Future of Bearden academies starting to take shape, although detailed timeline still up to KCS


Ella Parker

Class changes look a little bit different with the freshman academy, and they will continue to evolve over the coming years as Bearden rolls out the full academy system.

The addition of the new academy structure has already made an impact on Bearden, but the full rollout of the system will be a lengthy process.

Freshmen have been taking a freshman seminar class all year to prepare them to choose an academy career path down the road.

But questions still remain for students and staff alike, as Bearden’s academy administrators work to closely follow the requirements and schedule of Knox County Schools central office personnel.

What are the different academies? When will students choose their academies? When will they be announced? How will the different academies affect the physical layout of the school?

Though detailed answers to those questions are still a few months away, Bearden administration has been working hard to prepare for those announcements.

“We are working on the county’s timeline,” said Mrs. Rebecca Nutter, the dean of the freshman academy.

It is likely that the academies will be announced by the first of the year; however, all KCS academy schools will make announcements on a similar schedule, so Bearden will have to first get the green light from the county before sharing all the details.

Bearden has already communicated to families that the academy selection process will revolve around elective paths that Bearden has.

Freshmen will start the academy selection process this week by using YouScience – a program that tests students using a mixture of science-based brain games. The initial goal of the YouScience process is to identify potential career paths for students that pair both their natural talents and interests. 

Academy administrators hope YouScience results give students a better idea of what path to choose. 

Some changes to the physical landscape of the school have already happened, and more are to come as the years go by.

What will that look like for current 10th, 11th, and 12th graders who will not enroll in a Bearden academy before graduation? How will that affect them for the rest of their time in high school? 

The upperclassmen will go to classes normally as in previous years; however, the school will not have designated hallways for each subject. Instead, classrooms will be organized by the different academies. 

“The whole idea is to have what we call co-location, meaning that [each academy] – just like the freshman academy – is all in one area that’s close together,” said Mrs. Kelley Darnell, Bearden’s academy coach. “These classes within these academies, these physical classrooms, will also be close together.

“If a teacher or a class is in a certain academy, they will be on that wing with that academy.” 

As of right now, it is hard for there to be a set timeline for the future of the academies. However, the names of the academies should be announced in early 2023.

The Bark and BBN will both continue to update the Bearden community as more information becomes available.