March 6, 2019 Academics

Sioux City Career Academy continues adding courses, facilities

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds keeps praising the expansion of the Sioux City Career Academy offerings and facilities.

Reynolds in October toured the downtown academy facilities. When in the city on Jan. 25 to applaud Woodbury County officials for workforce training advances, the governor also shared praise for the Sioux City School District career academy as an important piece in local efforts.

A new, large wing for the Sioux City career academy opened in time for the 2018-19 school year. With the goal of reducing the number of sites for its academy courses, the Sioux City School Board delivered funding to the administration proposal to add more classrooms in the Public Museum building that connects to the district’s downtown Education Service Center.

Additionally, 15 first-time courses were added for the 2018-19 academic year.

The district’s growing Career Academy allows students to take specialty courses in 31 so-called pathways, covering business and marketing, family and consumer science, health science and industrial technology.

Most of the district’s Career Academy courses follow a sequence, offer college credit, and in many cases offer a level of certification toward workforce or further post-secondary study.

The school district has announced an expansion of pathways each December since 2011. Today, there are roughly 150 courses within the pathways.

Additionally, district officials are moving toward the goal of centralizing the locations where students complete upper level Career Academy coursework. The goal is to eventually only use the high schools to administer the introductory Career Academy courses.

The school board and Sioux City Council in 2017 approved a sharing agreement that allowed the district to repurpose unused portions of the museum building for a broader Career Pathways Campus. That expanded campus is now connected to the Education Service Center, which houses district administrators.

The project involved the district paying $1.5 million for 75,000 square feet of the building at 607 Fourth St.

The Career Pathways Campus rooms are in a second-floor portion of the museum building, which at one time housed a Delta Air Lines call center before it closed in 2012. The classrooms run from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet.

With the new rooms, at least 300 more students are coming to the Career Pathways Campus. That moves the total now taking academy courses to 1,443 students, and most of those students are taking multiple courses.

The move is seen by the district as a more centralized and efficient way to offer Life Academy and Career Academy courses, which have previously been spread through all three high schools, as well as Western Iowa Tech Community College, the Harry Hopkins Campus on Lewis Boulevard and the downtown Ho-Chunk Centre.

The long-term goal is to use just the Harry Hopkins Campus for a portion of the Career Academy courses while also offering Career Academy and Life Academy courses in the expanded downtown Career Pathways Campus at the museum as it connects to the Education Service Center.

View the full story from the Sioux City Journal
By Bret Hayworth