Early Career Academy Charter Schools Have All Closed

 

In 2014 parents in Indianapolis; Troy, Mich.; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; and Houston, Texas, heard about a new option for their children's last two years of high school.In each city, a charter school called Early Career Academy planned to offer students the chance to earn associate degrees, either in network systems administration or software development, alongside their high school diplomas. Students were offered laptops to work on and ebooks to use. All for free.

This was the official website for the Early Career Academy. Content is from the site's 2015 archived pages and other outside sources.

UPDATE

In August, 2016 the U.S. Department of Education announced that it would bar ITT Tech, one of America’s largest for-profit college chains from enrolling new students with federal financial aid dollars. The decision was the final straw for ITT Tech which for years had been accused of numerous misdeeds ranging from financial aid abuses to deceptive marketing practices.

ITT Tech had created the nonprofit educational provider called Early Career Academy to run their charter schools through a subcontract, supposedly technically independent from ITT Tech. The schools were set to serve high school juniors and seniors, who would be able to earn a diploma and an ITT Tech associate’s degree in two years, though most colleges would not accept ITT credits for transfer.

The Florida and Houston campuses never opened. The opening date for the Indianapolis campus was postponed for a year, until August 2015. A year later, on Aug. 10, 2016 — just weeks before ITT announced it would close all its schools, the Indiana Charter School Board revoked the school’s charter, giving it 30 days to cease operations. The decision impacted a number of students who had to scramble to find new schools. The decision to take action against the Indianapolis Early Career Academy followed several violations of its charter agreement as well as state and federal law.

 

Locations
Indianapolis area campus - Indianapolis, IN
Detroit area campus - Troy, MI
Phoenix/Tempe area campus - Tempe, AZ
Tampa area campus - Tampa, FL


Currently enrolling High-School incoming Juniors for the 2015-2016 School Year!

CLASSES START AUGUST 17, 2015

As a public school, ECA is open to all students, subject to capacity limitations, and, through an arrangement with ITT Educational Services, Inc. is located on ITT Technical Institute's campus. Students will have access to the facilities and many resources available to the ITT Tech students.

ITT Tech is one of the nation's leading providers of associate degrees in technology-oriented fields, with over 50,000 students at over 130 campus locations in 38 states around the country.

 



 

ABOUT

The Early Career Academy (ECA) is a tuition-free public charter high school that serves 11th and 12th graders using a curriculum that allows students to pursue both a high school diploma and an associate degree from ITT Technical Institute.


MISSION

The Early Career Academy is a career-focused charter high school for grades 11 and 12 where students have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree following graduation under an artiulation agreement with ITT Tech.


GENERAL INFORMATION

The Early Career Academy is a career-focused high school program for grades 11 and 12 where students have the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and an associate degree upon graduation.

ITT Tech is one of the nation's leading providers of associate degrees in technology-oriented fields. The Early Career Academy students will have access to some of the facilities and services available to ITT Tech's postsecondary students at the campus where the charter school is located.

The curriculum is designed to teach students practical skills used in a wide variety of business and organizations. The curriculum blends traditional academic content with applied learning concepts, a portion of which is devoted to practical study in a lab environment.

ACADEMICS

The curriculum of the Early Career Academy is designed to teach students the skills and knowledge needed to perform in entry-level, career focused positions.

PROGRAM GOALS

A goal of the Early Career Academy is to help students prepare for growth and change. The curriculum and instructional design are focused on improving critical thinking, technical, and social skills.

The curriculum is designed to teach students practical skills and knowledge used today in a wide variety of businesses and organizations. The curriculum blends traditional academic content with applied learning concepts, a portion of which is devoted to practical study in a lab environment. Student Professional Experiences (SPEs) and project-based learning are used to help students prepare to apply skills in a variety of entry-level, career-focused positions related to their field of study.


ADMISSION

Once the online application has been completed, a representative of the Early Career Academy will contact you to schedule an Admissions Meeting and a tour of our facilities.

 

Eligibility

 

The Early Career Academy offers tuition-free admission to any student in grades 11 and 12 qualified for admission to a public school. The Early Career Academy will not deny enrollment to any eligible student based on gender, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and academic eligibility. Furthermore, the school will not discriminate against students with special education needs or those qualified as English Language Learners.

 

Lottery Procedure

If necessary, a lottery will be held at the end of the Open Enrollment Period. The lottery will be conducted in a public forum at the Early Career Academy campus.

