High School Reimagined: Where Rigor Meets the Real World

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, in partnership with Polk County Public Schools, Tenoroc High, and non-profit organization Lakeland Leads, announced in the Fall 2022 the launch of Junior Achievement’s 3DE model at Tenoroc High.

Junior Achievement’s proven 3DE high school model fully prepares today’s students for the demands of tomorrow’s economy.

“Through our 3DE program, students are learning how to tackle real world problems and issues facing businesses,” said Jason Looney, principal of Tenoroc High. “This is an exciting opportunity for students to bring together many different disciplines into a common goal. They must conduct research, draw upon their creativity, work effectively as a team, and hone their presentation skills.”

Every four weeks, students break into teams to explore a specific business-related case challenge. For instance, students recently investigated how a national restaurant franchise could appeal to a younger demographic, thereby expanding its potential customer base.

Students must develop solutions and a proposed course of action. The final step is to present their findings and recommendations before a group of business partners, community leaders and educators. These stakeholders select an overall winner, and also share valuable feedback with each team. The main objective is to improve students’ knowledge and provide them experience in critical thinking.

“Tenoroc students are getting an amazing glimpse into how businesses must adapt to ever-changing conditions to be successful,” said Fred Heid, superintendent of Polk County Public Schools. “Strategic planning and problem-solving skills are invaluable for anyone entering the workforce. We are grateful to all of our partners for making this innovative learning model possible.”

United around the belief that equitable access to high-quality education is the lever to economic mobility,3DE is re-engineering traditional curriculum to be more experiential and to better reflect the real world. By integrating relevant content, interdisciplinary pedagogy, entrepreneurial thinking, project/problem-based learning, and authentic workplace experiences, 3DE schools empower students to achieve greater economic opportunity.

“Working with Lakeland Leads in partnership with the Polk County Public Schools, and Tenoroc High has allowed us to bring 3DE’s transformative capabilities to Tenoroc High and build on the established success of the 3DE model,” said Shauna Dykes, Regional Director of Junior Achievement Tampa Bay Inc. “By connecting education to real-world concepts through 3DE, we aim to improve students’ appreciation for academics, give them the vision to see what is possible in the future and equip them with the skills they need to be 100 percent prepared for the real world.”

3DE sponsor, Lakeland Leads, a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage the business community in transforming our public schools, explains “This is an exciting development for Tenoroc students, parents, business partners, and PCPS stakeholders”, said Dr. Melody Rider, President of Lakeland Leads. “This unique program’s rigorous standards-based education and real-world authenticity enable innovation to work from the inside-out towards positive outcomes for the high school community and Polk County as a whole”.

About Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay inspired 47,438 students with more than 1,065,961 Instructional Contact Hours in 2021-2022 in the thirteen-county region.  Junior Achievement is a for impact, non-profit organization that delivers K-12 programming for entrepreneurship, financial literacy and career readiness including three capstone programs of JA BizTown and JA Finance Park and the new 3DE by Junior Achievement high school model.  For more information on the organization, visit jatampabay.org

About 3DE National

3DE by Junior Achievement is dedicated to expanding economic opportunity and economic mobility by re-engineering high school education to improve student engagement, accelerate academic outcomes, and develop competencies to excel in the future of work. 3DE schools are developed and sustained through joint venture partnerships with school districts, 3DE by Junior Achievement, and the broader business community. 3DE launched in Atlanta in 2015 and by 2024, aims to expand to 55 schools serving nearly 20,000 students. https://www.3deschools.org/    

About Tenoroc High

Tenoroc High is a 9th through 12th grade public secondary school in Lakeland, Florida established in mid-2008 with Ernest Joe, Jr. serving as the school’s first principal.  Part of the Polk County Public School system, Teneroc is home to 1,100 students with an average student-teacher ratio of 19 to 1. Tenoroc’s mission is to provide each student with a diverse education that promotes self-discipline, motivation, and excellence in learning. http://tenoroc.polk-fl.net/

About Polk County Public Schools

PCPS is among the 30 largest school districts in the nation. Total enrollment is more than 110,000 students. The school district– located in central Florida between Orlando and Tampa — operates with an annual budget exceeding $2 billion and encompasses more than 120 school sites. PCPS has nearly 30 certified or model career academies and is a destination for school districts around the United States interested in learning about and applying the academy model. Students can also take classes through International Baccalaureate programs at two high schools, four middle schools, and three elementary schools. In addition, PCPS has expanded opportunities for students to pursue an accelerated method of academic study offered through a division of the University of Cambridge.

Melody Rider, Lakeland Leads, Shauna Dykes, Junior Achievement, Jessica Meredith, Junior Achievement, Jason Looney, Principal Tenoroc High School, and Steve Cochran Polk County School District.