Preparing CCA Students for Graduation
Graduation is not the end. In fact, at CCA we believe it is quite the opposite.
CCA provides in-depth support to ensure students, and parents, understand charter school graduation requirements and are prepared for life beyond high school – whether they choose to attend college or technical school, enter the military or go directly into the workforce.
CCA ensures graduating seniors are prepared for the transition from high school to becoming productive community members. CCA's certified guidance counselors work with each student to plan for life after graduation.
PA High School Graduation Requirements
Although the state of Pennsylvania establishes academic standards for public schools as a road map for their curriculum, it does not dictate the curriculum, textbooks, teaching methods, material or instruction used in the classroom. Those decisions are made by local school officials.
As far as PA graduation requirements, until recently, the state required most students to pass the Keystone Exams – end-of-course exams in Algebra I, Literature and Biology – to graduate. A new law signed in 2018 and effective in the 2021-22 school year moves away from reliance on testing to earn a school diploma and establishes new requirements for high school graduation. It creates four options that students who are not proficient on the three Keystone Exams may use to meet requirements to graduate.
These four options are relevant to students’ individual career goals and reflect the coursework, grades, activities and achievements earned. In addition to Keystone Exams, alternative tests and other factors can be counted toward graduation. The new performance-based system allows schools and teachers to obtain a more complete picture of a student’s knowledge, skills and talents as a basis for awarding a school diploma, instead of basing it solely on standardized test scores.
While there is no statewide graduation requirement for the classes of 2020 and 2021, families should ensure they respect and meet their local district’s policies regarding graduation, because the district can still require certain test scores for a student to earn a school diploma.
Although Keystone Exam scores will no longer be a Pennsylvania high school graduation requirement, Pennsylvania will continue to use the exams as a statewide assessment to meet federal accountability standards.
CCA Graduation Requirements
As an accredited public school in Pennsylvania, CCA is required to administer the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) to students in grades 3 to 8 and the Keystone Exams upon completion of Algebra I, Biology and English Literature. CCA complies with state testing requirements and ensures our students meet Pennsylvania high school graduation requirements.
The state’s move away from requiring specific successes on standardized tests is actually much more in line with the customized learning experience long provided to students at CCA. In fact, some of our graduation requirements are more comprehensive and practical than the state’s – for instance, we require students to complete courses that prepare them to handle personal finances and to be job- or college-ready.
CCA high school students must earn a minimum of 21 credits to meet our graduation requirements. Students also will complete a graduation project (consisting of passing a Career/College Planning 12 and a Personal Finance course), and meet state testing requirements. A typical course load is six classes per semester.
CCA high school students must obtain the following course credits to graduate:
- Language arts: 4 credits (core English courses)
- Math: 3 credits (including algebra)
- Science: 3 credits (including biology)
- Social studies: 3 credits (including U.S. history and government)
- Health and physical education: 1 credit
- Technology: 0.5 credits
- Humanities: 2 credits
- Career Planning 12 or College Planning 12: 0.25 credits
- Personal finance: 0.5 credits
Additional credits of electives are required, and these courses allow students to explore their areas of interest.
Electives Offered for Cyber Students at CCA
In addition to core courses every student must take to meet our school graduation requirements, CCA offers a vast array of electives beginning in elementary school designed to build new skills, spark new interests and deepen student knowledge. Elective courses are offered as yearlong, semester- or quarter-based options.In addition to being able to choose from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish for foreign language options available at all grade levels, starting in middle school students can enroll in electives, such as journalism, photography, and digital art and design.
In journalism, students learn the basics of reporting and storytelling, and produce and edit articles. The photography course teaches the basics of using a camera, avoiding common shooting mistakes and mastering a shot for publication.
Digital art and design introduces students to basic principles of art and design, the evolution of art and the role of art in politics and society. Students also create their own digital art.
As they pursue their school diploma, CCA high school students can explore multiple disciplines while building career- and college-ready skills with our long list of electives. Latin is added to the list of foreign languages offered in high school. While we expand our elective offerings by partnering with other educational institutions, we offer a robust selection of CCA-designed electives, grouped below by subject area.
English Course Electives Offered at CCA
- Journalism. Students explore the history of journalism in America. In this hands-on course, students write different types of articles and contribute to a class newspaper.
- Speech and Debate. This course teaches the basics of creating and delivering an effective speech while developing public speaking skills. Students also analyze famous speeches and debates.
