The $14.5 million Cobb Innovation and Technology Academy, an addition to Osborne High School, is set to welcome students during the 2020-2021 school year, provided classes return to school buildings in the district amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cobb School District broke ground on the project at 113 Windy Hill Road in Marietta shortly after it approved the construction contract in March 2019. It was scheduled to welcome students in the fall of 2020, but the district opted to start classes for the entire school system online-only due to the spread of COVID-19.
The academy will function much like the district’s magnet programs, but will be “more geared to preparing students for a career tech pathway, according to Nan Kiel, a school district spokesperson.
“The students who attend will be even more equipped to start successful careers after high school or further their training at a technical school or college,” Kiel said.
According to the district website, students at CITA will be able to earn industry career certifications and fee dual credits to put toward an associate degree. They will also receive on-the-job training for work that will allow them “to earn as much as three to five times the minimum wage” after graduating from high school.
The academy offers 15 career pathways in the three categories of emerging technologies, maker industries and health care and community services. Students can study cyber security, energy, surgical technology, emergency medical response, carpentry, masonry, plumbing, automotive, electrical and more.
Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said all classrooms in the district aim to prepare students for their future career or college experiences, but the academy will focus on training them for high-demand jobs now and looking forward.
Kiel said the academy will allow students from across the district to sharpen their science, technology, engineering and math skills, as well as earn industry-recognized certifications. The building has a capacity of 500 students, she said.
“CITA is a state-of-the-art learning environment and a tuition-free academy for 9th-12th graders, designed to prepare students to lead tomorrow’s workforce,” the district wrote on its website.
Cobb Innovation and Technology Academy students will be full-time Osborne students, Kiel said, and it is open to any rising ninth grader in the county. CITA students will participate in extracurricular activities, like athletics, at Osborne. There is no charge for tuition, and the district provides bus transportation for all students in the county, just as it does for magnet programs at Wheeler, Campbell, South Cobb, North Cobb, Pebblebrook and Kennesaw Mountain.
An application to attend CITA is available on the magnet application website, and students must submit applicant information, educational history and a personal statement. The application does not call for grade point average, test scores or behavioral history. In 2019, the application opened on Oct. 1 and closed on Dec. 2. Students received their admission decisions on Feb. 14, 2020, and had to turn in their decisions on March 16.