High School Academies, Signature & Recognition Programs

Academies, signature programs, and recognition programs provide focused instruction with high expectations, standards and unparalleled opportunities for academic achievement. Several programs are available to students countywide at the high schools listed.

Admission is by application, and enrollment may be limited. Typically, students who are not geographically assigned to these schools must provide their own transportation. For more information, see the Academies section in the High School Course Guide and talk with your school counselor.


Academy for the Fine Arts
Location: Governor Thomas Johnson High School
College-level instruction and an intense curriculum motivate and engage students, preparing them for college or a career in the arts or communications fields. The AFA program features advanced studies in music, theater and the visual arts. Students in grades 10, 11 and 12 are given the opportunity to gain knowledge and enrichment from field trips, concerts, plays, museum visits and interaction with professional artists, mentors and workshops.

Navy Junior ROTC (NJROTC) Academy
Location: Gov. Thomas Johnson High School
The NJROTC program encompasses strong academic course work complemented by extracurricular activities that foster the pillars of character and citizenship. Students in this program complete four courses in Naval Science in addition to their other academic course work.

Project Lead the Way: Biomedical Sciences
Location: FCPS Career & Technology Center
This dynamic 2-year program consists of four semesters of interrelated courses. The program allows students to do real-world science projects to prepare them for college and careers in science and medicine. This is a sequence of four courses preparing students for entry into two and four-year college programs in the biomedical sciences and technology.

Teacher Academy of Maryland
Location: FCPS Career & Technology Center
Students who are high school juniors and seniors are eligible for this program to explore the education field in depth through a range of authentic experiences, including working with an elementary, middle or high school teacher in a classroom. It is open to academically talented students with an interest in education, who exhibit the characteristics necessary to become a successful classroom teacher. Students who wish to participate in the Teacher Academy must complete an application, have a 3.0 or higher GPA, be enrolled in the University System of Maryland Completer or Dual Completer Program, have a 90 percent or higher school attendance rate, complete an essay explaining why they want to participate and have two teacher recommendations.

Signature Programs

International Baccalaureate Academy
Location: Urbana High School
This highly challenging 2-year curriculum leads to a qualification that is widely recognized by the world’s leading universities. The program requires studies in each of six "groups." Interested students should go to https://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/curriculum/ to access the IB Program information and application and talk with the IB coordinator and their parents/guardians before deciding whether to apply.

Leadership Program
Location: Oakdale High School
Leadership studies begin in the fall of a student's sophomore or junior year. The Oakdale High School Leadership Academy empowers tomorrow's leaders today, by equipping students with the skills and processes necessary to effectively lead in the dynamic world in which we live. Students will be actively engaged in leadership coursework that emphasizes the requisite skills for 21st century learners: technology, communication, world perspectives, problem solving and ethical decision making.

Pre-Engineering Program
Locations: Oakdale High School and Tuscarora High School
This program is for students in grades 10-12. They study a combination of science, math and technology courses over a three-year period. In addition to traditional course work, students are introduced to practical applications in the following fields of engineering: CAD, robotics, electrical systems, mechanical systems, hydraulics, pneumatics, structures, manufacturing, residential wiring, damage control, lasers and quality control. Hands-on experience is combined with classroom study to introduce students into the various areas of engineering.

Project Lead the Way – Pre-Engineering Academy (Civil and Aeronautical)
Location: Linganore High School (civil) and Walkersville High School (aeronautical)
This series of five courses emphasizing problem-solving applied logic, research and design introduces students to the scope, rigor and discipline of engineering before they enter college.

Recognition Programs

Cadet Advanced Placement Diploma (CAPS)
Location: Frederick High School
CAPS provides comprehensive Advanced Placement course curricula to challenge academically gifted and motivated college-bound students. Students who successfully complete six or more Advanced Placement classes and tests prior to graduation are eligible. The CAPS program begins during the sophomore year with an AP World History class that provides a college-level world history curriculum and class activities that prepare students for the pace and rigor of college instruction.

Deadlines for Application

Program Deadline for Application
All academies except International Baccalaureate

Feb. 15: Deadline
May 1: Late applications

International Baccalaureate Dec. 15
Signature Programs Feb. 15: Deadline

May 1: Late applications