Congratulations to our professional awardees, model schools and exemplary programs! All were honored in person at the 2022 Conference in May. Find event and awards photos in this gallery post, and the interactive schedule here.
2022 State Awards Honorees
Administrators of the Year
- Region 1: Horacio Perez, Vail High School
- Region 1: Tiffany Hampton, Slover Mountain High School
- Region 2: Margie Moriarty, Frontier High School
- Region 2: Rusvel Prado, Wasco Independence High School
- Region 4: David Jones, South Lindhurst High School, Community Day School & Abraham Lincoln
- Region 4: Lynsie Castellano, Olympic High School
Classified Employee of the Year
- Region 1: Ellwood Brown, Brea Canyon High School
- Region 1: Monica Alcantara-Cardona, Mountain View High School
- Region 2: Stephanie Gaude, Somerset High School
- Region 2: Tami Contreras, Delta High School
- Region 4: Jorge Iniquez, Olympic High School
Counselor or Support Person of the Year
- Region 1: Christian Flores, Valley High School
- Region 1: Rafael Reyes, Amistad High School
- Region 2: Roberto Tamayo, Frontier High School
- Region 2: Vianney Gonzalez, Wasco Independence High School
SRO Officer of the Year
- Region 1: Troy Hilliard, RK Lloyde High School
- Region 1: Aaron Reber, Valley High School
- Region 2: Dennis Thomas, Maple High School
- Region 4: Chad Quirarte, Adelante High School
Superintendent of the Year
- Region 1: Dr. Cuauhte’moc Avila, Rialto Unified School District
- Region 1: Dr. Patricia Chavez, Rialto Unified School District
- Region 2: Robert Cobb, Wasco Unified School District
Teacher of the Year
- Region 1: Jeffrey K. Whisman, Milor High School
- Region 1: Gabriel Davila, Slover Mountain High School
- Region 2: Anna Mudge, Maple High School
- Region 2: Crescenio Ramirez, North Park High School
- Region 3: Janice Aliotti, Mount Toro High School
Student Essay Contest Winners
- 1st Mariana Ramirez, Orange Grove High School
- 2nd James Martinez, Frontier High School
- 3rd Raymond Elizondo Vargas, Maple High School
Student Art Contest Winner
Raymond Elizondo Vargas, Maple High School
2022 CCEA Plus Exemplary Program
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.
Please join us Saturday evening at the Awards Dinner where the following programs will be recognized. In addition, we have scheduled our CCEA 2019 Exemplary Program Showcase on Sunday after our morning breakfast.
Exemplary Program Recognitions:
- Mountain View High School: Aquaponics and Sustainable Living Program
- Paloma Creek High School: Building Together – A Community Partnership with PCHS
- RK Lloyde High School: Life after Lloyde
- Slover Mountain High School: Athletics Program
- Slover Mountain High School: PBIS Program
- Somerset High School: Associated Student Body (Leadership Class)
- Somerset High School: CTE/Skills USA Program
- Vista West High School: Intervention Program
- Wasco Independence High School: Orientation Program
Above: click each school to jump to the program’s description.
Mountain View High School
Aquaponics and Sustainable Living Program
San Jacinto Unified School District (SJUSD) Schools’, Mountain View High School (MVHS) has taken the idea that different and unusual opportunities for learning can lead to very successful and rewarding results. MVHS students receive instruction in water, agriculture, weather, the solar, wind, and geothermal energy have supplemented the more usual and conventional high school curriculum.
Opportunities for students to get their hands dirty through activities have fed the imagination of many and revealed college and career opportunities that perhaps had never been considered. One such activity with global application and incredible growth is that of Aquaponics and Sustainable Living. With the support of SJUSD Cabinet and Board Members, Mountain View High School proposed investment in a STEAM program emphasizing Aquaponics and Sustainable Living practices that connect to real-world experiences. This program began in 2014 and is part of the district’s LCAP funding. Over $80,000 has been allocated during the past five years and now this program has spread to the elementary schools in the district. Through this change, it was apparent that providing hands-on learning sparked the imagination and the creative processes of these 21st-century learners and the aquaponics/sustainable living programs would be able to fulfill the need as students would design, create, research, and implement aquaponics on a small scale in the classrooms and large scale in the Sustainable Living Area.
