Dickinson High School is creating a new pathway to success for its students, but they might not have all the resources they need just yet.
The high school is working on implementing a Career Academy for its students, and it’s just like going to college.
The school has created ten career-based academies that students can enroll in: Agriculture, Business, Family and Consumer Sciences, Automotive, Power Sports, Welding, Draft and Design, Construction, Info Tech, and Health Careers.
As freshmen, the students explore which academy suits them best, and from their sophomore year up they build their class schedule around the career they want to pursue.
“Lets our social studies, English teachers. . . plan curriculum that meets the same standards that they would meet normally, but it lets them do it in a more career-minded base,“ said Jay Hepperle, Dickinson High School assistant principal.
High school principal Kevin Hoherz said they are still working on developing the program, and how to best connect it to employers in the area.
“Part of the program is. . . where they would start doing internships, going out to the businesses and getting hands on. It is just not a job shadow“.
As the program develops the school would like to expand it, but they are currently limited by space and school overcrowding.
“Our Health Careers class is capped at a little over a 100, and we have 200 signed up for it,“ said Hoherz.
The school district currently has a $115 million dollar bond referendum on the table that would go toward constructing a new high school, and Governor Doug Burgum outlined in his budget address $30 million for competitive grants for Career Academies.
Hoherz said the grant money would come in handy for the high school.
“It would help out with building the project. . . that would go a long way toward helping us implement this Career Academy program“.
However, the Senate majority leader said it could be a while before the grant money is available for schools.
“It would probably have to come out of the Legacy Fund money for next biennium. We still have some work to do there. It is not in any bill at this time, but it is not something we have given up on,“ said Sen. Rich Wardner.
Hoherz said they are going to continue developing the Career Academy, and they hope it now only helps them prepare kids for college and trade schools, but it also helps them recruit and retain future leaders for Dickinson.
“If we can keep the students here in Dickinson the businesses are going to appreciate that“.
Hoherz said it will be at least another school year before the Career Academy is fully implemented.
The vote for the school bond referendum is May 7.