2019 Model Continuation High School Program Recognitions
Thirty-one schools have been awarded Model Continuation High School (MCHS) status for 2019. Review teams conducted site validation visits to each of the schools and prepared reports based on their findings. These reports included a Program Summary, which explains specifically how the awardee meets the criteria for recognition as an MCHS. A Program Summary for each of the thirty-one awardees is included below.
We celebrated our 2019 Model Schools at the Awards Gala at Levi Stadium during the CCEA Conference in Santa Clara, CA this past April. Click the links below to see a list of 2019 Model Schools and their contact information, along with photos of the Gala: 2019 Model Schools | Photos from the 2019 Gala
2019 Model Continuation High School
Site Visit Program Summaries
Alta Vista High School
Alta Vista High School exemplifies a successful alternative education site where relationships matter most. The nurturing, supportive environment and wrap-around services that students receive enhances their ability to excel in the classroom. With a full time social worker, the Community Resource Coordinator, on staff, each student is given a full intake interview to assess additional needs and supports. The Community Resource Coordinator (herself an Alta Vista alumnae) then connects the student and family to resources within the school and in the community. A true effort is made to reduce all barriers to education. There is a strong commitment by both site and district administration to maintain this important position in an effort to support the social-emotional wellbeing of all students.
Students at Alta Vista benefit from a committed and passionate teaching staff. There is a high level of visible respect exhibited between staff and students. Students overwhelmingly reported that the teachers were their favorite part of Alta Vista. Instruction is rigorous and engaging. The science department offers hands-on learning with a chicken coop, goat, an orchard, garden and 3-D printers. Students are given the autonomy to work on projects that they find interesting or where their abilities excel. Students have the opportunity to learn in a variety of styles, including direct instruction, independent learning, online learning, and community college courses and enrolling dually with the traditional school next door.
The advisory program that the school has created is a source of pride at Alta Vista. Every student on campus has an individualized learning plan and a teacher/advisor who acts as an academic guidance counselor. Graduation plans and progress is reviewed every two weeks in advisory period. Students earn credit based on a points system and are keenly aware of where they stand. This spreadsheet is shared and monitored, providing motivation to students to reach their identified “magic number” of credits.
Bill Pierce, the principal at Alta Vista, has been a positive fixture at Alta Vista for 33 years and his leadership is evidenced all over the campus. The board of trustees and district administration are extremely supportive of Alta Vista and their vision for kids. The campus is immaculate and offers a “park like” setting. The facilities are new and top notch. The teachers are offered multiple professional development opportunities. The community itself supports Alta Vista as an equal partner in high school education with tremendous financial support, allowing each Alta Vista senior to graduate with scholarships and the first year of college essentially free if they choose to pursue that route.
Alta Vista is a magical place of student success and achievement; the secret sauce is in their relationships and school culture. This staff clearly understands the unique needs of an alternative education student and delivers on all aspects team fully supports.
Brea Canyon High School
Brea Canyon High School can be described as many other continuation high schools, “Small, but Mighty.” However, upon visiting BCHS, it is apparent that they not only strive for student achievement both academically and emotionally but pride themselves on ever evolving into a progressive and community-based home for all of their students. The atmosphere on campus is inviting and both the students and staff feel safe and respected. They understand that there is a common goal and are willing to strive for excellence in all areas. They are led by an administrator who understands that education is ever-evolving, and all students deserve to feel that they are heard and respected. The staff spends a great deal of time developing a comprehensive curriculum, offering multiple opportunities for success, and understands the need for a strong united front. All students, including Special Education students, are given an opportunity to access thought-provoking curriculum and to gain a sense of belonging with strong district and community support. There are multiple ways in which students are given a chance to feel successful and many opportunities for students to feel empowered to find their own success. The goals are clear and there is an understanding that though the path may not always be easy, success is always accessible.
With collaboration from all stakeholders, Brea Canyon is a Model school and should be proud of the success they have now and will continue to have. With an emphasis on both academic and social emotional wellness with PBIS strategies, guidance and counseling, as well as high expectations and continued encouragement from staff, the students at Brea Canyon feel empowered and supported. There is a clear path to graduation and an emphasis on post-secondary skills.
Calaveras Hills High School
Cal Hills is a campus where students feel valued and welcomed. CHHS acknowledges and encourages student voice through leadership practices including ASB, publishing student generated informational videos on the school website and student created posters throughout the hallways. CHHS leadership is exemplary in their approach to building capacity in staff and faculty enabling them to reach their potential ultimately leading to strong pedagogical practices and student success.
Cal Hills faculty exemplify the true meaning of relationship building with students while concurrently creating relevant, culture rich curriculum. CHHS teachers meet students at their current level and scaffold to support the learning of each individual learner. Cal Hills also promotes students taking ownership of their learning by establishing more frequent grade/credit checks. Cal Hills has partnered with Project Lead the Way to establish an exemplary Robotics/Engineering CTE pathway. Students are engaged in authentic, relevant and life applicable experiences in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Cal Hills, with support from their district, has established relationships with the local community college and adult vocational training center to enrich student experiences through extended learning opportunities. CHHS on average have 10 – 15% of their student population take advantage of concurrent enrollment or voc. ed. training on a yearly basis.
Columbus High School
The visit with the District Administration included Superintendent, three School Board Members, three Asst. Superintendents, as well as other staffers. According to Superintendent, the School Board continues to look at graduation rates. They all see that Columbus High School is the District’s venue providing opportunities for students to graduate who might otherwise not be successful. The District knows that they need the best teachers with the biggest hearts to take care of the students who need the most. Columbus High School is becoming a school of choice for students, parents, and staff. It is becoming known for its innovation and outreach to students who have not been successful in other settings.
Parents expressed their delight in what their children have experienced at Columbus High School: how much their children had changed, that they were less angry, more in their element; that they had less anxiety and experienced less stress and more relaxed. Several parents expressed how happy they were that every student had an adult on campus with whom they could relate.
Students have grown in ways they did not expect when they first came to Columbus High School. One student commented that he, “Hated math, but my teacher helps me to understand it. He makes me want to do it.” For a student to make a comment like this indicates how supported and accepted he feels. Particularly in an academic area in which he had performed poorly in the past and now had found a pathway to success.
Though some students still felt that there was a stigma attached to attending Columbus High School, overwhelmingly they also felt that they had found a place where they belonged. That there was a sense of community. The environment created by the faculty and staff of Columbus High School is one of possibilities. Where all doors are open to students; students who have had numerous doors closed to them. They now see pathways to the future for themselves that many did not see before they arrived.
During the visit the team found challenging and interesting things being done for and with students. Students exploring the various styles of poetry, students working through the challenges of Algebra and Geometry using online programs and receiving individualized instruction. Students were learning how to create scars and burns in special effect make-up lab and the digital imaging class were working on projects that help them learn the skills necessary to create an award winning Yearbook.
One of the things that has become prized by all within the Downey Unified School District family is the high level of interactions between students, faculty and staff at Columbus High School. This care and trust are part of what sets this school apart from the average.
Conejo Valley High School
It was clear upon arrival that Conejo Valley High School is deserving of the Model Continuation High School status. Upon arrival you are welcomed to a beautiful facility decorated with student work and student accolades. When greeted by administration it was clear that the leadership in this school was both shared and transformational. The strong leadership in this school described perseverance of the school and the continuous positive improvement of the school to provide a student-centered culture. The school provided not only a welcoming and embracing environment for the students but also ensured an engaging and rigorous curriculum in the classroom.
Some of the exemplary programs included the Student of the Month presentations where students and parents attended an intimate ceremony where all of the teachers and staff that worked with the students of the month showered students with praise and anecdotes that shared why the student was honored with the title of student of the month. Students shined when the caring adults in the room praised their hard work and determination. Not only did the students experience this unique and inspiring experience, but also upon graduation at CVHS students receive a scholarship for being the student of the month.
It was clear that the students in this school love the staff at CVHS and the feeling is mutual. This school is a family and refuge to the students that are enrolled in their school. This is not just the teachers in the school, but all support staff is highly respected by, supported by, and part of the family of CVHS. Conejo Valley High School is a family and that is apparent in all interactions within the school.
In addition to a strong leadership, exemplary programs, and positive climate; CVHS has a strong Career Technical Education program after school. The school offers a psychology (Mind Matters) pathway, a business and marketing pathway, and a graphic arts pathway that students can enroll in to ensure core skills for students to build on post-graduation. The incredible work of all three of these programs supports the school and the school’s climate by problem-solving concerns within the school and community which continues to promote the supportive school climate.
Lastly, not only did the school provide exemplary programs within the school, but they also have community partnerships that provide outreach to the students of CVHS and recreational sports to students of CVHS. In addition, the school has a Teen Center that is located across the street where students hang out and give back by volunteering to help with various volunteering experiences that give back to the community.
It was clear during this visit that Conejo Valley High School is deserving of Model Continuation High School status and are excited to see how this school continues to grow and provide strong alternative program to the students of Conejo Valley.
Dr. John H. Milor Continuation High School
Upon arrival, the John H Milor high school campus is very welcoming. The campus was clean and orderly and the banners in front with the PBIS School Wide Expectations for behavior- Respectful, Responsible, Safe and Focused. The classrooms and facilities were all bright and decorated nicely which is so impressionable to students and visitors alike.