Paloma Creek High School
Building Together – A Community Partnership with PCHS
The Building Together Program is a partnership between community members and Paloma Creek High School. This program provides students with training in the construction trades through the development, building and sale of a structure. This year the students and community members have designed, built and will be selling a shed. The students learn from our community partners how to build a structure from the ground up. They begin with collaborating on design, and researching the cost of materials, as well as the cost of their labor -and ultimately what they must sell their shed to cover their costs and make some gains. They then prepare a presentation of their ideas, that is shared with the principal and community partners prior to beginning their build.
The community partners and students started this year with the building of the foundation, and the framing of the structure, and the installation of windows. Students learned incredible skills, such as how to use simple tools, to how to handle a nail gun, electric sander, and skill saw. They also learn basic electrical skills, including how to pull wire and install outlets. Both male and female students participate in the process, and all students are exposed to a variety of trades during the process of the build. Currently the students and community partners are working on the roofing process of the build. They are learning about materials and procedures, as well as how to assess for the accuracy of the installation.
As part of this process, students also take a number of field trips into the community to learn about construction in action in their hometown. Students have been able to walk through construction sites, learn about the industry and how to enter this labor market. Included in the field trips are the opportunities to network with business owners in the community who are looking to hire our students following graduation. Students build their resumes as part of this process, including skills in the areas of framing, electrical, painting, budgeting, purchasing, marketing/advertising and sales.
All Paloma Creek High School students have the opportunity to participate in the building process. It is projected that the shed will be completed by early March and the students already have a buyer. The next build is projected to be an outside shade structure for an outside classroom. Students and community members will use their financial gains from the shed to purchase materials for their next build.
This partnership between our incredible community members and our school is amazing, and we look forward to seeing what exciting things are built through this collaboration in the future. We are building structures, building student capacity, and building positive adult relationships through working side by side to accomplish a common goal! Truly an exceptional experience for all!
RK Lloyde High School
Life after Lloyde
Through the collection of data on matriculation of students from Lloyde to El Camino College, enlistment in the military, and direct entry to the workforce, it was clear students were in need of specified action plans to guide them in meeting their goals for “Life after Lloyde.” The “Success at Lloyde” class was first offered in 2018 as “New Student Seminar.” “Lloyde Blueprints” has been offered for over 10 years and “Success after Lloyde” was a new addition to the pathway of courses in the past year. Using classes already in existence and feedback from students and parents, a new course pathway was creating including the following courses:
Success at Lloyde: This entry level course taken by students in their first quarter on campus is focused on goal-setting, inter- and intra-personal skills, growth mindset, SEL and basic skills to be successful at Lloyde High School.
Lloyde Blueprints: This course is taken as a bridge between the other two courses and has two main takeaways, a completed resume and interview skills. Students also begin identifying career pathways, are introduced to basic financial literacy, and continue lessons on SEL topics.
Success after Lloyde: This capstone course is taken in the spring by graduating seniors. Students create an action plan for “Life after Lloyde,” while also taking a deep dive into financial literacy and continuing SEL topics relevant to adult life.
“Life after Lloyde” is focused on preparing our students for the day after graduation. As much as our focus on earning a diploma drives our daily work in the classroom, the energy towards their life plan provides purpose for their work on graduation requirements.
Slover Mountain High School
Slover Mountain plays in the Inland Empire Alternative Schools League (IEASL) which is made up of continuation and alternative education schools in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Schools compete twice a week, typically on Wednesdays and Fridays. All games are played during school hours and students are bused to and from games using district transportation. Slover students practice and train for their sport as part of an Athletics class. There is no cost to the student. Slover budgets approximately $12,000. The program was developed to provide SMHS students more opportunities to participate in school activities and as a way of connecting with the school in Spring of 2013. There are four sports (softball, volleyball, basketball and soccer) students can participate in with roughly 100 to 110 player and manager positions available each year. Students are required to sign a code of conduct and are held accountable. Any student with a desire to participate and meeting the grade and behavior expectations can participate. Students learn how to manage time, their workload and team responsibilities. Students communicate with their teachers when they miss a class on game days to make up the assignments or get the assignments ahead of time. Slover teams regularly compete in playoffs in softball, basketball and soccer, as well as end of season volleyball tournaments. Slover Girls Softball have won three league titles (2016, 2017 and 2021) Boys Softball
won one title (2018).
