Belton High School celebrates Ford NGL designation

Belton has been selected as the newest Ford Next Generation Learning community, and district officials led a celebration in the new high school Performing Arts Center last Friday. The Academies of Belton are now part of the internationally recognized Ford NGL national network supported by Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.


Ford NGL guides a collaborative network of communities in order to advance student, community, and workforce success. Ford NGL does so through the application of its proven blueprint. The blueprint includes a structured three-strand framework and a transformative roadmap. When implemented with fidelity, communities elevate and sustain the benefits of the career academy model which better prepares students for career, college, and life. Students leave high school equipped to compete and contribute successfully in the 21st century economy.


Belton High School freshmen participate in the Freshman Academy, which focuses on a successful transition to high school and provides an opportunity to explore individual interests, skills and aptitude All of this is in preparation to select a College/Career Academy and Pathway within the Academies of Belton. Once students make a selection, they will learn academics through the lens of a potential career, such as engineering, healthcare, technology or marketing. They will have the opportunity to participate in authentic work-based learning opportunities, job shadows, and other career exploration activities with regional employers.

Students will work closely with professionals in their field of interest, adding relevance to their studies and connecting classroom knowledge to success in the workplace.


In order to be selected as a Ford NGL community, Belton High School developed a five-year master plan to ensure that all high school students are learning in career academies and that the structures and processes are in place to engage local and regional employers and civic leaders to support and sustain the Academies. 


“This transformation of education in Belton has involved students, staff, and our community coming together to design an education that truly prepares our students for their future. The partnerships we have forged will help all students as they Navigate New Horizons,” said Stacey Yurkovich, Director of Academies.


Ford NGL communities have demonstrated success through higher graduation rates, increased academic achievement, lower dropout rates and industry certifications earned in high school. Districts in the Ford NGL network have shown increased student engagement at both the high school and postsecondary levels, developing more robust ties between educators and local employers, generating a stronger talent-development pipeline for high-demand careers and boosting community prosperity.


Through the Ford NGL process, districts and their communities become partners and align their resources to improve student outcomes and support the region’s workforce and economic development needs.


“Ford NGL research has proven that community ownership and accountability is just as important to educating our children as good study habits and hard work,” said Cheryl Carrier, Executive Director, Ford Next Generation Learning. “The Ford NGL partnership gives students and teachers a competitive edge that improves their chances for future success and will benefit the workforce and economic development needs of a region for years to come.”


In 2017, Ford Motor Company Fund invested more than $18 million in scholarships and other innovative education initiatives, such as Ford NGL.


NCH photo/ Angela Kraft Belton School District Superintendent Andrew Underwood, center, honors Director of Academies Stacey Yurkovich, right, during ceremonies last Friday at the high school’s new Performing Arts Center. Also pictured is Sara Jones, left, assistant superintendent of pupil services.


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