Atlantis had the opportunity to showcase its Career Academies during a recent visit by State education leaders.
Gathered around the large table in the STEM classroom, administrators, adjunct instructors, and partners from local businesses and higher education institutions held a roundtable discussion with Shailah Stewart and Jennifer Gwatkin from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Stewart talked about the State’s new Innovation Pathways initiative which is designed to introduce students to high-demand industries, such as IT, engineering, healthcare, life sciences and advanced manufacturing through coursework and internship experiences. The idea is to expose students to career options and teach them skills needed to succeed in a given field of study while they are still in high school.
“We believe our Career Academy model is very well aligned with the State’s vision of college and career preparation,” said Robert Beatty, executive director of Atlantis. “We welcomed the opportunity to show the State how our education model works. This meeting also allowed us to see if there are areas Atlantis could improve to help our students reach their full potential.”
During a question and answer session, the DESE representatives learned more about Atlantis’s five Career Academies. They were designed in consultation with local colleges and businesses to expose students to the most in-demand careers on the SouthCoast and beyond. Juniors and seniors gain skills and knowledge needed for these careers through highly-focused classes taught by adjunct instructors with deep experience in their respective fields, combined with hands-on learning projects, field trips and exposure to real-life working experiences, and an internship.
“There are a lot of jobs available right here in the Fall River area, but many are going unfilled because employers are struggling to find workers with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful,” said Mike Lauro, associate executive director of Atlantis. “We not only want to help fuel economic development by creating a pipeline of future employees, but feel we also have an obligation to support our students as they chart their own pathways to success. Their futures are full of possibility”
The DESE representatives also met a group of students from the career academies. The students talked about their experiences in the Academies and their college and career goals.
The students then gave a tour of the new school, stopping in each of the Academy classrooms to show off their projects and the cutting-edge technology they are using such as 3D printers and a medical simulator dummy known as SimMan.
Beatty says he plans to keep the lines of communication open with the DESE representatives and explore grant opportunities in the future.