Benson High staff and student representatives provided an update on their implementation of College & Career Academies and Pathways. The team shared an overview of each of their pathways and student opportunities.
Benson High was the first wall-to-wall academy school in the state, the first school to fully implement Freshman Academy in Omaha Public Schools and has two National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) model academies.
Each student at Benson High begins their high school career in Freshman Academy. Students focus on how to be successful in high school, recognition of individual strengths, community contributions and exploration of careers. During Freshman Academy, students choose one of three overarching areas of study:
- Business and Entrepreneurship Academy
- Design & Construction Academy
- Health Professions Academy
Tenth grade students dig into their learning with foundational courses, professional visits, Lunch & Learns and more. During 11th grade, students focus on experiential learning opportunities. Students use the skills in their classes to participate in events that help them better understand a potential career field. This allows students to deepen their knowledge while networking with professionals. Students at Benson High focus their 12th grade year on engagement. Staff want students to graduate with interest and a plan for life after high school.
In the fall of 2023, Benson High will begin implementing Cambridge. Cambridge is an advanced academic offering that helps prepare students for the next phase of life with a global focus. Benson High ensures that academies are future focused by being ready to evolve as career fields and/or the community do. Benson High curriculum specialist Angela Johanek said, "Every time the community makes a move, we follow the community."
Johanek continued that the school builds connections with businesses to support students. Local medical professionals from UNMC, Children's Hospital and more provide connections for the Health Professions Academy. North Omaha's entrepreneurial spirit offers connections in the Business and Entrepreneurship Academy. Design & Construction Academy students who want to start their own businesses also benefit.
Benson High will break ground on a school-based health center in the coming months. From construction to implementation, school staff are planning for student experiences and engagement.