MOORESVILLE – Mooresville High School could soon be the home of an engineering academy.
Mooresville High School Principal Eric Schwarzenegger – along with Tracey Waid, assistant principal of instruction; and Julie Blocker, CTE and career development coordinator – made a presentation about the new academy at the Mooresville Graded School District Board of Education Sept. 11 meeting.
“We are excited to introduce you to the National Academy Foundation and the Academy of Engineering at Mooresville High School,” Schwarzenegger said.
The National Academy Foundation (NAF) is a national network of education, business and community leaders “who work together to ensure high school students are college, career and future ready,” he said.
Partnering with schools since 1982, NAF started with a single school in New York City and has grown to 644 academies at 442 schools.
“Some might have multiple academies; that is true,” Schwarzenegger said. “We hope that this first academy is a success and (will) perhaps maybe add additional academies.”
According to NAF statistics, 97 percent of NAF academy students graduate, with 90 percent of students being college bound.
The program emphasizes getting students paid internships in their junior or senior year to give them hands-on experience and a resume boost.
“And we have identified early on that ... the greatest challenge for us in this academy, is partnering with our businesses to make sure that we have those paid internship opportunities,” Schwarzenegger said.
Mooresville High School is in the year of planning with NAF now, which means it has already surpassed a number of hurdles.
“The application process was very, very rigorous for this,” Waid said. “And this was a great opportunity for our core and our CTE leadership staff to come together to prepare this application.”
They had to get letters of support from the business community to show there would be available internship opportunities for students. Superintendent Stephen Mauney also submitted a letter of support.
“What NAF is looking for is that we have the support of our community and our businesses and our school board, that the program is going to flourish here,” Waid said.
The Mooresville High team said it hopes to start the academy next school year.
Before they become an established NAF school, school staff will have to take a planning assessment at the end of this school year.
Blocker said the school’s academy design team – which consists of two core teachers, two CTE teachers, two administrators, four instructional support staff members, two counselors, Blocker and Assistant Superintendent Todd Black – had its first meeting Sept. 11 and will meet once or twice per month until May.