Florida: Andrew Jackson High School of Advanced Technology

Jacksonville, FL (Duval County Public Schools)

Andrew Jackson High School used to be known for high truancy rates, low graduation rates, and poor academic performance. That was before it evolved into the Andrew Jackson High School of Advanced Technology, a school with dedicated magnet programs for video game design, applied cybersecurity, computer systems and IT, and more. Now students are excited about their classes and the school has a 94% graduation rate.

At Jackson, digital learning helps students build confidence, develop creative and critical thinking skills, and prepare for college and careers in technology and business. In the school’s video game design magnet program, students learn everything from game design theory to animation and sound engineering. In the cyber security magnet program, they learn how to hack into simulated corporate networks and how to protect networks from hackers and viruses. (They also learn about ethics and sign a pledge not to use their newfound skills for nefarious purposes.) Other classes, programs, and internships with local companies offer students opportunities to learn about artificial intelligence and work on unmanned aircraft systems.

As students are developing their tech skills, they’re also often getting their certifications in various software programs (Adobe Creative Suite, Java, Oracle, and others) – and some even graduate with an associates degree.

Source: The Florida Times-Union