Slover Mountain High School
In the 2014-15 school year, CJUSD adopted the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) approach to establishing behavioral supports and positive school culture. In September 2019, Slover Mountain High School was awarded the Silver Implementation Award from the CA PBIS Coalition and will apply for the Gold Award this school year. SMHS’s primary goal is to prevent discipline issues by being proactive. Slover teaches positive expectations where students are Respectful, Optimistic, Accountable and Resilient (R.O.A.R). R.O.A.R helps foster a clean, safe, and orderly campus by having school-wide expectations posters displayed on campus and in classrooms. Each teacher has their own classroom matrix with 3-5 positively stated expectations. This allows students to reflect on their own behavior. All staff reinforce positive behavior by handing out “Cougar
Cash” as incentives. Students purchase school supplies, Slover T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc. in the student store. We respond to behavior in a consistent and effective way using a minor/major flowchart with interventions to support positive behavior. SWIS is used to record behavior and the data provides information about individual students, student groups, or the entire student body. SHMS completed a School Climate Survey to measure student perceptions of school climate. We scored an overall 3.11 which is considered Strongly Agree and the goal of the district. Notably, students at SMHS feel safe and respected.
Somerset High School
Associated Student Body (Leadership Class)
When entering a new school, you feel like the Lone wolf, but at Somerset we embrace and share the excitement of a new beginning and adventures! That is why the leadership class is so important because we do not want any student to be a lone wolf. Every student is welcome to join the leadership class! In 2012, staff and students wanted to start a leadership class. From that day on, the culture of Somerset changed forever because by giving students the power to plan activities and show school spirit, not only did it change the school, it changed the students. Our ASB gives students the chance to be a part of leadership, when at their previous schools that was not an option. The class creates bonding between students that may not have happened before and helps them feel connected to something they can be proud to be doing. Each year the students are in charge of planning the winter formal, the prom, monthly student-led games and activities at snack, and our annual “Turkey Bowling” contest. They also act as servers doing our Turkey Day feast for the community and have been in charge of the canned food drive and blood drive. The highlight of the year is putting on a Halloween Carnival with a haunted house and the whole neighborhood is invited. One of the important things the students do is have a welcome barbeque during the day every time we have new students enroll because they want them to feel welcome and accepted at Somerset. When students become involved, their whole outlook on school changes and they realize they have found a place to belong.
The class size is usually about ten students, but through the years there could be as many as twenty. Many of those students rose to be leaders of the school and even made graduation speeches. The impact of the leadership class has helped students even after graduation and many of them come back to Somerset and say that if not for ASB, they would not have been able to believe in themselves and realize their potential. Although there is a small budget for the class, students do fundraisers and have also asked community organizations such as Kiwanis to donate materials and funds for activities. The Somerset staff and students are proud of our leadership class and the way that it has helped students find their voice and be part of something bigger than themselves.
Somerset High School
CTE/Skills USA Program
The story of Joe is a remarkable one and the SkillsUSA program helped write a new ending to his high school story and put him on a path to success. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. They help each student excel and is a nonprofit national education association that helps prepare students for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. The development of SkillsUSA at the Somerset Campus began in fall of 2016. Five students competed at the State SkillsUSA conference in Ontario, and three students advanced to the National SkillsUSA competition in Louisville Kentucky in the area of Residential Systems and Installation Maintenance or Smart homes, & Robotics and Automation Technology. Students won medals for the first time in Somerset’s history. In the second year seven students went to state and one made it to nationals. In the third year there were five entries and one made it to nationals. This school year there were three competitors and one won a Gold Metal and is going to the state level next month.