It is evident that the staff and administration at Milor are student centered and that student success is their priority. Mr. Andres Luna II, the site principal who has worked in this district for almost 40 years, has been at the helm at Milor for 5 years. It has been his goal to change the culture of the school and the community wide perception. He is achieving this goal through many avenues. He goes to the traditional school sites with a team of staff and students once a quarter and advocates for their students to voluntarily transfer to Milor. He also set up a Principal’s Advisory Committee where he meets with students once a month to get feedback on school issues and needs for improvement. The school’s master schedule was changed to a quarter system to increase credit recovery for students and get them graduated on time. The bell schedule was shortened by ten minutes to help with student focus and also to allow for PLC collaboration daily. The school is on a 1:1 ratio for students and computers and every classroom is a full google classroom with 65 inch interactive monitors.
Milor has tremendous support at the district level, which helped the school to create a state of the art garden with an interactive outdoor classroom. They also have been able to create a safe school climate through restorative justice practices and building positive rapport and relationships with the students. In addition, they have been able to accelerate the curriculum to the 9-week quarter system. Through the use of assessment data and research, they are also able to assess incoming students immediately with their math and writing. Milor has also been able to open a Wellness Center where emotional and mental health services are provided through group and one on one therapy.
Parents repeatedly echoed the sentiment that the teachers and staff genuinely care for their students. They absolutely love the school and what it has done for their kids and how their attitude about school has gone from negative to positive. The Garden project, which has been completely funded through grants, and once completed the garden will provide the students with an opportunity to learn everything from horticulture to running a business where they sell their harvests at the local farmers market.
The students had nothing but positive things to share about their Milor experience. Some comments made were that they felt a real sense of community at this school. Each teacher is caring and willing to go above and beyond to help their students. They feel the teachers make the difference. The teachers all say they look forward to coming to work every day. They feel fortunate to have the PD and training opportunities they have here. They feel the district is very supportive with curriculum and helping to adjust the performance tasks. They are also very thankful to have such an awesome classified staff that supports them and gets everything handled.
El Camino High School
El Camino High School (ECHS} is located 18 miles southeast of metropolitan Los Angeles in South Whittier, California. Established in 1968, ECHS serves as the Continuation School for the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District (NLMUSD). Something unique to ECHS is the orientation process that takes place over an entire school day and includes a parent component (in English and Spanish), a universal academic screening process, a college and career inventory, and tours of the campus lead by student volunteers.
The staff at ECHS prides itself on the educational, socio-emotional, and career/college support provided to their students. The staff is continuously focused on improvement of the educational program. All modifications are designed to increase student achievement and courses are modified to meet student needs. Teachers in all disciplines emphasize checking for understanding, and standards-based instruction. Time is allowed for flexibility to reteach concepts. Emphasis is placed on creating a meaningful, less stressful environment, which offers students the opportunity to improve and achieve. Through accountability, reflection, data, assessment, and collaboration, the students have been successful in achieving their academic goals.
The students feel accepted by staff and peers and state that the teachers “get” them. Students also have access to counseling services at ECHS through the counseling staff, the Straight Talk program, and through the district partnership with USC that provides mental health support. The partnerships between the parents, school sites, district office, and community facilitate a strong system of support for the students’ academic and socio-emotional well-being.
The Intervention Counselor has many resources available for students to prepare for the workforce. ECHS hosts a college/career event in March of each year. This event exposes families to careers in a variety of different trades, as well as those requiring a college degree. Many parents have stated a sincere appreciation for the care given to their children and have expressed that their students would not have graduated without a school like ECHS. This same sentiment is repeated by students during graduation exercises when the counselor reads “thank you” statements written by the students.
The structure, discipline, academics, counseling and encouragement that El Camino Continuation High School offers is second to none. Students and parents feel connected to the school and gives them a second chance at success. It is evident that ECHS is a model school and what makes it even better is that they are always looking for ways to improve for their students to be successful while attending school and well after they have graduated.
Hare (Marie L.) High School
Hare High School is the Garden Grove Unified School District’s (GGUSD) continuation high school which provides a supportive educational environment for students who are deficient in credits and at least 16 years of age. Hare offers courses to meet all graduation requirements and CTE courses are available to all students. Hare’s first priority is to get students back on pace to graduate with their class and return to their home high school. If not, the second priority is that they graduate from Hare.
Students and counselors meet once quarterly to discuss educational goals, post-educational plans, and academic progress. In addition, the school offers a variety of different scholarships to help students with college expenses.
In addition to setting high expectations and providing rigorous, deep curricula, Hare is also focused on enhancing cultural awareness and one way they have done that is a highly popular club called Latinos Unidos was formed with an emphasis on mentoring and community-service oriented projects. Hare considers student diversity to be an asset and is making an effort to capitalize on students’ culture, abilities, and determination. The ASB program is very active in providing leadership opportunities for students and planning school events. When students were asked what they thought made their school so special, they said they had finally felt a part of a community that actually cared about them because teachers and staff had more patience with them and do not judge them and do everything to help them succeed. Hare also has a teen parent program that once again helps include students with children so they can graduate on time.
Assessments of learning at Hare involve authentic assessments where students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills rather than traditional assessments. This keeps Hare aligned with the principles of state standards by focusing on rigor by defining practices and instructional strategies which can be implemented school-wide. While rubrics are provided for many project-based assessments, an emphasis is made on modeling what is expected of the students.
Hare students are engaged in many challenging learning activities, such as discussion activities and critical thinking strategies that give students the opportunity to listen, vocalize, and reflect using a discussion forum. Students are taught the meaning of the PBIS school-wide expectations (PACK-Perseverance, Attentiveness, Cooperation, and Kindness) at orientation and are rewarded with points when displaying positive behavior. It is evident that Hare High School is a model school because of their emphasis on the whole student and a staff the will go above and beyond to do anything to help their students succeed well beyond high school.
John J Cairns Continuation High School
The learners at JJC are some of the brightest, most articulate, passionate, considerate and poised alternative education students in the State. Their love for the school is nothing shy of amazing. Their conduct and interactions, both informal and formal, speak well to the exemplary professionalism, coaching and support of the learning facilitators, support staff and community as a whole. The students have created a culture where shame is not allowed, failure and success are accepted in the learning process and where everyone is respected.
It is evident that the JJ Cairns leadership team (consisting of the principal, counselor and student advocate are exemplary leaders who serve the learner, staff and stakeholders at the highest level.
The JJ Cairns learning facilitators exemplify a bond, professionalism, an empowerment and a transparency that is unprecedented in alternative education communities today. Their authenticity, passion, heart-felt and strong sense of connectedness has made all students feel significant, connected and valuable. One teacher conveyed, “This school has made me a better human being!” and the entire group of educators joined in affirmation of the aforementioned statement.
District administration truly structure success for all schools in the District, and JJC is given an equitable level of support. The team of district officials are on the JJ Cairns campus frequently and their expectations of performance is just as valid and rigorous as non-alternative schools. J.J. Cairns embraces and creates the best path in life for its learners.”
J.J. Cairns is a personalized learning community that is focused on meeting the needs of every learner walking through its door. The programs that help J.J. Cairns succeed are the 1 to 1 technology devices wherein all learners have a laptop and free Wi-Fi available to them throughout the entire community, the clothing pantry (consisting of food, backpacks, resources, clothing, etc.), restorative justice circles, Turning Point and the weekly services available to learners and the Healthy Start personnel collaborating with site advisory coaches and JJC counselor. The Advisory block, three times a week. According to administration, “Advisory is the heart and soul of JJC. The Internship program, wherein 80 businesses and organizations are allowing students to serve, develop career readiness skills and interpersonal capacity for their futures is so beneficial to all students. The consensus of the student body is that the internships are the one thing they are most proud of!
Classrooms embody student learning, student achievement and a culture of care. Personalized Learning Plans and learning projects are intentional, strategic and focused on growth–both academically and behaviorally. Lessons involve students setting SMART goals and consistently reflecting on the progress of such goals.
JJC is literally leading the way in appropriating the District vision according to other LUSD school administrators, classified management, community members and parents.
Kings Canyon High School
When stepping onto this campus it is clearly a warm and welcoming atmosphere where relationships between students and staff are evident. Greetings at the beginning of the school day help to make students feel welcome and cared about. There is a pervasive attitude that failure is not an option and that all students can be met with a truly individualized plan for success.
The school-wide focus around the 4-R’s: Relationships, Rigor, Relevance and Reflection are at the center of all academic decisions and manifests itself in the collaboration in and around student writing. Writing was found to be a common component that can be analyzed and evaluated across the disciplines. The writing pieces are scored on a rubric and then utilized within PLC meetings to have rich discussions about individual students. As a result of these efforts, KCHS has recently outscored the traditional sites on writing and inquiry/research sections of the Smarter Balanced Assessments. They have also maintained the top score in ELA in all continuation schools within the central valley for the past three years.
Kings Canyon High School has put into place multiple socio-emotional and academic interventions within the school day and beyond. Recently they were able to leverage funding through a supportive district office to move a part-time social worker to full-time status. In conjunction with the school site psychologist, a career and colleges coach, and a partnership with Adventist Health, the needs of students are met to help them be available for learning. Students are provided with the care they need to be healthy both physically and mentally. They are guided toward possibilities in careers and they are all enrolled in Reedley Community College as seniors.
