Hawaii Delegation Tours College Academy at Jemison High School
Huntsville City Schools College Academy at Jemison High School opened its doors this week to a visiting delegation from Hawaii that are here to take an up-close look at educational strategies of the College Academy. The Academy is a partnership between Huntsville City Schools, Jemison High, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Students selected for the Academy take college courses from UAH professors beginning in the 9th grade, and can earn up to 60 hours of college credit while also receiving a high school diploma.The group included two Hawaiian state legislators who want to learn more about this program, and are looking into providing a similar educational program in their state. Hawaiian State Senator Donovan Dela Cruz said that they have partnerships with junior colleges, but see a partnership with a university as a way to “step up the game” for education. After the tour, Hawaiian State Senator Michelle Kidani said that she sees a college academy as “a way to better equip our students for today’s world.” The tour group was impressed with the campus design, which incorporated a college atmosphere, as well as the resources available for the teachers and students. Members of the delegation were also interested in learning about the Huntsville City Schools Cyber Security program, since Hawaii is home to one of only four NSA cryptologic centers in the United States. This past school year, a group of 9th graders became the first group of students in the Jemison College Academy, and by their 11th and 12th grade years they will be able to take one or two courses on the UAH campus. By their graduation in 2020, these students will be able to enter the University of Alabama in Huntsville as college juniors. A new four-year College Academy group will begin each year, comprised of approximately 30-35 students, with the requirement to maintain a 3.2 weighted grade point average.
Applications for the Academy open in January of a student’s 7th grade year. The selection criteria includes the student’s grade point average, recommendations from principals, teachers, and school counselors, along with the ability to successfully complete Algebra I by the end of 8th grade. Since the program is fully funded by Huntsville City Schools, a successful completion of the College Academy can save parents an estimated $40,000 in college tuition.