Academy for College and Career Exploration
Christopher Ndeki Maher, formerly director of education for the Baltimore-based Advocates for Children and Youth, has been named principal of the Academy for College and Career Exploration, a new"innovation high school" opening this fall in Baltimore.
Sponsored by the Mayor's Office of Employment Development in partnership with The Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies, ACCE's mission is to help Baltimore high school students develop a love of learning, a constructive direction for their lives, and confidence in their own abilities to succeed. The school's educational philosophy blends standards-based curricula with"real-world" applications and experiences, promoting instruction that is individualized, competency-based, and focused on helping students plan for and achieve successful roles in society.
Maher is currently working from IPS's offices and plans to move to the school, located within the Samuel L. Banks Professional Development Center at 2500 E. Northern Parkway, in July. The Mayor's Office of Employment Development, IPS officials and Maher are in the process of choosing other faculty members.
School administrators hope to enroll 150 ninth-graders this fall and will add a grade level each year until fall 2007, when it's expected to reach its full capacity of 400 students in grades 9-12. So far, 158 students have indicated they are interested in attending the school in the fall, but a final count won't be known until late August when orientation will be held, according to Marion Pines, a senior fellow at IPS. Pines, who directs the institute's Sar Levitan Center, is known for her work on innovative strategies and programs to reconnect"disconnected" youth to education and employment opportunities.
Aiming to emulate the working world and prepare its students for it, ACCE will run on a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule and will be open year round, offering summer activities. Students whose skills are below grade-level will be brought up to speed through ACCE's"ramp up" curriculum. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in many college and career activities, including internships, career training labs, and programs on the university's Homewood campus.
The school's administrators hosted a very successful orientation for students and their families last month in the Glass Pavilion on the Homewood campus. More than 275 eager and enthusiastic family members attended for their first visit to the campus and were formally introduced to ACCE.
The Academy for College and Career Exploration is one of two innovation high schools opening in the city this fall under the guidance of Johns Hopkins researchers. The other, the Baltimore Talent Development High School, draws on the Talent Development model developed at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at The Johns Hopkins University. The school will encourage and develop the individual talents of each student, nurturing their academic development in small classes with high expectations, extra instructional support where needed and strong interpersonal relationships among students, faculty and staff. In addition to a specially designed curriculum, the school will build in opportunities for community involvement, daily arts courses and a focus on college and career expectations. Upperclassmen will be able to tailor their courseload toward career goals in arts and communications or science and technology.
Members of the media who wish to speak to CSOS or IPS researchers should contact Amy Cowles at 443-287-9960.
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