Current ACES classes to be revamped, gain new focus

ACES teacher Eric John explains Green Tech’s programs to families. Green Tech was introduced at the annual Academy Fair last week.

Savannah Garza

ACES teacher Eric John explains Green Tech’s programs to families. Green Tech was introduced at the annual Academy Fair last week.

During the coming school year, Akins will say goodbye to the Agriculture, Computer, & Engineering Sciences Academy (ACES) and hello to Green Tech.

The name of the academy is based on the growing industry of green technology that is becoming more in demand as people are increasingly forced to live in a more eco-friendly manner.

The change is being spurred by the new graduation requirements and endorsement plans mandated by the Legislature when it passed House Bill 5 last year. The law has pushed Akins administrators to move the computer related courses that ACES used to offer to the New Tech Academy, creating an opportunity to develop new majors for students.

“The ACES academy is just going to lose the ‘C’ in its name, which is going to be moved to the New Tech academy,” ACES assistant principal Pamela Gray said.

Green technology is basically technology centered around natural resources that do not harm the environment like, for example, biofuels. This industry will reduce the need for fossil fuels that harm the atmosphere thus helping the environment.

According to a November 2013 article in the Austin American-Statesman, “Texas is one of the top states in the country for clean-energy jobs” and “is a nationwide leader in creating such jobs.”

“ACES is changing with the trend of today’s market,” said academy coordinator Kenyatta Williams. “As technology evolves, so have we.”

Through this change, there will also be new majors and electives. There will be five majors in the Green Tech academy: Veterinary Assistant, Horticulture, Energy & Natural Resource Technology, Environmental Specialist, and Park Ranger Cadet.

Some of the new electives that will be available are: Wildlife, Fisheries, and Ecology Management, Environmental Systems, Advanced Environmental Technology, and Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.

Because this is a new, growing industry, there has been a couple of colleges that have been opening up locally that focus on green technology. One of them is opening up this June and is named Eco Tech Institute.

By exposing students to this industry at a young age, more of them will become interested in a career in the Green Tech field, which is expanding throughout the country.

“I am excited about the changes because it is a great opportunity for students to get exposed to a new industry that is going on right now,” ACES science teacher Ashley Gahan said.

With the new changes, students will not only be receiving a great education in the field but will also be introduced to a variety of opportunities like new internships that are going to be available, Gahan said.

Throughout the following years as the academy grows “we hope to bring in more students into the environmental sciences,” Gray said.