Baldwin Preparatory Academy plans detailed at Superintendent's Breakfast meeting

Posted 11/23/23

The South Baldwin Center for Technology was filled with community members and school system employees as the Baldwin County High School jazz band played holiday music in the background of the …

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Baldwin Preparatory Academy plans detailed at Superintendent's Breakfast meeting


The South Baldwin Center for Technology was filled with community members and school system employees as the Baldwin County High School jazz band played holiday music in the background of the quarterly Superintendent's Breakfast on Nov. 17, hosted by Superintendent Eddie Tyler.

This month's meeting was a special event, as it centered on the highly anticipated Baldwin Preparatory Academy, which is projected to open in August 2024. Adam Sealy, principal of both the North and South Baldwin Center for Technology and who will take over for Baldwin Prep at its opening, walked the audience through the plans and inspiration behind the new academy and answered several frequently asked questions regarding the new school.

According to Sealy, the current building that are used for career technology education (North and South Baldwin Center for Technology) are outdated, which prompted the idea to open a new state-of-the-art career tech school in a central location.

"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. "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 announced that 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, who 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 it's 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.

About Baldwin Prep
Per an August 2022 Gulf Coast Media article, the new high school will combine academics and on-the-job experiences for students in the career field of their choice. The state-of-the-art technical school, which is located in Loxley along Highway 59 on approximately 70 acres, will be the first of its kind in Alabama.

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 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."