Camelot Education’s Chicago Excel Academies Celebrate 53 Mid-Year Graduates
Life after high school doesn’t mean waiting until June for seniors from Camelot Education’s Chicago Excel Academies who have completed their coursework and earned the credits required to obtain a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school diploma. Before walking with the rest of their class in June, these 53 mid-year graduates will jump-start their post-secondary plans. For most, that means either working or receiving additional training – or a combination of both.
“These graduating seniors will pursue their post-secondary plans in a variety of capacities, including college, career, and military,” said Colby Chapman, director of student services at Excel Academy of Roseland, which accounted for 14 of the January graduates. “Additionally, many have opted into the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) program to earn certifications through training across a variety of fields including nursing, cosmetology, information technology, coding, dentistry, and automotive repair. WIOA works in partnership with Phalanx Family Services, a proud community partner of Excel Academies.”
Camelot Education requires graduating seniors to have a plan for their education or career after high school. That policy aligns with CPS’s district-wide Learn. Plan. Succeed. Initiative, the first program in a large urban district in the country to require students to develop a post-secondary plan in order to receive a high school diploma.
“The city of Chicago and school district CEO Janice Jackson are looking for a way to move more young adults to employment,” Colby said. “We are so pleased that the district’s policy now aligns with our long-standing practice. From the moment they enter our doors, we help our students prepare for life after high school, and that includes carefully reviewing their post-secondary options with them so they can make the most informed decision that is right for their future and their family. Every Camelot student has a post-secondary plan before they can earn their high school diploma.”
In partnership with students and their families, Camelot Education drives academic and social development by fostering students’ desire to learn, cultivating their drive to achieve, and guiding them to explore the limitless possibilities of their futures.
In addition to the 14 graduates from Excel Academy of Roseland, 22 students graduated from Excel Academy of Englewood, 12 graduated from Excel Academy of South Shore, and five graduated from Excel Academy of Southwest. A sampling of January graduates shows that each student is taking their own, unique path, yet most will participate in the WIOA program.
- David Grandberry has begun a path into auto mechanics. He will go to technical school in the fall, but between now and then, he will go through the WIOA program to earn credentials that will allow him to begin entry-level auto repair work.
- Marquise Crawford, too, is part of the WIOA program, where he will earn certification in security. He’ll work in security until he starts at Wilberforce University in the fall to study social work.
- Deonae Colvin scored an impressive 57 on the military entrance test in which the requirement is a 31. She will either go directly into the military or go to Howard University and sign up for the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) there.
- Haven Jones plans to attend Western Illinois University, majoring in criminal justice. She first will go through the WIOA program to earn a security certification, which matches her career field choice.
The WIOA program serves ages 16-24 and is funded by the state of Illinois. Camelot Education’s mid-year graduates will earn certificates of completion before they technically finish high school. They’ve completed their needed coursework but don’t officially graduate until June. That means most students are working from January to June and even into September before they go off to college, vocational school, or into the full-time workforce.
“We are elated and excited for our graduates. They will return on June 11th to walk in their caps and gowns with the larger Camelot Chicago graduating class of 2020. We are eagerly preparing for that celebration,” Chapman said.
Although the January graduates will have to wait for the formal ceremony, they didn’t have to wait for a party. Camelot staff feted them at Benihana Japanese Restaurant in downtown Chicago.