The impact the program has had on students has been positive. The students not only learn, but they can visualize real world situations beyond what they had never been able to envision. The majority of students have a hesitancy to take part in something like this because of a fear of failure or lack of self-confidence. After the students had success and won competitions they felt pride in themselves because they persevered and were successful. The students have felt the pressure to reach a higher
level of thinking by training and practicing at their skills/trade. By utilizing the various CTE programs, students can visualize and see where and how their real-world projects they created and then SkillsUSA allows them to prove it. The story of Joe started out at his previous school. He was unsuccessful in his classes and has discipline issues. When he transferred to Somerset and got interested in the SkillsUSA program, he thrived! He made it all the way to the national competition and earned a Gold medal!! He has since gone onto work for many prestigious companies and is a highly sought-after individual. It only took one person with access to a great program to believe in him and help write a different ending to his high school story.
Vista West High School
The schoolwide implementation of our Intervention Program has had a significant impact on the positive culture and educational practices of Vista West High School (VWHS). The VWHS Intervention Program is supported by a team that includes a Dean of Behavior and Supports, two counselors, On Campus Intervention Teacher (OCI), Intervention Specialist, Social Worker, School Psychologist, Substance Abuse Specialist, SEL Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) and a Community Specialist. Our Intervention Program effectively provides all students with positive and proactive practices and systems of support to prevent unwanted behaviors, equip students with the skills they need to be successful, and intensively and intentionally provides individualized support to improve behavior and academic outcomes. All VWHS stakeholders have been involved in the continued development and implementation of the Gator R.U.L.E. (Respect, Understanding, Leadership, Effort).
The effectiveness of our Intervention Program has been largely supported by the “Behavioral Flowchart” our staff has created and modified during the past 5 years. The Behavioral Flowchart was developed to provide staff with a Road Map to positively provide students the appropriate interventions and supports. The Flowchart provides a clear referral process for interventions and supports and defines minor and major behaviors. The Behavioral Flowchart clearly delineates between Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 behaviors.
Wasco Independence High School
The Orientation program is a program that was implemented several years ago under Mr. Rusvel Prado, who is now our principal, when he was teacher here at WIHS. The Orientation program reaches every single one of our approximately 125 students, who participate in the program during their first week of arriving at WIHS. This program serves as an introduction to the campus and the school environment but does so in a controlled manner, so personalities can be observed, expectations can be set and explained, and ultimately the students can have a smooth and successful transition from the main high school campus to our continuation campus. During the orientation week, incoming students are provided with information about the rules and expectations of the school, including our very strong focus on respect, our school acronym SOAR (Skillful, Openminded, Accountable, Respectful), as well as the writing expectations of SPEEC (for ELA and History) and ICE (for math and science). The NWEA test is administered to all students during orientation week, which allows us to ascertain the base levels for reading and math upon our student’s entry into the school. This information is shared out in our weekly PLC meetings with staff, so staff is aware of the varying needs and possible differentiations that would benefit our students. This test is administered again at semester, and upon students exit from WIHS, so we have quantifiable data showing the students growth during their time here.
Since the orientation program is a part of the regular curriculum at WIHS, it runs at no extra cost to the school, unless there is need for professional development to revamp the program, in which case that is dependent on funding.
All of the above aspects of the orientation program come together to make sure that students know the expectations, teachers have all the information that they need regarding student’s needs, and that our campus has a cohesive, inviting, and successful environment for all students.
2022 Model Continuation High School Program Recognitions
Thirty-six schools have been awarded Model Continuation High School (MCHS) status for 2022. Review teams conducted a Site Validation Visit to each of the schools and prepared a report based on their findings. These reports included a Program Summary, which explains specifically how the awardees meet the criteria for recognition as a MCHS. A summary for each
of the thirty-six awardees is included in this report.
Join us Friday evening at Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific to celebrate all the 2022 Model Continuation School at our Model School Gala.
To learn how to become a 2023 Model School, please visit this page and click “Learn How to Apply”.
Site Visit Program Summaries:
- Abraham Lincoln Continuation High School
- Adelante High School
- Allan F. Daily High School
- Alta Vista High School
- Apollo High School
- Brea Canyon High School
- Capistrano Union High School
- Columbus High School
- Conejo Valley High School
- El Camino High School
- El Camino Real Continuation High School
- El Puente High School
- John H. Milor High School
- Kings River High School
- Lee V. Pollard High School
- Lorin Griset Academy
- Maple High School
- March Mountain High School
- Marie L. Hare Continuation High School
- Mount Toro High School
- Nueva Continuation High School
- Nueva Vista Continuation High School
- Pacific High School
- Paloma Creek High School
- Redwood High School
- R.K. Lloyde High School
- Ruben Salazar High School
- San Antonio High School
- San Joaquin Valley High School
- Slover Mountain High School
- Somerset High School
- Travis Education Center
- Valley Alternative
- Valley Vista High School
- Vista West High School
- Wasco Independence High School
Above: click each Model School to jump to their program summary.
