a timed writing sample, and go through
an interview with our admissions staff.
Acceptance is based on several factors,
chief of which is student interest.
Counselors, teachers, and parents
help advise students on which career
fields will fit their interests and talents.
Their major specifies courses that will
prepare them for that field, but students
aren’t tied to a plan that locks them into
attending either a two-year or four-year
college or entering a career once they
graduate; their trajectory evolves as they
go. For example, most students in our
health occupations major will move
on to a four-year college to pursue a
bachelor’s of science degree in nursing
or premed, whereas others may go to
a two-year school to gain certifications
and then go to work in the field.
Students enrolled in many of the 17
career majors (such as criminal justice,
manufacturing, and education) are eligible to earn college credits or industry
certifications while in high school if they
complete certain courses and earn a B
or better. Among the many professional
qualifications students can earn are certification as a nurse’s assistant and the
certificate of automotive service excellence from the National Automotive
Technicians Education Foundation.
For each career major, the guide
maps out four years of coursework that
combine science and technology classes
with courses from other disciplines that
support preparation for that career.
For example, students in the culinary
arts program must take courses in art
and French in addition to Principles
of Business Management and First Aid
and Safety; their electives might include
other foreign languages or fine arts.
Students in our health occupations
and biotechnology majors are required
to take advanced placement science
courses to supplement the curriculum
in their science and tech program.
The culture at North Point High School
is based on high expectations and
giving students confidence that they
can influence their world during and
after high school. Signs in the hallways
ask students, “How will you change the
world?” Teachers and staff remind stu-
dents about opportunities that are avail-
able outside school and the importance
of being prepared to take advantage
of them. Many students participate in
apprenticeships or work-based learning
with our industry partners. These expe-
riences build a bridge between students
and adults in our community.
Once the student
realized that biology
was connected to
Partnerships with industry often
enhance classroom instruction. For
instance, as part of classes in their career
majors, North Point students have practiced patient care at a local hospital and
worked with the local chapter of the
International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers to install a solar tracking panel
on the high school. Students can now
track the solar energy the panel provides
and monitor how much the school’s
carbon footprint is reduced as a result.
For several years, students in our culinary arts program have provided part of
the food for the annual Taste America
reception at the U.S. Capitol Building
and mingled with members of Congress
as they served appetizers they’d made.
By connecting students with their
passions, our science and technology
majors give many kids an incentive to
perform at higher levels in traditional
high school courses. Recently, a teacher
in a traditional biology class was strug-
gling to engage one of her students
who was frequently off task. During
one of their many conversations to try
to resolve their mutual frustration, the
teacher learned that this student was in
the school’s cosmetology program. The
biology and cosmetology teachers met
with the girl together to point out the
relevance of biology to cosmetology.
Once the student realized this connec-
tion, her motivation improved.
Kimberly A. Hill is principal of North
Point High School for Science, Technology, and Industry in Waldorf, Maryland,
and a doctoral candidate at George
Washington University in Washington,
DC; 240-320-4810; email@example.com.