The Arts and College Preparatory Academy (ACPA) is a comprehensive public community high school in Columbus. Our mission—our passion—is to actively maintain a safe, diverse environment for all our members. ACPA provides a tuition-free college preparatory education to two hundred 9th-12th graders representing more than twelve different districts in Central Ohio. ACPA is a school of diversity. The demographics of the school are as diverse as the districts seted. Students from all socio-economic, racial and religious backgrounds are represented. In every case, the student can benefit from the experience of service-learning. The focus on arts across the curriculum encourages student investment in their education, serves varied learning styles, and improves creative problem-solving skills essential to achieving their goals beyond high school.
On Wednesdays, all day, 11th and 12th graders involved in the Government and Social Justice participate in service-learning at a wide variety of sites throughout Columbus. Students choose their sites, giving them further control over their education. They work with service-learning coordinators to choose a path they are interested in, find a site, and request the opportunity to volunteer there. Ultimately, the student is responsible for her/his placement. Students develop character, professionalism, and an investment in their community, all while applying state Content Area Standards in authentic and meaningful ways. This invaluable hands-on experience has radical results. ACPA has achieved Effective ratings (according to the Ohio Department of Education criteria) every year since we opened in 2002-03. Our service-learning program contributes to our continued success.
Representing fourteen Central Ohio school districts, we have an extremely diverse student body in terms of race, socioeconomic status, religion, lifestyle, and ability. Diversity is celebrated at ACPA, not merely tolerated. When students are asked what their favorite thing about ACPA is, the students inevitably mention the diversity. Being surrounded with people different from themselves teaches them to recognize the common ground and to appreciate the differences among them.