Signature Academies


Coordinator: Mr. Christopher Edmiston, Signature Academy Coordinator 301-284-4626


The Signature Academies of Gaithersburg High School offer students a unique style of comprehensive secondary education. The academies foster and nurture academic success, professionalism and personal growth while preparing our students for a global tomorrow. The academies are designed to promote rigor and relevance and provide students with an opportunity to explore a variety of career paths by choosing courses related to areas of interest. In addition to the four career theme academies, Gaithersburg High School is the site of: the National Academy Foundation's Academy of Information Technology(AOIT); and, the nation's only student-operated trading room, in the Academy of Finance (AOF).

What is a Smaller Learning Community?

Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) are designed to create smaller schools within a larger school body. The academy structure nurtures the academic and career interests of students as they work toward graduation. The academies are inclusive and are designed to incorporate all learning styles.
To support students in the transition to high school, students begin their experience as a member of the Ninth Grade Academy. Students remain with a core group of teachers for a full year. At the end of 9th grade, students choose from one of four theme academies. All students, regardless of which academy they choose, will take core courses required for a Maryland High School Diploma and will have the opportunity to participate in Honors and Advanced Placement programs. To graduate from a themed academy, students are required to take three or more credits of coursework in their selected academy.
Smaller Learning Communities offer Gaithersburg High School students a unique style of comprehensive secondary education. All academies will foster skill development in problem solving, communication, critical thinking and effective team building to enhance personal growth.

Why is Selecting an Academy or Pathway a Good Decision?

High school reform research has shown that students in large high schools who are part of smaller learning communities:

  • Receive higher grade point averages
  • Receive higher college acceptance rates
  • Have elevated graduation rates
  • Maintain outstanding attendance
  • Receive better preparation for college and careers

Themed Academies

Gaithersburg High School has reorganized the grade 10-12 academic programs for all students into four themed academies. Each Academy is designed to provide students with an opportunity to choose a group of related courses in an area of high interest that may lead to future careers. The themed academy structure promotes academic rigor, relevance, and improves relationships within the Gaithersburg High School community.


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