“I started the application for an Adult Charter School when I realized that I was Dean for Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning in a Community College where 95% of the students who came from ‘East of River’ were never going to finish. They needed a bridge to post-secondary Education and Training.” This was the response that the founding Executive Director, Connie Spinner, gave when asked why she started Community College Preparatory Academy Public Charter School (CC Prep).
Washington, DC is the nation’s capital and one of four knowledge-based economies in the nation. It has the largest proportions of residents with a Bachelors or better. It is also a city where 37% of its residents are ‘functionally illiterate.' Bridging the gap to employment for those residents requires more than high school completion. These folks must be both college and career ready.
CC Prep was started in 2013 as a blended learning, secondary bridge program for adults who needed a high school diploma, college readiness skills and / or workforce skills necessary to compete in DC’s constantly changing workforce skills environment. In other words, CC Prep has to create individuals with the capacity to be lifelong learners. As the demands of the workforce environment change, CC Prep has changed and will continue to do so in order to make the best use of education as a tool to support workforce development in the 21st century.
The following assumptions undergird our goals, outcomes and performance measures:
Online learning is a critical component of our educational delivery system
Since we intend to create lifelong learners for the 21st century, it is critically important that our students are comfortable with the Internet and cloud-based software as a primary modality for learning and assessment.
All students will be introduced to “programs of study”
Rather than isolated classes, all instruction in the individual educational plan for students will be designed to lead to either advanced certification or initial degree completion (i.e., Associate level degrees).
Students will require supports beyond academics
CC Prep is purposely building relationships with other Community Based Organizations, District agencies and potential employers to ensure that students develop and learn how to use a network of support for problem solving.
The programs of study will be rigorous and challenging
At least fifteen hours weekly of student “time on task” will be required to meet the expectations of an average educational plan.
Formal relationships will be required to meet student needs
CC Prep will not be able to provide the range of social service, child care and related needs and therefore staff will have to reach out to a range of partners to provide comprehensive, supportive referral services.
Time and energy will be required to cultivate potential employers
Both staff and leadership will have to work together with employers and the DC Department of Employment Services to develop and maintain positive opportunities for both Co- ops and initial employment.
All workforce certifications will lead to a career pathway requiring additional post- secondary education
While we fully expect that the combination of academic knowledge enhancement in reading, mathematics and writing combined with a national certification will support entry level employment, students will also be counseled to encourage continuance in their program of study for advanced certification through the Community College.
Increased resources will be expended annually to expand workforce development capacities
As new occupational trends are identified, staff and leadership will seek to understand new core skill requirements in order to adjust programs.
The New GED Requirements will impact student outcomes initially
The onset of the new computer-based GED assessment in 2014 will have a direct impact on student readiness and the skills and knowledge requirements.
There will be new and emerging skill certifications in our knowledge based economy
CC Prep fully expects to have to adjust its offerings and certifications annually to respond to market needs around training for certification.