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  • Writer's pictureShaElla Askew

Transforming Alabama Education: i3 Academy and Jefferson State's Historic Partnership

At New Schools for Alabama, we are dedicated to ensuring every child in our state has access to a high-quality education. Unfortunately, many children, especially those in marginalized communities, are denied this opportunity. We believe that public charter schools can be a powerful tool in addressing these disparities and providing Alabama's children with a pathway to excellence. We are excited to share some truly thrilling news that marks a historic milestone in our mission.






i3 Academy High School: A Game-Changing Partnership with Jefferson State Community College


We are proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership that will change the landscape of education in Alabama. Starting in the fall of 2024, ninth-grade students will have the unique opportunity to attend i3 Academy High School, co-located on the Jefferson State Community College campus in Jefferson County. This partnership is the first of its kind in the state and promises to reshape the future of education for countless students.


One of the most remarkable aspects of this collaboration is the potential it holds for students. Graduates from i3 Academy High School will not only receive their high school diplomas but will also have the chance to earn an industry-recognized technical certification, an associate's degree, or accumulate enough dual enrollment credits to seamlessly transfer to a four-year university as a junior. This comprehensive approach completes the cradle-to-college/career pipeline for our i3 students, empowering families with both school and college/career choices.


We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Jefferson State for their enthusiastic support and innovative thinking throughout this process. Their commitment to providing students with unparalleled opportunities is truly commendable.


A Partnership That Transforms Education and Workforce Training


Bham Now, a local media publication, aptly describes the significance of this partnership: "These new initiatives will transform the landscape of both workforce training and high school education in the Greater Birmingham Area. The Workforce Education Center will allow the college to expand training opportunities in a variety of in-demand skill trade areas for the community, and the new partnership with i3 Academy will introduce a new benchmark for education that provides exciting new pathways for high school students." (Quote by Keith Brown, President, Jefferson State)



The Workforce Education Center, situated next to the college's lineworker pole farm, will broaden training offerings in various in-demand skill trade areas for the community, including lineworker training, HVAC technician training, electrical training, and multi-trade crafts training.



i3 Academy's Vision: From Dream to Reality


Dr. Martin Nalls, Head of i3 Academy, expressed the school's vision: "Since the doors of i3 Academy Elementary opened in 2020, our dream has been to see our first class of fifth graders walk across the stage in their caps and gowns. Our partnership with Jefferson State goes beyond that dream by adding the benefits of dual enrollment courses and workforce preparation. i3 Academy graduates will leave the Jeff State campus prepared to be agents of change who will solve the problems they see in their world. We want to thank Jefferson State President Keith Brown and his team for their innovative thinking and collaboration in making this possible."


The expansion of i3 Academy will begin with 9th grade students during the 2024-25 school year and continue to add one grade each year until it becomes a full 9th-12th grade high school. The aim of the i3-Jeff State partnership is to create a kindergarten to college or career pipeline for i3 Academy students, offering multiple avenues for higher education or entering the workforce.


Unique Features of the Partnership


Here are some of the unique features of this remarkable partnership:



  • College-level classes will provide a solid foundation for associate's or bachelor degrees.


  • Graduates can leave high school with technical certificates, opening doors to lifelong, financially stable careers.


This partnership will create a culture of achievement, offering high-quality educational choices and new opportunities to students and their families.


Dr. Tommy Bice, Board Chairman of i3 Academy, summed it up perfectly: "Imagine an innovative, inner-city, public high school co-located on a college campus where students graduate with their high school diploma and an industry-recognized credential, and/or an associate’s degree, and/or enough dual enrollment credits to transfer into a four-year university as a second semester sophomore – welcome to i3 High at Jefferson State. Thanks to the imagination and willingness to challenge the boundaries of tradition and bureaucracy, the leaders of these two institutions, Dr. Martin Nalls and President Keith Brown, a new model of opportunity has been created, affording students and their families a first-of-its-kind high school and college experience in Alabama."


Don't Miss Out: Apply Starting October 1st!


If you want your child to be part of this incredible opportunity, the application window opens on October 1st. Apply on their website at i3Academy.org.


We are excited about the future that this partnership holds for the children of Alabama. Together, we can make high-quality education accessible to all, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive and succeed. Thank you to all our students, administrators, board members, community partners, and supporters who have joined us in celebrating this momentous occasion. The journey to a brighter future for our children has just begun.



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