May 9, 2005
UC College Prep Online expands to operate
online charter schools
By Jennifer McNulty
Building on the success of its online college-prep programs,
the University of California is gearing up to establish a UC
Online Academy with three online charter schools slated to open
in the fall of 2006.
UC College Prep Online (UCCP),
based at UCSC, recently received a three-year $550,000 grant
from the California Department of Education's Public Charter
Schools Grant Program to develop online schools in Imperial,
Mendocino, and Butte Counties.
The academy will provide access for independent learners and
special needs students to a high-quality college preparation
curriculum. Potential beneficiaries might include students in
foster care or migrant families that move around, teen mothers,
students in the court system, students engaged in competitive
athletics or performing arts, and those who are hospitalized.
"The UC Online Academy is designed to meet the needs of
students who are best-served by the flexibility of an online
program. We know there are UC-potential kids out there whose
needs are not being met," said Francisco J. Hernandez,
vice chancellor of Student Affairs at UCSC.
The university will work with each County Office of Education
to develop programs and share responsibilities. Educational
programs will follow a standards-based online curriculum aligned
to the state framework for high schools and the admission requirements
of the University of California.
Most activities will be conducted online, augmented by in-person
physical education, academic research, and community service
opportunities. The operation of charter schools establishes
UCCP as a credit-granting entity that satisfies federal mandates
of the "No Child Left Behind Act."
"UCCP will continue to offer supplemental services and
online college-prep courses to schools with high enrollments
of low-income and minority students. We have recently developed
a new online algebra course that will serve the needs of many
California students," said Hernandez.
Founded in 1999, UC College Prep Online (UCCP) was created
in response to a state mandate to provide equity in access to
rigorous curriculum. Historically, UCCP has offered courses
that fill in the gaps where academic resources do not exist.
The UC Online Academy grant was approved by the State Board
of Education with funding from the federal Public Charter Schools
Grant Program. A $31.5 million package approved by state schools
chief Jack O'Connell will help open 84 new charter schools in
California, and help 11 existing high-quality charter schools
share their best practices with other K-12 public schools. UC
received $180,000 in start-up funds for each online charter
school. California currently has more than 500 charter schools.
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