Yes; official enrollment will still be based on the learner's home address. As is current practice, high school learners will have the option to enroll in courses at other high schools.
Yes. AP and elective courses will be aligned to an academy, so learners may need to cross academies or pathways in order to access the course of interest to them.
Yes, all learners are encouraged to participate in fine arts, co-curricular activities, leadership, athletics, community service, work experience, etc.
For learners in Special Education, their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will address the supports necessary for them to access their academy and pathway of choice successfully.
The goal of the academy model is to help learners explore, reflect, and discover their aspirations. Learners will inevitably change and grow during these experiences, so they will have the opportunity to change academies as they move through their 9-12 experience.
The process for changing academies has not yet been fully defined but will lean toward natural grade transitions. Changing pathways within an academy may be more fluid since coursework aligns with themes and academy cohort enrollments. Transitions across academies may depend on enrollment.
Our PK-12 system is focused on the whole child. Learners begin exploring their interests in elementary and continue through middle school.
• West Fargo middle schools will implement a 7th grade “Career and Academy Exploration” course to survey learner interests and expose them to the academy model. All 8th grade learners will work with counselors to create their 4-year Choice Ready rolling plan prior to high school registration.
• All eighth-grade learners will select an academy of interest to start their high school experience based on their 8th grade rolling plan.
• Learners will have the option to change academies each year during the registration process.
The benefit of the academy model is the district's ability to personalize academic options for learners. If a career idea or area of interest does not directly align with West Fargo pathways, activities may be personalized to meet the learner’s needs. Learners may also be guided to choose a pathway(s) and courses that most closely align with their interests to prepare them for college and career goals. Personalized career experiences beyond the academies can be coordinated through job shadows, internship experiences, leadership activities, or capstone experiences.
It is the goal of West Fargo Public Schools to create learner relevance, aligned to individual passions, for 100% of its high school learners.
Learners will declare their academy and pathway preferences during the high school registration process, which typically occurs in late January through February. Academy programs of study will guide coursework, with options for student choice in global electives and cross-academy courses. Administrators and counselors will collaborate to create a balance within the academies. Adjustments will be made as needed with a goal of 80% student consistency (purity) in each academy. Students will have the option to change their academy during annual registration.
Although all details for academy selection are not finalized, some basic beliefs have been defined:
• Learners will need to identify their academies and pathways in order of preference. Overall learner interest may dictate academy availability.
• If a learner's first academy of choice is not available, guidance will be given to courses that cross over between academies, similar pathways, or global electives that support academy themes.
• Learners will work with counselors to personalize their schedules and coursework to reflect their college, career, and life goals.
• Learners will have the opportunity to take courses from separate academies.
• Global electives in fine arts, music, world languages, and physical education will serve all academies.
We are not asking learners to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
We do want learners to reflect on their interests and aspirations to make the best decision for exploration in high school and work experiences. The goal is intentional guidance for college and career planning and for students to be aware of natural entry and exit points. This will assist learners in selecting elective coursework for that purpose. The academies and pathways are less about a life-long career and more about guiding students in recognizing what they are interested in, and why, motivating them to engage in learning. We recognize student interests may change, so there will be opportunities to adjust academies.
The state's Choice Ready framework promotes learners being ready for post-secondary, career, and military, with the goal of learners being prepared in two of the three areas. West Fargo’s Profile of a Graduate (POG) has also been developed to provide all learners with college and career opportunities. Providing all learners with intentional experiences will best prepare them to make an informed decision as they plan for their next steps after high school, college or not.
The decision not to implement a Freshmen Academy was based on three factors:
1) Interest in increasing career exploration at middle school to help learners as they develop their four-year rolling plan
2) Implementation of the Career & Academy Exploration course for 7th graders
3) A desire for learners to start with elective choices their freshman year.