01.31.2014 Facilities Planning, K-12, Uncategorized No Comments

Academy Development- Engaging Students in a Competitive Environment

Hawthorne, CA — “The bell rang and no one left their spaces… the students continued to work on their projects until the teacher told them they had to stop working and clean up.  Tool kits, circuit boards, protective goggles were spread out on the desks, and each desk looked like a workstation in a high tech Silicone Valley firm….”

This was the scene on a recent visit to the Bud Carson Middle School STEM Academy in Hawthorne, CA. Students

BCMS STEM Academy Leads the Way

Students Engaged In a Science Project at Bud Carson Middle School STEM Academy

were fully engaged building pinball machines using the integrated course units incorporating geometry, math and physics. When asked about his project, the student said, “I’m having fun, it doesn’t feel like work.”  Visiting school district officials from throughout Southern California commented on how engaged the students were on their projects and how the middle school classroom mimicked the skills students need in the work place.

CFW believes that the academic program must drive the facilities program. To this end, CFW has worked with a number of districts to help them create Academy Programs. Academies are not a curriculum, a program, or a vendor.

Academies are a cultural shift in what a total school is about. They promote a philosophy of education and learning.  They also serve as a natural vehicle for implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Project Based Learning. The curriculum developed is rich, rigorous and engaging. Thus, improving student achievement. Often, academy programs are overlooked by a district because they do not have the  facilities and/or curriculum and instruction capabilities or the time to  develop such programs.

It is important for local  schools to improve the academic achievement of their students. It is essential for their very survival. With the emergence of charter schools and other educational options available to parents,  public schools must offer programs that are appealing to the parents of the students that they serve.  This is a huge task especially when they also need to improve educational performance.

One of the ways to both increase academic achievement and appeal to parents is the creation of academies in the educational program. For example, CFW is working with the Oxnard School District to reconfigure the entire district into different grade levels and different academies: six K-8 schools with Dual Language Immersion programs, 3 Middle Schools with Academies: Science and Technology Academy, Environmental Services and Design Academy, and Visual and Performing Arts Academy, and eleven K-5 schools with an Academic Strand Focus.

These academy programs are integrated into the Facilities Implementation Plan along with proposed funding sources. Our team will work with your District to develop an academy educational program to be integrated within the proposed facilities program with the goal of strengthen academic achievement.

CFW will take your district from an envisioning process all the way to an  implementation plan.

We will provide a detailed  timeline/schedule of events and project  deliverable’s reflecting the four phases of the development and implementation process. The unique feature of our planning process is the integration of the Academy Program with the Facilities and Technology Program. We work with your District’s identified Leadership Team to ensure successful completion of each of these processes.

The program that is developed will be one that the District and its community envision, desire and own. As a secondary outcome of this process, your Leadership Team will receive Leadership Training that will bring long lasting value.


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