LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 6, 2023) – The Academies of Central Arkansas announced today the establishment of the Arkansas Children’s Academy of Business and the Arkansas Children’s Academy of Medical Science at Sylvan Hills High School. This partnership between Arkansas Children’s, Sylvan Hills and the Pulaski County Special School District is a core foundation for the Academies model of teaching and learning being implemented in public high schools throughout Pulaski County, better known as the Academies of Central Arkansas.
Students in the Arkansas Children’s Academies will benefit from enhanced learning opportunities throughout their four years at Sylvan Hills High School. In the upcoming school year, freshmen students will experience career exposure through classroom speakers and guest lecturers and will attend a career exposure event where Arkansas Children’s, along with other central Arkansas businesses, will showcase career opportunities. Sophomore students will be provided field trips and business tours and junior students will then be provided job shadowing opportunities. Together, Arkansas Children’s and Sylvan Hills High School will develop capstone projects and internship opportunities for senior students.
As a partner, Arkansas Children’s will collaborate with Sylvan Hills teachers and the District Lead Academy Coach on curriculum advisement, industry credentials, hands-on learning opportunities to provide required skills for students, and needed financial resources to create a learning laboratory space for students.
“This exciting partnership with Sylvan Hills High School allows us to align several key areas of our business with student interest and achievement,” said Marcy Doderer, FACHE, President and CEO, Arkansas Children’s. “Through this commitment to our community, we are providing students with a richer educational experience today to help them reach their fullest potential tomorrow.”
The Academies of Central Arkansas is a joint initiative of the four public school districts across Pulaski County and the regional business community. In 2019, the Jacksonville North Pulaski, Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County Special School Districts, together with the five Pulaski County chambers of commerce and business and civic leaders, began implementing high school academies within all public high schools in the county, serving all students.
Little Rock Regional Chamber President & CEO Jay Chesshir said, “Today, we celebrate the first business that is making the extra commitment to support two academies within a single high school. The leadership of Marcy Doderer and Arkansas Children’s can’t be understated. To support students in not just healthcare pathways, but also business and finance pathways of study, demonstrates their vision and commitment to connecting with the future leaders of our community. And I know the Sylvan Hills students will be better prepared for college, career and life as a result of this partnership.”
“Sylvan Hills High School is pleased to partner with Arkansas Children's for our Academy of Medical Science and the Academy of Business,” said Tracy Allen, Principal at Sylvan Hills. “This partnership will benefit our students by providing them with real-world job experiences and the necessary skills to become employable upon graduation. We believe this partnership will be a huge asset to our students and strengthen the workforce throughout Central Arkansas.”
Implementation of the Academies of Central Arkansas will take several years to fully build out. Once completed, this educational approach will help transform high schools for all students within the four school districts. The Little Rock Regional Chamber is still actively recruiting business partners for all Academy high schools. Businesses interested in getting more information can reach out to the chamber directly or visit www.academiesofcentralarkansas.org.