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Pikes Peak Early College Model COULD be a Template for the Future

March 13, 2017

I get daily feeds from ESchool News, a daily blog that features articles that are often written by technology entrepreneurs or, as in the case of the one featured in this blog post, leaders of non-traditional on-line educational institutions. David Knoche, the Executive Principal of Pikes Peak Early College (PPEC) in Peyton, Colorado, posted an immodestly article titled “Groundbreaking School Blends High School and College Together”. While I am suspicious of articles touting success of institution that are in their infancy, I DID find the model for PPEC to be compelling. As described by Mr. Knoche, PPEC offers a highly personalized approach to high school and post-secondary programs that offers asynchronous on-line coursework augmented by regular interaction with classroom instructors and supplemented with external learning opportunities. Here’s how Mr. Knoche describes the “typical” schedule for a PPEC student:

Days in school consist of teachers leading project-based learning to complement what students are learning online, as well as helping students master the concepts they are learning in the online courses. Students spend the other two days of the week completing online courses at home, participating in internships or shadowing opportunities, or attending classes on community college campuses.

PPEC also offers counseling services, flexible schedules, and monetary support to students in an effort to meet the uniques needs of difference kinds students, which Mr. Knoche characterizes as “high-achieving or elite students to students who aren’t as high-achieving, but are highly driven; first-generation college students; and students from populations that are under-represented in post-secondary institutions.”

As one who finds the traditional high school model designed nearly a century ago to be outmoded and irrelevant to most students, it appears that PPEC has a model that would connect with disengaged students. My only suspicion is that the program appears to have begun a year ago, making it’s claims that students can seamlessly transition from high school to college somewhat incredulous. The PPEC concept, though, IS appealing and could hold promise for States like Vermont and New Hampshire where high school students can attain credits for experiential learning and can cross-enroll in state post-secondary institutions while they are enrolled in high school. Stay tuned to see if PPEC is in existence a decade from now and if, at that time, it is delivering on the promises described in Mr. Knoche’s article.



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