  1. Lottery numbers from the completed applications will be printed on a blank card. All cards will be the same color, size, and weight.
  2. Applicants will be provided the lottery number prior to the date of the lottery; however, the lottery numbers will be made available, upon request, to any applicant immediately prior to the lottery drawing.
  3. At the commencement of the lottery, all lottery cards will be placed in a suitable container for the drawing and lottery procedures will be reviewed.
  4. Lottery cards will be drawn by a neutral party.
  5. As each card is drawn, the applicant's number will be posted until all seats are filled. These numbers will be used to create the Master-School Roster.
  6. All remaining numbers drawn will be posted as on the wait list. The waiting list will be developed based on the order of these numbers drawn. Students on the waiting list will be offered placement as openings occur.


Waiting List Policy

Applications received after the end of the open enrollment period will be added to the wait list in the order they are received. Applications of siblings of any current Early Career Academy students or children of Early Career Academy staff will be added to the wait list in the order they are received if not submitted during the open enrollment period.

Early Career Academy Enrollment Timeline for 2015-16 School Year
DATE ACTIVITY
January 2015 Open Enrollment Period Begins
March 31, 2015 Open Enrollment Period Ends
April 12, 2015 Lottery - if needed
April - July 2015 Completion of Enrollments
August 14, 2015 New Student Orientation
August 17, 2015 Proposed First Day of School

 



 

PROGRAMS

TEMPE, AZ CAMPUS

5005 S. Wendler Drive
Tempe, AZ 85282
602-734-7364

 

TROY, MI CAMPUS

1522 East Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48083-1905
248-509-2022

Computer Information Systems- Network Administration
Trimester Course # Michigan Course Title
1 10251 Computer Technology
  02001 Informal Math
  10004 Computer Applications
  01003 English III (11a)
  06121 World Language A (French I)

2 10101 Network Technology
  10152 Computer Programming
  06122 World Language A (French II)
  02056 Algebra II A
  01003 English III (11b)

3 10103 Area Network Design & Protocols
  10109 Essentials of Networking Operating Systems I
  02056 Algebra II B
  01058 World Literature
  04201 Economics

4 10109 Essentials of Networking Operating Systems II
  03151 Physics
  10111 Particular Topic in Networking I -Linux
  01155 Communications
  04151 US Government

5 10053 Database Concepts
  10108 Network Security
  04259 Topics in Sociology
  02201 Probability & Statistics A
  03003 Environmental Science

6 10111 Particular Topic in Networking II —IP Networking
  10111 Particular Topic in Networking III — Email and Web Services
  10147 Networking Systems — Independent Study
  02201 Probability & Statistics B
  10048 Computer Literacy — Workplace Experience

 


 

 

Computer Information Systems- Software Development
Trimester Course # Michigan Course Title
1 10251 Computer Technology
  02001 Informal Math
  10004 Computer Applications
  01003 English III (11a)
  06121 World Language A (French I)

2 10152 Computer Programming
  10201 Web Page I
  06122 World Language A (French II)
  02056 Algebra II A
  01003 English III (11b)

3 10155 Java Programming I
  10201 Web Page Design II
  02056 Algebra II B
  01058 World Literature
  04201 Economics

4 03151 Physics
  10199 Computer Programming — Other
  01155 Communications
  04151 US Government

5 10053 Database Applications
  10155 Java Programming II
  04259 Topics in Sociology
  02201 Probability & Statistics A
  03003 Environmental Science

6 10155 Java Programming III
  10203 Interactive Media
  10197 Computer Programming — Independent Study
  02201 Probability & Statistics B
  10048 Computer Literacy — Workplace Experience

 

 



 

PRESS

Shutdown of ITT Tech Also Affects Charter Schools

By Richard Chang09/12/16 / thejournal.com

The nationwide shutdown of ITT Technical Institute also caused the company’s public charter schools to close, leaving students and parents unhappily scrambling to figure out what to do next.

ITT Tech operated two Early Career Academy charter schools in Tempe, AZ and Troy, MI. The Indiana-based for-profit company also operated a campus in Indianapolis for a year, but the school had its charter revoked by the Indiana State Charter Board in August. The school also lost its nonprofit status in November 2015. By August of this year, the school had shut down.

At all three Early Career Academies, juniors and seniors could earn a high school diploma tuition free and an ITT Tech associate’s degree in two years, although most colleges and universities didn’t accept ITT credits for transfer. According to the academies' website, the two programs offered at the Tempe and Troy campuses were network systems administration and software development.

