College Park Academy (CPA), a Prince George’s County public charter school offering a rigorous college preparatory education for students in grades 6 to 12, celebrates the graduation of its first senior class this May.
“We are very proud of this first graduating high school class, and see in their success evidence that this innovative model of education works," said University of Maryland President and Board Chair of the College Park Academy Wallace D. Loh. "Thanks to the combined efforts of political leaders, the community, the university, parents, and the students, this public-charter, blended-learning approach is the future of education."
In addition to an impressive selection of course offerings which includes 13 AP courses and 7 foreign languages, CPA students have the added benefit of access to college-level classes and programs, clubs, and events led by University of Maryland professors and students. Two CPA students are graduating high school a year early, and many are graduating with college credits under their belts.
“It is remarkable to reflect on what our school has been able to accomplish over the past six years,” said Dr. Donna Wisemen, former UMD Dean of Education and a key CPA designer and founding Board member. “We launched CPA with the belief that the school could become a top performer in the state. Since then, we have worked diligently with our education partners to provide our students with access to a world-class, college preparatory education. In turn, they have not only met but far exceeded our expectations. We couldn’t be more proud of our graduating seniors.” CPA’s standardized test scores are now among the highest in Maryland.
The Class of 2019’s 86 students walked the stage at the graduation ceremony on May 29th on the University of Maryland campus. Graduates have been offered admission and scholarships to a wide array of colleges and universities, from the University of Maryland, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Johns Hopkins, to the University of Chicago and Penn State University.
Founded in 2013 by the College Park City-University Partnership as part of its “Vision 2020” to create a top 20 college town, and in partnership with the University of Maryland, College Park Academy is one of the first "bricks and clicks" middle and high schools in the United States. While CPA students attend school every day, their curriculum is entirely online, and a third of their courses are taught by online teachers. The online curriculum and instruction, provided by Pearson Connections Education, utilizes personalized, active learning, allowing students to work at their own pace, catch up when they fall behind, and accelerate when they are ready to move ahead.
This school year, CPA received over 1,500 applications for their 200 openings. “Our success has struck a chord with Prince George’s County families, as evidenced by the large waitlist list of applicants,” said Duane Arbogast, former Chief Academic Officer for Prince George’s County and current Interim Executive Director for College Park Academy. “Parents know we provide the kind of schooling which they, and top colleges, want — a focus on rigorous academics, social skills, and respect for others.”