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College of Adaptive Arts: A Community of Lifelong Learners
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College of Adaptive Arts: A Community of Lifelong Learners

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Coretta Scott King

In the summer of 2009, DeAnna Pursai and Pamela Lindsay teamed up to form what is now known as the College of Adaptive Arts (CAA). They, along with 12 adult students, began the course of lifelong learning within a single musical theater class. Since that time, the CAA has grown to 104 pupils pursuing over 40 collegiate courses.

The CAA’s unique model of education for adult students with differing abilities offers students 18 years and older a broad spectrum of courses to help them achieve their fullest potential. The CAA allows students to pursue interests such as dance, theater, fine arts, digital arts/video productions, as well as academic disciplines like Health and Wellness, Library Arts, Communications, and Science and Technology.

CAA is an institute for lifelong learning, where students not only have the chance to pursue an “equitable collegiate experience”, but they also feel like part of a community. This quality of the CAA is particularly appealing to the students it serves because “...many adults are just finding out who they are, where their interests and passions lie, and how they can be of maximum service to the community at just about the same time that so many services are discontinued because they have aged out of the public school system.”

The CAA model is “an equitable model of higher education, serving as a natural extension to the community college model”, and it differs from the customary adult day home model. Some of the CAA’s lifelong learning departments include:

  • Department of Fine Arts- Traditional Art Techniques
  • Department of Tactile Arts- Ceramics, Clay Animation
  • Department of Oral Communications- Speaking with Confidence
  • Department of Language Studies- Poetry, Sign Language
  • School of Dance- Classical Dance, Cultural Dance, Ballet, Contemporary Dance
  • School of Health and Wellness- Cheer Team, Mindfulness and Whole-Body Wellness

As with many of colleges, the CAA offers distance learning for students who lack transportation, have an illness or impairment that limits their mobility. BEAM robots and video conferencing enable students to connect to speakers and professors from around the world.

If you are a student who is interested in pursuing the distance learning classes and you are willing to submit valuable feedback on the school’s distance learning model, you have the opportunity to try it for free, but you must contact the CAA to find out more information!

Additionally, the college offers opportunities for students to participate in activities such as golf and student council. Golf practices occur twice a month from March through September each year. Students who choose to be part of the student council have the chance to participate in fundraising activities, field trips, and meet to discuss other ways to contribute to the community.

The CAA is located in San Jose, California. Registration information or questions about scholarships, financial aid, and course catalog can be found at their website or by emailing CAA at

Image credit: Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

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