At the Early Career Academy in Troy, school administrators are working to place their 61 former students in other local schools, according to the website the74million.org and Timothy Wood, associate vice president for charter schools at Grand Valley State University, which authorized ITT’s charter in Michigan.

At Early Career Academy in Tempe, the executive director and staff are working with Arizona education representatives to secure a school building with hopes of reopening, according to the74million.org.

“We’re at a complete loss. What is our kid supposed to do?” said Chris Eppich, father of Trevor Eppich, a student at Early Career Academy in Tempe, in an interview with the74million.org.

Early Career Academy and ITT Tech representatives could not be reached for comment on this story.

On Sept. 6, ITT Tech closed its vocational schools on more than 130 campuses in 38 states, after the U.S. Education Department banned the company from enrolling students who were receiving federal financial aid. The shutdown affected about 35,000 students who were preparing to start classes, as well as 8,000 employees who lost their jobs.

 

 

State yanks charter for Early Career Academy, orders shutdown in 30 days

BY DYLAN PEERS MCCOY  -  AUGUST 10, 2016 / www.chalkbeat.org

One Indianapolis charter school was ordered closed and another is temporarily merging into a sister school, bringing upheaval just days after the start of the school year.
The Indiana State Charter Board voted today to revoke the charter from Early Career Academy, located on the campus of ITT Tech, giving the school just 30 days help its students find places in other schools and close up shop.

The school lost its nonprofit status, and was plagued by other problems, leading the board to decided it could not operate this school year.

The school was designed so students at the Early Career Academy also could earn associate degrees from ITT Tech college at no cost, but the college has faced scrutiny for providing credits that are not accepted by major universities in the state.

Early Career Academy lost its nonprofit status in November 2015 for failing to file the appropriate paperwork, according to the state charter board’s executive director, James Betley. Although charter schools can work with for-profit management companies, state law only allows nonprofit organizations to receive charters.

“They were operating in violation of statute and the charter agreement for the entire year and currently are right now,” Betley told the board. He added that combined with the school’s other record keeping lapses “that, to me, just shows a dysfunctional organization.”

Just 19 students are currently enrolled in the Early Career Academy, which was expected to serve between 80 and 150 students when its charter was approved. Most of the board members quit at the start of the summer, according to Betley.
The initial recommendation was to allow the school a final year so that current students could complete their degrees, but instead the board voted to revoke the charter with just 30 days notice.

“Given the number of violations that are discussed in the paper, I do not feel comfortable … giving them a year to wrap up,” said board member Gretchen Gutman. “For those 19 students it’s not fair.”

Carpe Diem Shadeland’s plan to shift its students to its campus on Meridian Street this year also was driven by missed enrollment targets, although its leaders hope the move will be temporary. The board gave the charter network permission to move the students from the Shadeland campus at Carpe Diem Meridian while leaders work to increase enrollment and improve operations.

Carpe Diem, a national charter school network, typically aims to enroll about 300 students at each of its schools, but the Shadeland campus has just 70 students. The Arizona-based organization opened its first school in Indianapolis at the Meridian campus on the near northside in 2012, and opened two more campuses last year. It currently serves 340 students at all three Indianapolis schools, according to founder Rick Ogston.

Carpe Diem plans to cut costs this year by busing Shadeland students about eight miles to the Meridian campus. If the schools are able to attract more students, Carpe Diem will aim is to reopen the Shadeland campus next year. The network would need to enroll a total of about 500 students to support three campuses.

Ogston said although the schools would share a building, they would have separate principals and staff and the Shadeland campus would maintain its own identity.

“(We believe) this is a temporary situation of challenges with enrollment at the school,” said Michelle McKeown, general counsel for the charter board. “We do believe that for this academic year it will be like this and then they will separate eventually.”

The board also approved a corrective action plan from the school, which aims to improve compliance with board policy regarding special education, financial stability and management.

 

A For-Profit College Tries The Charter School Market
December 14, 2014 / ANYA KAMENETZ / www.npr.org

Starting this past spring, parents in Indianapolis; Troy, Mich.; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; and Houston, Texas, heard about a new option for their children's last two years of high school.

In each city, a charter school called Early Career Academy planned to offer students the chance to earn associate degrees, either in network systems administration or software development, alongside their high school diplomas. Students were offered laptops to work on and ebooks to use. All for free.

But the schools are meeting opposition, largely because of the organization behind them: ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit college with tens of thousands of students, 145 physical locations and a checkered reputation. Like the rest of the for-profit college sector, the value of ITT's educational offerings is coming under increased federal scrutiny.

