Our Story

Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives...

Academic Innovations provides the nationally-acclaimed Career Choices curriculum, which has a proven track record of changing students' lives. Our cutting-edge programs are used in more than 5,000 school nationwide and have empowered students to reach and achieve their academic, career and life goals. Career Choices blends classroom technology, relevant professional development and mission-driven customer service to create an innovative educational program for all students. Through a series of learner-centered activities, students begin to see their dreams, aspirations, and goals in the context of a bigger picture.

Smart schools and colleges throughout the country are realizing that they have a moral and ethical obligation to not only teach students how to score an A on a test, but also to understand how coursework matters beyond the classroom. And as college completion rates are at an all-time low across the country, Career Choices is providing opportunities for students to create a road map to achieve their academic and career goals.

The Career Choices series mainstreams career guidance themes into the English, math, and social science classrooms. Beginning in the 9th grade, the program has been remarkably successful at motivating students to make high school meaningful and take their educations—and futures—seriously. Career Choices teaches students how to create a meaningful 10-year-plan, one that leads from success in high school and post-secondary training or college and into their adult careers.

Fueled by an unrelenting passion to help educators see every teenager through to self-sufficient adulthood, Academic Innovations delivers on its promise to be an essential partner to anyone in the throes of revolutionizing American education.

Success Stories

Cabrillo High School New Kirk High School Chaparral High School Granite High School Kern Union High School District Cherryvale Middle High School Cosumnes Oaks High School Hatch Valley High School McDade Jr. High School Orcutt Academy High School Pendleton High School Shafter High School Summit Charter Collegiate Academy Tenino High School Ygnacio Valley High School Woonsocket High School Dos Pueblos Senior High School McNair High School Arkansas City High School Indio High SchoolSilverado High SchoolEastern Oregon UniversityRahway High SchoolDATA from successful programs

Student Testimonials
"This class has helped me a lot because I learned that everything is gained by hard work. It helped me realize that all the rich and famous people didn’t get rich or famous by just sitting down and playing video games or using the computer, they got where they are now by studying and working hard."

Student Testimonials
"[Freshman Seminar] made me think that I could be somebody in life. When I was in middle school, I never wanted to go to college; I always thought it was a waste of time. But no, it is very important, and this class is not boring at all. I learned lots of things about life and it has changed me and I’m proud of that. Everything we do here is going to help us later on in our lives."

Student Testimonials
"Freshman Seminar isn’t like other classes. It doesn’t teach us fancy equations, grammar, or any scientific formulas... it teaches us about LIFE. Before I came to this class, I can truthfully say that I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I knew I wanted a family and a stable job that I loved going to, but I really had no idea about the steps it would take to get there. Now, I’m no longer going to be looking for a ‘job’ when I’m older, I’m going to be searching inside myself for what career is best for me."

Student Testimonials
"This class has really helped me figure out my values, strengths, and weaknesses. I love this class and I’m really learning from it. It’s really showing me how life really is and I think that in the next few months I will learn even more. It’s a really good idea to take this class freshman year to be prepared for the next few years."

Student Testimonials
"This class is beneficial because it helps you stay focused and keeps you on track. This class helped me a lot. It helps because of all the stories we read about people, how some are successful and how some are not. I think this class makes you really see the true meaning of life and that it’s not easy, and how hard you have to work to be where you want to be. All in all, I believe this class was truly a great amount of help."

Student Testimonials
"Freshman Seminar has helped me a lot. It has shown me how to make smart choices for life when I’m older. It’s a great class and it helps you think about what you want to do in life and where you want to be. It’s helping me figure out who I am and how I will get what I want in life. It’s a great class to be in and it helps in figuring out you and your life."

Student Testimonials
"Without this class I would probably get thrown out into the real world with no idea of how hard it is to take care of a family. I came into this class not thinking it would help me and I have found that this is my favorite class of the day. I think this is a really helpful class and I am extremely glad Indio High School has this program and I got to experience it with Mrs. Ruiz."

