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Six high schools within Racine Unified School District’s Academies of Racine have received model certification from the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC). This organization is the certifying body for Career Academies and the founders of the method. RUSD’s academies are the first in Racine County and in Wisconsin to receive the certification. They are also among very few schools in the Midwest to receive the certification too.

The following Academies of Racine within the three RUSD High Schools that received recognition are:

  • Academies of Racine – Case High School
    • ‘Business & Culinary Arts’
    • ‘Health Sciences’
  • Academies of Racine – Horlick High School
    • ‘Freshman Academy’
    • ‘Education & Technical Services’
  • Academies of Racine – Park High School
    • ‘Health Sciences & Education’
    • ‘Leadership, Automotive & Technical Services’

The Academies of Racine recently went underwent review by the NCAC early this year. According to RUSD, the review included representatives from the NCAC interviewing principals, teachers, students, advisory board members and community partners. The review is based on their National Standards of Practice.

The district’s score was determined upon completion of the interviews. Certification status is maintained for four years and consists of (from top-ranking to bottom) “Model with Distinction,” “Model,” “Certified” or “In-progress.” At the conclusion of the interview process, all six Academies of Racine received ratings of “Model Academies.”

“High school career academies have been a growing presence in the country for the last quarter century as research continues to show their positive impact on academics, economics and workforce development,” said an RUSD spokesperson in a news release.

The National Standards of Practice include the following criteria:

  1. Mission and goals
    • career academy has a written mission, goals and benchmarks
  2. Academy design
    • well-defined structure within the high school
  3. Host community and high school
    • exist in a variety of district and high school context
  4. Faculty and staff
    • Appropriate staff selection, leadership, credentialing, and cooperation
  5. Professional development and continuous learning
    •  Teachers and other adults in roles not normally included in their previous training, providing adequate professional development time, leadership and support
  6. Governance and leadership
    • Governing structure that incorporates all
  7. Teaching and learning
    •  Meet or exceed external standards and postsecondary entrance requirements 
  8. Employer, postsecondary education, and community involvement
    • Involves members of the employer, postsecondary education, and civic community
  9. Student assessment
    • Improvements in student performance
  10. Sustainability
    •  Requires engaging in a regular cycle of improvement

Academy Experience

RUSD first launched the Academies of Racine in 2016. Per NCAC, “extensive research (MDRC experimental study; Johns Hopkins, UC Berkeley quasi-experimental studies) has shown that their impact has been felt from an academic, economic, workforce development, and social perspective.”

The Academies of Racine are designed to prepare students for both college and careers. There is a positive impact on students, their development, and the community’s development. The programs that function within RUSD connect students, peers, teachers, community members and community partners.

Per RUSD’s website, exploration into the Academies of Racine begins in middle school academies. Students chart their unique “pathway” during eighth and ninth grades, exploring career choices. Then in high school, pathways provide students with a plan to connect their coursework in high school with college and career opportunities after graduation.

Learn more about the Academies of Racine online.

The following document gives a review of the 2021-2022 Annual Report for the RUSD Academies of Racine:

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