- Introduction to Communications. The class explores the importance of verbal and nonverbal cues and different types of communication. Students also explore conflict-resolution strategies and build communication skills through discussions and video responses with their classmates.
- Gothic Literature. Through close analysis of critical literary elements in Gothic prose and poetry, students understand the history, architecture and psychology of the genre.
Science Course Electives Offered at CCA
- Introduction to STEAM. Students apply science, technology, engineering, art and math to help pilot a food truck-style business. They will employ coding and robotics, multimedia, app building and website design. For their final projects, students create and design initiatives that address needs in their communities.
- Introduction to Engineering. An overview of the five types of engineering – mechanical, civil, biomedical, environmental and computer – and their impact on all aspects of life. Students explore how engineering can solve social and global problems and strengthen problem-solving skills through hands-on projects.
- Astronomy. In this project-based course, students develop a broad understanding of the universe without going into complex math. They study the components of the solar system, planets, asteroids and comets and the nature, composition and life cycles of stars. Many projects take place outdoors.
- Anatomy and Physiology. The course explores the structures of the human body and body systems. Each unit concludes with an introduction to allied health careers related to that body system. At the end of the course, students will complete a virtual fetal pig dissection.
- Aquaponics 101. Students gain knowledge of a newly emerging field in Pennsylvania that provides sustainable, high-quality food without the use of pesticides or harmful chemicals. They explore aquaponics, hydroponics, technology in agriculture and more, using the state-of-the-art AgWorks at CCA aquaponics lab. The lab includes prototypes for gathering data on plant growth, fish health and light manipulation.
- Aquaponics 102. Students with established foundational knowledge of aquaponics can run their own growing areas in the AgWorks at CCA lab from their homes. Students collaborate to research and select fish, plants and light calibrations for real-time implementation at AgWorks at CCA. Students will access data sensors, cameras and support systems to view their chosen plants and fish.
Social Studies Course Electives at CCA
- Introduction to Criminal Justice. This course exposes students to the organization of and interaction with stakeholders in the criminal justice field. They learn about the development of the American justice system and the role of data in evaluating its response to societal problems.
- Economics. Students explore important economic concepts for understanding markets, supply, demand, trade and the role of private and government institutions in the distribution of goods and services. It enables students to make sound economic decisions at the personal and organizational levels.
- World Geography. Students virtually travel the globe to discover the relationship between the environment and human populations. The course integrates concepts of earth science, history and economics to provide a deeper understanding of the world across the continents.
- Psychology. Students study the role that social and biological factors play in how people think, behave and interact. They learn key concepts in psychology, and analyze and evaluate these concepts in relation to their lives and the lives of others. Also covered are causes and management strategies for stress and emotions, and psychological disorders and treatment options.
- Sociology. Students will be introduced to sociology as a science and learn how sociology – the study of people in groups – can help them understand the world around them.
Business Courses Offered at CCA
- Personal Finance. Students study how individual choices directly influence short- and long-term goals. They explore how to make wise financial decisions pertaining to borrowing, spending and saving money.
- Introduction to Business. In this course, students study real-world examples to learn what it takes to plan and launch a product or service in today’s fast-paced business environment. This course covers an introduction to economics, costs and profit, and different business types.
- Introduction to Accounting. Students master the fundamental principles and procedures of modern accounting. They will gain practical experience with bookkeeping and preparing financial reports within the context of operating a sole proprietorship.
- Restaurant Management. In this course, students dive into what it takes to run a successful restaurant, including how to order supplies, hire quality workers, maintain inventory and manage a large staff. The course explores food safety, hygiene, customer relations, marketing and using a point-of-sale system.
- Hospitality and Tourism. In Hospitality and Tourism, students meet a thriving industry that caters to the needs of travelers worldwide through managing hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, resorts, theme parks and any other kind of hospitality operation.
Physical Education and Health Courses at CCA
- Physical Education and Health A. The course looks at everything from cardiovascular fitness and body fat control to balance, coordination, and speed and agility. Also covered are the dangers of alcohol, drug and tobacco use and abuse.
- Physical Education and Health B. Online coursework and physical activity teach health skills involving disease prevention, refusal skills, healthy relationships and teamwork. Students also learn how to develop training plans and examine offensive and defensive strategies of sports.
- Physical Education and Health C. Students apply health skills involving first aid and safety, violence prevention, nutrition and body image. Students also review personal fitness apps and create personal fitness plans. The class covers unhealthy relationships, bullying and suicide prevention.
