Adult Charter School Embraces Online, Hybrid Instruction

A new charter school was launched in Washington, D.C. to support adult learners in developing the skills and knowledge needed for successful college admissions and for entry level employment. The Community College Preparatory Academy (CCPA), a new charter school for adults, plans make heavy use technology for delivering instruction.

The charter school, located in a site previously used for a K-12 charter school, has selected Pearson Education to provide online and hybrid instruction. The school will serve people who have faced chronic under-education and unemployment, writes Dian Schaffhauser in Campus Technology.

In its first year, the school plans to serve 150 students and up to 350 by the third year. The school is expected to enroll 1,225 students at full capacity in multiple sites, according to an initial charter application submitted in February 2012.

Pearson will provide instructional services to the school, including mentoring, on-demand online tutoring, and access to three types of online courses.

Pearson online courses includes: MyFoundationsLab a program that includes assessments, personalized learning plans, and interactive learning activities for developing core skills in reading, math, and writing; Pearson Workforce Education to provide work-related training in multiple areas, including health careers, manufacturing, IT, and business-related jobs; and Propero, self-paced college credit-granting courses in science and math, social and behavioral sciences, and other subjects.

During the first semester, students will gain technical knowledge. The instructions, for first two weeks, will focus on computer basics and online search techniques, taught in a hybrid format, originating with in-person and then switching to computer-based lessons.

Students will also be required to take several Pearson Workforce Education courses including computer concepts, workforce readiness, interpersonal communication skills, effective business writing skills, Internet search, and job search.

The school will be funded by public dollars just like any other public charter school in the district. Washington, D.C.'s charter school legislation is unique in that it encompasses not only pre-K-12 but also adult education.

The school plans to run a staffed computer lab from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students who perform well in the first semester will be offered to participate in a laptop loan program.

"We chose Pearson because they have a proven track record of quickly and efficiently creating learning programs that meet the needs of students and have the technology to make it a seamless process," said Executive Director Connie Spinner. "In the District of Columbia, we are experiencing exponential growth in the number of infrastructure engineering-related projects that will be underway for the next 30 years. It is our goal to help prepare these adult learners for the jobs that will be available in the near future."

The Community College Preparatory Academy program design includes three strands of learning activities including: foundational literacy and numeracy skills; writing and math workshops; and life skills seminars, according to school's website.

The school year is divided into two semesters with the first semester beginning in September and ending in February. The spring semester begins in mid-February and ends in mid-June.

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