Academically there are many supports and rewards put into place. Direct instruction that centers on relevancy is at the core of lessons. Lessons are broken down into six teachable units per semester which provides consistency when students enter mid-year. Interventions are in place for those who fall behind. There is a weekly intervention block which is utilized as “no opt out” option. After school tutoring is also available for struggling students.
Kings Canyon High School utilizes a Restorative Justice approach and has an active Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. School-wide expectations are taught to students during their first orientation with the Principal and reinforced throughout the school year. Kings Canyon High School in partnership with Educational Employees Credit Union actively rewards students for positive behaviors, academics and attendance.
The administration and staff are enthusiastic to work on improving their school and to meet the challenges of today’s students. School board members, Superintendent, Cabinet and members of the community take pride in Kings Canyon High School. It is evident that the families and students are genuinely appreciative of the education and support they receive. Students feel like they belong to a school more than at any other time in their life. Kings Canyon High School is making a difference.
Kings River High School
Kings River High School serves as an Alternative Education High School in Sanger, California. The school has just over 100 juniors and seniors. The positive feeling on campus comes from the relationships between staff and students. The students are very appreciative and recognize the staff members being more than just teachers, administrators and support staff. The students view the staff as mentors that they can go to for guidance in life. The academic program is also supportive of student needs. Many students are involved with extracurricular activities and electives that not only drive them to attend daily, but also prepare them for postsecondary life.
The academic and curricular areas of Kings River High School standout and support the site as a Model School. In addition to the instruction in the core classes by qualified teachers, the school also offers CAD, Robotics, AG, and other high interest elective areas for students to learn skills toward employment. Some students currently attending already have jobs and the connection between KRHS and postsecondary options should be commended.
The culture on campus is very positive. Staff, including administration, Student Resource Officer and Probation Officer, strive for a prevention before intervention model. This view along with positive staff to student relationships creates a feeling of safety and inclusion. PBIS is in place to encourage positive student behaviors by teaching school-wide expectations and providing positive rewards.
KRHS is managed by a caring and innovative Principal and District Leadership Team. The site has experienced growth due to the history of success with student supports and outcomes. The district supports the site and is aware of its value to the community. The Principal looks for ways to stay current in education trends and isn’t afraid to evolve as needed to support the needs of the students and the stakeholders of the school.
Kings River High School is a Model Continuation School that supports its current and former students by putting the needs of the individual first. The program offered at KRHS is exemplary in terms of support, academics and overall education.
La Paloma High School
A strong sense of community pervades the beautiful, welcoming campus of La Paloma High school in the Liberty Union High School District. That sense of community begins at the entrance to the school, where students are greeted each day by the school’s administrator. His open door policy to all students, staff, families, and other colleagues lays a strong foundation upon which the entire school community has developed mutual trust and respect that leads to an extremely positive school climate and successful outcomes for students. This sense of community extends from the daily greeting of students by the principal into the classrooms where Advisory activities and supplementary programs such as gardening, yearbook, and Leadership allow students to work collaboratively on engaging and enriching projects of interest. The school community also regularly comes together outside of the classroom for activities like movie night, community dinners, and the annual back-to-school celebration. The Liberty Union High School District’s commitment to respect and equity for all students is embodied by the La Paloma school community and directly enacted each time that La Paloma students are specifically invited to make presentations to the School Board or intentionally highlighted in District communications.
Among the school’s many exemplary components, is the responsiveness of all school staff to both students’ emotional and unique academic needs. From the work of the school psychologist and MFTs to the regular implementation by all school staff of restorative practices and CARE meetings, the daily commitment to meeting all students’ needs is evident at La Paloma. Students readily volunteer heartfelt commentary and praise expressing that their school is different because they know and can feel that their teachers and staff really care for and about them. Students report that they love being able to learn in multiple ways and at their own pace, knowing that all of the adults at school are on their team and there to support them. Components such as flexible scheduling, independent extra credit, and incentivizing attendance were highlighted as opportunities that helped to engage and encourage students to make progress toward their goals. Students said that, despite the difficulties they had experienced before coming to La Paloma and struggles they may be experiencing still, they now feel like they have the support they need and are in an environment where can succeed.
That sentiment of caring for the whole student is echoed by parents, who feel that this commitment to student needs directly relates to positive outcomes for their students. Parents assert that the school views them as partners and is proactive about communicating with families to support their students, with one parent passionately stating that only because of unfailing commitment and the tireless work of La Paloma school community, her previously struggling student was now “thinking about her future.” These personal stories of positive outcomes for students are consistently shared by anyone you talk to about La Paloma and are, perhaps, the strongest recommendation one can make for their deservedness of Model Continuation High School status.
Lee V. Pollard High School
The Model Continuation High School visiting committee is proud to recommend Lee V. Pollard High School for the model continuation high school award. Pollard has demonstrated that academic rigor and working with the whole student are top priority, not only for the school site but for the district as well. The school has partnerships with local churches, community colleges, the Rotary Club, and military branches which assist with resources students need now and as they graduate to make the transition to college and career. All stakeholders work collaboratively to ensure students have an Individualized Learning Plan conducive to their schedule and future plans.
Parents expressed high satisfaction with the communication between school and home and how their children are being supported on campus. Students feel empowered through the many opportunities available to earn credits towards graduation as well as getting involved in CTE courses on campus that allow them to display their creativity in the arts that they would not have previously been able to do. Dual enrollment is another option for students who also want to be involved at the comprehensive high schools in their sports programs. It is apparent there is a positive relationship between the traditional high schools and Pollard to keep students involved in more than just academics. Adult Education has also opened its doors to students who want to earn credits toward graduation. Pollard offers an abundance of support for student academic success; administration, counselors, and teachers work diligently to ensure students’ needs are met.
Teachers not only participate in professional development on site, but they also lead professional development for district workshops available to all teachers. They are proving to be lifelong learners and experts in the field as they continue to provide rigor through innovation in their classes. The administrative team allows teachers room for creativity to keep students engaged in their own learning and connected to the campus because they are showing success. From the office staff to the counselors to the administration, Pollard staff is dedicated to contributing to all students in a positive and caring way.
Lee V. Pollard High School has an educational program conducive to learning for all students and should be recognized as a California Model Continuation High School.
Lovell High School
Lovell High School is committed to placing students first. Teachers are the heart of Lovell and take the time to know each student on a personal level and take a sincere interest in student lives and their personal growth. Moreover, all of LHS teachers spend their lunch time with their students getting to know them further.
The Cutler-Orosi district is united in providing the best education possible to their students. They are committed to a common vision: “Educating Minds, Inspiring Futures.” Passionate leadership is evident from the County Supervisor, District Superintendent and all the county and district leadership.
High expectations and a rigorous curriculum is evident at LHS. The PLC at LHS is committed to student achievement and they have established common goals and expectations through common learning strategies (i.e. writing across the curriculum, close reading strategies and providing quality feedback).
A licensed therapist is at the school site full-time to provide mental and socio-emotional counseling for students. During a time of limited financial resources, LHS is committed to providing support for the whole child.
School leadership has developed a highly functional Master Schedule. Embedded in the schedule are interventions for students to meet the graduation requirements. CTE coursework encouraged in nursing and firefighting as students are provided transportation from LHS. Also, professional development is every Wednesday and once a month on a modified Monday schedule.
The Mending Fences – Equestrian Ranch, Community for Youth and Sheriff Explorer Program provide valuable coaching, work experience and other opportunities for students to impact their community while gaining work experience.
Parents value the community of LHS as evident by their participation and testimony. Parents are advocates for their children while supporting the mission and vision of the school and district. LHS has developed buying from parents to support the educational
Not only is LHS a safe and clean campus, but LHS students’ landscape areas in beautification projects. Also, students have donated their talent by painting murals on campus to show their Panther Pride.
Maple High School
The visiting team witnessed exceptional teaching and coordination between teachers, administration and students during their visit. The Principal is an exceptional educational leader with a strong vision of the direction that the school needs to move and is supported by District Administration as she brings changes to the campus. The increases in support resources for special education students has changed lives and increased graduations. The expansion of CTE programs has added pathways for student success and shown students that there are multiple ways to move, successfully, into their own futures. The entire staff has the attitude that putting students’ needs first is the key to everything they do. Maple High School is developing an increasingly positive image in the district, because of the growth and changes in the lives of its students.
During discussions with students, it is evident that the young people are becoming more resilient, and are stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for their actions, both in the past and in the present. Students whose post high school plans had been to simply go into the fields and work are now going to college and have developed plans for their lives. Maple High School has developed a strong relationship with Hancock College and has many students who are in dual enrollment classes and is helping students see that college is a viable option for them and encouraging them to move forward with their post high school education. Through the relationships built up with the local Rotary Club students are receiving scholarships to assist in their continuing education.
Parents have a feeling of gratitude for the differences made in the lives of their children. Parents know that the reputation of “a bad place, for bad kids” is totally false and has been replaced by their knowledge that Maple High School is the one place that has cared enough for their children to make a major impact in their lives and has allowed them the opportunity to succeed. A parent commented as how their student had no “sense of pride” as they attended the traditional high schools in the district, but that they had found their home at Maple High School. This school has given them a sense of pride in who they are and in their school.
Maple is very goal oriented and the students all feel the concern for them as individuals by the entire staff. Clerical and teachers welcome them, and the students really feel that they are cared for and involved in their own academic success. Many students talked about how there were more group learning experiences and less judgment at Maple High School.
