Academy adjustments told for HVA

In conjunction with Knox County Schools’ 865 Academies announcement Thursday, Jan. 26, Hardin Valley Academy hosted its first Pathways Recruitment Fair.

HVA is one of eight high schools county-wide that elected to initially participate in the 865 Academies program, joining Farragut, Bearden, Fulton, Karns, L&N STEM, Austin-East, Knoxville Central and Fulton.

While HVA, which opened in August 2008, already had academies and participating pathways — and did not change them — the program “has undergone some tweaking,” said Ashli Beeler, HVA Academies coach.

“There were some aspects we needed to work on,” she added.

Beeler noted the program “is also about making big schools smaller and more personalized.”

HVA’s 865 Academies are Business and Law, Health Science, Liberal Arts, Communications and Design, and STEM.

HVA freshmen students will be choosing their pathways in the coming weeks, which they will pursue during their sophomore, junior and senior years.

The Jan. 26 pathways recruitment fair was set up by upperclassmen, specifically for the school’s freshmen class (Class of 2026). Beeler said the event was “very successful,” adding, “It was one of the top events I have ever been associated with.

“Upper-level students manned booths to share information about the different pathways that are offered. Tables were set up for each of the pathways, and students were able to hear from other students just what will be offered, which is really important.”

Being student-driven “was also important, too. Seeing them sell the programs in which they were already participating was really awesome,” she said. “For example, the architectural group brought in their designs they had been working on.”

Beeler, who started at HVA in 2010 and has worked as a school counselor and in administration before moving into her new role, said she “loves” what she is doing now.

“It is very rewarding, helping our students see what they might want to pursue as careers,” she added. “I like seeing our kids doing what they enjoy.”

In addition to working with the students, Beeler said coaches also serve as liaisons between schools and industry partners.

“Industry partners will be a big part of the process going forward,” she said

According to information provided by Knox County Schools, “The 865 Academies initiative is designed to prepare students for success after graduation by building strong connections between classroom knowledge and workplace success.”