data, and serve as the community liaison is a must. This
person facilitates the collaboration between school personnel and business partners.
Another important feature of our program is our Business Advisory Committee (BAC), which is made up of
people from local businesses as well as representatives
from area colleges and universities. The BAC advises us on
local business needs, so we can make sure our students are
learning relevant skills. They are our experts in the field as
well as guest speakers. They share insight and information
about new technologies and help students understand how
their learning applies in the business world.
Our partner universities and colleges also play a vital role.
We have established articulation agreements allowing our
students to earn college credits for coursework and certifications. Nearly every college and university in our area is a
member of our BAC, so we know the curriculum and sequencing align with what colleges and universities expect.
How We Paid for It
Initially, we started with a Magnet School of America federal assistance grant that enabled us to retrofit a modern
IT infrastructure into our aging building. Once the grant
ran out, we looked for help from the Florida Department
of Education’s Career Academies initiative, which was
charged with commissioning the state’s high schools to
develop small personalized learning environments that focused on career-related coursework and industry certification. Any high school that meets the standards of a Career
Academy is eligible to receive a grant. Each student who
receives a certificate earns funding for the school.
In addition to the grant, we also receive funding from
our business partnerships. Many other sources of funding
are out there as well. The Adobe website lists information
about how a district can pursue government funding
The academy programs at Dunbar High School have be-
come the unifying agent that bonds our students and facul-
ty together. Students in these programs learn to work with
each other on collaborative projects. The evolving environ-
ment has produced significant changes in how students in
the academy programs perceive themselves. Now, for the
first time, they experience success beyond the classroom.
Cody, a graduate, wrote:
Because of the program and certification, my idea of
school has improved and going to school is something
that I love to do. The chance to certify is invaluable and
I hope that I will be able to continue to receive certifi-
cations later in life. This program has truly changed my
life and nothing will ever be the same for me. I already
feel like I succeeded.
Through our relationships with our local and global
partners, students have learned that they can be valued
citizens of our global IT economy because of the knowledge base they’ve gained in our programs. Academy programs have not only enabled each student to experience
real-world achievement, but have also given students real
passion and commitment for learning.
Adobe list of government funding sources: www.adobe.com/education/
Dunbar High School: http://dhs.leeschools.net
Florida Department of Education Career Academies: www.fldoe.org/