Oklahoma City public high schools will start career academies this fall

The six specialized programs are: engineering, information technology, finance, hospitality and health sciences. Freshmen can enroll in the academies on a first-come, first-served basis.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: July 11, 2012

Fewer than 100 spots remain in the new system of specialized high school programs kicking off this fall in Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Officials expect the remaining spots in the freshman academies to fill up quickly when the district's official open enrollment begins Monday.

“I expect those programs are going to fill up in a couple of days,” said Verna Martin, associate director of the district's secondary schools. “Then we'll start a waiting list.”

Beginning this fall, five district high schools will offer six dedicated academies: engineering at Capitol Hill, information technology at Oklahoma Centennial, finance at John Marshall, hospitality at Star Spencer and both engineering and health sciences at Northeast.

Students will be able to attend any of the academies beginning with the freshman class of 2012-13.

As that class ages, the program will expand. The academies are designed to prepare students for specific careers.

Applications have been available for a few months, but interest was renewed last month when the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority decided to allow academy students to ride city buses for free, even for nonschool activities.

Metro Transit and Oklahoma City Public Schools buses will work together to get students from their home schools to the academies, so families don't have to worry about how students will get to and from school.

“They're very excited that the transportation is being provided,” Martin said.

Martin said she witnessed how an academic focus can change a school.

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