666c8cc96941c557d71bdbae Cedar Rapids Jefferson

Cedar Rapids (Iowa) district plans to build freshman academies at 2 high schools

June 14, 2024
Additions will be constructed at Jefferson and Washington high schools.

The Cedar Rapids (Iowa) district is building freshman academies at two of its high schools.

The Gazette reports that Jefferson High School will add an Engineering and Transportation Academy and Washington High School will add an Engineering and Manufacturing Academy.

The school board approved an agreement with Invision Architecture to renovate and build additions to the two schools.

Jefferson High’s freshman academy will be 51,500 square feet, which includes 37,500 square feet of existing space renovation and 14,000 square feet of new construction.

Washington High’s freshman academy will be 79,000 square feet, which includes 23,000 square feet of existing space renovation.

The college and career academies and pathways are part of an effort to increase graduation rates and ensure students leave the district with something more than a diploma — such as college credit or an industry certification.

The district is preparing to launch freshman programs at Jefferson, Washington and Kennedy high schools in 2025-26. The academies will be small learning environments contained within a larger high school setting. The following year — 2026-27 — the district will launch academies for sophomores, juniors and seniors at the schools.

To pay for the construction projects, the school district is tapping $30 million from its Physical Plant and Equipment Levy.

An additional $30 million from Secure An Advanced Vision for Education, a statewide sales tax, also is being set aside to pay for infrastructure for college and career learning.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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