Standards of Practice

The National Standards of Practice

Quality and The National Standards of Practice - Refined August 2021

The NCAC believes in quality control for career academies. The NCAC performs academy review against the National Standards of Practice which leads to a national recognition.  Academies can be recognized as model, certified or in progress. In order for an academy to reach NCAC's highest level of recognition an academy must meet or exceed proficiency in all 10 areas of the National Standard of Practice. Please note, what you see below are the standards and a brief description of each, for the complete detailed standards, click on the link below: 

 Click here to download the National Standards of Practice - Standards have been refined. Please be sure you have the current copy of the National Standards of Practice, refined August 15, 2021.

1. Mission and Goals
The career academy has a written mission, goals and benchmarks. These are developed, reviewed, available, and known by the administrators, teachers, students, parents, advisory board, and others involved in the academy. These include at least the following elements: connect postsecondary education and career; raise and maintain student aspirations; increase student achievement; show a commitment to equity.

2. Academy Design
An academy has a well-defined structure within the high school, reflecting its status as a small learning community.

3. Host Community and High School
Career academies exist in a variety of district and high school contexts, which are important determinants of an academy’s success.

 4. Faculty and Staff
Appropriate staff selection, leadership, credentialing, and cooperation are critical to an academy’s success.

5. Professional Development and Continuous Learning
Since an academy places teachers and other adults into roles not normally included in their previous training, providing adequate professional development time, leadership, and support is critical.

6. Governance and Leadership
The academy has a governing structure that incorporates the views of all stakeholders and the leaders of the advisory board.

7. Teaching and Learning
The teaching and learning within an academy meet or exceed external standards and postsecondary entrance requirements while differing from a comprehensive high school by focusing learning around a career theme.

8. Employer, Postsecondary Education, and Community Involvement
A career academy links high school to its host community and involves members of the employer, postsecondary education, and civic community in certain aspects of its operation.

 9. Student Assessment
Improvements in student performance are central to an academy’s mission. It is important to gather data that reflect whether students are showing improvement and to report these accurately and fairly to maintain the academy’s integrity.

10. Sustainability
No new academy functions perfectly. Even well established and highly functioning academies benefit from self-examination and refinement. Ensuring and improving the quality of a career academy requires engaging in a regular cycle of improvement.