Conference Tours

Conference Tours


NCAC will be offering five high school career academy tours on Wednesday, November 13th on the last day of the conference. Each tour is $35 and includes breakfast on Wednesday morning before the buses depart at 7:30 AM.

Sign up early as space in each academy tour is limited and they sell out fast!

Tour #1 - Roxborough High School (A national model academy school)

Located on Ridge Avenue in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia, Roxborough High School offers college and career-connected educational opportunities for all students. The school is led by Principal Dana A. Jenkins, who is, herself, a graduate of the Philadelphia School District and has worked in the school system since 1997.  Although the students come primarily from the Roxborough, Manayunk, and Germantown sections of Philadelphia, the school also serves a significant number of students from all over Philadelphia who are attracted to Roxborough by its exceptional academies and CTE programs.

Roxborough is an All-Academy high school. This term means that Roxborough enrolls every student into their choice of a Career Academy which may be a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program or a career-themed Academy.  The All-Academy structure provides students with an experience that infuses their career electives with academic course work, preparing them to succeed in college, career, and life.

Currently, Roxborough has three career academies in addition to the Freshman Academy, which are identified below with their corresponding industry pathways.  The Freshman Academy is designed to help 9th graders transition from middle school to high school. The teachers focus predominantly on freshman classes where they are sensitive to the needs, challenges, and successes that freshmen may encounter.  A mandatory Freshman Seminar course is designed to support students in skills such as time-management, organization, college preparation and self-advocacy.

The Academy of Visual Arts Production is composed of two different pathways: Film & Video Production and Web Design.  In web design, students learn to write code in order to design and create well developed customer web pages.  They are also able to earn Adobe Illustrator and CertiPort.  Film and video students learn and master professional camera and video techniques, and frame writing.  Students are able to earn Adobe Premier, Premier Pro and Final Cut Pro certifications.

The Academy of Business Technology & Entrepreneurship is also composed of two pathways: Entrepreneurship and Sports Marketing.  In these pathways, students follow a three-year sequence of Business and technology courses in which they acquire the knowledge and skills that are necessary for success in both college and the world of business.  Business students explore a curriculum that includes keyboarding and word processing, marketing, office skills, business management, business communication, digital literacy, accounting, personal finance, and entrepreneurship.  Students are able to earn Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint certifications.

The Academy of Health Sciences & Research is composed of two additional pathways: Biotechnology and Kinesiology.  These pathways prepare and empower scientifically literate graduates who demonstrate the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to confront issues that impact human health and the environment research.  The Biotechnology pathway encompasses a three-year sequence designed to support students that are interested in bio-medical science, research and applications.  Students also earn lab safety, OSHA and Mental Health First Aid certifications. Kinesiology students develop knowledge and skills they will need to pursue careers in sports, fitness, and exercise. This program includes instruction in human anatomy and physiology, exercise science, nutrition and the management of sports related programs and facilities.  Students are able to earn Physical Trainer and Mental Health First Aid certificates. Several of our students are also STEAM Scholars which is supported by the in a partnership with Health Workers Union 1199C. We have MESA competitors who have built and programmed a prosthetic arm. Our team of teachers work together to plan cross curricular PBL’s such as the current Movement Analytics  project between kinesiology, math and social studies

All of our pathways compete in local, state and National competitions and have repeatedly placed at top levels in all areas.  Our competitive spirit drives our staff and students to pursue excellence.

Tour #2 - Abraham Lincoln High School

Through our four Academies, we work to equip all students to be citizens, scholars and leaders by engaging them through academics and creative career- and service-based learning experiences. And it shows: In 2018  Abraham Lincoln students earned more than $3  million in college scholarships, and 70% percent of our graduates received college admissions.  The academy structure allows for our students to learn in small learning communities that are career themed.  By the time our students graduate, they have a strong academic background with real-world learning experiences to add to their resumes.

Our Freshman Academy provides support and guidance to incoming students, ensuring they land on a pathway toward a future they’re excited to pursue. During sophomore year, students enter their area(s) of interest.

The Academy of the Arts includes pathways in Fine Arts and Horticulture.  Students participating in this Academy have the opportunity to create an interactive display at the annual Pennsylvania Flower Show or create art that has been exhibited.  . 

The Academy of Sciences includes pathways in Health Related Technology and Environmental Engineering Technology.  Students participating in the Health Related Technology learn in a mock hospital setting complete with hospital beds and nursing equipment.  Students in Environmental Services have year-long, real-world learning projects including a partnership with an “adopted” African school to conserve water, tending and managing the school’s garden, and exploring environmental projects along the Tookany Creek.   

Abraham Lincoln High School's robotic's course and after school club allows students to gain knowledge and awareness of fundamental robotics and STEM principles through the engineering process.  A Computer Scientist from the Philadelphia Navy Yard mentors our students on programming once a week after school.  We have received sponsorship from DoD (Department Of Defense), Verizon, and Central Coalition.

