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This Program is Revolutionizing Education for Missouri High School Students in the Northland

Public schools today are being asked to do more than they’ve ever been asked to do before.

Americans have watched the cost of college education skyrocket, and at the same time, our job market has been more competitive than ever. Is it still enough for public schools to provide K-12 academic education, or do we owe our students — particular our high school students — a more relevant set of college and career training opportunities?

One program in greater Kansas City has set the standard for a new, immersive, and highly relevant public-private approach to high school education. Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (Northland CAPS) offers high school students the opportunity to earn high school credit and college dual-enrollment while working directly with local businesses.

Northland CAPS is revolutionizing education for high school juniors and seniors in the Kearney, Liberty, North Kansas City, Park Hill, Platte County, and Smithville school districts. Students at Northland CAPS work directly with local and global business partners in one of five “strands” of study:

· Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing
· Global Business and Entrepreneurship
· Global Logistics and Transportation
· Medicine and Healthcare
· Technology Solutions

Students work with real businesses on meaningful projects, using business-standard software and equipment. Real employers mentor and supervise Northland CAPS students, and giving students valuable early career experience in project management, creativity, business ethics, teamwork, and time management.

Among the public-private partnerships through Northland CAPS is the partnership with Liberty Hospital. One student posted an update about his experience at Liberty to the programs’ website on January 16th:

“The Northland CAPS program has matured me in ways I never would have imagined...This semester I have two internships, one through Hospice Advantage and the other through Liberty Hospital with the Clinical Education department...This is only the beginning of a long journey into areas of medicine that I am very passionate about and I can’t wait to see where this experience takes me.” (Source)

Programs like Northland CAPS aren’t just academic, and they aren’t just vocational. They train students for college, career, or both. The program teaches students industry standards, opens them up to entrepreneurial thinking, and gives them an edge in college admissions.

Dozens of universities, including the University of Missouri (MU), endorse the program at Northland CAPS. Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace, Assistant Vice Provost and Director of Access Initiatives, Division of Enrollment Manager and Dr. Ann J. Korschgen, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management — both at MU, say that:

“We are excited to see such bold vision and innovation at the secondary level. The hands-on experiential learning, the fostering of innovation and technology, and the partnerships across the community exemplify aspects that we hope to see replicated in other areas around the state and the nation.” (Source)

The experiences and partnerships that MU mentions in its endorsement aren’t accidental. Northland CAPS is committed to providing hands-on experiences and business mentorships that integrate the 21st Century learning skills of critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

Northland CAPS is leading the way in public-private education partnerships in Missouri, but it’s not the only initiative we’ve seen. The Missouri DECA program has promoted entrepreneurship and business skills for more than 65 years, and passionate educators and entrepreneurs came together in Missouri for the recent Kansas City Startup Weekend. Another notable public-private partnership in Missouri is the Governor’s Innovation Campus program.

To learn more about forward-thinking educators and educational programs in the state of Missouri, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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