Baldaia emphasized that the academy will have a well staffed department whose job will be to guide students toward careers in their chosen fields. Part of his job is marketing the academy, and one of his goals is to gain the support of business and industry, as well as post-secondary schools.
“We will need partnerships,” he said. “We are establishing a formal campaign” for equipment and supplies.
Entry-level students will focus entirely on academics; the only technical training they will receive is in computer applications. Technical training begins in their second year. “That’s when they will connect with their career mentors,” he said. Students will have four years of “rigorous” mathematics, he said, adding that “science and math are crucial.”
The school, approximately 350,000 square feet in area, is being constructed on 45 acres. In the printing disciplines, Baldaia said, there will be 20 students in each grade for each of the printing processes. (The academy is named for the late Philip O. Berry, a Charlotte area banker and member of the board of education.)