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AOFT Frequently Asked Questions

What is AOFT?

The Academy of Financial Technology (AOFT) is a four-year career academy affiliated with the National Academy Foundation (NAF). It is a smaller learning community in which a cohort of students have many classes together, academy courses in particular. AOFT curriculum introduces students to financial technology career possibilities though a series of career exploration courses. All courses use project-based learning techniques with an emphasis on strengthening literacy, project management, leadership, and team-building skills while fostering creativity and innovation. The curriculum is vetted by industry professionals to ensure content is current and relevant. Over the 4 years, we employ a work-based learning continuum of career awareness, exploration, and preparation including guest speakers, industry tours, internships, etc. We also have opportunities to develop our students’ career, college, and life readiness. 


Who is it for?

Cabarrus County Schools will have open enrollment for the upcoming school year, so any incoming freshman that lives in the Cabarrus County Schools district will have a school of choice as long as they are enrolled in an academy. Our academies are capped at 75 students per cohort.  


Does my student need to be experienced in finance or technology?

No. Students will learn skills in various courses over four years. Students should enjoy finance and using and learning about technology.


Is AOFT only for students interested in financial technology careers?

No. While many AOFT students are interested in finance and technology careers, the skills students will learn in AOFT are transferable to most any career choice.


How are students admitted?

A lottery is used to fill the spots with a maximum of 75 students. If more than 75 students apply, the lottery is used to determine the order of the wait-list. Students may be brought in from the wait-list over the summer before 9th grade if a spot opens.  The Cabarrus County Schools Program Choice office leads the application process. 


Why is a lottery used?

A career academy should be homogeneous to the school’s student population. A lottery is the most equitable method to achieve this. Interest in financial technology and grades are NOT a factor in admittance.


Can my student take Honors or AP classes in AOFT?

Yes. In core AOFT classes, such as English, Social Studies, Math, and Science, students will be in combined classes of academic and honors, depending on what level they are recommended for. Teachers will differentiate assessments for the academic and honors levels. Students will also be able to enroll in honors level courses throughout their high school career. Several of our AOFT required courses are Honors level. In 10th, 11th and 12th grades, students may take AP courses but they may not be AOFT cohort classes. Their AP selections include, but are not limited to, courses offered in English, Social Studies, Math, Science, World Language, Art, Computer Science and Computer Programming. Their course selection will not have any effect on their status in AOFT.


Can my student take other elective courses?

Yes. While AOFT courses are required in the four years, students still have the opportunity to take many other elective courses. AOFT courses (CTE) do meet the graduation requirement.


Is AOFT more difficult?

No. All courses follow the NC standard course of study. What will be different is the integration of technology into core classes, interdisciplinary approach/teaching, and project-based learning. Work-based learning and 21st Century Skills are also included in AOFT courses. AOFT students will have many projects that involve working in teams and giving presentations.


Can an AOFT student still participate in athletics or clubs?

Yes, AOFT students may participate in athletics and/or clubs that are after the school day. Students will be given the opportunity to participate in technical student organizations as well.


Are there any costs or fees to be in AOFT?

The Academy is free of charge. Students will have an option to purchase an AOFT shirt. We take advantage of work-based learning opportunities, so there may be costs for trips taken for transportation and/or registration for the events. The inability to pay any expenses will not have any impact on student participation in AOFT. Funding is available for these situations.


Can my student drop out of AOFT?

We expect to have a wait-list for enrolling in the AOFT Program. As a result, we expect students and their parents/guardians to seriously consider their decision to enroll because we expect a four-year commitment to the program’s responsibilities and requirements.

If a student and family is certain of exiting the AOFT program, a parent must email Kendra Glover, HRHS Career Development Coordinator, to discuss and begin the process of exiting the academy.  Be aware that if a student's zoned school is not Hickory Ridge High School, the student must be unenrolled from HRHS and enrolled at the zoned high school.