Academy Days

McElrath To Continue Support In New Role

Jamestown High School held its culminating Academy Days event tailored to helping students transition to their designated academy and post-graduation life. The event was started three years ago as a way to promote the individual academies and increase student participation. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

The final Academy Days event at Jamestown High School for the year drew to a close. With it, Mike McElrath said goodbye to the event he helped create, as Friday’s was his last as high school principal.

Academy Days was created three years ago to promote student participation and the individual academies introduced into the high school six years ago, according to McElrath, JHS principal.

“We gradually took a couple steps at a time to make it a little more of a reality,” McElrath said of the beginning stages of the high school’s series of events.

McElrath who, will be assuming principal duties at the newly-created Success Academy opening in the fall within the Jamestown Public Schools District, was very involved in the creation of the academies and Academy Days.

P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

Capitalizing on the mandated half days in the high school calendar, four days out of the year the students participate in specific academy driven activities.

Different groups of students participated in academy specific lessons Friday. Others contributed to community service work throughout the city of Jamestown, a big emphasis this time around. Students could be seen at the Northwest Arena, The Gateway Center, the city Riverwalk, and the Prendergast Library, among other locations.

“We really got it down to a science now,” McElrath said.

The Academy Days primarily complements the six academies for business, management and technology; natural sciences and resources; pre-law and human service; communications, performing and visual arts; pre-engineering, manufacturing and industrial technology; and pre-medicine and health science.

For example, students in the pre-medicine academy participated in lessons provided by local EMT services and those in the art academy listened to local artist Gary Peters Jr. in addition to sketching chalk drawings.

Originally, the events were utilized to increase student attendance on half days and overall student participation.

“Now it’s really more actualized,” McElrath said of Academy Days being more intentional and specific to JHS academies.

For ninth graders, Academy Days are used to introduce them to high school and the academies. For upperclassmen, the events are used to give students real-world experience and tour potential colleges, programs and employers.

McElrath, who will still remain involved in some fashion, will be heading the Success Academy in the former Rogers Elementary School building. While he’s leaving, he said the program has “momentum” and was confident it will continue to expand.

“We feel very good about the progressions we’ve made over that period of time,” he said. “I’m very excited that it’s really become part of our school culture”

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