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Wide Range of Choices for High School Students

Summer 2012

By David Zaslawsky

High schools are the final journey before students prepare to enter the work force or continue their education or a combination of the two.

In the Montgomery Public Schools district high school students can choose to enroll in one of seven Career Academies as long as they maintain a prescribed grade-point average. They may very well graduate with a certificate in a given field, which could lead to employment right after high school.

In the fall, about 300 students will enter a career technical educational program. Some high school students will be enrolled in magnet programs and some will be taking Advanced Placement courses to prepare for college. Others may opt for dual enrollment and graduate with a high school diploma and a two-year degree.

In two or three years, the district plans to offer an International Baccalaureate diploma, from the widely recognized and highly respected academic program.

The district offers all those programs and has additional programs to help struggling students succeed.

“High schools are where you should learn how to manage assignments independently,” Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Thompson said. “You are still learning content knowledge – particularly in the math, science, language arts and writing areas – but you should be pretty polished when you come out of high school.”

“It’s where you become more independent as a learner and a person, who is responsible for assignments. I like the idea of students working on community projects so you also learn it’s important to give back and it’s not just about you the student.”

Many of the district’s high schools have been around for a while in one form or another, but a new George Washington Carver High School opened in the late summer 2010. The school first opened in 1949 with 875 students, 24 classrooms and 23 faculty members.

In the fall of 2013, the district will open Park Crossing High School on the connector road between Taylor and Ray Thorington roads in East Montgomery, near the Town of Hampstead development. The school is projected to hold 1,000 students.

There are magnet programs at three high schools: Booker T. Washington Magnet High, Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School and Loveless Academic Magnet Program High (LAMP).

In addition, there are Career Academies at Carver High School, Sidney Lanier High School, Robert E. Lee High School and Jefferson Davis High School.

The district has implemented a ninth-grade academy to help those students making the big leap from middle school to high school. The students will be grouped together.

A Credit and Grade Recovery program has been extremely successful as 400-plus students have graduated. “The students got a chance to go back, get the necessary credits and graduate,” Thompson said.

The district’s overage academy is specifically geared for ninth-graders who are two or more years overage to help them advance.