Blended Charter School Students over Age 18 Beat Long Odds to Earn Diplomas

Youth Connections Charter School Virtual High School graduation ceremony will honor inspiring students who overcame challenges

Jun 12, 2014, 14:03 ET from Youth Connection Charter School Virtual High School

CHICAGO, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Talk to parents about "alternative education" and they may picture troubled kids, burned-out teachers, bad schools and a total lack of resources.

But an innovative blended charter school program in Chicago shatters that image, turning what is often considered the "end of the line" in high school education into a springboard of hope and inspiration.

The Virtual High School at Youth Connections Charter School (YCCS) accepts students from ages 18 to 21 and, using a combination of in-person and online instruction, achieves success with students who need a second chance at earning a high school diploma.

This year, 85 students will show how they took advantage of the opportunity to succeed. The school will celebrate during a graduation ceremony on Monday, June 16, at Malcolm X College. Ceremonies begin at 5 p.m.

Each graduate has a tale to tell of working hard to overcome challenges. One example is Tykeisha Smith, who struggled in traditional schools. Smith says she realized her potential and dedication while attending the YCCS virtual high school.

"I used to get down on myself for not knowing something in school, but I actually did know it," Smith says. "I just needed to work on it in my own way."

Tykeisha will head off to Robert Morris University in the fall to study business and marketing — something she credits to her YCCS education.

The blended charter high school, a tuition-free charter school, is open to Chicago residents aged 18 to 21 who have at least 12 high-school credits. The curriculum and school program is provided by K12 Inc., is the nation's foremost provider of proprietary technology-powered online solutions for students in pre-kindergarten through high school.

In the past four years, YCCS has enabled 92 percent of its students to graduate, a stellar rate of success that far outpaces the national average.

"With the right support, our students absolutely thrive," says Elizabeth Roth, Head of School for the YCCS Virtual High School. "This program gives an opportunity for students to reach their goals and receive their high school diploma, while receiving the support they need into their post-secondary venture. There's not another program like this in Chicago that targets this age range"

To learn more about the Youth Connections Charter School Virtual High School, visit

Graduation Ceremony Details
June 16, 5 p.m. | Malcolm X College | 1900 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL 60612

Commencement speaker Vincent T. Williams and Second Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti will be on hand to congratulate YCCS's graduates, many of whom will attend colleges, universities and technical schools across the country this fall. YCCS is graduating 85 students in its class of 2014.

Valedictorian Megan Barrios and Salutatorian Gloria Marquez will be recognized during the ceremony. The school also will give out two awards: the Rising Star Award and the Student of the Year award. The Rising Star recognizes the student who teachers say showed the most improvement—socially, academically and professionally—since starting at YCCS. The Student of the Year is selected from the academic year's Students of the Month, who demonstrated community leadership, good attitudes and school involvement.

About K12 Inc.
K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN) is the nation's foremost provider of proprietary technology-powered online solutions for students in pre-kindergarten through high school. K12 has partnered with more than 2,000 school districts and has delivered more than 4 million courses over the past decade. K12 provides curricula, academic services and learning solutions to public schools and districts, traditional classrooms, blended school programs and families. K12 works with more than 5,000 teachers across the U.S. – the largest network of online school teachers in grades K through 12.

The K12 program is offered through K12 partner public schools in more than two-thirds of the states and the District of Columbia, and through private schools serving students in all 50 states and more than 110 countries. More information can be found at

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SOURCE Youth Connection Charter School Virtual High School