- Team Sports. Students explore playing and coaching team sports from a strategic standpoint. The elective reveals what it takes to be a quality coach and player and provides practical information on practice plans and workout regimens tailored to specific sports.
- Introduction to First Aid and Safety. Using the American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED Participant’s Manual, students undergo comprehensive training designed to help lay responders recognize and respond to cardiac, breathing and first-aid emergencies. This course helps students prepare for American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED certification.
- Yoga and Pilates. Students focus on the skills and techniques of yoga and Pilates, including basic poses, breathing, stretching and relaxation, to improve flexibility, decrease stress and improve physical and mental well-being. The class may include other forms of strength training, toning and conditioning, plus a cardiovascular activity every day.
- Fly Fishing. Students learn a brief history of fly fishing and the basic mechanics of the cast and casting techniques. They will explore ways to preserve fish habitat and the environment. Students also gain knowledge in the equipment used, different knots, fish identification, hydraulics of a stream, entomology and basic fly tying.
Arts and Humanities Courses Offered at CCA
- Drawing Studio I. Students practice observational drawing skills through projects and interactives. They will work in a visual journal and create original artwork using a variety of drawing media.
- Preparing for International Travel. Students engage in the life skills needed for international travels. These include travel etiquette, cultural norms, navigating uncomfortable situations and travel safety. Students must be registered for EF Educational Tours to take this elective.
- 3D Art 1: Modeling. In this course, students explore the fundamental concepts of 3D modeling and animation by using Blender software to create 3D models such as a house, creature, animation of the creature walking and a landscape terrain.
- 3D Art 2: Animation. Students build their animation skills, including realistic movement and lighting. Students develop the skills needed to design and create animations and see what it takes to become a professional animator.
- Digital Art. Students build a solid foundation of the elements of art and design – line, shape, form, color, value, space and texture. They explore 3D space in a 2D environment, filters, gradients and highlights, and methods of working with color.
Family and Consumer Science Courses Offered at CCA
- Driver Education. Students cover the steps needed to obtain Pennsylvania driver’s permits and junior driver’s licenses, and the fundamentals of responsible driving. Rules for sharing the road, responding to weather conditions and other emergencies, insurance needs and legally required vehicle maintenance are also covered.
- Life Skills. Students explore their personality types and interests, gaining such beneficial skills as personal nutrition and fitness, time and stress management, communication and healthy relationships, goal setting and personal finances. Students explore possible colleges and careers that match their needs, interests and talents.
- Counseling and Mental Health Services. Students are exposed to the counseling and mental health field, starting with the history of the U.S. mental health system and information on common mental illnesses. Careers reviewed include psychiatrists, school counselors, social workers, recovery coaches, correctional counselors, forensic psychologists, crime victim advocates and recreational therapists.
CCA course offerings are constantly evolving to meet the needs of our students. Please see our course catalog to view our full list of course offerings.
CCA Helps You Prepare for Life After Graduation
CCA partners with students and their families from day one to design a customized education that complements and enhances a student’s interests and skills and is adaptable to meet their changing educational needs. At CCA, we know that education must do more than just prepare a student for graduation.
CCA prepares our students for success in our online classrooms and beyond, whether they continue their education at college or a technical school, begin their careers right away or enter the military.
Our support services ensure not just that students meet our graduation requirements but that they have received a quality educational experience loaded with hands-on opportunities and college- and career-ready skills. Our counselors focus early on building strong relationships with students and their families so they feel comfortable contacting our counselors at any time.
The counselors also provide general support and guidance through peer support groups, student growth and support groups, and individual meetings with students. Our full-time certified counselors focus on student success. They help with:
- Academic goal setting
- Scheduling courses
- Ensuring students meet school graduation requirements
- Personal and social development
- Career and college planning
- Resources to explore career options and vocational training
- College test preparation courses for SAT and ACT exams
- Information regarding financial aid, scholarships and the college application process
We know high school is a time for growth, discovery and emerging independence but that personal, social and academic struggles can pose obstacles. CCA’s counselors have advanced degrees and specialized training in developmental and educational psychology to help students address issues as they arise.
CCA Puts Cyber School Students on Path to Success
A CCA cyber school education does more than ensure you meet PA high school graduation requirements. It gives you the knowledge and skills to succeed on any path you choose. Contact us for more information on how to enroll today!