This fall, the Indianapolis Early Career Academy postponed its opening for a year, citing governance issues. Enrolled students had to find spots elsewhere. The Tampa opening was postponed too, and the Duval County school board rejected the Jacksonville school for similar reasons as in Indianapolis. A public hearing for the proposed Houston location is set for this week.

The school in Troy, an outer suburb of Detroit, is currently up and running with about 40 students, and four faculty members listed on its website. Executive director Amy Boyles declined to speak with NPR Ed, saying that ITT Tech handles all communications for the school.

The story of ITT and Early Career Academy illustrates the intersection of two trends: the changing business models of some for-profit education companies and the changing governance of charter public schools.

Experts say this is the first time a proprietary college has sought to get into the charter school business.

In an interview with NPR Ed, the CEO of ITT Technical Institute, Kevin Modany, characterized the new venture as an experiment. He said it could prove to be a logical extension of his company's educational mission: "an opportunity to be part of the solution to access, affordability, and completion rates."

The motivation is equal parts corporate social responsibility and brand building, he said.

"We're, like most of higher education, looking at ways in which we can lower the cost for students, and increase the percentage of people who obtain a postsecondary credential, especially from high-risk communities," Modany added. "And this could be — I do not want to oversell this — a way to address many of these issues."

Indeed, the concept of early-college technical high schools as a path to greater educational attainment has gained favor in high places. President Obama has repeatedly endorsed an effort called Pathways in Technology Early College High School.

This group of public schools in New York and Chicago has corporate partners including IBM. And, like Early Career Academy, they offer students the chance to earn technical associate's degrees for free. But it's a six-year, not a two-year, program. And the degrees are accredited by local public institutions.

By contrast, ITT Tech warns all prospective students that its credits are unlikely to transfer to any other institution.

That means ECA graduates who want to complete a bachelor's degree would have to either enroll at ITT Tech for a total cost of about $22,000 a year, or start over as freshmen somewhere else.

"I see no reason why ITT couldn't serve these students, but it does seem outside their wheelhouse," says Kevin Kinser, an expert on proprietary schools who teaches at the State University of New York, Albany. "Teaching high school students is not just teaching littler versions of college students," he added, especially since ITT Tech's students tend to be older adults.

"There are different requirements for curriculum, faculty credentials, parent involvement — a whole host of areas that ITT has little organizational experience with."

For-Profit Charter Schools

In the charter school world in general, for-profit management organizations "have plateaued" while nonprofits are growing, according to Gary Miron at Western Michigan University. He compiles an annual report on charter school governance.

Miron says his research has shown that for-profits are typically less likely to meet state quality markers for student achievement. "They're losing so many contracts that the growth is slow."

Michigan, where the only ECA school has opened, is the outlier. Fully 79 percent of charter schools there were run by for-profits as of 2011-2012.

"We're learning as we go," says Modany of the Troy school. "We haven't run into any major surprises or issues."

ITT Technical Institute doesn't run these schools, not officially. Early Career Academy subcontracts to ITT as an educational provider. Classes are held at ITT's campus in Troy, but the teenagers are kept separate from ITT's mostly adult students. The curricula, the materials, many of the instructors — they come from ITT. And ITT is supporting these charter schools financially, at least initially.

The closeness of the partnership seems to be what tripped the project up in Indianapolis.

According to a report last week in The Indianapolis Star, the Indiana Charter School Board raised concerns about Early Career Academy's financials and the independence of its board.

Modany says, of course ITT recommended associates to serve on the charter schools' boards.

"We're looking for passionate, interested, committed people. If we can find people, we'll offer up those names, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. They're not getting any economic benefit, so to criticize that is a little bit misplaced."

The Star reported that "two men who do business with ITT resigned from the Early Career Academy board after they were asked to submit letters confirming their businesses wouldn't profit from school operations."

...

Most recently, in February of this year, ITT became the first for-profit college to be sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency. The complaint says ITT used "aggressive" tactics to market a high-interest private loan to students between July and December 2011 and that as a practice, ITT overcharges students and misrepresents their job prospects.

Modany declined to comment on the suit, citing ongoing legal proceedings. But ITT Tech has filed a motion to dismiss, calling the suit unfounded, and has questioned the CFPB's jurisdiction.

Some may find it troubling that an organization with financial and legal issues might be put in charge of public schools. On the other hand, the roadblocks thrown up against ITT and the ECA could equally well be viewed as an example of charter school oversight working exactly as it should.

EarlyCareerAcademy.com