Academies

Oakland Tech is home to five academies — Health, Computer, Engineering, Fashion, Art & Design, and Race, Policy & Law — vibrant, challenging and supportive small learning communities that prepare students for college and career success.

Academies create experiences for students that are personally relevant and engaging. Each one brings together strong academics, demanding career technical education, real-world experience and integrated student support systems. Academies begin in 10th grade and continue through 12th. Students apply to academies in the winter of their freshman year. Tech also offers an array of programs, including Paideia, that, in many instances, may be taken in conjunction with a pathway.  

Academy Overviews

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Frequently Asked Questions 

What grade levels can enroll in the academies/pathways?

Academies are open to 10th – 12th grade students. Most students join in 10th, but if there are open spots, students can join in 11th.

What are advantages of taking an academy course?

There are three main benefits:

  1. Meaningful Career/Work-based Learning Experiences: eligible academy students have the opportunity to participate in career-related courses, internships, mentorship programs, field trips and other meaningful experiences in the local business community.
  2. Cross-curricular Collaboration: Academy teachers work together to plan thoughtful overlaps across classes, creating cross-curricular projects and units.
  3. Teacher Driven Student Supports: Academy teachers share students, so they are able to meet and discuss how to best support students who might need interventions or additional challenges in class.
Can students join an Academy and be in Paideia? 

In 10th grade, some academies do — and some do not — allow students to take Paideia:

  • Academies that allow overlap: Computer Science, Engineering and FADA.
  • Academies that do NOT allow overlap with Paideia: Health and Race, Policy & Law
    • These academies do not allow overlap with Paideia because they have spent a great deal of time thoughtfully crafting an English curriculum that supports and deepens the work that students engage in across the academy.
Can I enroll in an academy and other AP/HP courses? 

Yes! With careful planning between the student, their family and the school counselor, students can enroll in AP/HP classes in addition to their academy. The academy director/counselor may also be consulted to assist the student and the family to plan an appropriate schedule.

What is the process for applying to an academy?
  1. All students participate in academy outreach events throughout January.
  2. Applications are available at the end of Academy Week.
  3. Students rank their preferred top three academies.
  4. A list of interested students are given to academy directors and invitations for academy interviews will be given to students.
  5. After the interviews, a committee composed of academy directors and teachers will meet to review the student information. Factors considered may include grades, life experiences, recommendations, extracurricular activities, and responses to personal statements/questionnaires (as part of the application).
  6. By mid-February, students will then be notified about their placement in an academy and will be given the forms needed to complete the process
Do I have to join an academy?

All students are required to apply and are encouraged to go through the process. We believe that being part of a small learning community with a focused, engaging curriculum helps ensure that student learning is successful. That said, students are not required to join academies.

We highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunities that academies have to offer. Field trips, internships, mentorship programs are just a few of the exciting possibilities!

Who can I contact if I have more questions about this process or about a specific academy?

Please reach out to the Pathway Coordination Team at pathway-coordination-group@ousd.org.  

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