Abraham Lincoln Continuation High School
The staff at Lincoln prides themselves on creating relationships with students that are based on trust and respect. Those relationships provide the school with the vehicle to support our students’ dreams which are either to go to college or straight into the workforce. Lincoln supports and mentors their students with their social emotional needs, which we all know can be challenging as we work through the pandemic. Lincoln strives to unlock the potential in every student so that they are prepared to build the future we know they deserve.
Adelante High School
Adelante High School meets the criteria for consideration as a model school continuation high school.
It is apparent that all Adelante’s staff and students feel safe, respected, and extremely proud of the strides they have made to build such a welcoming school community. The various school community members we spoke to during our visit seemed to grow more and more excited and boastful with each question we asked. The school’s principal and her support staff have clearly built the types of trusting relationships with district personnel necessary to support high-needs students. The teachers at Adelante fully dedicate themselves to seeking out opportunities for their students to learn, both inside and outside of the classroom. The teachers are united toward a common goal and regularly collaborate to review student data and make necessary changes. Adelante staff is passionate about supporting the whole child, not just the academic side.
Examples of this include the various opportunities that students have to gain job / career skills and experience, and the countless interventions that attend to the students’ social emotional well-being. The regularity with which Adelante staff assess and responds to their students’ needs are truly exemplary.
Allan F. Daily High School
The school has a very comprehensive program to meet the individual needs of each student of Allan F. Daily High School. Daily provides an educational program that is challenging and that students believe is preparing them to be college and career ready upon graduation. The students feel cared for by the adults on campus which translates to a student body that is self-actualized and determined to meet their educational goals. The teaching staff, support staff, and administration are student focused and dedicated to making sure students receive a rigorous curriculum that meets the needs of their population. In addition, when students were asked to describe their school in one word they said the following: unity, motivating, prosperous, efficient, progressive, genuine, and inspiring. I take great pride in recommending this school for model school certification.
Alta Vista High School
Alta Vista High School meets the criteria for consideration as a model continuation high school. The staff work as a team to empower students toward the goal of not only graduation but a place in the community after high school, as well. Alta Vista students learn to be self-advocates and are given the tools to take responsibility for their own progress toward graduation. A weekly credit check system informs the students of their credit accrual and enables them to be informed and in control of their graduation status. Students and families know that all the staff care for them and are there to support them in their journey. The school supports the students academically by offering a variety of courses: online, direct instruction, project based, concurrent enrollment and work experience. Alta Vista High School provides a safe place for students to be given not only the opportunity to be successful, but the tools, support and guidance needed as well.
Apollo High School
Apollo High School provides a safe, caring, and academically challenging environment in which students can grow academically and personally. A collaborative staff that works together to be their ultimate best for students. Apollo celebrates students at their quarterly awards ceremonies where they are recognized for academic achievement, most improved, citizenship, service, attendance, and honor roll. Through Senior Seminar, students have the opportunity to complete job applications, prepare resumes, and practice interview skills. Apollo holds a Career Day that brings in speakers from SICE, colleges, local businesses and branches of the military. Apollo High School students and staff live by their 4 A’s of— Accountability, Acceptance, Appreciation and Attention.
Brea Canyon High School
Brea Canyon High School in Brea, CA is the only continuation high school serving the Brea Olinda Unified School District. Students come to Canyon for a multitude of reasons. During our visit, we observed many aspects and evidence of a deserving Model Continuation High School recognition. Brea Canyon High School is proud to house three alternative programs on its campus: BCHS continuing education; BCHS Independent Study program; and Futures Academy. Futures Academy was established in 2018 with a focus to reintegrate students formerly outsourced to non-public schools that catered to individual educational needs of students that have experienced prior trauma and social anxieties. During our focus group, students echoed common sentiments of being appreciative of the fact they can work at their own pace, enjoy a smaller classroom environment, and having open lines of communication with teachers, staff, and administration.
