Seventeen Goose Creek CISD staff members recently attended the National Career Academy Coalition’s (NCAC) 23rd Annual Conference in Philadelphia, the birthplace of Career Academies, as Robert E. Lee High School’s STEM Academy and Ross S. Sterling High School’s Health Science Academy were honored as 2018-2019 NCAC Model Academies, a status in effect for four years.

Goose Creek CISD has worked with the NCAC since 2013, before opening the three career academies, which also includes the Global Business Academy at Goose Creek Memorial High School as well as the academies at Stuart Career Tech High School. This year, the opening ceremonies of the conference included representatives from the two schools entering with a banner to a cheering crowd of more than 700. Only 30 other schools across the nation received the designation of NCAC Model Academy or Model Academy with Distinction.

“The district is extremely proud of the Model Status achieved by the Sterling Health Science Academy and the Lee STEM Academy,” said Dr. Melissa Duarte, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “Academies earn NCAC accreditation through the review process, which requires providing evidence of fidelity to the National Standards of Practice (NSOP) and an on-site visit with two certified NSOP reviewers. Following the visit and review of all submitted evidence, an assessment is completed and the score earned determines a rating of the academy: Model with Distinction, Model, Certified, or In Progress. Both academies received Model Status the first time they applied, with Sterling missing “with Distinction” by only one point.”

Participating in the conference were Dr. Melissa Duarte, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction; Renea Dillon, CTE director; Dr. Joseph Farnsworth, REL principal; Dr. Cap Roder, SCTHS principal; Susan Jackson, Goose Creek Memorial High School principal; Lindsey Marek, CTE director; Leia Miller, CTE curriculum and instruction specialist; Monica Swift, Student Workforce Connection liaison; Kelley Start, GCM business curriculum specialist; Jennifer Guillory, SCTHS counselor; Carling Caldwell, REL STEM specialist; Jade Cox, RSS health science specialist; Jennifer Fiero, RSS academic dean; Gina Ham, RSS science teacher; Andrea Bechtel, REL science teacher; Lauren Hoyt, REL English teacher and Dawn Egan, RSS science teacher.

Marek, assisted by Miller; Dillon and Dr. Duarte; Caldwell and Cox were selected to present on various aspects of their work with the academies.

“The conference sessions provided valuable information,” Dillon said. “We had the opportunity to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, so it was educational beyond just learning about Best Practices for Career Academies. The conference culminated with everyone visiting career academies in Philadelphia to see them in action.”

The group returned, armed with information to help them strengthen the academies and prepare for the upcoming year.

“To have our academies recognized locally for all of the opportunities we are providing for our students is amazing! Then, to have our model be approved to serve as an example for other academies across America to emulate is heartwarming,” said Dr. Randal O’Brien, Goose Creek CISD superintendent. “I could not be prouder of Dr. Farnsworth and his entire administrative team at Lee High School who have developed a STEM program second to none. The same goes for the Health Science Academy at Sterling High School with Mr. Nathan Chaddick and his team of talented teachers, many of whom come from the health services industry. Ms. Jackson and the AVID program at GCM are on the verge of national recognition due to their enhanced campus wide program that provides pathways for student success. Goose Creek Proud is not just a saying; it has become a reality for our staff and students as we continue to refine our programs focusing on excellence in all that we do.”

— Susan Passmore











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