Dr. Howard Liebman, CEO and Superintendent of Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE), and Octavio J. Visiedo, former Superintendent of Schools for Miami-Dade County, are pleased to announce the launch of Ascend Career Academy.

SHCOE has partnered with a distinguished group of educational professionals based in South Florida to establish Ascend Career Academy, an AdvancED/SACS-accredited, online high school.

“I believe the kind of career-based online education offered by SHCOE meets a very real need in modern education,” said Visiedo, who serves as a senior policy advisor to the initiative. “The recent Career and Professional Education Act signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott has highlighted the need to make career training an option for students. This new Florida legislation enables Florida high school students to choose an education track that emphasizes the kind of career preparation that has been so aptly pioneered by SHCOE.”

This unique partnership with SHCOE is a way of creating a pathway of viable academic and career alternatives for students. “It could be students who are having trouble in high school or adult education settings, or it could be dropouts—anyone who has not succeeded in the traditional high school environment,” Visiedo said. “We want to place these students on career pathways to future success.”

In addition to serving Florida students, Ascend Career Academy will work with legislatures, mid- and large-size school districts, businesses, community organizations, and juvenile justice programs to offer the program nationwide. There are also plans to enroll international students. Ascend Career Academy will make a special effort to reach out to and address the needs of minority students.

“I believe in Ascend Career Academy’s vision for reaching out to non-traditional students through career online education,” said Dr. Liebman. “Ascend Career Academy represents a real opportunity to make a difference in many student’s lives.”