St. Mary's School System to Open Academy of Finance

MORGANZA, Md. (Jan. 23, 2008) - The St. Mary's County Public School System announced the planned opening of the Academy of Finance which will begin in the 2008-2009 school year at Chopticon High School. This will be the second signature program for St. Mary's County Public Schools. The first program, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), opened this school year at Lexington Park Elementary School, Spring Ridge Middle School, and Great Mills High School. Signature programs offer a theme-based, specialized program with a contextualized curriculum to provide increased educational opportunities for students.

School officials say Chopticon High School is an ideal location for an Academy of Finance. The school has a long-standing reputation of a strong business education program, already has numerous business partnerships established within the community, and has the nationally recognized award winning Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) student organization.

The Academy of Finance will provide students with focused instruction in the financial services industry. Students will learn about careers in finance, such as banking, insurance, financial planning, business administration, sales, and advertising. The program will provide field and internship opportunities to apply classroom learning. The program will also incorporate extra curricular programs related to the career interests of students, such as the Future Business Leaders of America.

Business and community partners serve as members of the Program Advisory Council (PAC) which will guide the program. School officials say the PAC is critical to provide feedback related to the curriculum as well as to provide guest speakers, field experiences, and opportunities for internships.

Students in the Academy of Finance will complete the required Academy courses within the regular graduation requirements. In addition to the courses, students will complete a summer internship following grade 11 and a senior capstone project. A college level course is required in grade 12.

The Academy will begin with students entering grade 9 in the 2008-2009 school year. Admission criteria are a 2.0 grade point average, two letters of recommendation from teachers, and a writing sample. An application process will be used to enroll students and determine student transfers.

Students from Great Mills High School and Leonardtown High School are able to transfer to Chopticon High School for enrollment in the Academy. School officials say transportation logistics are yet to be determined. Details will be finalized once enrollment is confirmed.

An open house to provide more information about the program will be held on Monday, February 4, 7:00 p.m., at Chopticon High School, 25390 Colton Point Road, Morganza, Maryland. School officials will be available to answer questions. For more information about the Academy of Finance, contact the program coordinator, Mrs. Cynthia L. Baden, at Chopticon High School, 301-475-0215.

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