Patriot Academy Ready To Welcome Class of 2017
The Patriot Academy is close to completion and the Department of Education is gearing up to welcome the Class of 2017. Though the academic freshman academy program has had a year to become established, Administrators are excited that there will soon be a new facility to house the program. Jefferson County High School Principal Dr. Scott Walker will continue at the helm of JCHS proper, as well as the Patriot Academy, which will function as a satellite school of the main campus. Tami Morelock will serve as the Building Administrator for the Patriot Academy and she will be assisted by Jennifer Sanford who will split her time between administration and counseling. Jeff Moore will provide guidance to the student body at the new school, as the full time counselor.
Principal Walker and Administrator Morelock are committed to immersing freshmen in the Patriot family and they will be included in many of the main campus activities through out the year. In addition, many in the Class of 2017 will spend time everyday at the main campus. Students enrolled in band, ROTC, chorus and other classes unique to JCHS proper will be on campus during 1st or 4th period. A shuttle will provide transportation to and from the Patriot Academy, which is located in close proximity to the main campus.
In an effort to connect with students and provide a more personalized educational experience, the Patriot Academy will employ team teaching. The concept of moving as smaller units of students that interact with a team of teachers was a part of the academic freshman academy during the 2012-2013 school year and Principal Walker has seen the success of the program. Students have individual academic plans and teachers assist them in addressing concerns and finding academic direction. Walker and Morelock are both proponents of the team teaching concept and believe that the proof of its success lies in decreased absenteeism, increased test scores and improved grades. An important part of the Freshman Academy concept is student ownership in their academic future. All freshmen will take a Freshman Experience class that will help them identify a career path and build awareness of the steps needed to achieve that goal. Students are instructed in research and planning for college, career or technical school and encouraged to develop a plan for their tenure at Jefferson County High School.
Director of Jefferson County Schools, Dr. Charles Edmonds, said that the new facility will allow students to assimilate to high school and encourage academic and extracurricular participation, while bridging the move from Middle School. Ruth Pohlman, Director of Secondary Education, expressed excitement that students will begin their high school years in the new facility. Dr. Edmonds stated that the staff at Jefferson County High School has been flexible and easy to work with, in regard to the move to the Patriot Academy. Additionally, Facilities Director Phagan has made the transition as smooth as possible for all involved.
Students at the Patriot Academy will attend Link Orientation on August 5th and they will also have a freshman only dance later that week. The Class of 2017 is expected to be very large in numbers, with around 640 class members, and they will be Patriots in every way. Both the Patriot Academy and JCHS proper will operate under the same student handbook. The freshman class will participate in homecoming, winter formal and pep rallies, as well as other main campus activities. Upper Classmen will also take advantage of the space at the new school. Some Varsity sports teams will use the Patriot Academy gym and there are long term plans for athletic playing fields around the new school. JCHS juniors will take the ACT at the Patriot Academy in the spring of 2014.
Principal Walker and Administrator Morelock will spend the summer preparing the final touches and readying the Patriot Academy for the first group of Jefferson County students. Director of Schools Edmonds, Walker, Morelock and Pohlman, as well as the more than 40 faculty and staff members of the Patriot Academy, will be eagerly awaiting the Class of 2017 and the beginning of a new era of education in Jefferson County.