Cornerstone's ACE Program Is Busy
Tomorrow, ACE will host the second open house of its new Lakeshore Campus in
The program, which also has campuses in
"Now we will be able to have our
Piatek said that of the 71 new students, few of them would have attended classes at the
"Statistics show that students don't want to drive more than 20 minutes to class," she said. "And we find that to be especially true in
"We're really expecting some great growth in the
ACE offers accelerated undergraduate and master's degree programs primarily in business and education disciplines for working adults. In addition to general admissions requirements, ACE admits only students with at least two years of work experience.
ACE delivers its curriculum one six-week course at a time. When a "cohort," or class, has 16 to 22 students who are financially ready to begin the program, that unit proceeds throughout the program together one class at a time.
The result is a more easily managed and faster path to an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree.
On the east side of the state, ACE turned out to be exactly what the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) needed.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed into law by President Bush on Jan. 8, 2002, federally mandated a higher level of education required by teachers and paraprofessionals working in the classroom.
For a paraprofessional, that level increased to at least an associate's degree or 61 college credits.
"Years ago, these people were volunteer lunch aides or homeroom moms — mostly mothers — helping out at their children's school," said Flora Brooks, Cornerstone's regional director for
The more than 500 DPS paraprofessionals were faced with getting their education by January 2006, or being replaced with individuals who had.
DPS director of specialized student services Deletha Motley had been searching for an educational solution that could meet the needs of the paraprofessionals in her department when she met Marianne Fingado, a Detroit ACE representative. What she needed was an accelerated program, something more accelerated than even ACE.
Fingado connected Motley with Brooks and Simpson, and Cornerstone began working with DPS to facilitate a program to provide an associate's degree that could be accomplished in 18 months.
Seventy-four students in five cohorts started ACE classes earlier this month, and as many as 75 more, mostly those with some college experience already, are expected to begin in September, representing more than a third of DPS' paraprofessional staff.
"We've actually compacted our accelerated program," Brooks said. "We've accelerated our accelerated program. And we've done that without compromising the integrity of the program. We just added a class here and there each week."
The classes will be conducted by Cornerstone faculty on site at DPS facilities, including Cooley High School North Annex,
There is a test-out option for the education requirement, but it requires many months of testing. Several of the DPS ACE students have already passed this test, however, but opted to still pursue the degree.
The DPS partnership is likely to be a permanent situation and will likely expand into the master's level in the near future, officials said.