College Park Academy charter school, connected to U-Md., is officially opened

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and University of Maryland President Wallace Loh on Monday cut the ribbon on a new charter school near the university campus that offers a college-preparatory program for hundreds of sixth and seventh graders.

College Park Academy, which is located in Adelphi, offers a blended learning curriculum, which allows the students to move at their own pace.

The school is the second in Maryland to provide an early-college program, which allows students to earn 60 college credits (up to 25 University of Maryland credits in this program) by the time they graduate from high school. The other program operates out of Prince George’s County Community College and students can earn their high school diploma and an associate’s degree from the community college at graduation.

The charter school, which is the eighth in the county, opened in August with 150 students in each grade. The school, which offers seven foreign languages, plans to grow by one grade each year, eventually offering classes through the 12th grade.

All of the curriculum at the school is online and 50 percent of the instruction is taught online.

Sen. Jim Rosapepe (D-Maryland), who chairs the College Park City-University Partnership, said the charter school provides another option for parents. The city has been working with the university for 20 years, exploring ways to improve the community, he said.

“We want people to come to Prince George’s County and go to great schools,” Rosapepe said. “The city has been interested in doing this kind of for a long time. The game changer was President Loh. He bought in right away.”

Rosapepe said former superintendent William R. Hite and the school board supported the plan and the school has been in the works for the past two years.

“There is a great demand for rigorous college-prep schools,” Rosapepe said. “This is a school to get into top colleges and universities in the country.”

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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