The teachers’ comments were equally supportive of the goals of Maple High School. They talked about the Principal asking them, “How can we help you succeed?” and that she backed this up with support. The teachers are constantly asking themselves “How can we make this relevant?” Students at Maple High School are learning to take charge of their own futures. Because of the goal-oriented environment, students challenge each other to succeed.
Mount Toro High School
Mt. Toro is a student first school! The master schedule has been developed to support student at all levels – from credit recovery to intervention supports Mount Toro is committed to student success. Mount Toro offers student several after-school programs to recovery credit though Migrant Education, Cyber High, and On-line learning, Plato. PBIS implementation has been instrumental in improving school culture. Mandatory parent/student orientation sets academic and behavior expectations to insure student success.
Students at Mount Toro High School feel welcomed, appreciated but above all they feel believed in. Hope is instilled in students by the supportive staff member, counselors and the one-on-one conversations taking place on a daily basis. Overall Mt. Toro is a nurturing and encouraging environment.
District is committed to continue to financial support the Cal-SAFE program for the young parents of the district. Salinas Unified School District has fully embraced Mount Toro and the needs of its students. The school is well staffed with one administrator, two counselors(academic & intervention), Instructional Specialist, ELD Specialist, Intervention teacher, and two Cal-Safe parent counselors to list a few.
Teachers and staff at Mount Toro enjoy working at this school and enjoy working with each other. The principal welcomes new ideas from her staff by keeping an open door policy. There is collective trust among teachers as they work in PLC meetings and reflect in their practice. Teachers lead the GRR/CM reflective process with support from the Instructional Specialist.
Mount Toro has increased its VOC Ed. graduation requirement beyond what’s expected at a traditional high school. Mount Toro is aware the students attending are in need of work related experience. Also, Mount Toro uses a guided release approach to coaching students prepare for post-secondary education at the local community college. Moreover, students at Mount Toro are able to concurrently enroll in a Counseling 1 class at the school site.
Monterey County Probation Department assigns one full-time Probation Officer to Mount Toro to assist in keeping the campus safe for all students. Probation Officers role on campus involves building trusting relationship with students and providing them with resources in the community. Campus Security Supervisor relationship with students and ability to communicate with their families in their primary language is beneficial to the culture of the school.
Nueva Vista Continuation High School
Nueva Vista High School offers students a very structured academic program that leads to a high graduation rate. Nueva Vista enjoys strong district support which provides small classes taught by highly qualified teachers. The teachers describe themselves as a family and this was evident during the site validation visit. All teachers have a common prep period and they use this time effectively to discuss specific students who are struggling as well as to work together in data teams where they set quarterly goals for their classrooms and departments.
Students are supported by a full time counselor, a full time social worker, and a full time college and career advisor. Nueva Vista partners with the county office of education to offer ROP classes in logistics which prepare students for employment in multiple local distribution warehouses. An online credit recovery program is available to students who prefer to work individually. These students are supported by credentialed teachers both in dedicated classrooms and in classrooms that offer both direct instruction and online individual opportunities for students.
Nueva Vista High School offers students the opportunity to complete 110 credits per year though a six period day with four quarterly grading periods. All students begin their day with an advisement period with a consistent curriculum across all classrooms. During this period, the ASB leadership class meets and these students lead the morning announcements including offering motivating quotes and “shout outs” to students whose teachers have nominated them for this public praise.
All school stakeholders agree that failure at Nueva Vista is not an option. The small class sizes and collegial atmosphere fosters strong relationships between students and staff. Students report that everyone has some adult on campus they trust and can go to when they need support. This is a significant strength and Nueva Vista is to be commended for it.
Pacific Career & Technology High School
This school is a safe, nurturing environment from a highly-qualified, long-term staff. The students have a sense that their campus is a “community”, and is a safe place to be. The campus is well-kept, free from graffiti and damage, is updated and is well-equipped for student learning. A curricular program aligned with the comprehensive high school that provides that same level of rigor and preparation for college and career readiness. A-G course list through UCOP for CSU/UC admissions eligibility.
The award-winning Junior ROTC program provides a valuable program for students that includes physical fitness, structure, accountability, self-discipline, goal-setting, a sense of purpose and belong, participation in community-wide events, and preparation for a possible post-secondary transition into the military.
Systems and structures within the program are designed to remove any barriers to equitable program access (e.g., career and workforce exposure and support, child care, coordination of services, CTE and community college connections, accommodations for students with disabilities, and so on).
Pacific High School
PHS student body is supported by four full time onsite counselors to meet the academic, mental and socio-emotional needs. Currently there is a ratio of 60:1 student-to-counselor ratio which enables PHS staff to promptly provide the necessary interventions with the goal of limiting lost instructional time.
PHS is a school in which students are provided opportunities to become successful. PHS provides numerous options during and after school hours for students to engage with their community applying 21st century skills while becoming self-aware of their own uniqueness and potential. PHS has a comprehensive support infrastructure with community based organization who are vested in their students. Ventura USD provides onsite job awareness and development. Students are also engaged in mentoring elementary students with special needs, partnering with a local senior citizen center and learning coping skills from Straight-Up Reality Improve for their socio-emotional needs.
School leadership team operates as one. The leadership team has fostered a culture where individuals are valued and feel cared for with constant communication with a common goal. For the past five years PHS has cultivated Project Based Learning as a focal point in their curriculum and instruction. The master schedule reflects the value and priority placed on PBL by PHS to meet the need of the 21st century learner. The curriculum is culturally relevant implementing various art, technology and social justice issues.
PHS faculty and staff take pride in creating a nurturing and accepting environment where students feel free to be unique. Faculty are approachable and in constant communication with their students to keep them informed of their graduation status, take opportunities to life-coach and inspire kids to believe in themselves.
PHS places student safety a top priority with three full-time campus supervisors who believe in building relationships with students and act as another mentor on campus. PHS has provided wall space for student created murals displaying positive, growth mindset messages encouraging creativity and wonder. Students are also provided additional opportunities to grow, bond with other classmates and be mentored in PHS’s Youth Activities program.
Paloma Creek High School
Principal Chris Balogh is a welcoming and caring individual. His calm demeanor and empathetic nature, coupled with his drive to see students succeed lay the foundation for an incredible program. Mr. Balogh leads with passion and integrity. This creates a school culture that thrives and nurtures staff and student relationships. His dedication extends beyond the school day. He is seen at community events, educational workshops and trainings and student events.
Each student’s education plan is customized according to student needs vs convenience. Progress is not just a report mailed home, but an individual, face-to-face meeting between the principal and student every three weeks. The school has made many improvements, including, but not limited to, one-on-one technology, a full time MFT, larger and more stable classes, a state of the art kitchen, a gym and a part time academic counselor.
District personal feel that the school is a beacon of hope to the community. They see a 100% turn around in student attitude. They feel students feel valued. Paloma Creek high school is seen as a viable high school of choice for all. They understand that not every student fits into one box. Sometimes there is a need for another option, something with a smaller setting, enriched with adult-student relationships, a place students can feel a sense of belonging and a sense of family.
Paloma Creek High School students are a force to be reckoned with. Students who once refused to go to school, were apathetic and lacked positive adult interactions are now community leaders, proud learners and prospering community citizens. The stigma of “continuation ed” has little impact on how they view themselves and their future endeavors. Students feel supported and ready for life after graduation.
Paloma Creek staff are welcoming. They have adopted a “we” versus “me” mentality. Teachers are innovative and energize students with their passion for learning. Instruction is customized to engage students with topics that are relatable to current events. Teachers make themselves available before and after school. They also attend community events and encourage students to get involved by leading by example; many times giving up weekends and nights with their own families to strengthen student affiliation.
Parents described Paloma Creek High School as a “safe space” for students, a place where students are treated as adults. The attentive and caring staff brought much relief to parents that had been previously disregarded and/or minimized. They too expressed a feeling of family among the teachers and principal.
The partnership between Paloma Creek High School, the community and the school district, can best be seen through the Lighthouse program. Paloma Creek students are able to gain confidence, strengthen job skills, give back to the community, and network amongst various stakeholders. This program left us speechless. From its leaders to the students, we saw love, dedication and passion. All parties believed in what they were doing and what the program stands for.
R. K. Lloyde High School
There is a spirit of enthusiasm that fills the environment at Lloyde High School. From the front office to the classrooms to the outdoor quad students are surrounded with a welcoming and enthusiastic learning environment that reaches out to them to make sure they feel cared for, safe and supported. The school’s motto, “A Bulldog Always Cares” is infused into school culture and carried out with the techniques utilized in the classroom, the support resources provided to both students and parents and the preparation and follow through the school provides its graduates to continue their academic success in college, technical training programs or community internships to facilitate their transition to meaningful careers.
Lloyde High School is provided with exceptional support by the Centinela Valley Union High School District, South Bay Workforce Investment Board, and El Camino Community College District. Students not only have access to exceptional educational technology but are able to take this technology home with them through the district’s support of a 1:1 Chromebook program on campus. The student “Wellness Center” provides students with access to needed counseling services supported by the school’s exceptional outreach program to parents and guardians, making everyone feel a part of the Lloyde High School family. An academic counselor from the local community college is a regular on campus helping students to not only understand the college application, matriculation and financial aid process but to complete as many of these necessary steps prior to graduating high school. Career readiness curriculum, job placement services and internships are provided to students through the school’s extensive community partnerships.
