In the early years of the Program, cadets were only offered the option of earning their GED. Over the past two decades of operation, the Academy has evolved with the educational landscape. As of now, the Academy has interlocal agreements with most Montana high schools. These partnerships help cadets achieve high school diplomas through state aligned curriculum, which is delivered by Montana-certified teachers.

The collaboration with the Office of Public Instruction and the partnerships with school districts, nearly 30% of recently graduated cadets have returned to their local high schools, and nearly 80% have achieved a diploma!

MYCA meets the unique needs of Montana youth and assists them in making a successful transition to adulthood. Our program helps young people to grow in eight areas that are critical for lifelong success. Through mentoring and education, our graduates learn the life skills necessary to become productive citizens.

High school Credit/Diploma

The goal of the MYCA Education Department is to “provide students with a positive learning experience that results in the overall academic improvement in the areas of reading comprehension, language usage, spelling, math computation and math application, while working toward the attainment of the HiSET (like the GED)."    

We measure academic excellence by an increased score on the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) or success on a HiSET (formerly GED) exam.  Students are placed in classes according to their initial performance on the TABE. Each class follows the MYCA curriculum and provides ample modifications, when necessary, to meet each student at their unique academic level. 

If cadets need to work on additional credits, they may be assigned independent study courses, supervised by staff. Our Academic Counselors contact schools and parents to be sure this is a viable option. 

Students with appropriate TABE level and background have the opportunity to take a high school curriculum track, on-site classes in Algebra 2, American Literature, U.S. Government, and Environmental Science.


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Academic Assessment

The TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) is administered to all incoming cadets during the first two weeks of the program. The results of this test provide valuable information to education staff when preparing curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of all students.

Students are post-tested with the TABE prior to graduation from the residential phase of the academy. The average academic growth for a student at the academy is 1.0 – 2.0 grade levels as measured by the TABE test.

21st century 

School assignments and activities prepare cadets to be successful students and employees. Working independently and collaboratively, cadets develop their critical thinking and communication skills. Classroom instruction incorporates technology-based activities. Support is given to all cadets who are not yet proficient with technology to complete school assignments. All cadets may access Chromebooks to complete assignments, increase their familiarity with tech-based learning, and prepare them for college and/or a career. 

College & career readiness

The academy offers an evolving array of certifications and college level courses. Below are samples of certifications and work exploration that may be offered during the Residential Phase to qualified cadets:

Field Trips

MYCA is the only Youth Challenge program located on a college campus. We are fortunate to collaborate with the University of Montana Western on a diverse range of activities for cadets, from college football games to performing arts. We also sponsor field trips each residential cycle to enrich our curriculum and integrate our students into the community. Some examples of field trips include the Museum of the Rockies, Bannack State Park, Virginia City Historic District, and the spectacular outdoors of Southwest Montana.