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Story and more photos: After graduation, Council Bluffs Class of 2020 more career-ready
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Story and more photos: After graduation, Council Bluffs Class of 2020 more career-ready

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The Council Bluffs Class of 2020 showed its career readiness during graduation ceremonies Saturday with symbols of Plus One credentials.

About 1,100 guests attended the ceremonies for Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson High Schools, plus graduates and staff, according to Diane Ostrowski, chief communications officer. Each graduate was limited to no more than four tickets for family and friends. Hundreds more people watched the ceremony via livestream and, as of Monday afternoon, more than 5,000 had watched the videos. Watch the T.J. ceremony at bit.ly/3dpyztd and the A.L. ceremony at bit.ly/2BvRdSS.

More than half of the Council Bluffs Community School District Class of 2020 wore special medals or honor cords at their graduation ceremonies to signify earning not only their high school diplomas but a second credential, according to a press release from the school district.

“Each of the medals was personalized for the specific credential,” Ostrowski said.

The goal to have all students graduate with this accomplishment was initiated by Superintendent Vickie Murillo last year, the press release stated.

This year, 297 of the district’s 566 graduating seniors earned a combined 417 credentials that will allow them to proceed with their educational and career preparation ahead of their peers. That represents about 52% of the Class of 2020 with second credentials.

“We are so proud of our graduates and all that they have accomplished by taking advantage of the Plus One opportunities in the Council Bluffs schools,” Murillo said. “By earning the extra credential, they have been able to explore and gain knowledge they will use at the next level.”

Students exceeded this year’s goal of having 50% earn a second credential, said Corey Vorthmann, chief academic officer.

“We are right on target,” he said. “Hopefully next year, we’ll have 75% and the following year 100%.”

The students earned many different kinds of credentials.

Early College Academy

Twenty-four earned an associate or applied associate degree from Iowa Western Community College through the district’s Early College Academy.

College Credit Acceleration Program

One hundred thirty students not in ECA, CAP or TradeWorks completed 24 or more Advanced Placement or Concurrent Enrollment credits through the College Credit Acceleration Program.

Certificate Advancement Program

Twenty students earned a certificate in culinary arts or health sciences from Iowa Western through the Certificate Advancement Program.

National Career Readiness Certificate

One hundred thirty-three earned platinum, gold or silver National Career Readiness Certificates; testing at Thomas Jefferson was planned for April and could not be held.

TradeWorks Academy

Sixty-one students earned a National Center for Construction Education and Research core curriculum credential through TradeWorks Academy.

TradeWorks at IWCC

Five students earned a certificate or diploma in a technical career area from Iowa Western Community College through the extended TradeWorks program at Iowa Western.

Transition Alliance Program

Fifty-one students earned a certificate in Work Ethic Proficiency, Skills to Pay the Bills, Iowa WorkForce Development Pre-Employment Skills or Employment-Based Certificate through the Transition Alliance Program.

Seal of Biliteracy

AP exam results are pending, the district said.

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