Lloyde High School distinguishes itself with a dedicated, innovative teaching staff, a commitment to ensuring all students are successful, an emphasis on maintaining a safe campus that is conducive to student learning and attentive support systems that ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed and thrive.
Patricia Dreizler Continuation High School (formerly Redondo Shores High School)
“Your Success Begins Today” personifies the positive message of the culture of Redondo Shores High School. From the first experience arriving on campus, Principal Anthony Bridi is standing at the top of the parking lot shaking students’ hands and personally greeting them, assuring them that this is going to be a great day! Principal Bridi creates a beautiful and safe physical and emotional environment conducive to production and success. When you walk around the meticulous campus, you see evidence of the pride and productivity. Dr. Keller, Superintendent of Redondo Beach Unified School District, is the “wind under the wings” of Redondo Shores. He is ever present advocating and funding source for this program.
The classrooms are the heartbeat of the school. The organization and presentations are reflective of thought, extensive planning and caring. All the Core Academic Courses are offered, and additional courses are available online. The Social Studies teacher’s instruction is magical. He incorporates 21st Century learning with a creative combo of tech and human. The English teacher demonstrated a model of individualized writing inclusive of core. His student portfolios were exemplary and his classroom structure seamless. His students were both happily on task and thoroughly absorbed in their classwork. His classroom personifies a truly 21st Century learning environment. Math and Science offers an eclectic and interactive environment for exploration and discovery. Students demonstrated their total involvement and fun at being in Math and Science. The Special Education teacher is meeting the demands of the IEP”s and also teaches electives and PE and Resource Math. The counselor serves as the warm encouragement for students to complete their high school experience, and go on to college or careers or both. She connects students to the support programs to assure their success. She does all this with a commitment to success for all students.
Parents offered heartfelt statements about how their students would have not graduated, possibly not lived, if it were not for Redondo Shores. The many families, both past and present provided powerful testimony that Redondo Shores was their lifeline.
Students were the strongest advocates for their school from coming in, in the morning, and being respectfully greeted to instruction that gave them the tools to learn; to competitions and social events that created value, the greatest praise came from the children being served, the students.
Community members include South Bay Children’s Health Center, Southern California Regional Occupational Center, El Camino College, and Beach Cities Health District. All had report after report of the collaboration and commitment Redondo Shores shared.
The Wellness Center, Redondo Shores latest addition, exemplifies the culmination of cooperative planning of the entire staff and student to create a space for all.
Renaissance Continuation High School
It was evident that the District fully supports the mission and vision of Renaissance High School. Additionally, Principal Dana Richards is a dynamic educator with a plethora of experiences and resources. He is a team builder and builds bridges with students, staff members, parents, stakeholders and community businesses/organizations. He brings a wealth of knowledge and capacity to the site and is experienced in all things continuation–including fundraising, developing networks and empowering career technical education.
Students value the RHS staff. They feel connected to their teachers. They believe that the teachers care about their wellness and success (both academically and in life). All teachers are advisors and help students with their individual grad plans, and for this, students are greatly appreciative. They go above and beyond to help students succeed. They connect them to multiple community service opportunities, even to the point of teachers participating and volunteering with the students, and they consistently collaborate to structure support for students on all levels.
The “Entry Program” sets the tone for a newly enrolling student to RHS and it maintains a safe and structured climate. The students believe that the “Entry Program” is a positive experience that sets the tone for success at RHS. This three to four week introductory experience to Renaissance allows for a cohort of students to assimilate into the RHS life and community. It connects them to each other, breaks down barriers, prepares them for the educational experience at RHS and allows students to begin expediting credit accrual. All students feel empowered by the Advisory period and their respective advisory teachers.
With the absence of a formal academic counselor at RHS, the staff has become academic guidance coaches of sorts. RHS is extremely proud of the advisory and see it as the DNA of their successes. Because of such, RHS has produced a positive graduation rate year after year.
The RHS team believes in honoring and awarding students (i.e. pizza party, awards assemblies, field trips, etc.) Social-emotional counseling is beginning to occur at RHS. Students feel that their emotional well-being is being addressed. The collaboration amongst the community liaison, the social-emotional counselor, interventionist and the staff is frequent, honest and empowering to both students and staff.
RHS and the District have a clear vision for empowering career technical education and project-based learning at the site. To do so, the District CTE/STEM coordinator and the site principal, with support from a part-time career explorations staff member, are advancing all the necessary components (from the students, to the community, to the partner organizations, to an educational team). The school secretary is the embodiment of all things great about Renaissance. Her humble sacrificial service, affirming words, advocacy and support for students, etc. is exemplary. Her actions and messages all convey that RHS students are “our students” and the staff is “our family.” Like many of the other office staff members, their positive actions, messages and contributions go unseen but are the very fiber of honorable humanity. It’s what’s truly exemplary at RHS.
The Rotary Club and RHS have an exemplary partnership of how a community organization and a school should work positively and interdependently in order to empower young people today. This partnership is so strong that the Rotary funds all athletic fees, has donated a vehicle to the school and funds 2 individual scholarships each year. The Rotary also recognizes 20 students at ten luncheons throughout the year. RHS has great support from the community and a particular philanthropist that funds 20 “Dreamer” scholarships each year. Direct instruction was observed, instructional strategies are employed, standards and frameworks are appropriated, a plethora of elective courses are offered and classrooms emit student learning.
Ruben Salazar High School
Ruben Salazar High School is an exemplary school that provides quality education while promoting a positive and supportive school climate based on mutual decision-making and collaboration. The school embraces diversity and promotes respect for all individuals. There is a strong partnership between the school, the District offices, and the other comprehensive schools.
Salazar helps students become productive and responsible citizens by obtaining the foundation they need to get back on track. Students recognize that the teachers are always available to support and guide them to be successful in any way they can. The motto of Ruben Salazar is, “There is no obstacle too great for those who have the will and the heart to make it happen.”
Students are prepared to be college and/or career ready upon graduation. Apex online courses provide students an additional method to recover credits. Students have many opportunities to participate in extra-curricular programs and activities to develop social skills, self-esteem, emotional maturity, and citizenship. These include ASB, the Interact club, (associated with the local Rotary International club), and the Diversity club, (which fosters respect and equal treatment for youth of all sexual orientations). The school works in collaboration with Rio Hondo College and Tri-Cities ROP to provide onsite college and vocational courses during and after school. Character development programs are embedded into the curriculum and these programs sponsor contests and activities that promote a sense of community and respect.
In 2017, a new Innovation/Science lab was dedicated. This lab is equipped with four interactive displays that create a tablet-like experience, and with a 3D printer. The room is designed with optimized acoustics and movable furniture to support various forms of teaching and collaborative work.
Another highlight of the school which separates it from other continuation high schools is the Mexican American Heritage course which fulfills the District graduation requirement for ethnic studies. Students learn about the history and culture of their city of Pico Rivera through lecture, community speakers, and local field trips. The District has decided that this course, developed by Salazar High School will be offered at all of the District High Schools.
For these reasons, Ruben Salazar High School is an excellent example of a Model Continuation High School.
Serra High School
Serra High school is data driven and besides staff building relationships of mutual respect, staff go over and beyond by analyzing the data and allow the data to help drive the educational climate of the school. Serra’s staff meetings, entitled “Just Kids” is a way of conducting staff meetings that focus on student concerns. As a staff, they communicate with each other weekly to discuss the current status of every student’s ILF as well as their next steps. This practice gives staff valuable insight into how the student is feeling about school, themselves, and life in general.
Serra builds proactive relationships with their colleagues at the other schools. For many District level and traditional meetings of school and administration personnel, Serra hosts many of the meetings. This way, personnel can see the culture of the school and see it differently.
The Therapy Dog Program helps to create a calm environment. The dogs help lower student anxiety so students can stay in class, learn, and earn valuable credits.
Positive attendance accountability model helps support positive attendance results. School attendance is a high priority; especially since Serra serves students from 6 traditional schools in the district.
Students have an opportunity to take many different CTE classes. For instance, Culinary, the program offers food handling permits and are given through the school. In addition, students are able to streamline into Saddleback’s culinary program.
Capistrano Unified School District supports Serra by ensuring small class sizes and providing appropriate support including a full-time counselor and academic advisor, a part-time Bilingual Community Liaison and additional special education and English learner support staff.
Sierra Vista High School
Relationships are at the heart of SVHS approach to student success. Teachers are recognized for the tremendous effort to value each student in their classroom. Trust is built among students and staff which allows for coaching students in making positive life choices beyond the school day. School leadership and teachers are fully aware of the need to make SVHS a 21st century learning facility. Teachers are focused on adding rigor to the curriculum. School academic counselor is providing awareness and college experiences. Sierra Vista has numerous community based organizations who are committed to impacting and inspiring youth to be more proactive in their own communities. Dinuba Unified School District has fully embraced Sierra Vista and the needs of its students. The school is well staffed with one administrator, one assistant principal, one academic counselor, two office personnel. The district has also provided funding for a full CTE pathway in media arts.
SVHS leadership is fully committed to the success of the whole child. Sierra Vista administrator is aware of the need for socio-emotional support for students and provides additional support staff through grad interns to help meet the needs of SVHS students. Sierra Vista is focused on the acquisition of 21st century skills by its student population. SVHS is committed to the PLC process and establishes common instructional themes for each academic year. This year’s focus is reading and writing throughout all content areas.
