Marcene Newman has big plans for San Marcos High School’s Health Careers Academy.

As director, she can’t wait for the bond measure-funded new wing to be completed by fall, which will have classrooms, science and computer labs, a health technology room, a Health Academy office and a library/media room. Academy students will occupy most of the wing, which will replace several portable buildings on the campus at 4750 Hollister Ave.

So far, the budget is keeping class sizes down to about 35 students in each of the 10th, 11th and 12th grades, and Newman has to reject a handful of applications each year. She hopes to double enrollment once the academy has more space from the new wing.

During the three-year program, students get local internships, visit the UCLA Medical Center and take health-care classes that focus on giving them a strong career outlook. It’s funded by the Santa Barbara Unified School District and the Regional Occupational Program.

Decent grades and good attendance are essential for students getting in. In the health-care field, they have to be prepared to replace someone who’s been on their feet for 10 hours, so punctuality is vital, Newman said.

The Certified Nursing Assistant program at SBCC takes 15 academy students each year and San Marcos students have a 100 percent pass rate, which gives them both high school and college credits, Newman said.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District isn’t providing for the equipment or furnishings for the academy labs, so Newman is looking for $250,000 in donations as well as used patient care equipment.

The hospital beds, gurneys, blood pressure cuffs and mannequins don’t even have to be in working order, since they’ll just be used to teach students about them, she said.

Meet the other academies in the SBUSD:

Dos Pueblos High School, The Academy

The Academy at Dos Pueblos focuses on individualized attention to a student’s entire life to help them be successful. The students are assigned tutors, counseling, mentors and guided studies classes to help them navigate the world of high school and the real world after graduation. Grade-point-averages among Academy students rise to 2.39 from 1.41 after three quarters in the program, according to the school’s Web site.

The Academy, on the Dos Pueblos campus at 7266 Alameda Ave., has strong community and business partnerships to keep funding and mentor programs active.

Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy

Nationally recognized, the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy is the shining star of the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s academies. Started in 2002, students take three years of engineering courses in addition to their usual workload, which encourages advanced science and math classes. The robotics team competes in the international FIRST Robotics Competition and this month will be heading to the Long Beach regionals, where teams showcase their robots.

The Elings Center for Engineering Education is the academy’s new home on the Dos Pueblos campus, completed last fall with the help of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation, a who’s who of local high-tech industry heavyweights and community sponsors. The building has a computer room, a machine shop, prototype room and engineering classrooms and laboratories.

San Marcos High School AAPLE Academy

The Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment (AAPLE) Academy pushes students to take challenging classes and further engage through guest speakers, summer programs, studying abroad and preparing for college admissions. It’s designed to be a four-year program with 120 total students, but has 30 freshmen and 30 sophomores in this, its second year.

Santa Barbara High School Green Academy

Students with green thumbs can get involved in environmental classes, projects and clubs with Santa Barbara High’s Green Academy. They have access to SBCC environmental horticulture classes and a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum at the high school at 700 E. Anapamu St.

Multimedia, Art & Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School

In a three-year, career-focused program, students of Santa Barbara High’s Multimedia, Art & Design (MAD) Academy take art and technology classes for both high school and SBCC credits. They participate in internships and get engaged in the community through guest speakers, presentations and field trips.

Visual Arts and Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School

Students in Santa Barbara High’s Visual Arts and Design Academy have guest speakers in class, job shadowing and internships, artists-in-residence and partnerships with local colleges and art-related businesses. Students can take SBCC illustration and design classes for dual credit. VADA’s goal is to integrate advanced classes with art and design and support students in small classes with a “family-like environment,” according to its Web site.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at