Exploring the Canyon Educational Participant Program at GCU

By Leigh Critchley
Executive Director, Strategic Educational Alliances

A classroom full of college students

I was recently chatting with a school administrator, Matt Drowne, who I met about a year ago when his school became a participant in the Canyon Educational Participant (CEP) program offered through Grand Canyon University. Matt is the director of education at Gateway Academy, a small, private school for highly functioning autistic students. I work in the Strategic Educational Alliances department at GCU and I connect public charter and private schools to GCU through the benefits available by participating in the CEP program.

Matt commented that Gateway Academy has become the poster child for the CEP program. I had to agree. Matt has not only taken advantage of most of the benefits documented in the CEP agreement, but he also took me at my word that I could be a conduit to many other resources and opportunities. I told him to just ask, and he did.

One benefit that almost all of our participating schools appreciate is the opportunity to recruit GCU students for teaching positions. So it’s no surprise that Gateway Academy will be attending our College of Education networking event where they will meet students exploring opportunities for student teaching and practicum placements.

Gateway Academy has a student who is planning to attend GCU in the fall. She is eligible for a $1,000 grant per year because she is graduating from a participant school.

I don’t know if any of the staff is currently enrolled in a GCU degree program, but I do know that a GCU representative met with them to discuss discounts available through the CEP program.

All of these benefits are listed in the CEP agreement, but Matt got creative. He wanted more of his students to see our campus so we invited his eighth grade students to Thunder Vision, a GCU student-run program that incorporates a tour and curriculum on being college ready.

Matt asked if he could bring his staff and their spouses to a basketball game as a team builder. I was able to provide free tickets to the game.

As I got to know Matt and Gateway Academy better, I thought our faculty teaching in GCU’s autism degree program would enjoy learning more about the school. During our visit, Matt was recruited to teach an evening cohort class at GCU. Matt also serves on the Canyon Educational Participant Advisory Board.

All of these opportunities and more are available for schools that participate in our alliance programs. We have programs for public school districts, Christian schools and homeschool groups. There are hundreds of local schools and districts participating in these programs (and thousands throughout the country and internationally). Many of them are taking advantage of the resources GCU makes available.

I hope that this example will spark even more of our participants to explore ways to connect and engage with GCU. I always say that it never hurts to ask!

To learn more about how to become a participant in a Strategic Educational Alliances program, visit our website and call us at 855-GCU-LOPE. There is no cost to participate so learn more today!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.