California Partnership Academies
This report presents findings from the third annual evaluation of the Partnership Academy Programs in California. These are high school-based, state-funded programs selected through a grants competition conducted by the state Department of Education. They are based on SB 605, passed during the 1987 legislative session.
During the 1987–88 school year, there were twelve academies operating in the state:
- Two original Peninsula Academies, in the Sequoia Union High School District in Redwood City, begun in the fall of 1981;
- Eight replications begun in the fall of 1985, four of which are in the Bay Area, three in or near Sacramento, and one in Bakersfield; and
- Two replications begun in the fall of 1987, one in Santa Barbara and one in Inglewood.
An Academy is a modified high school program with a number of specific elements:
- A student selection process designed to enroll students with academic potential, but whose past performance indicates they are in danger of dropping out of school;
- A school-within-a-school administrative structure, such that academy students take three core academic subjects as a group in Grades 10–11, with selected teachers;
- A technical course in Grades 10–12, designed to provide students with basic job skills in a promising labor-market field in their geographical area;
- Support from local businesses, including curriculum development, guest speakers, field trips, mentors, and work experience positions; and
- Both high school and district support for the program, providing the necessary teacher preparation time, facilities, equipment, curriculum development, and counseling support.
The evaluation entails two broad components: process and outcomes. The process evaluation addresses the quality of program implementation and the degree to which programs follow the academy model. Each site is rated in terms of 27 elements which together comprise the full model. While implementation improved somewhat over the previous year, it continued to span a broad range among the 11 sites.