Sunset High School is launching a new Criminal Justice Academy in partnership with the Dallas Police Department (DPD).
Upon successful completion of the program, Sunset Law Academy graduates will meet all the educational qualifications to apply for a police officer position in DPD.
Sunset becomes the latest Dallas ISD school to formalize a law program towards an associate degree with law enforcement training. David W. Carter and Bryan Adams high schools already collaborate with DPD to produce police officers who can serve Dallas communities. With Sunset adding the law academy, this educational opportunity will expand to North Oak Cliff.
“Through the pathways program and collaborative efforts with our partners, we will be able to recruit, grow, and shape future public safety professionals that are dedicated to the core values of 21st-century policing, all the while contributing to the workforce development of the City of Dallas,” a DPD spokesperson said.
Sunset High School already offers early college opportunities in a wide range of career interests. Partnerships with Mountain View College and the University of North Texas at Dallas provides Sunset P-TECH students the opportunity to earn up to 60 tuition-free semester college hours upon high school graduation. The Sunset Law Academy adds a Criminal Justice emphasis to the existing Public Health and Teacher Education tracks offered at Sunset P-TECH.
“If you think about it, in the next few years we are going to have graduates from Sunset High School that are going to be willing and able to join the workforce, to become teachers, to serve in public health industry, or to join the police academy, if they choose,” said Claudia Vega, principal at Sunset High School. “It is rewarding for the community and the families because it allows them to change the trajectory of what their lives may look like.”
We spoke with Principal Claudia Vega, and Assistant Principal Jorriod Moore, about the Sunset Law Academy. Here are five things you should know about the new program:
What is Sunset Law Academy?
Sunset Law Academy will operate similarly to the P-TECH program. Students will have the opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and a two-year associate degree. Students will take high school courses while simultaneously taking college courses offered through Mountain View College. Through the partnership with the DPD, law academy students will have an opportunity to participate in work-study. Upon graduation, graduates will have an opportunity to be employed with DPD and begin a path towards becoming a police officer.
How did this program come to be?
Sunset has always had a law pathway and is currently under the school’s Public Service Endorsement. Throughout the year, Sunset law teachers introduce students to the criminal justice curriculum. During their junior and senior years, law students are eligible to participate in practicums and internships all over the city, such as the courthouses, police departments, and sheriff’s departments. The idea is to expose them to what a law career looks like in different fields.
When Dallas ISD and the City of Dallas started to partner to create a pipeline to build police officers, it was only natural to consider Sunset, because historically the school has had a strong law pathway.
Now, Sunset adds the associate degree piece to it, which elevates it to the next level. Mountain View College joins the effort by providing the students with an associate degree in a field of study in criminal justice. The industry partner, DPD, says, once they have completed and met those requirements, they are committed to employing them.
What happens after the students graduate with an associate degree?
Once the students earn their associate degree, they will become qualified for part-time employment, which would allow them to finish a four-year degree at another institution if they so choose. Once they reach the age of 19 ½, they would become eligible to enter the Dallas Police Basic Training Academy.
Who is eligible to apply?
Sunset Law Academy is open to all incoming 9th graders for the 2020-2021 school year. Students that reside both in the district and outside the district may apply for the Law Academy.
How to apply?
Parents and students who are interested in Sunset Law Academy should contact Sunset High School Law Academy Administrator, Mr. Jorriod Moore, at 972-502-1549 or Counselor, Ms. Sandra Soto, at 972-502-1543 for an application or more information. In addition, applications will be available on the Sunset High School Website: https://www.dallasisd.org/sunset