California Charter School Finds Recipe for Success

Summit Charter Collegiate Academy, Porterville, California - Bronze Medal

“A real-world understanding of money is just one of the key components of the Career Choices curriculum that make it so meaningful to our students,” said Krista Herrera, principal of Summit Charter Collegiate Academy located in Porterville, California.

After being totally immersed in Chapter 4 of Career Choices and Changes, one freshman student exclaimed, “I’m never having kids!” That amusing (perhaps hyperbolic) statement is a common “ah-ha” moment when students are exposed to or start thinking about what it takes to thrive in the adult world in terms of financial and career choices. The nitty-gritty details can appear daunting at first, but ultimately this knowledge is the key to future success.

With encouragement and direction from Bob Hawkes, Director of Workforce Development for the Kern Community College District, a dual-enrollment program was developed with the Porterville College. In this way, Summit Charter students who enroll in College and Career Successare also earning college credits!

“Having a successful college experience so young really builds confidence and is a huge game changer for our students,” added Ms. Herrera. “I hear so many students say ‘life makes sense now’—such a refreshing thing to hear, especially coming from a freshman student.”

In 2015, 115 freshmen and 115 sophomores were enrolled, engaged, and earning college credit through this program. “It is absolutely critical to have passionate teachers teach this course and not just filling out the schedule for teachers who have empty blocks,” she emphasized. “We are fortunate to have not only passionate teachers, but teachers that are truly committed to the success of our students, teaching our courses...teachers like Martin Medina. In fact, all of our Sophomore English teachers who teach in this program are also extremely dedicated.”

“We use the college version, Career Choices and Changes, as we have found that this is much easier to articulate with Porterville College—it is the same text they use when teaching the course,” concluded Principal Herrera.