Announcing Our 2024 Model Community Day Schools

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State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Inaugural Model Community Day Schools for 2024

California Department of Education News Release

California Department of Education

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that eight schools have been selected as Model Community Day Schools (MCDSs) for 2024, the first year of implementation. Community day schools are schools for students who have been expelled from school or who have had problems with attendance or behavior. The MCDS Recognition Program is a partnership between the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Continuation Education Association Plus (CCEA Plus).

“I commend these remarkable schools for demonstrating extraordinary commitment to students and their families,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “By providing students with myriad educational options, mental health resources, and other support services, these schools have addressed students’ needs, elevated their strengths and assets, and set them on a trajectory for success. This comprehensive support has prepared them with the necessary skills to move toward successfully completing high school, transitioning to higher education—academic and/or vocational—and entering the workforce.”

During the three years that schools are designated as an MCDS, the CDE and CCEA Plus will identify them as resources for districts that are planning to establish new community day schools and for new and existing community day schools that would like expert support to expand and deepen their educational practices.

Schools were required to perform a self-evaluation focused on the following elements: (1) School Profile; (2) School Management; (3) Educating “This Whole Child” (Instruction); (4) Educating “This Whole Child” (Social, Emotional, and Mental Health and Development); and (5) School Evaluation of Effectiveness.

Each of the honorees retain their designation for three years and will be recognized at the CCEA Plus 2024 State Conference. Honorees are required to submit to the CDE an annual assurance of conformance to model school guidelines for the second and third years of designation. The Annual Assurance of Services Form will be available on the CDE MCDS Recognition Program web page.

The following were among the MCDSs that were named for 2024:

  • Dorothy V. Johnson High School, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County – Teachers facilitate differentiated instruction at Johnson High School to make sure students understand the purpose of the lesson and how it relates to their everyday lives. All lessons include time for cooperative group work, and students are engaged and productive. Johnson High School continues to find ways to improve ongoing efforts to respond to student mental health crises and support students and staff to prevent crises from occurring. Efforts have focused on destigmatizing mental health and normalizing help-seeking behaviors. Students confirmed during the site visit that they are provided wraparound services that embrace the difficult circumstances many are facing. Students’ experience with the school is focused on ensuring that they have all the information they need to make informed choices about their futures.
  • REACH Academy, Santa Ana Unified School District, Orange County – Staff spend a great deal of time connecting to students and earning their trust at REACH Academy. Staff members are trained extensively in restorative practices and have instructional coaching support for curriculum writing and incorporating restorative practice and juvenile justice into their day-to-day lessons. In addition, REACH Academy has created an orientation course for all new students called HEART, which represents Hope, Engage, Achieve, Restore, and Transition. Lessons seamlessly integrate technology, reading, writing, reflection, sharing, restorative circles, cross-curriculum teaching, and career exploration. Monitoring academic progress over time and administering surveys to gather student perceptions of the learning environment and school culture are integral components. The Coordination of Services Team convenes regularly to analyze data, identify tier interventions, and address the nuanced needs of students.
  • Pathway Community Day School, Central Unified School District, Fresno County – Interviews with parents and staff highlight the active and collaborative efforts in school management at Pathway Community Day School. Parents express their involvement in School Site Council meetings and appreciate consistent access to staff for addressing student needs and concerns. This inclusive approach to school governance fosters a sense of community and shared responsibility for student success. The seamless integration of social–emotional learning practices into the curriculum creates a nurturing environment. The positive support mechanisms for students facing behavioral challenges observed during the site visit reinforce the school’s commitment to holistic student development.

CDE CCEA Model School Seal (MCHS)The newly developed Model Community Day School (MCDS) Recognition Program will identify and recognize outstanding community day schools and will create a resource list of exemplary programs for school visitations and mentoring. The MCDS Recognition Program is sponsored by the California Department of Education (CDE) in collaboration with the California Continuation Education Association Plus.

The 8 schools selected as Community Day Schools will be recognized at the CCEA Plus 2024 State Conference in Los Angeles Burbank from April 25 – 28, 2024. For more information on Community Day Schools, please visit the CDE Community Day Schools web page.

2024 Model Community Day Schools

  1. Pathway Community Day School, Central Unified School District, Fresno County
  2. Sanger Community Day School, Sanger Unified School District, Fresno County
  3. Dorothy V. Johnson High School, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County
  4. Montebello Community Day School, Montebello Unified School District, Los Angeles County
  5. Lighthouse Community Day School, Fort Bragg Unified School District, Mendocino County
  6. REACH Academy, Santa Ana Unified School District, Orange County
  7. Hesperia Community Day School, Hesperia Unified School District, San Bernardino County
  8. Lindsay Community Day, Lindsay Unified School District, Tulare County

Looking to Apply?

The “Intent to Submit” form for prospective Model Schools is usually due in the summer each year. So, to become a Model School for 2025, you must submit your intent during Summer/Fall 2024 to begin the application process.  For more details, click here. The new application will be posted some time in the late spring / early summer, along with the deadlines.

Learn More

Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

  Release: #24-14 — CDE press release (direct link)
Last updated: March 18, 2024

Contact: Communications
E-mail: communications (at)
Phone: 916-319-0818