Many career colleges are beginning to offer a high school completion program on their campuses. A high school completion program is an option for adult learners to earn an actual high school diploma " accredited and licensed " which builds confidence, knowledge and skills on their path to pursue post-secondary education.

One example of a high school completion program that is working on over 35 campuses is Penn Foster's accredited High School Completion program. Essentially a school within a school, Penn Foster's high school curriculum and online delivery system is implemented in a blended delivery model with on-campus facilitators from the partner school. Penn Foster provides the curriculum, learning materials, grading and academic support, and the partner school handles enrollment and provides a program facilitator to work with the students in the on-campus learning lab. From January to August 2014, this program has graduated over 1,300 students with their high school diploma and the majority of which matriculate to the partner career college. This blended model is designed so that each student in a class can progress at the speed that is right for the individual, yet he/she benefits from being part of a community of peers, on campus and onsite, who have similar goals.

Penn Foster's program has yielded 70% graduation rates from the high school program and up to 75% matriculation rates to the career college. But beyond that, the program offers a growing number of students who want to get back on track, a second chance. Prior to the program, these students had no credible pathway or advocacy for helping them navigate their choices. Overtime, these programs become a platform for communities to support "second-chance" learners as they migrate back into the training and education marketplace. In addition to building a local level employment pipeline with previously unengaged citizens, a high school completion program can provide new access points into college, and stronger career options.

An adult high school diploma wasn't always an option for this cohort, but is a revolutionary solution that offers individuals who have had their education interrupted the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma. But not all programs are created equal. Here are some things you should look for when looking for the right partner:

What should you look for in a High School Completion program? 

  • Excellent Credentials: For educators to achieve the best results, partner with a program that has national and regional accreditation and licensing. Be aware of diploma mills.
  • Online and In-Classroom Learning: A blended learning model supports the flexibility that both nontraditional learners and re-engaging students need. Students can learn independently and follow their own schedule, from asking questions in a face-to-face classroom setting to completing assignments online at home. Blended learning, also known as blended learning, fosters an optimal learning environment conducive to a student's unique learning experience. Virtual instruction? Peer-to-peer collaboration? Online access to content and materials? A blended-oriented design can offer all of these diverse dimensions for comprehensive learning. While academic online settings provide learning independence, the classroom environment also familiarizes students with the campus, school community, students, and teachers.
  • Custom Support: A successful program will support you through implementation, and provide you direct access to their support team. Your partner should help you implement the program, and have a toolkit to get you set up. Learn from the experience of others who have done it and who know what it takes to have success.
  • Demonstrated Experience: Along with substantial credentials, a high school completion program should have extensive experience in launching the program and personalizing student learning with virtual instruction and peer-to-peer collaboration. Gain insight on former and current successful partnerships, including how positive student engagement materialized and what type of results (e.g. increased graduation and retention rates) were produced.

"We wanted a partner that was accredited and recognized. It had to be quality. It had to be flexible. It had to be cost effective." - Jim McCoy Operations VP, Sanford-Brown

Continue reading the Career College Guide to Transforming High School Non-Completers Into Your Best Students now:

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