Career Academies are preparing students for success

School Ways

High school students in Newport News Public Schools are preparing for the high concentration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers in our region. In addition to numerous magnet and specialty programs, more than 900 high school students are enrolled in the Denbigh High School Aviation Academy, the Heritage High School Governor’s STEM Academy and the Warwick High School Governor’s Health Sciences Academy, studying specialized coursework and training in some of the fastest-growing career fields in the world. Partnerships with local businesses and industries provide connections for students between learning and careers.

Aviation Academy students focus on four areas: aerospace engineering, aviation technology, flight operations, and aviation security and safety. Students take courses in aircraft pilot training, air traffic controlling and airport operations among others and can earn up to seven industry and professional certifications. The same certifications are offered at technical colleges.

Graduates of the Aviation Academy are prepared for a broad spectrum of opportunities beyond high school. The combination of STEM courses, academic rigor and modern technology is preparing students for higher education or technical careers in aerospace engineering, aircraft maintenance, piloting, air traffic control and aviation security.

Students in the Heritage High School Governor’s STEM Academy may study one of three career strands: engineering and robotics, networking and cybersecurity or computer science and game design. STEM and technical operations are among the fastest-growing occupations in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students in the Governor’s STEM Academy will be well prepared to meet the demands of these highly-skilled careers.

Students in the Governor’s STEM Academy are advancing in such courses as computer network software operations, programming, cybersecurity, digital electronics and modeling and simulation. These courses are preparing our students to earn certifications as a Microsoft office specialist or technology associate, as well as industry certifications in Internet and computing, AutoCAD and Revit architecture.

The Warwick High School Governor’s Health Sciences Academy combines clinical experiences and academic coursework. Students may focus their studies in therapeutic services; diagnostic services; health informatics and support services; and biotechnology research and development. The students also have the opportunity to learn and train on real medical equipment in a medical sciences lab.

Health sciences is another rapidly growing field, and students are learning how to work in teams, communicate effectively and apply the principles of math and science for high-demand, high-wage and high-skill health careers. With coursework in health informatics, biomedical science, medical laboratory technology and human body systems, the students in the Governor’s Health Sciences Academy are primed for numerous careers in the medical field and may earn certifications in radiation, health and safety; certified medical assistant; certified nursing aide; and Virginia pharmacy tech, leading to rewarding and fulfilling careers.

To prepare our students for the benefits and challenges of entrepreneurship, all Newport News high schools will offer two new courses beginning with the 2018–2019 school year: entrepreneurship education and advanced entrepreneurship education. These courses will prepare students for business ownership and management.

All high school students are expected to participate in community service, job shadowing and internships and other leadership activities to ensure that they are well prepared for the career pathway of their choosing. With numerous options and opportunities, students in Newport News Public Schools are career-ready.

About Brian Nichols 1 Article
Brian Nichols is acting superintendent of Newport News Public Schools and can be reached at 757-283-7850, ext. 10112. For more information about the Newport News STEM education, visit the Newport News Public Schools’ website at

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