How the Academies of Lexington are Transforming Public High School Education

Ask almost any high school parent, and they will tell you that the world today looks nothing like it did just twenty years ago. The rapid evolution of technology, automation and the internet has touched every aspect of our lives—from the way we communicate, to how we work and learn. So then why has public education stayed largely the same? And how can we expect our students to thrive in decades-old learning environments—while the world moves boldly forward?

These questions (and so many more) have spurred a new wave of thinking that’s transforming public education in our city, from the ground-up. The Academies of Lexington are small learning communities within Fayette County Public Schools that allow all students to connect what they’re learning in the classroom with real-world applications.

As a partnership between Fayette County public high schools, students, families, educators, businesses, and community partners, the initiative offers students an educational experience that’s as innovative, immersive and engaging as the world around us. Through new approaches to deeper learning and a more personalized educational experience, Academy students graduate high school ready to find their future path to success.

Frederick Douglass High School, Bryan Station High School and Tates Creek High School are the first schools in the county to join the movement, igniting a deep interest in the community to learn exactly what the buzz is all about.

Here are just a few ways that Academies are doing education differently:

  1. Students receive a more personalized educational experience in small learning communities

Academies students realize their potential in tight-knit learning communities where they can learn and grow, surrounded by peers and teachers who know and cultivate their strengths. Small learning communities allow both students and teachers to have a voice, and more closely collaborate on projects.

  1. Hands-on, project-based learning offers more relevant, engaging experiences

With project-based learning (PBL), students are the star of the classroom as teachers facilitate more meaningful, hands-on projects built around the needs of today’s ever-changing world. In addition to offering deeper learning experiences, research has shown that PBL increases students’ motivation and positively impacts students’ achievements.

  1. Students are better prepared for life after high school

Academies improve collegiate and workforce readiness by helping students develop skills like a strong work ethic, problem solving abilities, personal presentation, collaboration, creativity and responsibility. By exposing them to a variety of industries, creating opportunities for college credits, internships and industry certifications— Academies students graduate high school ready to make more informed decisions about their future.

  1. Academies build a better workforce and stronger community in Lexington

By more fully preparing students for life after high school, Academies are building a better workforce—which in turn will draw new businesses to our city, making Lexington a better place to live, learn, and work.  The initiative also offers a unique way for businesses to give back to the community while helping generate a supply of talented workers who are ready to fill the roles that are most needed by local businesses and industries.

The Academies of Lexington are built on the framework developed by Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL), which has been helping transform education in communities across the country for over a decade.

Not only does an Academy education help students discover their passions and connect what they’re learning in the classroom to the real-world—it delivers real, big-picture results for families and communities, including:

  • Increased high school graduation rates
  • Increased academic achievement
  • Improved preparation for college, careers and life
  • Increased earning potential
  • Strengthened talent pipeline
  • Increased number of students graduating from high school with industry certifications and college credits

Learn more about what each Academy has to offer, and discover how you or your student can get involved by visiting