Baptist Health Partners with Little Rock Southwest Magnet High School for Medical Sciences Academy

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Academies of Central Arkansas announced the establishment of the Baptist Health Academy of Medical Sciences to be located at Little Rock Southwest Magnet High School. This academy partnership between Baptist Health, Little Rock Southwest, and the Little Rock School District is a core foundation of the Ford Next Generation Learning model of teaching and learning being implemented in public high schools throughout Pulaski County.

Scholars in the Baptist Health Academy of Medical Sciences will benefit from enhanced learning opportunities throughout their four years at Little Rock Southwest.

In the upcoming school year, freshmen scholars will experience career exposure through classroom speakers and guest lecturers and will attend an event where Baptist Health and other central Arkansas businesses will showcase career opportunities. Sophomore scholars will tour Baptist Health locations throughout our region to view firsthand different aspects of the healthcare industry. Junior scholars will then be provided job shadowing opportunities. Baptist Health and Little Rock Southwest will develop capstone projects and internship opportunities for senior scholars in the 2023-24 school year.

Additionally, Baptist Health will provide Southwest curriculum and credentialing advice, mentorship and expertise on project-based learning embedded into coursework in both core academics and career classes. Baptist Health representatives will guide the creation of a regional industry council and school advisory board and provide needed equipment and financial resources for the implementation of the Medical Sciences pathway of study.

“Baptist Health is thrilled to be a part of this innovative way to introduce more talented young people to health care.  This academy can help get students excited about a rewarding career in helping others and making our community healthier for generations to come,” said Baptist Health President & CEO Troy Wells.

The Academies of Central Arkansas is a joint initiative of the four public school districts across Pulaski County and our regional business community. In 2019, the Jacksonville North Pulaski, Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County Special School Districts, together with the five Pulaski County chambers of commerce and business and civic leaders began the implementation of Ford Next Generation Learning high school academies within all public high schools in the county, serving all students.

Little Rock Regional Chamber President & CEO Jay Chesshir said, “Our shared goal is to graduate Academy scholars who have the opportunity to earn concurrent college credit from a post-secondary institution and experience relevant learning while earning industry-recognized credentials and certifications which will propel them into a bright future – whether it be college, career, or both. The Baptist Health and Southwest partnership is the first example of how we’ll achieve that.”

As part of the commitment from Baptist Health, teachers at Southwest will have opportunities to participate in externships at a Baptist facility as part of their own professional development, dedicated prep time to collaborate across disciplines and access to professional learning communities with support from their peers, administrators, business experts and community leaders.

“On behalf of Executive Principal Xavier M. Hodo, Sr., and the Little Rock Southwest Magnet High School family, I would like to thank Baptist Health for this significant commitment – a monumental accomplishment that will be a game changer for students.  This partnership will allow teachers to tailor instruction and educational experiences to align more with student interests, which will aid in student engagement, high school completion, and preparation for college and/or career,” said Little Rock School District Superintendent Dr. Jermall Wright.

Implementation of the Academies of Central Arkansas will take several years to fully build out. Once completed, this educational approach will help transform high schools for all students within the four school districts. The Little Rock Regional Chamber is still actively recruiting business partners for Southwest and other Academy high schools. Businesses interested in getting more information can reach out to the chamber directly or visit


About Academies of Central Arkansas

The Academies of Central Arkansas is an initiative of the Little Rock Regional Chamber and utilizes the Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) Model of teaching and learning. It is being implemented wall-to-wall within all four public school districts in Pulaski County. The model transforms the public high school experience by blending core academics with career and technical education. Scholars see relevance and better engage with their math, science, English, and social studies when taught through the lens of an occupation or industry theme that interests them. This model connects scholars’ learning with real world applications, preparing them not only for college, but for career and life. For more info visit


About Baptist Health

For more than 100 years, Baptist Health has delivered All Our Best in health care through Christian compassion and innovative services. Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 250 points of access that include 11 hospitals; urgent care centers; a senior living community; over 100 primary and specialty care clinics; a college with studies in nursing and allied health; a graduate residency program; and access to virtual care anytime, anywhere. It is also the largest private not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, providing care through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


About Little Rock Southwest Magnet High School

Little Rock Southwest Magnet High (LRSW), a state-of-the-art high school campus covering 410,000 square feet of academic and athletic space, opened in the fall of 2020 to 2,000 students.  LRSW is the Little Rock School District’s first high school to be built in more than 50 years and is the new flagship high school for the state’s capital city.  Through the Academies of Central Arkansas, LRSW offers a freshman academy and career magnet academies that provide industry certification and/or college concurrent credit with Advanced Placement (AP) opportunities and real, relevant learning, preparing scholars for the global marketplace.


About Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL)

Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) applies a collaborative, community driven approach to transform the high school experience. Created and managed by Ford Motor Company Fund, Ford NGL promotes and supports a career academy model that uses community-connected learning experiences to engage students with the real-world problems and challenges faced by local employer partners. Ford NGL member communities form a network dedicated to preparing students for college, career, lifelong learning and leadership. Communities share best practices and experiences and support each other in a united effort to continuously improve, increase student achievement, foster workforce and economic development and make a positive impact on community prosperity. To learn more about Ford NGL please visit