools (SPS) district takes the first steps towards moving the city’s high schools to an academy-based program.

Springfield Public Schools (SPS) district takes the first steps towards moving the city’s high schools to an academy-based program.

Springfield Public Schools (SPS) district takes the first steps towards moving the city’s high schools to an academy-based program.

Springfield Public Schools (SPS) district takes the first steps towards moving the city’s high schools to an academy-based program.

Diana Dudenhoeffer and Kelli Volonte

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Springfield Public Schools (SPS) district released an  official statement in late December regarding the academy pilot program.  Plans for the program’s launch are at Hillcrest and Glendale in the  2018-19 school year.

  The main goal of the release  was to explain the new pilot course as well as to dispel any rumors surrounding the academies program.

   “The pilot seminar course will introduce . . . students to a variety of college and career paths identified in collaboration with the local business community and Chamber of Commerce,” the news release stated.

   The pilot program is modeled off of a school district in Nashville, according to principal Kelly Allison’s November 3 newsletter. 

   In the statement, Allison explains that the academies program plans to break down schools so that they are “schools within a school.”  The program hopes to achieve “sustained instructional improvement which . . .  [enhances] student learning.”

   The official statement from the district promotes its academy program by listing the system’s ability “to ensure relevance in Springfield and Southwest Missouri.” 

   Many students find concern with the Springfield-centric plan because it limits them.  If a student wants to study marine biology, they won’t have the opportunity to study in their area of interest because there’ll be no marine biology academy on the account of there being no ocean in Missouri.   Should the district turn to an academies program, any students with a career interest outside of southwest Missouri will only be able to join an academy similar to their section of study.

   The district’s statement reassures its readers that “jobs are not in jeopardy and teachers will not be required to teach courses outside their area of expertise.  In fact, the teachers participating in the pilot course . . . volunteered for this opportunity.”

   An anonymous Kickapoo teacher isn’t convinced.  They are in favor of site-based academy programs like Kickapoo U, where students who opt in to the program have a more personalized education and teacher involvement.  They find skepticism when it comes to a magnet school program where the city’s high schools are split up.

   “There is no evidence that this type of academy program benefits schools that already have as high of a graduation rate as Kickapoo,” they explained.

   They are sure that magnet schools are always going to limit electives because there is no room for upper-level electives in the schedule.

   “Will we need four art teachers [at Kickapoo] when all we’ll have is art foundations?” they asked.

   This teacher wants their students to understand that they shouldn’t be geographically handicapped.  They think that, instead of the academies program being dedicated to  creating jobs in the local economy, the district should remain true to Kickapoo’s mission statement, which aims to “prepare all students for their futures in the global society.”

   “This is a public school,” they said.  “You should have the right to a comprehensive education.”

   Allison explained that fine arts programs being in jeopardy is just a rumor. 

    “I think a lot of that was just rumors and misinformation about what some other models are.  Just because you visit something . . . and it works for another district doesn’t mean it’s going to work here,” he explained.

          Despite such reassurances, senior Noelle Batchelder is convinced that  nobody, students and higher-ups alike, know what is going on.  Batchelder attended a mid-December meeting where she voiced her concerns in front of the school board members as well as superintendent John Jungmann.

   “As it stands, we do not know whether to believe these new changes to be positive or negative, and currently they can only be determined to be negative due to the lack of information that has been provided and the amount of information that has been withheld,” she explained during the school board meeting.

   Batchelder reminds students that they need to stay informed about all upcoming changes that SPS  plans to make.

   “Even if you won’t be directly affected, you should be informed because these changes will affect the economy, your younger siblings as well as Springfield jobs,” she said.

   Batchelder wonders why the district would want to switch to such a program.

“Something like this isn’t practical for Kickapoo,” Batchelder said.

      Glendale and Hillcrest will begin their pilot course for next year’s incoming freshmen, and Dr. Natalie Cauldwell, Glendale’s principal, is sure that the class will be helpful for getting students prepared for the high school experience.

  “It can be overwhelming for freshmen when considering their plan for high school.  Students will learn the ins and outs of scheduling, what’s available at GHS and how to plan for post high school. In order to help students develop meaningful plans for their high school experience, we will expose students to college and career opportunities.  This will help students have a better understanding of the course load they should take in high school,” Cauldwell said. 

     She explains that the fundamental problem that Glendale plans to solve is student engagement, and she is confident that the new course and its setup for small learning groups will take steps in the right direction.

  “We believe that the small learning community component is very powerful. Regardless of the future of academies in SPS, GHS will work toward creating a small learning community for all students,” she said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writer
Navigate Left
  • Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

    News

    Keeping Up With Scholar Bowl

  • Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

    News

    Feel The Vibrations

  • Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

    News

    Are We Safe?

  • Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

    News

    Go Caps

  • News

    Dresses From KARE Team

  • Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

    News

    Never Again

  • News

    Graduation Speakers

  • Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

    News

    Tobacco Tax Fails Proposed Rise, Outcome Disappoints Schools

  • Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

    News

    Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

  • Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year

    News

    Me Too: How two words revolutionized the conversation on sexual misconduct, and what it looks like in high school.

Navigate Right
Kickapoo High Quarterly
Academies Pilot Program Set to Launch in New School Year