BCHS teachers consistently use appropriate formative and summative assessments to guide classroom instruction and measure student growth through various assessment tools. Student feedback is welcome, and a strong rapport and open dialogue among students and staff helps to individualize instruction and personalize the Brea Canyon experience for every student. In our staff focus group, teachers expressed high praise for their administrator and her ability to quickly problem solve any issues that arise. They were thankful to work in a school where they felt valued and treated equitably. Everyone staff member on campus feels empowered to help kids.
The organization of Brea Canyon High School highly contributes to its designation as a Model Continuation High School. BCHS has a shared vision and purpose that encompasses the whole student. The governing board has policies aligned with Brea Canyon High School’s purpose and supports every aspect of student achievement. BCHS leadership unifies the students, staff, and all stakeholders, further contributing to the betterment of this institution and building school connectedness for all stakeholders. Support from the district is unwavering and the school as a whole feels supported and important.
Students are referred to BCHS primarily because of credit deficiency, poor attendance, a lack of study skills, discipline and/or behavior issues, and/or substance abuse issues. Students may also be referred to BCHS by Board of Education placement (i.e. a student on a suspended expulsion order), student and/or parent preference (i.e. smaller school environment) as a voluntary transfer, or due to the extra social and/or emotional support at BCHS. With a focus on active participation, teachers apply student-centered, 21st century instructional strategies learned through professional development in order to maximize student engagement. The BCHS faculty review a variety of student data to address student growth and drive instruction.
With the goal of standardizing credits, the Productive Credit Worksheet was established. This allows credits to be given based on productive seat time, productivity, and content mastery. Many parents in the focus group expressed their extreme gratitude to BCHS for their prompt and continuous communication and staff dedication to improving the academic performance of all of their children.
It is for all these reasons and the above narrative that we feel that Brea Canyon High School should be recognized as a CA Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 school year by the California Continuation Education Association Plus.
Capistrano Union High School
Capistrano Union Continuation High School is known as the “Small School with a Big Heart.” Union High School (UHS) is located in San Juan Capistrano and celebrated 100 years in the CUSD this school year. UHS is the only continuation school in the district and has a student body of around 200 that transfer from the six comprehensive schools in the district.
UHS welcomed a new principal this school year. Ms. Casey has been in the CUSD for many years and was excited to join the Union family. She noticed right away that the staff at UHS was dialed into what students need in order to help them succeed. UHS is a student-centered campus that focuses on relationships and helping students discover their potential and grow as students and individuals regardless of their past experiences.
Being the only admin on campus, the principal turns to her Management Team and staff to help in the decision-making process. The Management Team checks in with each other almost daily to talk about what is happening on campus and to make decisions and plan strategies when needed to offer all students a safe, nurturing environment to learn.
UHS teachers, staff, and admin meet every Monday for the Just Kids Meeting. During this meeting eight students are highlighted, and staff gets to know each student through video and discussion. Next, they select a Student of the Week. All teachers need to agree on the selection. This is an honor that all students strive to receive. The last part of the meeting is a discussion on students who are falling behind for whatever reason and may need intervention. These concerns are addressed by the counselor, academic advisor, teachers or by scheduling a Student Study Team meeting with all stakeholders.
Coming to UHS is a life-changing move for most students. Intake meetings occur each quarter and include staff from the comprehensive schools in the district, CUSD representatives, as well as the counselor and principal from UHS. The UHS SPED Case Manager will be present if the student has an IEP. Students opt to be transferred to UHS to recover credits and graduate on time. Once they are transferred the student will work with the Academic Advisor and the Counselor to develop a graduation plan and register for classes. The principal will give the student and their family a tour of the campus after they attend a mandatory Orientation. During the orientation the principal will discuss the expectations of being a UHS student and how they can earn credits and graduate on time.
Teachers and staff at UHS mentioned that they had support from the district as well as their principal. They felt their voice was heard, they are part of the decision-making process and that their work and effort are appreciated. They mentioned that the principal asks for their input and makes things happen. They appreciated having the opportunity to influence a more positive change on their students and to be role models for them, as some teachers grew up in the same communities as their students.
