Students expand horizons with Academy

Off campus courses cater to a wider variety of subjects and students fields of interest


FCPS offers high school academies and specialized programs to students. This program allows students to go to other schools throughout the county and experience valuable learning opportunities through courses not offered at their designated school. There are a variety of classes such as American Sign Language, Veterinary Sciences, Cosmetology, Automotive Collision, and more.

The goal of these academies is to provide students with an education that is more directly applicable to their career field of interest and give students skills they can use in the workforce.

Junior Mars Crowley is currently enrolled in American Sign Language.

“This is my second year taking ASL. I signed up for it because I’ve always felt it’s important to be able to communicate with everyone,” Crowley said. “I want to be able to communicate with those who are hard of hearing so that no one feels excluded.”

For many students, Academy classes help provide many chances for them that otherwise would be difficult to obtain.

“ASL is such an interesting language and it opens up so many opportunities to me,” Crowley said. “The class is so accepting of everyone.”

Junior Laura Martinez is taking Dental at Falls Church HS.

“One thing that stood out to me in the curriculum was how applicable the class is to a real career in the dentistry field,” Martinez said. “We don’t just learn about teeth and how to care for them, but more specific things like how to deal with difficult situations with patients and the rights that you have as a dentist.”

Martinez enjoys all the hands-on work they get to do in Dental that makes the class enjoyable and realistic. These classes also provide realistic ideas of certain careers in their field of interest. Students are taught how to use real equipment for these professions.

“We do lots of hands-on work with dentistry tools and mannequins as well as projects that teach us about healthy diets and diseases that can impact dental health,” Martinez said.

Junior Rahiel Berhe also takes an academy class through Falls Church HS, enrolled in Introduction to Nursing at the Plum Center.

“My favorite classes are the days we wear scrubs because that means it will be full of hands-on training,” Berne said. “We had a unit about disease infection which is relevant to today’s times and we had an emergency care unit that is not only important life saving knowledge for nurses, but for everyday people as well.”

Like many other academy classes, Berhe is able to get real-life qualifications and skills by taking a certain path within her class.

Students in the Introduction to Nursing class are able to become a certified nursing assistant after taking the course if they follow all the requirements and complete the test.

There are so many irreplaceable opportunities that academy classes provide with courses in actual career fields that students are interested in and get real-life qualifications while enrolled in these classes.

If students are interested in taking an Academy class they should look at the online catalog of courses offered and then speak with their counselors about working it into their schedule.