The Academy of Professional Services includes pathways in Law, Business Technology and Sports Marketing.  In these pathways, students can earn industry certifications in Microsoft, and learn how to create their own business plans to support their entrepreneurial ideas.  Students in the law pathway participate in mock trials with professionals.  Accounting & Financial Services is an instructional program that introduces students to the accounting principles for various business owners. From journals, ledgers, worksheets and financial statements, to taxes and bank reconciliations, the program covers both the knowledge and hands-on skills of accounting basics. Instruction in Quickbooks is one of the valuable skills students can take into the workforce, as well as the ability to track financial details from journal entry to closing a fiscal period.

Students also learn soft skills to work in any professional office setting.  They are developing skills to become budding entrepreneurs by learning how to write business proposals and how to seek venture capital.  Students earn certifications in Microsoft Office, Quickbooks and IRS Basic Tax Preparation.  It is the goal of this program to prepare all students for immediate employment or further education upon graduation.

Tour #3 - Fox Chase Farm

Please Note: Fox Chase is a working farm. Casual dress, sneakers, etc.  is recommended.

Fox Chase Farm is a 112-acre demonstration farm owned by the City of Philadelphia and the Fairmount Park Commission and managed by the School District of Philadelphia. Fox Chase is a working educational farm and serves as the hub of K-12 agriculture education for the school district. The Farm also receives support from an active community organization called the Friends of Fox Chase Farm. The farm provides hands-on, STEM educational experiences to over 25,000 students, families and community members each year. The mission of the farm is to engage students and the community in agriculture and environmental literacy. The farm’s educational programing supports on-farm engagement for all levels of learners, as well as in-school development of urban agriculture programs that are placed directly in schools around the district.

 Current Initiatives of Fox Chase Farm Include:

  • On-farm field trips and programming for Pre-K to High School groups
  • Agriculture Empowerment Schools training for teachers
  • CTE Project Experiences for students in the Building Trades and Horticulture
  • An Innovative Senior Year Only program for students interested Agricultural Careers
  • An equestrian program for Special Needs Students
  • Work based learning experiences for students
  • Summer Work sites and Internships
  • Agriculture Outreach for teachers and schools of all grade levels – Ag in the Classroom
  • Internships for Delaware Valley University students
  • Community events such as “Apple Fest”, “Maple Sugaring Days,” & “Sheep Shearing Days”

The History: From 1683
William Penn (Founder of Pennsylvania) sold 500 acres to Lord Stanley in 1683. The land passed to the McVeigh family, where for over 200 years, it was a frontier homestead. In 1821, Thomas Wistar, of a prominent Quaker family, purchased 100 plus acres from McVeagh and built a large, central-entrance stone mansion known as "Stanley." This building is still on the Farm and is now known as "The Manor House". Thomas Wistar Jr. built a second house for his son, Thomas III and his wife Priscilla, ca. 1849 and still stands today. Thomas Wistar Jr. established the property as a working, self-supporting farm.

In 1901 the Farm was purchased by Friends Asylum for the Insane who used the site for agricultural purposes and for the treatment of women patients. All the latest farming methods were used. Each cow even had a supply of fresh water. During this time, the Manor House was renovated and dormers were added. The attached well house was probably used for cooling milk. 

Prior to the purchase by the City of Philadelphia Fox Chase was briefly a gentlemen’s farm owned by Charles Lorimer, publisher of the Saturday Evening Post and Harold Butler. it fell into the hands of developers between 1876 and 1901 and again between 1969 and 1975. The developers failed and the farm lived on when in 1975, the City of Philadelphia purchased the farm.After a devastating barn fire in 1997, the community immediately began to raise funds for restoration and in 2000 the Philadelphia School District, with some financial assistance from the Fairmount Park Commission provided funding for rehabilitation of the barn. The farm stands today as a tribute to citizen activists who fought to preserve the farm and the failure of developers who desired to bulldoze the farm. Fox Chase Farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Tour #4 Finishing Trades Institute

The mission of the Finishing Trades Institute Intern Partnership programs is to educate and provide necessary experience, for current high school students, on the skills and demands of the apprenticeship programs offered at the Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region (FTI) (Drywall Finishing, Glazing, Painting, and Paperhanging). The VIP and EVIP programs are used as a stepping-stone for students to progress from classroom to potential Apprentices or Industrial Workers.

The FTI offers two program offers two programs for high school students.

  • The 2 year or 180-hour VIP program affords students construction industry wide recognized certifications in OSHA 10, Scaffold Erector Dismantler and First Aid, and CPR. Students attend the FTI weekly on specified days during the school year for 14 weeks during both their Junior and Senior years in high school.
  • The Enhanced VIP Program offers a full-time senior year program. Seniors attend the FTI 5 days a week until the first week of June. Their senior year academic requirements are met by having classes at FTI that align with their high school graduation requirements. At the completion of their yearlong program they receive 30 transferable college credits, 6 industry recognized certifications, advanced standing into the apprenticeship programs offered at the FTI and their high school diploma.

