Two months ago, the Johnston County School Board voted to close the South Campus alternative school. Now the school building in East Smithfield has a new purpose.
School leaders have announced that South Campus has been selected to house the new Innovation Academy, as part of the school systems JoCo 2020 plan. The academy concept was first unveiled in March.
The Innovation Academy will serve as an opportunity for first generation college-bound students in the I-95 corridor. It will receive 100 middle school aged students per year for the first 3 years.
The school will be an innovative learning center for the students selected to attend but also a host site for professional development for teachers and administrators. Teachers will have greater freedom to test pedagogical strategies and investigate methods that embrace student input and choice. Students will have greater input in their learning.
The Laboratory Learning Center concept will serve a target population of middle school students along the Interstate 95 corridor. Students will have to meet similar high standards as the innovative high school programs to enroll and attend.
Chief Academic Officer Dr. Eddie Price said the sixth through eighth grade lab school will strive to have at least 90 percent of their students first generation college students in their families. Economically disadvantaged students will be targeted for recruitment. Each child enrolled will have plans to attend college.
Price said the South Campus was selected for the Innovation Academy over the West Campus wing because it can accommodate future growth.
After approving the Innovation Academy school, the school board also approved a new mascot name and design. The Pioneer mascot and design includes a hawk, the beloved school mascot of the original South Campus school.