Somerset High School
The district leadership team has high expectations of the staff and students at Somerset high school just as they do for all of their schools within the district. Somerset staff are supported by the district through district trainings and district professional developments. The district administrators pride themselves in being inclusive, one administrator commented on how Somerset provides a “different environment, not a different education,” this was evident throughout the school visit. The site administrative team at Somerset High School demonstrates leadership, innovation and creativity all while considering individual needs. The principal and counselor manage the administrative and guidance duties in a coordinated effort to ensure that all students receive their specific educational needs.
The staff at Somerset works closely to ensure student success. Somerset prepares its students for college by offering them opportunities for dual enrollment and offering courses in multiple pathways. The feeling of family can be found among students, staff and administrator. Teachers showed a strong respect for others and energy and passion for learning. Students feel the mutual love and respect by all staff members and felt safe on campus Teachers make themselves available to students for additional academic support throughout the day.
Caring relationships are at the heart of Somerset. Teachers at Somerset “love” their work and voiced consensus that they had the “best administrator” in the district. Students voiced that they have grown and matured during their time at Somerset High school. Students attribute their success to the commitment of the teachers at Somerset. Students expressed how they felt that the courses were “easier because the teachers were actually teaching” and because teachers take the time to help them. Students described the staff as caring, supportive, always willing to listen, and are always teaching real life skills. Parents expressed their happiness in the changes they have seen in their children since attending Somerset. Their children are much more involved in school activities. Parents are grateful for the opportunities and support that Somerset offers. They are happy that their children are being prepared for college and the work force. Somerset students participate in various youth service organizations. Students have helped organize food drives, beach clean-ups, and community beautification projects. The entire community is truly benefiting from Somerset and their students.
For all of these reasons, the visiting team recommends Somerset High School to be recognized by the California Department of Education as a Model Continuation High School.
Tierra Del Sol Continuation High School
It’s not every day you get to visit a Continuation school that has literally been built from the ground up with Alternative Ed kids in mind. We can’t begin to express how impressive Tierra Del Sol’s new state of the art facility is. There is an amazing open quad area laden with beautiful shade trees and soft grasses where teachers and students can relax or study in an environment reminiscent of a college campus. The friendly smiles and positive energy from every person met permeates each room. Every class is set up with the best of Tech from Jam boards to class sets of tablets and even virtual reality headsets for each student! There is an enclosed gym with weights and basketball court, and to top it all off, Polar watches (think FitBit) that students wear to monitor their heart rate and physical fitness. Outside, you walk past a quaint little garden the students have designed to learn about healthy eating (and they may even make you a kale smoothie,) while heading a little farther back to an outdoor construction lab where students can be found building a masonry wall, laying brick, pouring cement, frame building, and even, if you’re lucky, designing you a personalized Adirondack chair.
At Tierra Del Sol, no student is left out or left behind. They offer a variety of intervention programs for everything from behavior, to academics, to emotional/social needs, to parenting minors, to students with special needs, to help for their homeless children. Their doors are never shut to a student, and many return to say hi or come back to get assistance even after they have graduated.
The school’s community support partners come out in force and are proud to say that they feel like a welcome addition to the Tierra Del Sol family. Parents and students have true pride and respect when speaking about the school, the teachers, the administration, and the support staff. Every person is valued at Tierra Del Sol from their new Dean of students, to the amazing lunch lady who creates 300 hot lunches daily, to the intervention specialist, to the District superintendent, to the personable security staff and talented maintenance staff.
The school is built on a philosophy of equity and dignity, and each student receives the attention and support required for them to be successful from every adult on campus The staff works as a well-oiled machine, learning and laughing together, and always focused on the sole purpose of providing a quality, 21st century education to their students.
The school has whole-heartedly taken on a new approach to discipline, using the research-based program PBIS and Restorative Practices programs. Open communication, dialogue, and a desire to have (and handle) the tough conversations has created an environment where everyone can be heard and share in the decision making process as they grow and build together. Tierra Del Sol’s principal is well liked and respected and is always acknowledged as a “leader.” Students and parents are quick to point out how fair and involved the principal is, and teachers report feeling valued and appreciate having the support of their principal to try new things and think outside the box. This model of leadership has definitely paved the way for the school to shine across the disciplines, and the students are reaping the benefits.
The thing that makes Tierra Del Sol a model school, however, is not its amazing new site with all the shiny trinkets and technology. Although amazing, a structure and equipment are only as good as the people using them. Tierra Del Sol is model because of the hard work, dedication, energy, innovation, and passion the staff brings to the table. All the fancy new toys could easily get lost and abandoned in closets if not for the drive and determination of a staff who go out of their way to make sure they find ways to maximize what they have, create lessons that are fun and engaging, and work tirelessly to bring to life a world of learning that was lost to these students before they entered the magical world known as Tierra Del Sol.
Tracy (Wilbur) High School
The visit with the District Administration included Assistant Superintendents, a School Board Member, as well as other staffers. District Administration, as well as site administration and staff, have a clear vision of making every student a success, not only in graduating, but being successful in life. All stakeholders, make it a priority and goal to celebrate the successes of their students and Tracy High School, while still asking themselves what they can do better for the sake of their student’s success. The approach of the site, as a whole, is authentically caring about each individual student and having them be a success. There is a sense of pride in regards to Tracy High School from district, to staff, to students and parents. Tracy High School is an alternative high school campus for students to be successful.
Tracy High School leads the district in 1:1 technology and has beautifully embraced integrating the use of the technology in a meaningful way into their curriculum. Not only are Tracy High School teachers trained in the variety of technology trainings and implementations, but many of Tracy High School teachers give district workshops to the other high schools in the district and create the district pacing guides and benchmarks. Students were seen seamlessly navigating programs, sites and applications while working in their classes on various assignments.
THS has a strong partnership with the ABCUSD. The district continuously provides support for Tracy, through collaboration and resources. Their support was evident is the many professional development opportunities mentioned by the teachers.
Students are supported on campus through staff, counselors, principal, and community agencies that offer both counseling groups and individual support. Students feel cared for by individuals at the school. The Visiting Team witnessed many examples of definite teacher/student connections where students felt cared for and because of the teacher’s interest students desired to be engaged in the process was further encouraged. Students are successful and nurtured.
Parents are delighted by the progress of their students and the growth they see in their children. One parent called the school a “miracle” because her daughter was failing out of high school and at Tracy, she now has straight A’s.
For all of these reasons and more the Visiting Team can heartily recommend that Tracy High School be recognized by the California State Department of Education as a Model Continuation High.
Valley Alternative Schools
VAS is a student-centered and student-focused site. All staff members ensure students are progressing academically and behaviorally. Their master schedule has been developed to provide students the greatest opportunity to catch up on credits. VAS also increased significance and belonging through different school-wide themes (i.e. superhero Fridays, rockstar Fridays, etc.).
VAS, through district support, has established partnership with Hacienda – La Puente Adult Education Center where students can concurrently enroll in Vocational Education courses (i.e. welding, culinary arts, cosmetology, etc.). Also, the office for Equity & Access is co-located and provides families and students will numerous county resources. VAS has an effective entry and exit plan for students. Valley counselor establishes an Individual Learning Plan for each student and identifies the necessary courses they need in order to return to the student’s home-school. VAS coordinates with two local community colleges, Mt. Sac & Rio Hondo, to increase awareness and encourage matriculation to post-secondary education.
VAS values student achievement. Throughout VAS student work is proudly displayed. Student art pieces, science reports and student test score are visible in classrooms and common areas.
VAS has a family-friendly and family-oriented atmosphere. VAS faculty and staff have established a positive, encouraging school climate in which students feel welcomed and accepted. Office staff take pride in modeling for students in proper behavior and etiquette.
VAS administration serves as strong advocates for students. Administration of VAS piloted the partnership between VAS and the Adult Voc. Ed. facilities. Students are now able to concurrently enroll in welding, culinary arts and cosmetology. Also, VAS administrator petitions the district for additional support and services to meet student needs.
VAS uses common learning strategies. VAS has established common goals and expectations through common learning strategies (i.e. writing across the curriculum, close reading strategies, graphic organizers and providing quality feedback).
Vista Continuation High School
Vista High School not only meets the criteria for recognition as a Model Continuation School, it exceeds them all. They are innovative, proactive, collaborative, and hold themselves accountable for the success of their students and programs. They aren’t afraid of transparency, and are willing to ask and deal with the tough questions. They are proud and acknowledge their successes and celebrate them, and they are always looking to improve on their areas of need.
The time and effort the school, staff, and district has put in to create such an outstanding school is commendable and admirable. The staff did not sit around and wait for a magic genie to grant them the things they need, nor did they sit around and make excuses as to why they weren’t able to get the things they needed and meet the students’ needs. The reason they have all the amazing counseling staff, Dean of students, innovative and passionate teachers, supportive and caring support staff, forensic and Paxton labs, and cutting edge technology is because they worked hard to get it and they didn’t give up.
Hands down, Vista has one of the most comprehensive and impressive counseling/intervention systems around. The staff has created a brilliant Pyramid of Intervention they designed with specific tiered goals and accommodations for all students at all levels including one-on-one counseling, group counseling, college and career counseling, intervention programs, drug and alcohol counseling, and even on campus Al-Anon support groups.
