OWENSBORO, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2015) – High school students in the greater Owensboro region can now receive specialized education in technical fields that compare to a college environment. Governor Steve Beshear today joined school officials and community leaders in celebrating the opening of the Owensboro Innovation Academy, located in Owensboro’s Centre for Business and Research.
A partnership between Owensboro Public Schools and Daviess County Public Schools developed the academy. It is currently in its inaugural school year with a newly admitted freshman class of 80 students.
“The establishment of the Owensboro Innovation Academy provides motivated high school students in the region with the resources needed to continue down technological, medical, engineering and entrepreneurial pathways,” said Gov. Beshear. “The academy will also have the opportunity to build a strong relationship with the Kentucky Innovation Network and its clients.”
The academy is a stand-alone high school employing project-based learning with a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and entrepreneurial curriculum. It is Kentucky’s first school affiliated with the national New Tech Network, a nationwide partnership of 134 schools across 23 states. Incoming freshmen from public schools in Owensboro, Daviess County, Hancock County and McLean County or home-schooled students are eligible to apply for the academy. Administrators use a lottery system for enrollment and plan to maintain about 100 students per grade level. Students reserve the option to take elective courses not offered at the academy at their home high schools.
“The school isn’t a traditional high school,” said Beth Benjamin, director of Owensboro Innovation Academy. “It’s more like a college experience.”
The academy’s location is essential as students will share the Centre for Business and Research incubator with technology-based companies that are clients of the Kentucky Innovation Network. Students must select a postsecondary pathway that engages them in a college-learning or career-oriented technical program. Those include:
- Computer Information Technology
- Life Sciences, Bio-Medical
- Industrial Engineering
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The Kentucky Innovation Network is an initiative of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship. The goals of the Office of Entrepreneurship are to develop an entrepreneurial climate in Kentucky, provide guidance and support to startups and assist existing small businesses with growth opportunities.
“The Network has been heavily involved in setting up the academy, and we couldn’t be more pleased to see it up and running. We’ve helped in developing the space, working with the faculty on common programs and the curriculum,” said Joe Berry, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Owensboro office. “It aligns with the Kentucky Innovation Network’s mission of educating and growing the entrepreneurial community.”
To learn how the Kentucky Innovation Network is helping create and grow Kentucky’s small businesses, visit www.kyinnovation.com.
“The Owensboro Innovation Academy will provide a wonderful opportunity for ambitious young minds in our community,” Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro. “With the ever-changing demand for advanced technical skills in our work force, this new school will better prepare students for their postsecondary education and, ultimately, high-paying jobs in the future.”
“The Owensboro Innovation Academy is a tremendous opportunity for the students who attend, and it is a great addition to our community’s educational system,” said state Rep. Jim Glenn, of Owensboro. “I want to thank Gov. Beshear for joining with us for this ceremony, and I appreciate the cooperative work of our local school districts in making it possible. This will pay dividends for many years to come.”
“The Owensboro Innovation Academy is an outstanding opportunity for our youth that is linked to nationwide recognition,” said Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne. “We are proud to house the first program like this in Kentucky at our very own Centre for Business and Research. The City of Owensboro looks forward to seeing what this program will do for our region.”
“Daviess County is proud to have a facility such as the Owensboro Innovation Academy located in our community,” said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. “The emphasis placed on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and teamwork will surely provide our students with the education they need to compete in a global economy in the 21st century.”
The New Tech Network (NTN) is a nonprofit organization that helps high school students gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life, college and the careers of tomorrow. It works nationwide with 134 schools in 23 states and Australia to provide services and support that enables schools to implement innovative high schools that promote deeper learning. New Tech schools create a rigorous and engaging high school experience that features project-based learning, use of technology and a positive empowering school culture. Learn more about NTN at www.newtechnetwork.org.
For more information on the Owensboro Innovation Academy, visit www.newtechnetwork.org/schools/owensboro-innovation-academy.
A detailed community profile for Owensboro can be viewed here.