Local Dignitaries Celebrate Opening of Decatur Career Academy

Decatur Career Academy to house DeVry Advantage Academy, DeKalb Technical College, providing associate degree programs to high school students

DECATUR, Ga., July 28, 2011

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle joined state and local school officials today for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Decatur Career Academy, a career-education facility at Decatur High School. Decatur Career Academy will open its doors for the 2011-2012 school year, offering students the opportunity to enroll in dual-credit programs through DeVry Advantage Academy or DeKalb Technical College.

The celebration, hosted by City Schools of Decatur Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Edwards and members of the Board of Education, featured a speaking program that included comments from Lt. Governor Cagle; Dr. Phyllis Edwards; Dr. John Barge, State Superintendent of Schools; Duane Sprull, Director of Career and Technical Education at Decatur Career Academy; and Chris Chavez, DeVry University Atlanta Metro President. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the new facility followed the speaking program.

“The dual enrollment program allows students to graduate high school on Friday and college on Saturday,” Cagle said. “This is the type of accelerated learning innovation that students want and need from a 21st century education. The partnership between Decatur Career Academy and DeVry exemplifies this model.”

In 2009, City Schools of Decatur was awarded $3 million from the state to open one of Georgia’s newest career academies for high school students. Career academies—partnering public high schools with nearby technical colleges—are an initiative of Lt. Gov. Cagle that began in 2007. Students who attend the academies can earn both high school and college credits.

“Decatur Career Academy offers Decatur High School students the advantages of dual enrollment and technical career training. We have many students in Decatur interested and ready to pursue a career in technology-related fields,” Edwards said.

The DeVry Advantage Academy program will operate within the Decatur Career Academy, providing students with an opportunity to earn an associate degree in health information technology during their junior and senior year of high school.

“The DeVry Advantage Academy model has seen tremendous success with our current programs in Chicago and Columbus. We’re thrilled to now offer this unique program to Decatur students interested in the fast growing field of health information technology,” Chavez said.

Within DeVry Advantage Academy, Decatur High School teachers will lead high school courses, while DeVry University professors teach college courses. After they graduate, students can enter the workforce or go on to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

DeVry Advantage Academy students will have access to all DeVry University facilities and services including libraries and laboratories, tutoring, mentoring, membership in student organizations and career/employment assistance. Students will not be responsible for tuition, books or charges for eligible courses.

The Decatur Advantage Academy is one of three similar programs in the country. DeVry created the first Advantage Academy in partnership with Chicago Public Schools under the leadership of then-CEO Arne Duncan in 2004. A second Advantage Academy program opened in Columbus, Ohio in 2006.

Students at Advantage Academy programs in Chicago and Columbus have achieved outstanding high school graduation and associate degree completion rates. More than 90 percent1 of students have earned their diploma and more than 85 percent2 of students have earned their associate degree.

DeVry Advantage Academy in Decatur is a product of DeVry Inc.’s relationship with America’s Promise Alliance, an organization founded by General Colin Powell to improve lives and change outcomes for children.

About City Schools of Decatur

City Schools of Decatur is an independent public school charter district that serves all of the children and youth within the four square miles of Decatur, Georgia. City Schools of Decatur has a total enrollment of approximately 3,150 students and operates a total of eight schools. CSD's mission is to challenge every student to succeed by providing a rigorous, engaging and authentic learning experience delivered by highly qualified, caring adults in safe and inviting schools.

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About DeVry University 

DeVry University strives to close society’s opportunity gap by preparing learners to thrive in careers shaped by continuous technological change. Founded in 1931, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs onsite and online within six areas of study: Accounting, Business, Healthcare, Technology, Liberal Arts, and Media Arts & Technology. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC, www.hlcommission.org/). The university’s Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. To learn more, visit devry.edu.

1Combined cumulative graduation rate from Chicago cohorts 2004-2007 & Columbus cohorts 2006-2008.

2Combined cumulative graduation rate from Chicago cohorts 2004-2007 & Columbus cohorts 2006-2008.

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