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What Academies Do for Teachers

Academies provide teachers with more control over key decision-making activities that affect classroom and instructional practice. In addition, this research indicates that academies provide a more supportive environment for teachers to collaborate with one another, share materials, to pursue innovative instructional strategies. Much of the academy concept is built on strong teamwork designed to promote both better relationships among the faculty and higher standards for professional practice.

. . . This research indicates that academies provide a more supportive environment for teachers to collaborate with one another, share materials, to pursue innovative instructional strategies. Much of the academy concept is built on a strong teamwork designed to promote both better relationships among the faculty and higher standards for professional practice. (p. 7)

Kemple, James J. (1997). Career academies. Communities of support for students and teachers: Emerging findings from a 10-site evaluation. Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., New York, NY


Compared to their colleagues to do not teach academy classes, career academy teachers report having more opportunities to collaborate with each other, are more likely to see their environment as a learning community, and are more likely to develop more personalized relationships with their students. There is considerable evidence that these changes contribute to the quality of teaching and learning within high schools. (p. ES-2)

. . . Career academy teachers were similar to their colleagues in the same high school on a range of measured background characteristics. The primary differences between academy teachers in their non-academy colleagues in the same high schools were in their perceptions of their work environment. Interviews and survey data show that career academy teachers are more likely than their non-academy colleagues to perceive the school environment as a professional learning community and have developed close relationships with students. Substantial evidence from previous research indicates that such changes affect the quality of teaching and learning for students and for teachers. (p. ES-14)

Kemple, James J.; Rock, JoAnn Leah (1996). Career academies. Early implementation lessons from a 10-site evaluation. Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., New York, NY


Academies are successful at least in part because they are organized a small learning communities, creating a close, family-like atmosphere among students and teachers. This organization breaks down the disconnect students often feel in the traditional “silo” approach to curriculum, with no links, and what is studied in various courses . . . Teachers, who often worked with over 125 students daily and different students each year, have little time to really know and interact with their students, or for each other. (p. 2)

Similarly teachers, who have few opportunities to interact with other teachers beyond monthly faculty or department meetings, now become part of a group working together with common students and goals. They are able to integrate curriculum and provide opportunities for high-quality project-based learning. Evidence shows that this integrated teaching and learning leads to improved instruction and improved achievement. (p. 3)

Dayton, Charles (1995). Scheduling guide for career academies. University of California-Berkeley, CASN, Berkeley, CA


One of the strongest features of the academy model is its curricular and pedagogical coordination. Not only does it integrate academic and vocational courses - preparing students for college as well as for careers - but the academies’ small size allows an uncommon measure of collaboration between teachers. (p. 1)

Burnett, Gary (1992). Career academies: educating urban students for career success. ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY


Teaching in an academy involves new roles and responsibilities, the rewards are many. These include reduced class size and teaching load; involvement in the development of an innovative program; increased contact with students and families; opportunities develop curricula and interdisciplinary approaches; and the camaraderie that comes with working with a small, closely knit group. Many academy staff speak of the transformation experience of teaching in the academy and of the opportunity provided to renew themselves as professionals. (p. 36)

Archer, Elayne (1989). Partnerships for learning: School completion and employment preparation in the high school academies. Academy for Educational Development, Inc., New York, NY