Baldwin Prep reaches capacity for first year

Posted 4/10/24

Baldwin Preparatory Academy, the county's new "middle-college concept" launching this August, has already filled its roster for the upcoming school year with 800 students currently enrolled.

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Baldwin Prep reaches capacity for first year


Baldwin Preparatory Academy, the county's new "middle-college concept" launching this August, has already filled its roster for the upcoming school year with 800 students currently enrolled.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors across Baldwin County will head to Baldwin Prep looking to find early career development in fields ranging anywhere from automotive engine repair to culinary arts, aided by a litany of industry partners within the region. Seniors will attend half a day, receiving a diploma from their base school. Following the introductory class, all students will be able to obtain their diplomas from Baldwin Prep without a base school — which will then only be necessary if the student wants to participate in extracurricular activities like athletics and band, since they will not be offered at the academy.

Enrollment is expected to increase after the first year, according to Baldwin County Public Schools (BCPS).

"This is a game changer," Superintendent Eddie Tyler said. "Not only for Baldwin County students, but for the region. Anyone can come from outside of the system and apply for a waiver to come to the school from other counties, and we'll accept them if they meet all of the criteria."

According to Chasity Riddick, BCPS communications coordinator, the academy's health science program currently has the highest enrollment, followed by cosmetology and welding. Other areas of study available include diesel repair, construction, aviation, HVAC/plumbing and electrical, mechatronics engineering, cyber security, graphic design and teacher cadet academy. Baldwin Prep has already held each of its seven mandatory parent meetings. If a student or parent has failed to both attend and make contact with the school, they will be dropped from enrollment in favor of a student on the wait list.

BCPS has yet to release its breakdown of students by school given those numbers are set to change, however, every high school in the district will be represented at Baldwin Prep. Leading industry partners set to help guide students into career opportunities are Novelis, Infirmary Health and D.R. Horton. In addition, every field listed has an industry partner or someone in the industry interested in helping the students, according to Principal Adam Sealy. Tyler clarified that these partnerships could range from instructional assistance to financial aid.

"When young people come out of high school, they still don't have an idea of what they want to pursue," Tyler added. "That's why statistics show that a large percentage of kids drop out of college or complete college and struggle to find a job. ...You'll come out now and have an idea of your career path. (Baldwin Prep) is not only just for industry. Say you want to be a doctor. We're going to have a state-of-the-art biomedical facility. You could go three years in the biomedical field at the academy, go to whichever college you choose and then enter med school."

This idea came to life in an effort to enhance the county's career technology education, given outdated buildings at North and South Baldwin Center for Technology. The Delaware Area Career Center in Delaware, Ohio, served as a significant source of reference for the concept. The first of its kind in the Southeast, Baldwin Prep will have students wear industry recognized uniforms, use collaborative and pod learning spaces, participate in weekly team meetings, attend gatherings with industry stakeholders and relate all core material to its career development initiative.

As of April 2, Baldwin Prep is back on schedule for completion, according to Tyler. BCPS expects all facilities and maintenance to be finished by July 1 with its final inspection coming by the end of the month, prior to the highly-anticipated August opening.