Take a Look at 21st Century Academies (2min)

More Info about Overview Video

  • Watch a Spanish version of the video.

    Closed Captioning can be enabled for all YouTube video content, in multiple languages. After you click on the video link, select CC (close caption). Then click on settings > subtitles > auto-translate > and choose any language for subtitle translation.


  • "See How Innovative Your High School Education Can Be"

    In 1999, the district did extensive surveys and focus groups including businesses, parents, students and staff, about what 21st Century High Schools should look like. The feedback was for students to have a focused area of study in high school that provided world-class programs to teach skills and attributes that would "prepare them for their future."

    Focus groups agreed on these themes:

    • make classroom learning relevant to the outside world;
    • focus on the global workplace;
    • recognize the broad-based role of technology;
    • promote the importance of citizenship and character; and
    • provide flexibility of schedule and interactive instructional methodology.

    The 21st Century "Programs" began in 2003 with two at North and two at Northwest. A fifth academy was added at North in 2004. Four site-based programs were added in 2005 at South and East. And then another added in 2009 at North. In 2017, they were re-branded as the 21st Century Academies and in the fall of that year, six new academies were launched at West, South, and East. There are a total of 15 academies across the five high schools serving over 2500 students.

21st Century Academy Criteria

  • The Olathe Public Schools offers 15 unique and innovative 21st Century Academies for high school students. These academies are housed within the district’s high schools. These innovative, four-year programs allow students to build upon their interests and learn specific knowledge and skills they can apply towards their post-secondary experiences and career fields.

    • Student interest / passion centered around career pathways
    • Leads to varied post-secondary/career opportunities
      • Xello
      • Resumes
      • Individual Plan of Study (IPS)
      • Career searches
      • Post-secondary searches
    • 21st Century Academies logo 4+2 Year Individual Plan of Study (IPS)
    • Three-tiered endorsement
    • Industry standard / university level equipment
    • Essential employability skills implemented 9-12
      • Teach / practice / feedback
    • Capstone Project
      • Senior presentation
      • Culmination of four years of study
    • Cross-grade level interactions/co-curricular opportunities
    • Project-based learning/authentic learning
    • Work-Based Learning Experiences (WBLs) such as:
      • Connection with higher education, businesses, organizations
      • Mentorship opportunities
      • Community outreach
      • Competitions
      • Professional conference attendance / presentation / membership
      • Summer experiences
      • Market Value Assest (MVA)
        • Work experience (internship, client projects, research projects)
        • Certifications
        • College Credit and/or
        • Entrepreneurial Experiences
    • Advisory Committee
      • Comprised of persons outside the education profession who advise on the development and operation of the academy based on employment needs.
      • Meets minimally two times per year