Student Testimonials
"Freshman Seminar has helped me realize how important school is and how its going to help me in the future. I set many goals for myself that require money and education. I planned to have a big house but when I found out how much it would cost I changed my plan to be more reasonable. I am currently working to raise my grades because they are terrible and that won’t help me in the future. My Freshman Seminar teacher, Mr. Adkins, has helped me learn that what I do or don’t do will affect my future, and I want to have a future that I can enjoy."

Student Testimonials
"The class also taught me that the choices I make now are going to effect me in the future, so I better make good choices so I can be the best I can be, so I can live the life I want."
Nassem Alwishah

Teacher Testimonials
"Many students told me that this was the first course that actually made sense to them."
Sue Butler, Branford High School

Teacher Testimonials
"Many students see a greater need to stay in school. Most were 'bowled over' by the budgeting chapter. I believe [the program] will markedly reduce our dropout rate in high school."
Veronica J. Hambacker, Iron Co. C-4 Junior High School

Teacher Testimonials
"We wanted to do something about the school’s academic culture starting with the freshman class. [In our second year,] we had a 38% drop [in freshmen with 3 or more Fs], and GPAs went up 15%."
Rudy Ramirez, Indio High School

Teacher Testimonials
"My students said this is the first English class that has been 'relevant' to their future needs."
Teresa Tidwell, Caruthersville High School

Teacher Testimonials
"Most of the time when students, even good students, complete high school they still don’t have a clear picture or focus about what they want to be or what their major should be. But students who come to college knowing what they want to be and having researched that are going to finish—and that’s huge. That’s why [Santa Barbara City College has made] the investment in the ninth grade course."
Dr. Diane Hollems, Santa Barbara City College

Teacher Testimonials
"The curriculum gave students good focus for the rest of their high school years and afterward. "
John Wolfe, Hardee Senior High School

Teacher Testimonials
"I've seen other curriculums, but Career Choices is the most comprehensive and integrated. The typical response I hear is, 'I'm glad we're doing something real."
Mike Blake, Nevada Union High School

Teacher Testimonials
"The first year, my biggest success was when students of different races found common ground and learned a language to talk to each other."
Susan Henneberg, Washoe High School

Teacher Testimonials
"This is a wonderful approach to teaching tolerance in an applied manner."
Sam Heatwole, Phoebus High School

Teacher Testimonials
"These are great materials to learn more about your students while they are learning about themselves."
Merideth Slusser, Vermillion School

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Meet Dain Blanton

Olympic Gold Medalist Dain Blanton works closely with Academic Innovations to inspire, educate and motivate students. Blanton's mantra of "life is what you make it," fits perfectly with Academic Innovations' goal of helping all students realize their potential.

In partnership with Academic Innovations, Blanton visits high schools around the country to share his story of perseverance, commitment and ultimate triumph to help motivate students to follow their dreams. Many of the students who participate in Academic Innovations' various programs have difficulty opening up and expressing their fears, concerns and life goals, but Blanton, through his sensitivity and ability to relate, consistently helps students overcome educational barriers and believe in themselves.

Dain Blanton Promo VideoZoom Dain's Journey to the Gold MedalZoom

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Latest News

Time to Change How Students Choose their College
McDade (TX) teacher recognized for Career Choices program
Regional initiative helps students pursue education, life goals
Researcher for GFSF evaluation elected to membership in the National Academy of Education
New career-focused class at Esparto High helps students find their passion
Mt. San Jacinto College leads the way to a bright future in class and at work
Santa Barbara Teacher Receives Award
Closing the rural-urban education gap: Editorial Agenda 2015
Eastern Promise Leader Dan Mielke Receives Prestigious "Edu-Preneur" Award
SBCC Hosts Conference Preparing High School Students For College
Olympic Medalist Speaks to Educators About Student Success
Effort to Encourage College Spreads in East Oregon
Cabrillo Freshmen Prepare for Future with Class
Santa Barbara Institutions Come Together to Change the Educational Paradigm
South High Wants Students Thinking Career Early
Teacher’s Passion Brings National Award
School Board Agrees on Value of Career Choices
Pendleton High School Receives National Innovation Award
Success 101 Readies Teens for School & Beyond

Press Releases

7,000 Students Navigate Future Careers at Cal Expo
Flipping the College Decision-Making Paradigm

Media Contact

Spencer Ricks

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