U-46 seeks input on Bartlett, Streamwood high school academies

 
 

Elgin Area School District U-46 officials are seeking community feedback on how to update the academy programs at Bartlett and Streamwood high schools.

District leaders are reviewing both academies to see if they can offer more relevant curriculum to prepare students for a global economy.

A bilingual survey for students, parents, employees and community members will be available through May 29. Respondents are asked to rank the importance of a variety of 21st-century skills and potential new themes for the Bartlett and Streamwood academies.

U-46 is transitioning its existing five high school academies -- started 20 years ago -- to more exclusive and unique magnet academies. All five academies are in various stages of a multiyear process to earn certification with Magnet Academies of America. They are: BEACON Academy of Media and Digital Arts at South Elgin High School; Gifted and Talented Academy at Elgin High School; Science, Engineering and High Technology Academy at Bartlett High School; Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Larkin High School in Elgin; and World Languages and International Studies Academy at Streamwood High School.

"U-46 is committed to creating learning environments that prepare students to be college- and career-ready," said Lela Majstorovic, assistant superintendent of secondary schools instruction and equity. "The data gathered through this survey will guide the district as it transitions the current Bartlett and Streamwood high school academies to magnet academies."

Officials already have determined a transition plan for Elgin High School's Gifted Academy to become an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. That process is expected to take a couple of years. South Elgin's BEACON Academy of Media and Digital Arts curriculum was updated in 2018. Larkin High School's Visual and Performing Arts Academy will retain its focus, but curriculum also will be updated over the next couple of years. The school board must approve all curriculum updates.

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Meanwhile, officials also are developing additional college and career academies at all five high schools to be offered beginning with the freshmen class that will enter in 2021. They would focus on the arts, humanities, liberal arts, business, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). They would comprise several educational pathways -- a multiyear sequence of courses -- allowing students to explore a field of interest as elective courses their sophomore, junior and senior years while taking core classes and meeting rigorous college admission requirements.

Magnet academies will remain unique, offering in-depth experiences and study in specific areas of interest.

Currently, eighth-graders can apply to be part of U-46's existing academies each fall. Students enrolled in these academies now and this fall's incoming freshman class can expect the same program as in previous years. The review and survey of academies at Bartlett and Streamwood won't affect current students or incoming freshmen. Potential changes to these programs likely wouldn't be implemented until 2022, officials said.

Survey results will be used for research purposes, and all responses will remain confidential. U-46 will share the results with district faculty, students, families and community members.

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