What is the Texas ChalleNGe Academy all about?
TCA is a volunteer alternative education program for 16 to 18 year old youth who are not reaching their academic potential in their home high school. Located in Sheffield, TX, the Texas ChalleNGe Academy campus annually serves approximately 300 high school dropouts in Texas. The program is open to all students, without regard to race, sex, religious affiliation or household income. The program requires a 17-1/2 month commitment. Click here for the school information sheet and the ChalleNGe brochure.
What are the mission and purpose of the Texas ChalleNGe Academy?
The mission of the Texas ChalleNGe Academy is to reclaim the potential of young adults through education, training, mentoring and service to the community.
The purpose of the Texas ChalleNGe Program, though the use of a military training model is to:
- Target at-risk youth with the highest potential for reversal
- Provide those youth with the tools and experience to succeed and
- Develop youth into productive, employed, and tax-paying citizens
My child is younger than 16 years old. Are there any programs for those younger than 16?
There are a lot of other programs. We have listed three good websites below.
How are cadets selected?
They are recruited through, or referred by, their high school principals, counselors and truancy officers. Those who volunteer for the program are screened for academic potential and the desire to accept the challenge of a military style academy for completion of their high school education.
What is the admissions process?
The admissions process includes filling out an application and a personal interview of the student and his/her parent(s) or guardian(s). In addition to the interview, there is a mandatory one-day orientation session.
I sent my application in, but haven't heard anything, who do I contact?
You should contact the screening department at 432-836-1509
What is the profile of a Texas ChalleNGe Academy class?
All students are there voluntarily, have no felony convictions, are non-smokers and are drug free at time of entry to the program. Most have not completed the 10th or 11th grade; yet 25 to 30% test academically at 11th or 12th grade levels using the Test for Adult Basic Education Survey. Cadets come from across the state of Texas with a full range of family backgrounds, from those blessed with affluence to those in economic hardships; from those in supportive families to those in unfortunate family situations.
What does the Texas ChalleNGe Academy offer the cadets?
It offers a safe haven, physical training and an educational environment free from the distractions of today's teenage world and the influences of contemporaries who are not yet ready to become resources to their families and communities.
What is the core component model of training?
Texas ChalleNGe Academy cadets complete an eight core component model of study including academic excellence, physical fitness, job skills, service to the community, health and hygiene, responsible citizenship, leadership/followership and life-coping skills.
What is a Cadet's day like?
Cadets wake up at 5 a.m. for physical training and barracks cleanup, academic classes from 7:15 a.m. - 3 p.m., organized athletics and a little free time after the evening meal; lights out at 9 p.m. They are controlled and supervised 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each platoon has five academic days per week, on voluntary service day, one day for incentive events, and voluntary attendance at Sheffield area places of worship.
What is their service to the community?
On service to community days, cadet platoons participate in the state's adopt a highway program. The cadets also provide manpower for major community events like the BP MS 150 Mile Bike Ride, Fort Lancaster restoration projects and Fort Lancaster battle reenactments.
How is Texas ChalleNGe funded?
The program is funded with federal dollars provided through the Department of Defense and National Guard Bureau, matching funds from the Texas Legislature and interested foundations. Specifically, the "Texans Challenge Youth Foundation," a 501(c)(3) organization, was chartered solely to raise funds for Texas ChalleNGe Academy.
What is the duration of the course?
The residential phase in Sheffield is 22-weeks long with two long weekend breaks. Upon graduation from the residential phase, Cadets enter a 12-month post-residential phase monitored and supported by a trained Texas ChalleNGe Academy mentor.
What are the program outcomes?
The graduate of the 22-week residential program return home to pursue the goals developed during the residential phase and identified in their post-residential action (PRAP). Their success is measured by productive placement in the following months. Since 1999, more than 2,500 cadets have graduated. Placement for our most recent class completing 17 months is 74% at the 17th month. Of those, 14% are in the military, 32% are in some type of educational placement, and 52% are employed. 70% of the class passed the GED or received a High School Diploma.
Does the Texas ChalleNGe Academy award high school diplomas?
Yes! Beginning in 2008 the Texas ChalleNGe Academy as a partner with the Iraan-Sheffield Independent School District can award high school diplomas to students that meet the criterion established by the Texas Education Agency. Additionally, the academy offers credit recovery, credit by exam and GED testing.