Teachers are proud of the work they do in designing their curriculum and lesson instruction. They work with other teachers in the district on developing curriculum and selecting textbooks. They have high expectations for their students and continue to look for innovative ways to challenge them. Students are offered many chances to recover their credits such as Academic Intervention classes, Independent Study, and College Courses through the local Community College. Students take CTE classes in Music, Culinary Arts, and Visual Arts that are offered through the College & Career Advantage Program. Graduating seniors may also take a Career Connect class offered during the third quarter to help them search for careers and prepare for post-graduation. In addition, a representative from the local community college is on campus every Thursday to help students apply for FAFSA/Dream Act, apply for college, and work with students to help them transition after they graduate.
UHS has a strong connection to the surrounding community. Many students take advantage of volunteer opportunities at a local horse ranch, pick up trash, participate in clothing drives and blood drives just to name a few. The local community college Adult Education program offers classes to all students to help them earn credits towards graduation. Through this connection students have even referred family members to the Adult Ed program and encouraged them to earn their diploma, take EL classes or further their education.
Through their collaboration with Tilly Life Center, representatives come to campus and work with students on socio-emotional lessons. Students think about their message to the world and develop “I Am Heard” public service announcements that are advertised throughout the community to inspire others.
The past principal continues to be active in the district. He mentioned that UHS is like a small speed boat that has the ability to turn and respond to students needs quickly and offer follow up promptly. When staff hears for a need they are quick to respond. He also mentioned that many of the programs that are in place to support students have been there for a long time and he has witnessed how they have helped students throughout the years. This longevity shows the impact and effectiveness of the programs.
Parents at UHS feel informed and connected to the school. They mentioned that their students were struggling at their comprehensive sites and requested they be transferred to UHS. Since they have started at UHS they began to flourish and are doing better academically and emotionally. With their students being more successful at school their relationships at home have improved and they have more positive things to talk about.
Students are proud to be students at UHS. They work towards earning incentive points to trade in for school swag, so they can show off their commitment to UHS. They do not feel that it was a punishment to be transferred to UHS. They look at it as a choice and they all work hard at keeping their spot. Everyone finds their own path (goal) and sticks to it.
They love the small school setting and the social aspect. They all feel comfortable and part of a family. Students feel supported and connected to their teachers and the staff. They feel their teachers pay attention to what they are doing and want them to succeed. They mentioned that the teachers and staff help you find yourself and be comfortable with who you are and where you are going.
Students mentioned that teachers have a variety of ways they offer instruction and lessons. They will help students when they don’t understand and offer them time to catch up when they are absent.
Students mentioned that they appreciate the opportunity to get extra help during the Study Hall. They also mentioned that UHS has taught them to be accountable for their education. Thus, many choose to attend school regularly and get their work done and not have to go to Study Hall.
Students feel prepared for life after graduation. Many students are taking the College Prep class to look at career choices and are looking at options to further their education. Students also are getting support in applying for scholarships, financial aid, and registering for college classes. They mentioned that if they didn’t come to UHS they would not have had the confidence to further their education and go after their dream.
Students overall felt that UHS brings out the best in them. When asked to describe their school in one
word they said: unexpected, family, amazing, nonjudgmental, loving, caring, accepting,
Columbus High School
It is with great pleasure that Columbus High School is recommended to be a Model School. Columbus High School is committed to meeting the individual needs of each student. The students love their teachers, staff and administration. The school provides a program that is academically challenging and prepares them for college and career upon graduation. The students work with staff that truly care for their well-being and educational needs, maintaining high expectations for all. When students were asked to describe their school in one word they said: ethical, hopeful, powering, fun, full of opportunity, amazing, home/family, and inclusive. Parents and students feel supported and listened to at Columbus High School. This is a place of hope for the families they serve. The students work with elementary schools in the community and the administrators of the school sites where the students serve highly value the continuation high students support to their elementary students. The school is very committed to its students, parents, staff and the community it serves and it is apparent in all capacities observed.
