David Luther is the assistant superintendent with the district. He says the school will offer seven different academies – something he refers to as “seven schools within a school.” These will align with a student’s possible career path, but are also fairly broad in nature.
“So, if you say I want to be a doctor," says Luther, "or I want to be a nurse, you might go into ‘health services’ and you will learn a very broad curriculum related to health services."
Luther says the programs don’t necessarily offer a technical or vocational education, but that could be a component for some students.
Instead of being in one building with 2,500 students, learners will be in a section of a building with approximately 400 of their peers – likely with similar interests.
He says the move will likely take place in about two or three years, but much of the timeframe depends on whether the district is able to build a new high school.
“Our kindergarten, first and second grade classes" says Luther, "are the largest that we’ve ever had. All of them hovering around 800 students. So we know that by the time they get to Simonsen, we’re going to have a serious space issue.”
Luther says the district will move forward with the plan even if the district doesn’t construct a new high school. He says similar programs are becoming more popular at schools in other states like Texas, Indiana and Florida, but the model is likely a first for public schools in Missouri.