The term academy has historically been used to describe private schools or semi-private schools (such as schools that receive partial funding from a state or town), but more recently educators have used the term in reference to three common reform strategies: (1) “smaller learning communities” (a strategy that reorganizes students into smaller groups within a school); (2) teaming, a strategy that groups students with a designated team of teachers for a year or multiple years; and (3) theme-based academies, or educational programs that are built around a specific academic or career theme. In some cases, the term “academy” may be used to describe a professional-development experience for educators—e.g., teachers may participate in a one-week “summer academy” that provides training in a specialized instructional technique.

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