California Model School Flag - CCEAThe Model Schools recognition program is sponsored by the California Department of Education (CDE), Educational Options Division, in cooperation with the California Continuation Education Association Plus (CCEA Plus).

CDE receives numerous requests from school districts, the media, and other state agencies for a list of effective schools that they may visit. The Model Schools Education Recognition Program identifies and recognizes outstanding alternative education schools and creates a resource list for school visits and other forms of peer mentoring. These schools provide exemplary programs to at-risk youth through the use of innovative instructional strategies, flexible scheduling, and guidance and counseling services.

We currently host two “Model Schools” programs:

Model Continuation High School (MCHS)

The Model Schools program started in 1990, first recognizing continuation schools with the “Model Continuation High School” (MCHS) award. For over thirty years, this designation has been the high-water mark for continuation schools and alternative education in the state of California. Schools undergo a rigorous application and review process, including examination of programs and procedures, and on-campus visitation. MCHS Page | Apply for MCHS

For Continuation Schools

Model Community Day School (MCDS)

CDE and CCEA Plus extended the Model School award program to community day schools in 2023. The newly developed “Model Community Day School” (MCDS) Recognition Program is based on the longstanding MCHS Program. In addition to celebrating excellence, a major goal of this program is to create and maintain a resource of exemplary programs for school visitations and other forms of peer mentoring to support other schools to adapt successful approaches and practices of these model schools in their own communities. MCDS Page | Apply for MCDS

For Community Day Schools

Model School Programs Overview:

CDE CCEA Model School Seal (MCHS)

  • Began in 1990 as a collaboration between the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Continuation Education Association Plus (CCEA Plus).
  • Identifies and recognizes outstanding programs.
  • Creates a resource list of quality programs for visitations and other forms of technical assistance — educators have committed to being mentors for other AltEd educators.
  • Identifies individuals to assist with the review and rating of applications and Site Validation Visits.

Requirements and Application

CDE encourages all schools that have been in operation a minimum of two years and meet other eligibility criteria to review their programs and submit an application for statewide recognition.

Selected schools are Model Schools for three years; after that, those schools will need to re-apply.

MCHS Application | Continuation (2024-2025)
MCDS Application | Community Day (2024-2025) 

Model School Readers and Field Experts

Application Readers and visiting Field Experts are selected and vetted by committee and approved by the Board. To become a Reader / Field Expert, please submit an application here. All applicants must be CCEA Plus members in good standing, and be accepted to participate.

Model Schools Annual Gala

CCEA Plus 2022 Friday Gala

We would like to congratulate our current Model Schools!  Selected schools are awarded in person at the annual CCEA Conference each April/May. For 2024, the Model School Gala will be Friday, April 26, 2024, in Los Angeles (Burbank).

Model Schools Only (only members can view):
Purchase Model School Flag | Purchase Diploma Stickers

To purchase a Model School flag, please follow the steps on our FAQs page.