(Moreno Valley, CA.) The Business Academy at Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley Unified School District has been selected as one of 15 Lighthouse Academy model programs in the State of California.
“It is so fitting that the Canyon Spring’s Business Academy would get the Lighthouse Academy award,” said Moreno Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Judy White. “They have been a lighthouse of best business processes, competition and entrepreneurship. The students are exceptional and have demonstrated the highest level of learning which is the application of that knowledge.
The Business Academy is one of three vocational academies at Canyon Springs High School. It also offers students a Health Careers Academy and a Creative Technologies Academy.
Vocational academies are a growing trend in educational reform. Moreno Valley Unified School District has been a part of this trend for almost 20 years, having created Canyon Springs High School’s Health Careers Academy in 1995. Besides those at Canyon Springs, MVUSD also offers Health Careers academies at Valley View and Vista del Lago high schools.
The California Department of Education created a program called California Partnership Academies to promote to school districts the idea of vocational academies, and assist them in creating programs of their own. Through an application process, California Partnership Academies selected the 15 Lighthouse Academy schools, including the Business Academy at Canyon Springs High School.
“We applied to become a Lighthouse Academy because we knew Canyon Springs High School has a program model that would benefit other school districts in California,” said Willene Biere, director of the Business Careers Academy for Canyon Springs High School, which is one of three vocational academies at the school. “This designation confirms the California Partnership Academies team wants to see more vocational academies like ours.”
Students in Canyon Springs High School’s academies receive mentoring and other support from the Moreno Valley business community, as well as from the educators within the program. In turn, these students support their younger classmates, Biere explained. Seniors help sophomores and juniors, and graduates of the academies often return to Canyon Springs High School to help those now attending.
With its designation as a Lighthouse Academy, Canyon Springs High School has received a $10,000 stipend from the California Department of Education to help it carry out the responsibilities expected from Lighthouse Academies.
Lighthouse Academies help the California Department of Education guide other high schools in an educational reform movement of offering instruction through academies, which are smaller groups of students within a school who are all interested in a specific type of career. Canyon Springs High School began offering its students a choice of this type of instruction in 1995.
In academies, students take the same required academic courses as all others in their graduating class, but also must take a set of courses geared to their career plan. For instance, Business Academy students also take accounting as just one of the extra course requirements.
This differs from the traditional approach, where high school students choose from a smorgasbord of electives, and could have at least one course with any other student at their school. Whether a school has academies or not, a core of academic courses such as language arts, history and mathematics is required.
“Lighthouse Academies are important for several reasons,” said Jerry Winthrop, lead consultant for the California Partnership Academies program of the California Department of Education. This program oversees, at the state level, efforts many California school districts are making to create and maintain their own educational academies.
Lighthouse Academies work together and with a team from the California Department of Education to set standards for the entire vocational academies education program in California. This will start when representatives of all of the state’s Lighthouse Academies meet in Sacramento Dec. 2-4 to discuss projects they’ll work on together in 2014 and 2015.
Lighthouse Academies develop standards for all high schools offering this type of instruction, Wintrhop explained. They also help other schools begin or improve their vocational academies.
Moreno Valley Unified School District offers several other academies besides those at Canyon Springs High School. Moreno Valley Unified School District offers more than 200 ROP and Career Technical Programs including those at Canyon Springs High School.
For more information about Career Technical programs in the Moreno Valley Unified School District please call (951) 571-7560.
For more information on the Moreno Valley Unified School District’s call the District office at (951) 571-7500 or go to the website at MVUSD.net.
About the Moreno Valley Unified School District
Moreno Valley Unified School District’s mission is to prepare all students academically and socially to become productive members of society. Moreno Valley Unified School District has 3,400 employees and 35,000 students.