Inside the SWARM
Hillside provides a comprehensive instructional program to meet the demands of its students. The school offers a wide range of Advanced Placement courses and the International Baccalaureate Programme. The Science department maintains an active relationship with several Research Triangle facilities. The school is also the site for a specialized Business and Finance Academy. Students may study electronics, engineering, and child care through the Workforce Development courses, as well as traditional business classes. Highly specialized or advanced courses which may not be available to most high school students are taught electronically through the Distance Learning Lab and the Virtual High School. The Arts Department enjoys a fine reputation, and Hillside students have performed nationally and internationally. For the most part, classes at the school follow a block schedule, although a few specialized classes are on a modified block schedule.
Business & Finance Academy
Students enrolled in the Hillside High School Business and Finance Academy are a part of the National Academy Foundation (NAF). The NAF has 546 academies in 178 districts and is located in 39 states. The academy has a 97% graduation rate of which 84% of the students go on to college. The NAF is a leader in the movement to prepare young people for college and career success. For 30 years, NAF has refined a proven educational model which includes industry-focused curricula, work-based learning experiences, and business partner expertise in its five themes: Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences. Employees of more than, 2,500 companies volunteer in classrooms, act as mentors, engage NAF students in paid internships and serve on local Advisory Boards. During the 2012-2013 year 4,654 internships were completed.
The Hillside High School Business and Finance Academy provides a model academic program, which focuses on a concentrated study of the financial services industry. This program is one of several established to promote educational excellence. Specialized courses in finance, on-the-job summer internships and numerous enrichment activities give students the opportunity for an in-depth study of financial services. This facilitates the transition from high school to advanced training programs and eventually to careers in banking and finance or related fields.
Banking and Credit, Computerized Accounting, Principles of Business…these are just some of the courses that Hillside High School Business and Finance Academy students take to start their journey toward financial careers. A new partnership with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is boosting the program toward strengthening relationships with the financial world.
At the start of the 2007-08 school year, school leaders announced a new partnership that significantly enhances the Hillside Business and Finance Academy. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (www.aicpa.org) is the national, professional association of CPAs, with more than 350,000 members, including CPAs in business and industry, public practice, government, and education; student affiliates; and international associates. AICPA is providing volunteers and organizational resources to help invigorate the Hillside High School curriculum. AICPA is recruiting volunteers and mentors from the local area to assist students and teachers with classroom needs. One way in which volunteers will help teachers is by reviewing and updating the current curriculum with the latest finance and accounting course materials. Lastly, AICPA plans to stimulate the academy’s program and curriculum by working closely with the teachers and staff to encourage students to explore careers in accounting and improve their financial literacy.
In 2012 the Business and Finance Academy rejoined the National Academy Foundation.
Benefits of Partnership
The AICPA is very excited for the opportunity to partner with Hillside High School to help build on the continued success of the Business and Finance Academy by providing professional lectures, classroom projects, teacher mentoring, job shadowing, and other projects. The goal of this partnership is to help build the Business and Finance Academy into a premier and self-sustaining program for Durham Public Schools, which will help students achieve academic excellence in accounting, finance and general business topics.
A strong Business and Finance Academy will help promote Hillside High School and help the community by instilling a strong understanding of important business topics into students from Durham. Many of the current students in the program are excited about going to college and returning to the Durham business community upon graduation.
The partnership also benefits the AICPA’s goal of elevating the understanding of accounting and personal finance among these students, as well as among their families and peers. The AICPA also hopes that this partnership will inspire students to pursue an accounting degree and become a CPA.