Topics of instruction include Trade Math, Labor History, Blueprint Reading, Scale Drawing, Tools of the Trade along with Craft Specific Training through theory and hands-on learning experiences. Students are versed in Interview, Life and Finance Skills, Aptitude Testing Preparation along with knowledge of Green Environment Awareness in construction.

 This program has been in existence for over ten years in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia and visitors to the FTI will hear about the program, how the program meets graduation requirements, state standards, industry standards and a tour of this modern training facility.

The VIP and EVIP programs have been recognized by the United States Department of Labor as a model program for relationships between indsurty the trade profession and local school districts to meet future employment demands in the construction industry.

Tour #5 The Workshop School

The Workshop School is a project-based, public high school in West Philadelphia. Our goal is to connect disadvantaged students to viable and sustainable career pathways through skill building, exposure, and real-world experience. The Workshop School is a partnership between Project-Based Learning, Inc., our nonprofit arm, and the School District of Philadelphia.

Why we exist

We started the Workshop School to solve two related problems. First, there is a profound mismatch between the skills that schools prioritize and those that are valued and needed in the workplace. Nearly three decades of research has consistently shown that problem solving, collaboration, project management and self-regulation are the competencies most critical to career success. Schools largely ignore these skills, focusing instead on static content knowledge, the vast majority of which is of little use beyond high school. Second, this mismatch is most acute among disadvantaged students, too many of whom are exposed solely to remedial instruction and “basic” skills, leaving them woefully underprepared for either college or the workplace.

Our belief

To be successful beyond high school, students need two things: a strong foundation of skills needed in any walk of life, and real-world experiences that help students put those skills into practice. The skills foundation is common to all students: problem solving, collaboration, and project management are vital skills for all career pathways. On the other hand, experiences should be tailored to students’ interests and goals: a student who plans to be a pharmacist should intern at a pharmacy and take college classes, while a student pursuing a career in automotive technology should learn technical skills and gain experience as a member of a team and interacting with customers. 

Our model

The Workshop School is organized into lower (9th and 10th) and upper (11th and 12th) “houses.” The lower house focuses in building a strong foundation in seven critical skill areas: critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, project management, self-awareness, improving with feedback, literacy and numeracy. Skills are built through projects focused on real-world questions and problems, often with outside organizations as partners. In addition to their project work, students take afternoon seminars to introduce them to shop skills and help build their literacy and numeracy skills. At the end of 10th grade, students are required to complete a Gateway Project consisting of a portfolio of work and an oral defense. We challenge students to prove to us that they are ready for greater freedom, autonomy and opportunity. Specifically, they are required to demonstrate that they have a clear vision for their future beyond high school, and a plan for how they intend to use their final two years of school to fulfill that vision.

Students who pass the Gateway Project have the opportunity to transition to the upper house, which is broken into three strands: career and technical education (CTE), internships, and dual enrollment/college prep. While each strand is unique, all three provide students with opportunities to work and learn in real-world contexts, with classroom/project work supporting their experiences in the field. For example:

Students in the CTE strand run our highly regarded “Cars from the Heart” program, in which Workshop Students repair and refurbish cars which are then donated to graduates of Youthbuild Charter School. Select CTE students also have paid internships with the city’s Office of Fleet Management, which convert to full-time paid positions upon graduation.

Students in the internship strand identify organizations/companies working in their area of interest and learn to network with those companies. Working collaboratively with host sites, they define the internship experience and align it to specific learning goals. Internships begin halfway through junior year, and can continue through senior year.

Students in the dual enrollment strand take credit-bearing college classes at Drexel University and Community College of Philadelphia. When not on campus, they take custom-designed courses focused on helping them understand, navigate and succeed in the college environment.

Our results

On average, incoming 9th graders at the Workshop School perform at a fifth grade level in reading and math, and many were chronically truant and/or faced disciplinary challenges in middle school. Yet Workshop students demonstrate high levels of engagement and academic growth. For example:

In 2016-17, average attendance at the Workshop School was 93 percent, roughly 12 points higher than that of students in similar schools and within two points of the city’s most highly selective magnet schools.

Nearly three quarters of all Workshop students demonstrated at least 1.5 years worth of growth in reading and math, as measured by NWEA MAP Assessments. And over 80% of Workshop students demonstrated growth and/or proficiency in five critical skill areas: problem solving, collaboration, project management, self-awareness, and improvement with feedback.

100% of Workshop seniors graduated on time, and 97 percent were accepted into at least one two- or four-year college.

Nearly one third of Workshop seniors participated in internships either during the summer or the school year, while another third worked on projects with a “live” client or customer.

Ultimately, the true measure of our success is how our students perform after they graduate. We are actively tracking the progress of the class of 2017, our first cohort of graduates.