The teachers are eager and willing to learn new strategies and use new technology. It was obvious that they enjoyed making the classes challenging yet fun so that students were highly engaged and wanting to come to school and learn. The students enthusiastically shared how much they appreciated the support and time the teachers gave them both personally and academically, and were excited about the classes they were taking and what the future had in store for them.
The visiting team is very inspired by what they saw happening at Vista High School. The highest compliment we could make is that they are not a Model Continuation High School, but rather a model for ANY school working to improve education for all students.
2019 CCEA Exemplary Program Recipients
The goal of the Exemplary Program recognition is to provide an opportunity for all continuation or alternative schools to reap the benefit of the numerous special programs that have been developed by our members. It is intended that through this process every continuation or alternative school in the California can replicate the selected programs/projects. In addition, the designation of an Exemplary Program provides recognition for individuals, schools and districts, provides outstanding ideas that benefit the needs of at-risk students; and, provides continuity of delivery of services statewide.
We celebrated our 2019 Exemplary Programs at the Saturday Awards Dinner at the Santa Clara Conference in April. In addition, our CCEA 2019 Exemplary Program Showcase followed on Sunday after breakfast.
View: Photos from the 2019 Awards Dinner
CCEA 2019 Exemplary Programs
1. Albert Powell High School: Senior Project
2. Calavaras Hills High School: Project Lead the Way (PLTW)
3. Dr. John H. Milor High School: New Student Orientation Program
4. John Cairns High School: Internship Program
5. Maple High School: Maple Makers Student-Run Business
6. Olympia High School: Service Learning Program
7. Paloma Creek High School: Lighthouse Atascadero
8. Ridgeview High School: Ridgeview Rangers Program
9. Tierra Del Sol High School: Tierra Del Sol Aztec Construction Program
10. Tracy High School: ABC Teen Parent Program
11. Vista High School: Forensic Science Program
Albert Powell High School: Senior Project
The Senior Project is the capstone project for English at Albert Powell. It provides students the opportunity to explore a career, volunteer or give back to a community organization, and start their transition to the post-high school world. The project is composed of a research paper, 15 hours of volunteer or job shadowing experience, hour logs documenting their time, a portfolio, and an oral presentation. It is worth 5 credits of senior English and is typically completed in their last semester of school. Students have project checkpoints along the way and are expected to check in with their mentors weekly during the duration of the project.
Before I started teaching at Albert Powell, I was an English teacher at another comprehensive high school in our community. Teaching mostly junior English, part of the curriculum involved my students complete an interest project. Students had to develop or learn a new skill, and report on their findings to the class through a presentation/demonstration. Upon landing at AP, I realized that I could morph the interest project into a Senior Project, with more emphasis on job and career opportunities and exploration. Another colleague and I looked at the College and Career Readiness standards, and created the Senior Project, which we decided would encompass all seniors last 5 English credits. Each year, approximately 90% of our 12th graders complete the Senior Project. We do have some seniors who transfer to our campus having completed more than 5 credits of senior English, and thus do not have to participate in the program.
We first implemented the Senior Project in the spring of 2016, but on a very small scale. It was optional for students to participate, and we did not have the support of our whole staff. Officially in the fall of 2016, we decided as a department to incorporate the Senior Project into all English classrooms, and make it a mandatory requirement to graduate from AP. Since then, the program has had huge impacts for our students and community.
We wanted to change the perception our school had in our community, as well as offer our students a bridge/connection to people and resources in the community once they left our campus. We have been able to place our students in a wide variety of local businesses including bakeries, auto body and welding shops, and internships with our local law enforcement. Students have worked with at risk youth in the community coaching track and field and basketball teams, participating as mentors for Girls on the Run and delivered presentations to junior high students on positive body image and bullying.
One of the unique aspects of the program is that students are given personal choice in where and how they complete their hours, which adds a level of buy in from all. The program costs are minimal. Our staff, on occasion, provides rides to and from certain activities and donates their own time or money to certain supplies for kids, but really it is nothing.
Calaveras Hills High School:
Project Lead the Way (PLTW)
Career Technical Education (CTE) in Engineering
At Cal Hills, our engineering curriculum is based on Project Lead the Way (PLTW) – Career Technical Education (CTE) courses. Currently, we offer two courses: “Introduction to Engineering Design”, which predominantly covers Computer-aided-design or CAD, and “Principles of Engineering”, which predominantly covers Robotics.
PLTW is a nationally recognized program with engaging, hands-on curriculum. Initially, we implemented engineering at Cal Hills in the year 2016-17 with one introductory course that was developed in-house. We expanded the following year to add two year-long courses. We made some creative choices to be able to offer two courses in one year by designing our courses to be double block. This allowed our students who may typically be with us for one or two years to take full advantage of it. We plan to expand it further to create a CTE pathway in the next two years by adding an additional course.
So far, we have had about 60 students enrolled per school year. The cost to implement is $150K over 3 years. All our students in these two courses take the End of course exam conducted by PLTW. We have had all our students meet the requirements. Anecdotally, we have seen a big improvement in engagement at school. We are proud that our program is open to all our students, who typically may not have access due to prerequisite or concurrent requirements in traditional settings. It is important to note that our school is the only one that offers PLTW in our district.
Dr. John H. Milor High School: New Student Orientation
The Dr. John H. Milor High School orientation is designed to introduce the student to the school processes; such as PBIS expectations, student handbook information, and the overall school community expectations. The program was first implemented August of 2017. The program was developed to assist and introduce students and parents to the systems and processes of Dr. John H. Milor High School. It is presented at the beginning of each quarter to all new, incoming students. Through the use of technology, multiple assessments are administered to attain baseline information for each individual student. All this occurs during a traditional school day, allowing the students to attend a day of school on the JMHS campus, and get a feel for the site. Through this orientation process, we have been able to create better initial connections with students and their families and set them up for success.
The program covers the student credit recovery plan, Graduation plan, college and career plan, school wide behavior and learning expectations, Classroom systems and processes, Math assessment for placement, Social and Emotional English assessment, PBIS process, Wellness Centre process, Quarter system grading/course process, Review Student/Parent Handbook, Campus tour, Counselor transcript review to understand credit recovery/Grad plan. It has lowered class and school wide discipline. Review of the blended learning program. About 100 to 150 students experience this program each year. Some of the outcomes of this program are, no discipline, lowered tardies, improve Graduation rate, all stakeholders know and understand the systems and process. Currently there is no cost to conduct the program. Since the program is conducted during the school day and is an integral part of the strategic plan and school focus.
John J Cairns Continuation High School: Internship Program
The John J Cairns Internship Program has transformed our school. We trained as a staff and started to implement the program three years ago. We have partnered with the community to be the “voc-ed” classrooms in the community. Cost of the program is minimal because it is now a part of the normal functioning day.
About 130 learners per year participate. Every learner on campus participates in a full day internship on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week. Learners spend a full day in an internship at a business that they are interested in pursuing after high school. There is a full readiness component and training that is completed prior to getting into an internship and then they will be monitored for feedback in the field by a teacher. Internships are tied into a cross curriculum semester long project that ends with an exhibition.
Since we have implemented our Internship Program, attendance rates have gone up and discipline issues have gone down. Course completion rates have also gone up. This program has changed our school culture and has changed the perception of our school in the community.
Maple High School: Maple Makers Student-Run Business
Maple Makers is part of the CTE Business program at Maple High School. It is a student-run business where students learn the business skills needed to run an efficient custom t-shirt and button business. It was developed and starting in the spring of the 2017-2018 school year and now is running efficiently. Students are place in a department and given a role in the company (Sales, Marketing, Design, Production, and Executive). Approximately 30-50 students participate in the program in a year. This program has AVID strategies incorporated as well.
Students in this A-G program learn the business skills to run a student business. This is part of them becoming college and career ready. They complete the pathway with a portfolio that transitions them from school to the world where they will put together an employment portfolio, college portfolio, and complete field experience hours. While a program of this nature could be run for less, the current CTE budget for this program is around $14,000. This teacher has been selected as a SBCEO Instructional Strategy Coach to teach this instructional strategy to a team of teachers who wish to implement it in their classrooms.
Olympic High School: Service-Learning Program
The Olympic High School Service-Learning Program offers students an opportunity to volunteer in an elementary school or community agency and earn credit toward graduation. Service-Learning started at Olympic over 38 years ago and provides valuable learning experiences for students while instilling in them necessary workplace expectations as well as a volunteer ethic.
The origin of the Service-Learning Program was developed based on a desire to have students participate and give back to our community. The program provides students with an opportunity to build job skills and gain real life experiences while supporting elementary teachers and students. These students also have opportunities to reflect on their experience through the English curriculum that is attached to our program. Service-Learning is a way to give back while connecting classroom learning to growing as a student and both local and global citizens.
There are approximately one hundred students who participate in the Service-Learning Program during every school year. Up to forty students can be enrolled at any given time. Students gain an understanding and are able to see education through a different lens after participation in the program. Several students have been hired in after school programs throughout the district as a result of their participation. In fact, one graduate of the program is now a middle school principal in our own district, and credits our program as being the catalyst of his educational journey.
At our site, there is 1.4 FTE allocated to the Service-Learning Program. Our district is very large and serves approximately twenty elementary schools. Two employees divide the workload and collaborate to make adjustments and improvements to the program and English curriculum. The costs to operate the program are next to nothing. We use department funds to pay for the minimal costs to assemble the English curriculum. Currently, we are working to form new partnerships with relevant placements for our students, such as automotive businesses, medical clinics, and internships at a variety of local businesses. The Service-Learning Program has been and continues to be the cornerstone of Olympic High School.
