The Academies of Badger

The Academies of Badger
Posted on 12/15/2020
The Academies of Badger

Badger High School Announces The Academies of Badger

The Academies of Badger, a comprehensive set of programs leading to post-secondary options for students, was approved by the Lake Geneva-Genoa City UHS School Board on December 14, 2020, the Lake Geneva-Genoa City UHS School Board.

Moving all students through meaningful, engaging high school classes is part of the mission at Badger High School. Opportunities for Badger students to earn college credit at Badger have greatly increased in recent years through Badger’s 24 Advanced Placement (AP) courses and 32 Transcripted Credit (TC) courses. 

TC agreements alone have saved Badger graduates between $233,000-$305,000 per year in college tuition in each of the last three years. When enrolled in TC classes, students are taking a college course taught at Badger by Badger teachers through dual enrollment. Teachers are vetted through the same processes that the college uses for their other instructors.

Not resting on their laurels, through alignment with GTC, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and the AP program, Badger has further expanded opportunities for students to earn college credits in high school through The Academies of Badger, a program focused on college and career readiness for all students, grades 9-12.

“As we developed our post-secondary agreements, it became clear that we were on track to do something greater for our students,” said Jenny Straus, principal of Badger High School. “With the help of our post-secondary partners we put together pathways to college and careers with cost savings and meaningful implications for students,” she continued. 

The Academies are based on degree and certificate programs at the partner college, according to Marie Collins, Career and Technical Education Liaison at Badger. “We looked at the number of TC agreements we had in place and additional agreements we could easily put in place to create The Academies,” she said.

Within each of the 16 academies are options for students to earn stackable credentials and college credits.  Academies that feed into Gateway Technical College include Accounting, Automotive Technology, Business Management, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary, Early Childhood, Graphic Communications, Greenhouse Operations, Marketing, and Nursing.  Two programs that feed into UW-Green Bay include French and Spanish. A diploma endorsement from the Wisconsin Department of Public Education will earn students the GEAC (Global Education Achievement Certificate), and two Project Lead the Way Academies are available in Engineering and Computer Science. Each academy carries between 4 and 34 credits on a college transcript. In addition, the PAW Plus Academy is for students working on a competency-based diploma and adding a college-level course or industry certificate making Academies an option for all learning levels.

Several of the Academies earn students a Technical Diploma. Embedded within many Academies are industry-recognized certifications and work-based learning opportunities, making academies a valuable option for students intending to enter both college and the workforce after graduation. 

Because most of these classes are taught at Badger they will be open to students grades 9-12, dependent upon prerequisites. Students choosing an Academy are not bound to the program. If their career or college interest changes at any point during their high school career they can change. In some cases, credits will transfer to other programs as elective credits. “It is not a loss if a student does not complete an Academy,” said Collins. “Career exploration is an important aspect of high school and some students will change their minds multiple times during high school.”

Credits are transferable, by program, into varying UW-System and Wisconsin Private colleges. In November 2019, Governor Tony Evers signed  "AB 189-Transferability of courses between the UW System, Technical College System, and Tribally controlled and private colleges as Act 46. This requires the number of credits under the Universal Credit Transfer Agreement to increase from 30 to 72 credits by the 2022-23 academic year and it encourages institutions to enter into program-to-program articulation agreements that focus on high demand fields of study." The state office has said this will live in Transferology. All courses will be identified by April 2021. 

By engaging in an Academy students are focused on success because they know their high school class counts for their life after Badger. “Creating that permanent record with a college and earning a certificate that employers value creates a visible path for our students that links current learning to future goals,” said Straus.

Adding in school-to-work programs, internships, and Youth Apprenticeship, students in The Academies will be building a body of tested experience. “As students progress through The Academies they will be developing a portfolio of credits and experience, building a resume that will make them stand out from their peers,” explained Collins.

Whether a student takes 14 credits of a world language to a four-year university or receives a technical diploma, The Academies of Badger will make our students stand out to a four-year college, technical college, or an employer,” said Straus. “That makes the high school experience mean more from day one.”

Students will be able to register for The Academies beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. Plans are in place to implement several more academies for the 2022-2023 school year.

Information on The Academies of Badger can be found at bhs.badger.k12.wi.us/parents___students/the_academies_of_badger. For further information, interested parties can contact the Badger High School Counseling Center at 262-348-2000 x 2640.

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