New JROTC program launching fall 2023, open to all high schoolers

Poudre School District and the U.S. Army are hoping to launch a new Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program that will be open to all PSD high schoolers. The aim is to start the program, better known as Junior ROTC or JROTC, in August 2023 at Poudre High School in northwest Fort Collins.  

Students must be in grades 9-12 for the 2023-24 school year to register for JROTC. They remain enrolled in and take most of their classes at their home high school but travel to Poudre High for JROTC during the school week (the exact schedule is still being developed). Transportation will be provided for those who need it. 

At PSD’s 55 schools, students can experience academic excellence, discover their passions and explore different careers through a variety of programs and curricular options, from apprenticeships and concurrent enrollment to International Baccalaureate and expeditionary learning (learn more on the PSD Future Ready website). Bringing the nationally recognized character and leadership development program into the fold expands the opportunities available to PSD students and aligns with one of the district’s priorities.  

“When Poudre School District seniors cross the stage at graduation, it is my goal – our goal in PSD – that they accept their diploma knowing they have choices, from entering the workforce or attending a two- or four-year college, to completing a fifth year of high school for college credit or serving in the Armed Forces,” said Superintendent Brian Kingsley. “Through JROTC, cadets learn to collaborate, reflect, develop critical thinking skills, work on a team and so much more, and these skills are transferable to any career. Because of that, we believe the program supports PSD’s goal for our students to Graduate with Options.” 

The addition of new programming, like JROTC, isn’t new for Principal Kathy Mackay and the team at Poudre High School. It’s core to who they are.  

“We are constantly looking for ways to challenge, inspire and more deeply engage our students,” Mackay said. “If we can connect with our students through the things that interest them, then we can more successfully support them to high school graduation and beyond.  

“Young adults need spaces where they can feel connected to something bigger than themselves. They need a place where they feel like they belong,” she added. “We’re confident that JROTC will be that right fit for some of our students in PSD.”  

The National Defense Act of 1916 established organized JROTC programs at public and private educational institutions. There are now about 1,700 JROTC programs across the U.S.  

Students who will be in high school during the 2023-24 school year and are interested in JROTC should talk to their counselor.