Academy offers options
Tina Marie Macias • firstname.lastname@example.org • October 17, 2009
Each school day is entrenched in technology for academy students at Carencro High School.Creating a video to go along with an English project while learning the basics of Web design and digital animation is a normal day for a sophomore in the Academy of Information Technology.
The academy has been called one of the top academies in the National Academy Foundation and hosted other foundations last week to share its successes.
Although the academy requires students to complete extra work, they said they love working with technology.
"I like Photoshop and PowerPoint, and we just do a lot of fun things with software," 10th-grader Ian James said. James was set to attend Northside High School but chose Carencro for the academy program.
Other students said they like the people and appreciate that they attend classes with the same students most of the time.
"It feels like a small school," sophomore Loreaelle Linton said. "It's like a school within a school."
By the time an academy student graduates from Carencro High School, they could have mastered video-game production and Web design, as well as earned A+ and NET+ computer certifications.
Along with video game technology and Web mastering, academy students are dabbling in something new this year: fiber-optic technology.
The academy partnered with Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, or the LITE Center, Lafayette Utilities System and Louisiana Public Broadcasting for the project.
The students are testing the ways greater bandwidth offered by fiber can improve learning, Carencro High School Principal Annette Samec said at a Lafayette Parish School Board meeting last week.
Faster streaming video and online classrooms are just a few of the enhancements of fiber-optic technology that eventually could be offered in other schools and classrooms through the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative and the National Lambda Rail.
As a part of the academy program, students are expected to participate in a paid internship in the summer after their junior year.
These internships, arranged by the academy, will provide students valuable work experience in information technology and are a way for students to apply some of the knowledge learned in academy classes.
In 2007, the academy was named one of the top six National Academy Foundation academies in the nation, partially because of its emphasis in real-world experience and internships.
It has relished that honor, holding a conference for other academy heads last week.
"Carencro High School belongs to the National Academy Foundation ... it has recognized what we've done with the IT program and it's one of their outstanding programs in their foundation," Samec said.
Business leaders and other educators from San Diego, Texas, New York and Miami, among others, attended the event that not only included talks from teachers and supervisors, but also students.
"We had an opening ceremony and they talked to our student interns," Samec said.
In the summer, 35 students were placed in an internship, and this year the school hopes to place 27. All will use technology they learned in class and could be placed at LITE, the library, school system main office or a variety of other companies in Lafayette.