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Career Academies

Career and Technical Education (CTE) provides students with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training
necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners.

What are Career Academies?

Heritage Southwest ISD CTE Department oversees and manages the Career Academies. The academies are structured
through partnerships with the four local districts (Cassopolis, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg, and Marcellus) in Cass County and
the ISD.
The academies provide 11th and 12th grade students an opportunity to participate in a CTE program. Most academies
are hosted at SMC and earn college credit in a planned program of study. Eligibility is determined between the high
school and ISD, and requires an application/contract between the student, high school, and ISD outlining the
requirements of the program. Tuition, books and fees for academy classes are paid by the local high school.
Students in the academies attend classes at their local high school for a part of the school day and their CTE Academy the
other part of the school day. If a student is taking part in work based learning the student will attend classes on certain
days and their worksites the opposite days.

Academy Philosophy

The academy philosophy emphasizes the importance of a planned program of study in a chosen career pathway for
participating students. These programs focus on career exploration not academic exploration.
Students follow a sequence of classes to help prepare them for a specific pathway as they continue to post-secondary
training or employment in their chosen field.

Students are provided a mentor that works with students and acts as a liaison between themselves, parents, school
district, and college if applicable. The mentor provides wraparound services including life after high school planning,
academic advising, grade monitoring, attendance monitoring etc.

Academy Advantages

● Head start on college
● Books and tuition paid for
by school district
● Focused course work that
is simulating real life career knowledge and skills
● Students often receive a certificate or credential in their
● Immediate job skills
● Growth in confidence and maturity
● Experience courses on college campus


If you are interested in participating in a Career Academy please contact:

Mikki Spagnoli, Director of CTE and Postsecondary Options, Heritage Southwest ISD
Erin Kucharski, CTE Coordinator, Heritage Southwest ISD


** These academies are courses hosted by SMC
**Course offerings subject to change



Academy Course Requirements