Knightdale High introduces new public safety academy

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJanuary 10, 2014 

— It’s come time for Knightdale High School seniors to start seriously weighing their post-grad options but with the creation of a new career academy, younger students will also use this time to consider different educational paths to take.

Knightdale High School is working to create a Public Safety Academy to function alongside its Academy of Environmental Studies.

A Wikispaces page was created for the academy on Jan. 5 — the day before students returned to school from winter break.

According to the page, the academy, open for rising 9th- and 10th-graders, will focus on careers in correction services, emergency and fire management services, law enforcement, legal services and security and protective services.

Knightdale High’s Career and Technical Education coordinator, Geof Duncan, said the idea for the academy came from a small group of students who spent time with the school’s resource officer learning about the field.

The students met after school and took trips, including one to Knightdale’s public safety office.

“It was just an interest group and because of the amount of interest ... and the support from Knightdale Public Safety we thought it might be worthwhile to look at making a career academy,” Duncan said.

As it currently stands, Knightdale High’s Public Safety Academy will require an English class at the same time a student takes Public Safety I – a class taught by CTE teacher Chris Smith, who used to be a federal law enforcement officer with a background in forensic accounting and fraud investigations.

Public Safety I will focus on career exploration and planning so students can understand what sorts of jobs they can pursue with an educational background in public safety.

Knightdale High will also require students to become proficient in Microsoft programs “Students will also take Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Publisher with an emphasis on report writing and writing skills necessary for a career in Public Safety,” an academy fact sheet provided by the school said.

The fact sheet also said the school will pursue partnerships with Knightdale Public Safety and Eastern Wake EMS.

The program will emphasize the importance of continuing education in public safety through post-high school programs or training.

In career academies, students take a few academy courses in addition to their required course load. All the requirements for the academy are fulfilled in the normal school day, unless the academy requires a work internship.

The school plans to have applications available to students by Jan. 20.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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