West Florida High School for Advanced Technology Pensacola
Started in 2001 as a partnership with West Florida High School in Pensacola, Gulf Power Academy is a four-year curriculum, including traditional high school academic courses, which prepares students for a career in the electric utility industry.
The Gulf Power Academy at West Florida High School has been named the nation's "premier model" for Small Learning Communities, and has achieved a "Distinguished" rating from a national evaluation. Distinguished is the highest possible rating, and being named a premier model means that Gulf Power Academy will act as the template for others as similar programs are developed throughout the nation.
"This partnership with West Florida High School is not only helping to create the strong workforce that will be vital to meeting the future demands of our business, but is also a strong force for good in our community," said Susan Story, Gulf Power president and CEO. "We are extremely proud of the students and staff of the Gulf Power Academy and our own employees who helped develop Gulf Power Academy and who also give their time and energy to serve as mentors. This program not only allows students to graduate from high school with the necessary academic tools and technical training but also helps them develop the work ethic needed to be successful immediately."
Students who graduate from the Academy may choose either immediate employment with the company - if they qualify or post-secondary education in industrial electricity.
The Academy was evaluated against the National Standards of Practice for Small Learning Community. This standard, endorsed by the National Association of Career and Technical Education, has been developed as a model for high school reform. Research in the past decade has shown that small school programs along with outside assistance, multiyear resources and a support network enhance student learning and achievement.