Professional Learning

NCAC Academy Design Continuum


The National Career Academy Coalition challenges and supports high schools or districts to enact, maintain, and sustain a design continuum when implementing quality career academies. Based on our knowledge and expertise, NCAC has developed a multi-year implementation continuum that integrates strategic planning, professional learning, data analysis, and tactical actions to ensure a successful implementation. Whether you contract with NCAC or use expertise in your district, the Continuum represents our best thinking about what to provide and when to provide it.


Phase I: Action Planning (Aligned with the National Standards of Practice)

Components of Action Planning:

  • Assemble a team: School Leadership, Teachers, Community, Students, and Business Partners
  • Conduct an audit of your school cross-walked with the high-skill, high-wage occupations
  • Develop a Graduate Profile with key performance indicators
  • Develop a College and Career Continuum that serves 100% of students
  • Result: Three-Year Action Plan in a SMART format


Phase II: Professional Development:

Components of Professional Development:

  • Master Scheduling (First Semester)
  • Business Engagement Structure (Second Semester)
  • Leadership Development—from Team Leads to Principals (Second Semester)
  • Program of Study Development (First Semester)
  • Freshman College and Career Planning Design (First & Second Semester)
  • Curriculum Design for new pathways (Second Semester)
  • Academy Mission, Vision and Goals Development (First Semester)
  • Communication Strategy & Brand Promise (First Semester)
  • Data Dashboard Development (Second Semester)



Implement in phases (9th and/or 10th grade)

  • High Performance Teams Training (First Semester)
  • Project Based Learning Training (First Semester)
  • Teaching on the Block Training (if using a block schedule) (First Semester)
  • Selection of Industry-Valued Certifications and Teacher Training (Second Semester)
  • School Counselor Training (First Semester)
  • Student Ambassador Training (Second Semester)
  • Branding and Marketing (First Semester)


Implement in phases (remaining grades)

  • Project Based Learning Training (First Semester)
  • Senior Capstone Design (First Semester)
  • Student Ambassador Training (First Semester)
  • Data Analysis for Continuous Improvement (First Semester)
  • Teacher Externships – (Second Semester)
  • Baseline Analysis (Second Semester)

Additional Enhancements

  • Career Academy Leaders’ Collaborative (CALC)
  • Master Career Academy Teacher Certification
  • Baseline Analysis and/or Review
  • Offsite Learning Opportunities:
    • NCAC Conference
    • Customized Tours
    • Insight Onsites
    • Regional Workshops

<< View the Academy Continuum Flyer >>