A look inside Baldwin Preparatory Academy

School board leads construction tour of imminent career technology school

Posted 12/12/23

LOXLEY — Gulf Coast Media was given an inside look at the construction progress of the new Baldwin Preparatory Academy, the highly anticipated career technology school scheduled to open in …

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A look inside Baldwin Preparatory Academy

School board leads construction tour of imminent career technology school


LOXLEY — Gulf Coast Media was given an inside look at the construction progress of the new Baldwin Preparatory Academy, the highly anticipated career technology school scheduled to open in Baldwin County this August.

Offering everything from automotive engineer repair to cosmetology and barbering, the school is designed to combine academics and on-the-job experiences for students in a career field of their choice.

According to Baldwin County Public Schools Superintendent Eddie Tyler, the district opened applications for the school last week and has already received over 1,000 applications from interested students across Baldwin County.

Tyler said the board will begin the application review process soon, and students will be considered based on a variety of factors such as grade point average and disciplinary record.

"It's going to be just like registering for school. They [students] will choose their first choice, and if that is full they will move to their second choice," Tyler said. "This is going to be a gamechanger for education, and I really in my heart of hearts hope that all of my administration are excited about this. It serves the children that are excited about this, and it's about what's best for this county."

While the school is currently only accepting children from within the county, Tyler said he hopes the academy will eventually have enough space to accept interested students from surrounding counties.

Tyler said construction on the $100 million school is currently on schedule and is expected to be completed in time for the projected opening of August 2024.

About the school
According to Adam Sealy, Baldwin Prep principal, the idea for the state-of-the-art school was prompted due to the outdated buildings that are currently used for career technology education (North and South Baldwin Center for Technology).

"Baldwin Prep will be what we are calling a 'middle-college concept,' meaning it is designed to bridge the gap between high school and college or the workforce," Sealy said at the Nov. 17 superintendent's breakfast event. "When a student graduates from Baldwin Prep, they will have a diploma and an associate degree from Coastal Alabama Community College."

Sealy also said the school will offer unique learning opportunities, as students will be required to build a portfolio of their work, attend classes in a large, open space as opposed to the traditional classroom and will attend frequent lectures from local technology industries.

"The students will complete projects each year and will be responsible for keeping up with a portfolio, attend class in a 'pod-space' and attend 'tech talks' weekly," Sealy said. "We will be treating school like an industry. The students will be referred to as 'employees' and will report to their teachers who will be titled 'managers.'"

Additionally, Sealy also said the school will offer bus pickup and drop-off locations across the county and will be sponsored by Novelis, D.R. Horton and Infirmary Health, which will be heavily involved in the lessons and will contribute speakers for the school's weekly "tech talk" program.

According to Sealy, plans for the school have been in the works for over five years, and the school board traveled around the country to observe similar school structures.

Specifically, Sealy said many of the ideas for the school came from the Delaware Area Career Center, in Delaware, Ohio.

"This is the first school if its kind in the Southeast, and we took a lot of our ideas from a similar school in Delaware, Ohio," Sealy said. "Especially the pod-space, which varies from the traditional four wall classroom. Instead, the students will be in a large, open room with all of their core teachers."

Sealy also said that despite the word "academy" in the school's title, there will be no tuition or fees apart from the standard fees at any school in the county.

"We are replacing lecture spaces with learning spaces," Sealy said. "A diploma from Baldwin Prep means that a student is ready for work. They may not have all the skills yet to become a skilled welder, but they will have the skills to learn how."

According to Sealy, the school will offer courses of study in automotive engine repair, diesel repair, construction, welding, aviation, HVAC/plumbing and electrical, mechatronics engineering, health sciences, cybersecurity, graphic design, teacher cadet academy, culinary arts and cosmetology and barbering. The school is scheduled to open in the August 2024.

Beginning in 10th grade, students who apply and are accepted will leave their feeder pattern high school and transition into Baldwin Prep to finish their high school education. Students will receive their core classes along with on-the-job training in the industry of their choice and will work in a simulated work environment as opposed to a traditional school schedule.

Unique features of the school will also include: wearing industry recognized uniforms based on their program pathway, participating in weekly team meetings, utilizing multiple collaboration spaces and pod learning spaces, attending meetings and demonstrations with industry stakeholders on campus, core classes in an applied manner and relating the subject materials to industry and career.

"This will be a game-changer for Baldwin County; for our students, for our schools and for the health of Baldwin County, for business and industry," Tyler said at the groundbreaking event in 2022. "All we've heard about for years is workforce is aging, somebody's got to do something about it. Well, Baldwin County is stepping up in a big way and doing something about it."