Chesterfield County Public Schools’ programs make education more equitable

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If the worldwide pandemic has taught us anything, it is how to find innovative ways to teach and connect with students. Like other educational opportunities, Chesterfield County Public Schools’ CCPSOnline and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs have pivoted during these unprecedented times in order to find new ways to support students and make learning equitable.

CCPSOnline is built for flexibility and offers all students the opportunity to take select middle school courses and high school credit courses online. For the past 15 years, CCPSOnline primarily served high school students who needed to take courses in order to free space in their schedule to be able to attend a specialty center, technical center, or to access advanced coursework in later years. Now the CCPSOnline program has expanded to allow students the flexibility and autonomy to enroll in middle or high school courses that fit their specific needs and interests.

All courses are taught by licensed Chesterfield County Public Schools teachers and are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. CCPSOnline offers asynchronous learning opportunities for students, so assignments can be completed in a manner that best fits the student’s lifestyle. Students also choose to pursue CCPSOnline because they prefer the online course opportunities for the following reasons:

  • Access to courses not offered at their home school
  • To take required courses to free up their schedule for electives and/or career pathways
  • Get ahead of, complete, or makeup graduation requirements
  • Simply prefer online learning

Students enrolled in the CCPSOnline program have the option to take some or all of their courses online. Most courses are full-year courses; however, some electives are offered on a semester basis. Students who are enrolled in CCPSOnline courses have the option of taking honors and AP courses, just as they would at their home school. They also continue to enjoy extracurricular activities, such as clubs, sports and events, through their home school.

In addition to serving students enrolled in Chesterfield County Public Schools, limited courses are available to both home school and private school students, as well as students residing outside of Chesterfield County. CCPSOnline is approved by the Virginia Department of Education to be a multi-division online provider (MOP), so non-resident students may take up to two MOP approved online courses during the regular school year by paying tuition.

There is no cost for middle and high school students to take a full load of CCPSOnline courses if they are enrolled in Chesterfield County Public Schools. There are fees applied to courses beyond what would be considered a full course load.

Course information, costs, frequently asked questions, online application, and the application tracker can be found at https://mychesterfieldschools.com/ccpsonline/. Students are also encouraged to consult with their school counselor if they have questions.

Registration for the 2021-22 CCPSOnline school year is open through Friday, July 9, at 5 p.m. (Registration for the summer session is not open yet.)

More than 40 years ago, the Career and Technical Center @ Courthouse had only 15 career and post- secondary preparatory courses with students attending from six county high schools offering students three-credit CTE elective courses not available at their high schools. Today, the division’s CTE program boasts two campuses, Courthouse and Hull Street, and offers more than 30 different high school elective courses for 11th- and 12th-grade students from all 11 high schools in Chesterfield County.

The Career and Technical Center program has expanded over the years to allow students more opportunities to explore potential college and career paths through hands-on courses designed to support specific interests. CTE courses prepare students with the skills, knowledge and credentials they need to be successful post-graduation.

Maintaining an emphasis on hands-on technical knowledge and skills and workplace readiness skills, the CTC program currently offers 17 one-year and 13 two-year courses that enable students to prepare for future careers and further post-secondary education. Students have the autonomy to choose which programs would best meet their needs and interests. Students choose CTE courses for the following reasons:

  • Work-based learning opportunities, such as internships, apprenticeships, and volunteer experiences that allow students to apply their
  • Dual enrollment courses offer the opportunity for qualifying students to earn college credit at reduced
  • Industry credentials are valuable professional certifications that give CCTC students an edge on the competition for jobs or college
  • Hands-on instruction provides the opportunity for students to study with expert instructors and then apply the newly learned skills by doing, making, fixing, creating and experimenting in a safe learning

Students in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program report to their first period class at their home high school, after which they ride a designated bus to the Tech Center for their CTE class.

Course information, frequently asked questions and the online application can be found at https://mychesterfieldschools.com/ctc. Students are also encouraged to consult with their school counselor if they have questions. Acceptance status will be posted mid-to-late March, pending the volume of applications submitted.

Registration for the 2021-22 school year is open through Sunday, Feb. 28, at 5 p.m.