Paloma Creek Continuation High School: Lighthouse Atascadero
Lighthouse Atascadero began in 2012 by a group of concerned parents and community members who wanted to raise awareness and provide resources to combat drug use among teenagers in our community. Every month, the Lighthouse Board meets with the Paloma Creek High school principal and counselor to provide support to the schools and plan community outreach. The Lighthouse Board includes business owners, a school board member, the Mayor Pro-Tem of Atascadero, the police commander, a fire captain, a retired school administrator, as well as other community volunteers. Over the last seven years, Lighthouse has donated funds to PCHS and ACE Academy. This additional funding has increased every year, and now funds 50% of a full-time therapist at both alternative schools (the remaining 50% is funded by the school district).
PCHS students meet daily with the MFT-intern to address issues that are barriers to learning. Primarily, many of our students who battle anxiety and depression and who have great difficulty attending school benefit from these services. Parents and other family members are also able to access therapeutic services if they desire. Funds are also used to run drug and alcohol support groups, student incentives, field trips, healthy activities, scholarships for graduates, and our Lighthouse Coffee Class, a student-run business at Paloma Creek High School which teaches entrepreneurial skills and aims to create positive connections between our students and the community.
Lighthouse budgets over $50,000 to support students in our alternative education programs. Now in its seventh year, Lighthouse supports programs district-wide which aim to reduce youth addiction. In addition to the financial support and counseling services at Paloma Creek High School and ACE Academy, Lighthouse Atascadero provides funding support for our Wellness Center at our traditional High School, Atascadero High School. Lighthouse funds after school programs at all our elementary schools and our Fine Arts Academy.
Now in its second year, Lighthouse Atascadero Mentoring Program pairs high school mentors with middle school students throughout the year to build healthy relationships. The impact of Lighthouse is becoming too great to list here. This year Lighthouse purchased a new van specifically for use by Paloma Creek staff and students and has recently purchased a concession trailer to assist with the expanding business opportunities of Lighthouse Coffee. Nearly 300 students at the alternative schools have access to a therapist, more than 1400 students access the Wellness Center, 160 students have experienced the mentorship program, and over 400 students in the after-school programs.
Ridgeview Continuation High School: Ridgeview Rangers Program
The mission of the Ridgeview Rangers as a school-based nonprofit is to graduate students who are connected to their community, embrace life-long fitness, and experience the joy of volunteerism by assisting various clubs and organizations with their projects and activities. Nine – ten students per quarter attend 2 periods a day after lunch in order to earn science, PE, and elective credits. The science curriculum is reinforced with field trips, outdoor activities, and beautiful hikes. Students are also physically and mentally challenged by participating in CrossFit classes at AlphaStrong with a motivational instructor. The Rangers also stay past the end of the regular school day twice a week (and on some weekends too!) in order to make our community a better place.
The Ridgeview Rangers program was implemented in January 2016 in coordination with California Conservation Corp and Butte County Fire Safe Council and costs about $9000 per year to run. With the support of these agencies the program has grown into working with a wide variety of community agencies including PID in supporting the delivery of water to community members post Camp Fire. Since our relocation in Chico post Camp Fire, the program has even supported Chico community groups such as Chico Rotary and Snow Goose Festival.
Students involved in the program have connected with agencies and several have come back to work with the Rangers during community events even though they have graduated or are not officially enrolled any longer.
Tierra Del Sol Continuation High School: Tierra Del Sol Aztec Construction Program
Tierra Del Sol has 3 periods of construction available to students: Period 2- Modified Wood Shop Class- Build your own project with basic safety, measuring, hand and power tools, basic employ-ability and workplace communication skills. Period 3- Career Exploration in the fields of Blueprint reading, tile setting, masonry, cement, wall framing, and drywall installation and repair. Period 4- Career Exploration in the fields of blueprint reading, electrical, plumbing, estimation, green energy, surveying and planning, hand tools, and HVAC.
Tierra Del Sol has offered a construction elective since the 2014-2015 school year. Ms. Darden, our construction teacher grew up on construction sites since both of her parents were electrical contractors. The District was looking for ways to expand its CTE offerings, so Mr. Dutton, our Site Administrator, asked Ms. Darden if she would be interested in teaching the class. The first year, we focused on safety and DIY projects. In year two we were able to add Paxton-Patterson Modules to the class. This year we added new workstations and more modules. Our annual cost is approximately $5,000 for consumables like lumber, cement, tile, screws…. etc. We do have a couple of community partners that donate materials to us as well. For our Period 2 class, we have a construction yard with two Sea-trains that serve as our tool and materials storage area and outdoor classroom. All total we have spent approximately $100,000 on the program.
Each year we serve approximately 120 students. In terms of student successes, some go on to attend our Regional Occupation Center, some have gone into the construction industry, some are better equipped to take care of DIY projects in their homes, and some are 10 credits closer to graduating.
Tracy High School: ABC Teen Parent Program
It is the goal of the Unified School District’s ABC Teen Parent Program to ensure that teen mothers and fathers graduate high school and are prepared for college or careers while simultaneously nurturing healthy babies. The program provides support services to all expectant and parenting students (male and female) that are enrolled in our school district age 18 and younger who have not graduated from high school. Eligible students may enroll at Tracy High School (THS) or remain at their home school or other alternative educational program within the district. Students at THS, based on their individual needs, are enrolled in Parenting 1, Parenting 2, Prepared Childbirth and/or Prenatal Health classes. Students who choose to stay at their home school or alternative educational program in the district will receive services and resources from one of our Teen Parent staff members. Students from surrounding school districts that are in need of our services may attend THS through an intra district permit. Students enrolled in the program are also given priority enrollment in the Tracy Infant Center.
A needs assessment, counseling screening, and medical consultation are administered as a student enters the program and updated on an ongoing basis. The teacher, women’s health care nurse practitioner, counselor, and case manager work closely to coordinate services for each student enrolled in the program.
The ABC Teen Parent Program began serving pregnant and parenting teens in September 1972. The program has continuously operated and adapted through the years based on funding and student enrollment. Over the 14 years, 2000-2013, the program served on average 100 students per year. From 2014-2018, an average of 70 students received services each year. More than 80% of the students that enroll and stay in the Teen Parent Program graduate high school. A small number of students enroll for a fifth year of high school and stay an extra quarter or semester in order to graduate. All students who graduate from THS are eligible for a scholarship of $800 paid over four years.
Graduation rates, although important, are not the only measure of success in the Teen Parent Program. Babies delivered at full term to a healthy mother, at a healthy birth weight and connected to medical care can have lifelong effects. Involvement and engagement in the Teen Parent Program helps to ensure healthy outcomes for babies and helps students return to school and continue to pursue their academic goals.
The majority of the cost of the program is staff salaries and benefits. A full-time teacher, 2 part-time Para-Educators, a part-time Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner, and 4 hours weekly for a Counselor and Case manager comprise the majority of the costs. Textbooks, Chrome books, transportation, food and supplies add to the cost of the program. The Tracy Infant Center is a state funded program.
Vista Continuation High School: Forensic Science Program
Vista Continuation High School’s (VHS) Forensic Science program began in the spring of 2013. This course was created by our science teacher, who attended a Forensic Science summer institute in Michigan. The initial cost to operate this program is minimal. VHS purchased textbooks (approx. $3000) and supplemental materials (less than $1500). Most items used in this program, aside from the textbooks, specimens for the body farm (approx. $150), and criminology videos (approx. $300), are also required for a biology class. Approximately 31 students participate in this program during an average school year. According to our data, students in our Forensic Science program attend school more frequently and earn a higher grade point average, than when they attended traditional schools.
VHS’s Forensic Science Program encompasses three courses: Forensic Science I (introductory course), Forensic Science II, and Advanced Forensic Science, where students explore how scientific principles are used in analyzing physical evidence found at crime scenes and introduce students to the wide array of careers in forensic science. The ultimate objective is to teach the foundational processes and principles of scientific thinking and apply them to solving problems that are related to science and across all disciplines. The focus is to familiarize students with forensic science, the principles of science, technology, and how the application of these concepts analyze crime scene evidence.
Students in this program, have a broad range of investigative responsibilities which are fulfilled by using analytical knowledge and techniques. Once the students have learned these skills, they are assigned multiple culminating crime scene labs. Our program offers a distinct interdisciplinary approach, bringing together biology, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, criminal justice, physics and forensic science. As a result, students build skills in investigative processing, crime scene reconstruction, and criminal laboratory science. This thought process leads to a community partnership with the Shafter Modified Community Correctional Facility (MCCF) (a city owned prison, housing state inmates) and tour of the Kern Regional Crime Lab.
Our Forensic Science program encompasses a variety of projects and labs that expose our students to real-life forensic situations. Projects are as follows: Mock Crime Scenes; Body Dump; Body Farm; Serial Killer Box; and Crime Scene in a Box. Students learn about decomposition patterns; chemical changes, such as rigor mortis; and other physical changes that accompany death. Our students are also exposed to a variety of scientific labs; which will further their understanding of forensic science. Labs are as follows: fingerprinting; hair and fiber; ballistics; glass analysis; blood spatter; types of injuries; forensic pathology; entomology; observation techniques that scientists and law enforcement need to investigate and solve crimes.
2019 Program Summaries | View PDF