Inside a CEP school
By Kate Nelson on Nov 26, 2002 01:26 PM
- Students are given diagnostic assessments to determine their reading and math levels, as well as a behavioral assessment.
- Students are given individualized academic and behavioral improvement plans and attend several days of classes that acquaint them with the CEP model and philosophy.
- Parents receive orientation before the start of school and sign a contact after they are made aware of the school’s expectations and requirements.
The learning environment
- The school is designed to limit the opportunities for students to interact unsupervised in large open spaces.
- Classes are single-sex except for the honors classes.
- Class sizes range between 20 and 30 students.
- Each classroom has a teacher and an instructional assistant. CEP officials say the majority of teachers have strong behavior management or counseling backgrounds.
- Teachers who are not certified must at minimum enter an alternative certification program that is fully subsidized by the company. Additionally, teachers receive 80 hours of specialized training focused on improving behavior and accelerating learning before entering the classroom.
Improving academic performance
- CEP uses a self-paced learning model designed to accelerate learning and progress towards passing required skill tests in reading and math.
- Much of the learning in core subject areas is computer-based and supplemented by direct instruction and small group work.
- CEP maintains that the curriculum includes the essential knowledge and skills required by most District middle or high school courses, with an emphasis on areas measured on basic skills tests.
Dealing with truancy
- Student attendance is tracked using electronic recordings of students’ fingerprints that are fed into a computer.
- Students who miss any class time receive phone calls and home visits from teachers and onsite truancy and probation officers.
- CEP employs a truancy coordinator and uses two vans to track down truant students.
Transition back to public schools
- The company is creating a comprehensive transition plan that will track students’ progress after they leave and provide follow-up services when necessary.