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New Adult Charter School Picks Pearson for Online and Hybrid Instruction

A charter school for adults opens in Washington, D.C. this week to serve people who have faced chronic under-education and unemployment, and it intends to rely heavily on technology for delivering instruction. The Community College Preparatory Academy (CCPA), located in a site previously used for a public charter school, plans to serve 150 students in its first year and up to 350 by the third year. An initial charter application submitted in February 2012 said the school would expect to enroll 1,225 students at full capacity in multiple sites.

CCPA has contracted with Pearson Education to deliver much of the instruction. Those instructional services will include mentoring, on-demand online tutoring, and access to three types of Pearson online courses:

  • 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.

Students will also gain technical literacy during the first semester they attend the academy. The first two weeks of instruction 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. They'll also be required to take several Pearson Workforce Education courses: computer concepts, workforce readiness, interpersonal communication skills, effective business writing skills, Internet search, and job search.

The Academy will run a staffed computer lab from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. According to the school, those who perform well in that first semester will be able to participate in a laptop loan program.

The school will be funded by local 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.

"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."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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