- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Omaha’s school board has approved a plan to convert Benson High School into a career academy, a new twist on the traditional vocational school.

The Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/1GhLIOX ) reports that a $1.8 million proposal to convert the school into Omaha Public Schools’ only career-oriented high school was unanimously approved Monday.

Career academies emphasize job training and give students multiple paths to earn college credit or industry certifications.

Benson students would be divided into teams as freshmen, and would complete most of their core classes with their teams. Once they become sophomores, students will enter one of three career academies: business and entrepreneurship; health professions; or construction and design.

Even though students will be enrolled in specific pathways, they will still take regular classes such as English, math and history. They will also be able to take honors and Advanced Placement classes.

Students will have opportunities to learn how to get jobs straight out of high school, or how to pursue higher education degrees.

At a recent parent-student open house, parents said they were happy about approach.

“This is the beginning of a wave across the country, the rejuvenation of career readiness and job training,” Benson Principal Anita Harkins said.

Benson officials say that they need $1.8 million and a six-year commitment from the Omaha Public Schools’ school board to get the career academies going. The cost of the academy includes teacher training, eight new staff hires and other start-up costs.

According to officials, Benson’s freshman class next fall is projected to be its largest in five years.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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