LEONARDTOWN, Md.—Twenty-four students are members of the first Academy of Finance at Chopticon High School, the second high school signature program of Dr. Michael J. Martirano, superintendent of schools. The Academy of Finance provides students with focused instruction in the financial services industry. Students learn about careers in finance, such as banking, insurance, financial planning, business administration, sales, contract oversight, budget analysis, and advertising. The program provides field and internship opportunities to apply classroom learning. The program also incorporates 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) to guide the program. The Program Advisory Council is critical to provide feedback related to the curriculum as well as to provide guest speakers, field experiences, and opportunities for internships. Gene Townsend, President of GT Financial Services, serves as the chairperson of the Program Advisory Council.
Students in the Academy of Finance complete the required Academy courses within the regular graduation requirements. In addition to the courses, students complete a summer internship following grade 11 and a senior capstone project. A college level course is required in grade 12.
While the Academy begins this year for students entering grade 9 in the 2008-2009 school year, students may still apply as tenth grade students for 2009-2010. Admission criteria are a 2.0 grade point average, two letters of recommendation from teachers, and a writing sample. An application process is 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.
National Academy Foundation's (NAF) Academies serve over 47,000 students through more than 500 career-themed, college preparatory Academies in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Through the unique NAF model involving public-private partnerships and real life learning experiences, NAF Academies foster students' motivation to learn, better preparing them for post-secondary education and successful futures in their chosen professions. The graduation rate of more than 90 percent in NAF Academies--well above the national average of 67 percent and far above the 50 percent average in urban areas--is proof positive that the NAF model.
Source: St. Mary's County Public Schools