Computer literacy is the new literacy Community College Preparatory Academy, Washington, D.C.

Computer literacy is the new literacy


Adult charter school prepares students for knowledge-based careers

CommunityCollegePreparatoryAcademy740x740Washington, DC, is a city of contrasts. Fifty percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while thirty-seven percent of residents are functionally illiterate. The Community College Preparatory Academy (CC Prep), which opened its doors in the fall of 2013, was created to help address this disparity.

CC Prep is a free adult charter school for Washington, DC, residents. It helps underserved adults—including minorities, female heads of households living at or below the poverty line, and young adults emerging from the foster care system—develop the skills needed to successfully enter college and gain employment in DC’s knowledge-based economy. The school offers a wide range of academic subjects, as well as counseling and classes in life- and workforce-skills development.

To prepare its students for knowledge-based careers, CC Prep provides remediation for students who are unable to complete high school, have not worked for many years, or have aspirations for career advancement. Many students enter the school with backgrounds similar to that of Samantha Wallace, a CC Prep student who is interested in getting her Microsoft Office Suite certification. “I have a grade-school level of math and a high-school level of English and writing. So I need to get my math skills brushed up and get a higher level of English and writing to do my job in the future,” said Wallace.

Online learning, which accounts for two-thirds of the instruction, is an important part of CC Prep’s curriculum. Connie Spinner, head of school and the founding executive director, explained, “Computer literacy is the new literacy and every American is going to have to learn how to use the computer as a learning tool.”

Every American is going to have to learn how to use the computer as a learning tool.

Connie Spinner, Head of School and Founding Executive Director

CC Prep uses Pearson’s MyFoundationsLab as its online curriculum, supplemented by Pearson’s online Workforce Education courses, the online tutoring service Smarthinking, and mentoring services. The school reinforces the online curriculum with face-to-face workshops that enable students to apply what they have learned.


Evaluating its success based on four outcomes, the school determines whether it is preparing students to do the following:

  • Complete the high school equivalency exam
  • Enter college
  • Enter knowledge-based careers
  • Become lifelong learners

After the school’s first year in operation, outcomes are positive. Fifty percent of CC Prep’s students passed the GED, all of its college applicants will enter institutions of higher education at the freshman level, eighty percent of students tested passed national certifications, and seventy-five percent of students who applied for jobs are now working. In addition, all of its students passed computer-basics assessments, which will help prepare them to be lifelong learners.


To learn more about Community College Preparatory Academy, read the success story or watch the video.

Read the full success story Watch the video


Online remediation in reading, writing, and math

MyFoundationsLab combines The College Board’s assessment with Pearson’s proven online intervention. It analyzes academic strengths and weaknesses in reading, writing, arithmetic and algebra. A GED® test prep is also available.
Learn more about MyFoundationsLab