Graduation 200x300, Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy

Captain Chicoine awards a certificate of graduation to a cadet

Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy Academics

Learn more about our academic program, and make sure to read our principal’s letter, in which she explains more about the educational philosophy behind our approach.


The Academy provides individualized instruction for each cadet to take and pass the General Education Development (GED) test or participate in Credit Recovery (CR) classes.  GED classes are concentrated in the five areas tested for the certificate; Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts – Reading and Writing.  The CR classes listed below are aligned with Virginia Department of Education’s requirements for high school diplomas. Additional classes may be available upon request on a case by case basis.

Core classes:

  • English 9 – 12
  • Algebra I & II
  • Geometry
  • Earth Science
  • Physical Science
  • Biology & Biology II
  • Word History & Geography I & II
  • Virginia & U.S. History & Virginia & U.S. Government
  • Economics & Personal Finance

Elective classes:

  • Expository Reading and Writing
  • Introduction to Communications and Speech
  • Introduction to Art
  • Online Learning and Digital Citizenship
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Spanish I, II & III (Call to inquire- may not be available)

State of the Art Equipment

All classrooms have WIFI and laptops for cadet use while in the residential phase. The laptops are used daily for classroom instruction, tutoring, taking online GED practice exams, taking online courses, and more.

Two Program Tracks

Cadets focus on either a GED course of study, or on a Credit Recovery program.  Cadets in the Credit Recovery program have an opportunity to earn high school credits.  On average cadets earn 5 – 7 credits.  Results vary depending on the courses selected, individual abilities and effort.

To tailor academic programs to each student, the Academy uses The Adult Basic Education (TABE) test to measure incoming and outgoing performance that correlates to traditional secondary school grade levels. This initial assessment of skill level is conducted soon after arrival.

Teachers use the results from this assessment to develop the cadet’s educational plan. The exit TABE test determines the successful completion of the Academic Excellence Core Component and is administered approximately 18 weeks into the program.

Academic classes are taught in the classroom and in computer labs where each student works on lessons designed to reinforce their classroom instruction. The computer lessons are self-paced allowing cadets to progress at their own level of proficiency.

A Special Education teacher addresses students who have an IEP throughout the program. Student progress is monitored closely and is communicated to parents/guardians on an as needed basis.

ChalleNGe sponsors a number of events and field trips to enrich our curriculum and integrate our students into the community.  Some examples of events/field trips include Virginia Beach Aquarium, Aviation Museum, American Rover sail boat, Virginia International Tattoo, local baseball games and sporting events, and local colleges.

Student Council

The cadets for each class elect a student council consisting of a President, Vice President and Secretary.   They provide dialogue between the cadets and academy leadership. The student council also plans various events for the cadets.