The United States Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) came into being with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. Under the provisions of the Act, high schools were authorized the loan of federal military equipment and the assignment of active duty military personnel as instructors. In 1964, the Vitalization Act opened JROTC up to the other services and replaced most of the active duty instructors with retired members of the armed forces, who worked for and are cost shared by the schools.
Title 10 of the U.S. Code declares that "the purpose of Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps is to instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment."
The study of ethics, citizenship, communications, leadership, life skills and other subjects designed to prepare young men and woman to take their place in adult society, evolved as the core of the program. More recently, an improved student centered curriculum focusing on character building and civic responsibility is being presented in every JROTC classroom.
The Army JROTC Curriculum
The JROTC curriculum, which fully or partially addresses a number of national academic standards – to include Common Core State Standards (CCSS) – includes course work on leadership, civics, geography and global awareness, health, and wellness, language arts, life skills, and U.S. history. The curriculum is based on the principles of performance-based, learner-centered education and promotes development of core abilities: capacity for life-long learning, communication, responsibility for actions and choices, good citizenship, respectful treatment of others, and critical thinking techniques.
More important that “what” is learned in JROTC is “how” it is learned. Every classroom is equipped with leading edge technologies to teach, assess, and report student progress. Teachers are trained to utilize a range of technologies and develop social/emotional skills, support academic content through gaming and simulations, and promote the role of social media. Thus, students engage in meaningful, purposeful activities that lead them to demonstrate success through a portfolio of accomplishments. A cadet beginning the ninth grade might follow a course similar to the one below:
Leadership Education & Training
|Unit 1: Citizenship in Action
||Foundations of Army JROTC
|The Nation’s Defense Forces
|Unit 2: Leadership Theory & Application
||Being a Leader
||Knowing How to Lead
|Unit 3: Foundations for Success
||Know yourself – Socrates
|Making a Difference w/Service Learning
NEFE High School Financial Planning Program
|Unit 4: Wellness, Fitness, and First Aid
||Achieving a Healthy Lifestyle
||First Aid for Emergency and non-Emergency Situations
|Unit 5: Geography, Map Skills & Environmental Awareness
||Maps, Map Reading and Land Navigation
|Exploring the World
|Unit 6: Citizenship in American History & Government
||You the People – Citizenship Skills
Your Job as an American Citizen
|You the People – Citizenship Action Group Process
Founding and Growth of a Nation (history 1776 to present)
|The Federal Judicial System
Sources of power
|Advanced Citizenship and American History
The Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a program offered to high schools that teaches students character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership, and diversity. It is a cooperative effort between the Army and the high schools to produce successful students and citizens, while fostering in each school a more constructive and disciplined learning environment. The outcomes of the JROTC program are:
- Act with integrity and personal accountability as they lead others to succeed in a diverse and global workforce
- Engage civic and social concerns in the community, government, and society
- Graduate prepared to excel in post-secondary options and career pathways
- Make decisions that promote positive social, emotional, and physical health
- Value the role of the military and other service organizations
With the school’s support, the JROTC program achieves these outcomes by using a world-class 21st Century, technology driven, student centered curriculum. The curriculum consists of education in citizenship, leadership, social and communication skills, physical fitness and wellness, geography, and civics.
The curriculum is facilitated and taught by retired Army personnel. Qualified retired Army personnel are employed by the schools to teach the JROTC curriculum. JROTC teacher qualifications are based on military experience, maturity, stability, and leadership acquired over 20 years of service to our nation. To safeguard the viability of the JROTC program, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Education endorse the proposition that states recognize that JROTC instructors are certified to teach JROTC and the array of subject areas embedded (e.g., Physical Education, Health/Wellness, Civics, etc.).
JROTC is a successful program, making substantial contributions to students, schools, and communities which benefit greatly from its presence. The benefits of JROTC are reflected in metrics impacting all schools in the U.S.
||Less than 1%
In addition to a typical JROTC curriculum, Cadets may have the opportunity to participate in a number of co-curricular activities offered by JROTC:
- JROTC Leadership Challenge and Academic Bowl (JLAB): a competitive program that imparts values of leadership and citizenship while preparing for higher education milestones like college entrance exams.
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Camps: a one week college residential program at STEM labs with interaction with college-level professors and graduate and undergraduate students.
- JROTC Raider Challenge: A competitive program for JROTC Cadets in five different fitness and skill events.
- Air Rifle Competitions: Marksmanship programs that promote teamwork, self confidence and marksmanship skills.
- Drill Competitions: Programs for traditional drill formations including regulation and exhibition/pageantry categories.