CCA is part of Charter Alternative Programs, a public Charter School granted by the El Dorado County Office of Education. There are no fees to attend. Students living in El Dorado County and adjoining counties may attend.
All of our program is guided by our Mission. Essentially, we are here to provide a unique opportunity for students in High school to have a flexible schedule, high quality classes, and many options traditional schools cannot offer. Our atmosphere is friendly and respectful, with outstanding students where the focus is on learning and not on discipline. Our academic focus is to prepare students for success in the workforce or in Community College or other post-high school educational settings. Below is our Mission Statement
Charter Connections Academy Mission Statement
Charter Connections Academy prepares students to seamlessly transition into the Community College system, vocational training, the Military, or employment. We provide high quality small group instruction classes, tutoring, and Independent Study courses so that students are able to earn a High School Diploma or G.E.D. We teach students to effectively use emerging technologies and learning systems, and we prepare students to manage their own time and resources. We provide the meaningful direction, academic support, and academic and career counseling to help ensure students successfully transition to their next phase in life.
Our curriculum conforms to the California State Standard. We design each course to meet the standards and also to work within the non-traditional 5 days per week class environment. For example, we use a college level Introductory Algebra text rather than a High School text because it is written with more information, explanations, and problems which are more appropriate for students not going to a class every day. We make concerted effort to apply a variety of technologies and modes of learning into all of our courses so that students can understand the material better and see the academic and real-life applications.
For most of our non-classroom based independent study courses, we use Compass Learning, an online curriculum.
Classes run Tues/Thurs for 9th and 10th grade students, Mon/Wed for 11th and 12th grade students. Each class is 55 minutes. Assignments are given in class and expected to be completed by the next class period. Late Assignments are not given credit unless there is a valid medical excuse.
Students who attend classes are responsible to be on time, complete homework assignments on time, and make adequate progress on assignments and tests as determined by the classroom teacher. Students may also elect to take a course strictly through Independent study and not attend a class at all.
In general, if we offer a class - we require the student to take the physical class rather than do Independent Study unless special circumstances dictate Independent Study is the preferred, or only, option.
"Adequate Progress" is defined as the student maintaining at least a "C" in a course and earning credits at a pace of at least 20 credits per semester. Students not maintaining adequate progress may be dropped from a class. Students not able to maintain adequate progress may not continue as Connections Academy students and will be referred to one of our 5 day per week programs or their district of residence.
Several hours per week are available for students to come in and get help with assignments from their classes and/or independent study work. We have two hours per day of Tutorial time by one of our credentialed teachers.
Our teachers have significant experience working with a wide variety of students and extensive experience working under an Independent Study model. Our Charter was one of the first five Charters to be granted in California in 1993. We have been working with Independent Study and Home School families for a long time.
CCA students can earn a maximum of 80 high school credits per year. At your initial informational interview, we will work with you to create an educational plan.
The majority of our students attend school for several hours twice a week. All students are required to meet with their specific caseload teacher on a regular basis.
If the student is taking the majority of their courses through our classroom offerings, they will meet with the teacher every two to four weeks. If students are primarily working independently, they must meet with their teacher every week for a minimum of one hour.
This means that some students come one hour per week to turn in their assignments and consult with their teacher. Others come to multiple classes and utilize tutorial time, only meeting with their supervising teachers once a month. Your specific schedule will depend on your academic goals and courses needed. Your educational plan will be determined in your meetings with your supervising teacher.
CCA is one of three unique, but related programs at the same school site. Charter Home Study Academy K-8 serves home-schooled students by offering them classes and individualized learning plans. Charter University Prep serves university bound students in grades 7-12 who are looking for a rigorous academic environment using a college model of attending classes twice per week.
We have designed the programs with different missions in order to meet the needs of students and their career/educational goals. Preparation for entrance at a four year university is different than preparing for focused training at a Community College or vocational school.
Many of our students at CCA come to us naturally from the K-8 Home Study program. Their experience of taking classes and having personalized learning moves them forward naturally to the next level at High School so that they may be prepared for Work and College. Most of our students stay with CCA throughout High School and matriculate easily into the Community College system. Some of our students take higher level academic courses at Charter University Prep (as space allows) or may transfer to CU Prep if their goals and academic skills are leading them towards direct entrance to a 4 Year University.
Typically, students take six courses per semester in high school (60 credits per year) if they are to graduate in four years. If a student is "doubling up" on a course, they may finish a whole year's worth of material in one semester. This is normally referred to as "block scheduling." Block scheduled students may take up to eight courses per year (80 credits) and graduate early.
CCA students must complete the equivalent of four courses (non-block) worth of work each week. This is the very minimum allowed in order for a student to remain in the program. At the four course rate, it would take six years to graduate High School. Obviously, this level of work would be unacceptable for any prolonged period.
We find that most students can complete assignments and learn material much quicker when they do not have the distractions and logistics of a traditional 5 day per week comprehensive High School experience. At CCA, there are no long bus rides every day, no waiting for kids to get their pencils out. Students can work and learn as quickly and effectively as they have the talent and desire to. In general, you should expect to spend 4 to 5 hours per week per class to do well . Some courses such as P.E. are less; Biology will be more.
Many of our students take advantage of the Central Sierra R.O.P program. It is an excellent way to earn High School credits while you learn valuable vocational skills. Some of our students also work part-time. Our flexible schedule allows students many options to blend school, work, volunteer, internship, or ROP experiences.
Charter Alternative Programs received a full 6-year Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Each region of the United States has an Accreditation agency tasked to verify that each school is providing a solid, standards based, program. WASC is our agency. The maximum accreditation period is 6 years. We consistently earn the 6-year accreditation because of the quality services we provide to our students. When you receive an Accredited diploma, your courses are recognized by Colleges and Universities around the world. If you transfer to another school, your courses and credits are accepted.
Some of our students come to us for a short time in order to make up credits. Students can earn up to 40 credits per semester. Because our courses are accredited, you can be assured that your school will accept them when you return.
It is important to understand though, CCA is not a "Credit Recovery" school where you can make earn a lot of credits in a short amount of time. The curriculum and pacing we use is appropriate for students to graduate high school in three and one-half to four years.
Ultimately, we are bound by Independent Study law which states that students must make adequate progress or they will have to enroll in a traditional seat-based classroom program. When a student fails to complete five assignments, or is on track to make fewer than 20 credits in a semester, we must refer them to one of our seat-based programs or back to their resident school district.
Students who are over 18 have some further options, including transferring to Adult Ed, or working towards a G.E.D. certificate.
The short answer is yes, mostly. All of our on site classes will use an online program, D2L, to manage the course. Teachers will post assignments, readings, links, and activities to be done at home using d2L. If you don't have access to the internet, you will not be able to do the assignments. In general, anything you could find in a textbook is more readily available online, with greater clarity and explanation.
Students whose internet service is down may access the internet via smart phone, the public library, internet cafes such as Starbucks, or come to the school to use our machines. Assignments may be turned in via a dropbox in d2L, so a working printer is not a barrier to getting assignments done on time. All grades are posted in d2L and are available 24/7.