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Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) Network

Driving Additional Experiential Learning Globally Fueled by Hundred.org Connections

Education needs a redesign in approach and outcomes through the integration of real-world learning to prepare students for the future. CAPS Network allows a K-12 school or district to leverage a robust ecosystem of innovative educators who are currently connecting students to professionals through a shared framework. There is nothing quite like CAPS Network - it's a family committed to change.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

HundrED Global Collection 2023

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Target group
Students upper
February 2024
We hope to find all students, regardless of background or country of origin, connected to authentic, profession-based learning opportunities that assist them in discovering purpose. Specifically, we believe cross-connecting in the Hundred community can result in a "network effect" to accelerate this innovation from linear to exponential scale, benefiting children all around the world.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

The CAPS Network was formed to connect nodes of innovation in K-12 schools and develop an ecosystem approach to sharing best practices, troubleshooting challenges, and celebrating successes. Breaking down formerly competitive - and in some cases nonexistent - relationships between school districts is allowing for rapid prototyping of curriculum and acceleration of profession-based learning.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

At CAPS, students are placed in a culture where they are treated as adults, own their learning, and make mistakes without punishment. Nearly all students come from learning environments that place the teacher in the front of the room as the ultimate authority figure. CAPS works to tear down that hierarchical culture and rebuild the learning experience as one that is collaborative, purposeful, active and authentic. Students drive the experience, with adults a coach and guide, going where the students lead.

Students work in a professional area of interest. Examples include bioscience, engineering, healthcare, innovation and technology. The curriculum adjusts to meet the passions of the students. Recent examples of student-client projects include the construction of a sensory chair for children with autism that was licensed internationally, a data analytics solution that saved Fortune 500 company over $2 million, and an app created to connect those with mental illness with supports.

How has it been spreading?

The original CAPS program launched in 2009, and a few pilot affiliates started between 2012-2014. In 2015, the Blue Valley School District created the CAPS Network to connect nodes of educational innovation. As a result, there are currently over 14,000 students and over 50,000 alumni of CAPS programs. The network includes 104 affiliate programs and spans 22 states in the U.S. Five additional countries now engage. Connection to Hundred is driving new global activity, including affiliation in Kenya. We anticipate new countries launching CAPS in the next year directly because of our Hundred award! The speed of scale resulted in the 2021 formation of CAPS Network, Inc. - a nonprofit organization - to provide additional foundation support for this dynamic education movement.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

We love connecting with others that share our purpose. Anyone interested in partnering should explore the CAPS Network website at https://yourcapsnetwork.org.

CAPS growth metrics are powerful and undeniable. In a recent survey completed by over 2,000 students, confidence jumped significantly in 12 categories of soft skills. Full results at https://tinyurl.com/CAPSNETF21.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

This innovation creates a curriculum that meets the passion of students. This profound model brings out the creative best of every learner.

CAPS can be integrated into all education levels, especially in secondary and higher where education is targeted at orienting students professionally. Acquiring life skills and building multi-faceted personalities prepare citizens holistically.

- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Profession-Based Learning
The first core value of CAPS - connect professionals and community members directly into the learning process, starting with the design of course experiences, continuing with authentic project delivery as the curriculum, and including a post-year debrief and recalibration.
Professional Skills Development
Establish the importance of professional, durable skills with students (as opposed to simply the "hard skills"). Connect students with direct exercises to practice skills such as verbal communication, written communication, time management, project management, and leadership. Expose students to these skill sets in natural environments so they can also learn organically and build confidence.
Self Discovery and Exploration
Provide students the space and time to truly learn who they are. This includes a strengths inventory, as well as what students like and don't like to do. Once students understand more about their strengths and work styles, students should be deployed as young professionals to see what the world has to offer them. This accelerates the process of "knowing thyself" through deployment to the real world.
Entrepreneurial Mindset
All students should learn how to iteratively explore solutions to challenging problems and situations using approaches such as Lean Startup or Design Thinking. In this model, failure is positioned as a quick way to learn and pivot as opposed to an act to punish. The CAPS model views entrepreneurship as a mindset and not simply the act of starting a business or creating a product. Professionals in any industry benefit from an entrepreneurial mindset.
CAPS envisions a new style of school, one that moves at the speed of innovation and meets students and industry partners where they are. Building a responsive classroom or school requires agility, where educators are open to receiving blunt, real-time feedback on the relevance of their curriculum and experiences. The CAPS teacher embraces rapid prototyping of their instructional design and delivery. This ensures a world-class experience unparalleled by the traditional classroom.

Spread of the innovation

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