Conejo Valley High School
This Visiting Committee recommends that Conejo Valley High School High School be recognized as a California Model Continuation High School. The school has effective site leadership that has a collaborative style to motivate staff, positive District support, a clear vision for the needs of the student body, high academic expectations, and a caring and supportive learning environment where students can and do thrive. The committee was able to verify all components that were in the application to be in place. All curriculum is standards-aligned and the teachers use a variety of approaches to appeal to both ready and reluctant learners.
In addition, the school has very strong social/emotional learning components in place. The social emotional team provides the students with Tier 3 interventions, as the caring and committed teachers show care and compassion daily through restorative practices and positive relationships to provide Tier 1 and Tier 2 support throughout the day. Students articulated repeatedly that they feel safe at school, and that the school feels like a family. Students can receive one on one counseling through the wellness room. Students are encouraged to participate in student leadership opportunities, as well as to engage in periodic school-wide activities such as Spirit Week which builds a sense of community. The school overall can be described as having a highly therapeutic environment. The administration and staff are to be commended on their professional collaboration and positive influence on the school climate at Conejo Valley High School High School.
The parents/guardians that the Committee spoke with reported that the staff shows care for their child and communicates both concerns and positive progress regarding their children by emailing or calling the parent. Newsletters keep parents informed of the events and happenings at Conejo Valley High School, and regular communication goes home in the parents’ home language. There is a lot of support from parents to help spread the word that Conejo Valley High School High School is a model continuation school.
El Camino High School
As stated by the El Camino High School (ECHS) principal, “we are working to become the school that supports our community.” ECHS has all stakeholders moving in the same direction, working toward the same mission and vision. The site has a collaborative spirit and data driven philosophical approach to supporting their students. Their increase of social emotional support and sustainment of student-centered practices ensures that ECHS works to support the “whole” student (academic, social emotional, & career/college). The community and school district are fortunate to have such a wonderful intervention available for all families in the community of Norwalk/La Mirada.
El Camino Real Continuation High School
Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficult life events. Resilience takes time, strength, and help from people around you. It involves a combination of inner strengths and outer resources. Many times, resilience is overlooked and an individual is considered beyond help, or having received too many chances. El Camino Real High School (ECRHS) staff provides social support, realistic planning, and coping skills, factors essential for helping build resilience, which in turn fosters an environment of learning and life management.
ECRHS is a place where all teachers and staff play an important role in the success of the students. The principal, Carey Aiello is a power house. She leads by example and with positive and endless energy. She has nurtured an atmosphere that makes students and staff feel welcomed and valued. She has a genuine interest in each student and staff member.
Students consider ECRHS family, a place where they are safe, supported and that they matter. In turn, they value and respect their teachers and each other. They are shown patience, kindness, trust. Students are given healthy boundaries and restorative practices are being implemented. The class environment and campus culture are one where you do your best and graduate. An emphasis on student wellness can be found on campus via a wellness team, professional development centered on trauma informed practices and various wellness centers on campus.
The teachers, Social Workers and support staff at ECRHS mirror the positive qualities and characteristics of their principal. They are passionate and vested in the successes of their students. They see each day as an opportunity to forge relationships and change young minds. This is not a “one size fits all” school. Leadership encourages teachers to teach students in a way that allows them to learn versus what is most convenient. The academics are a byproduct of this support. Teachers are innovative and flexible and have created curriculum that reaches students through electives like the history of sports, digital arts and history of rock; as well as with their Digital Design Academy, RAPID.
ECRHS provides hope for parents. Parents expressed feeling overwhelmed and exhausted at the lack of success their child had experienced at their comprehensive school. Students were described as apathetic, emotionally fragile and credit deficient. With the help of ECRHS, students show resilience, their motivation returns and they show a strong sense of self.
District administration expressed great pride and appreciation for ECRHS’s principal, who they described as leading with her “heart and passion.” They believe El Camino Real high school gives students a different approach beyond academics. They understand that El Camino students see their teachers as parents that are able to supplement what they may not get from home. I believe the staff at El Camino Real High School encompass the following quote which we stumbled on during our visit:
“We need more people who are willing to demonstrate what it looks like to risk and endure failure, disappointment, and regret—people willing to feel their own hurt instead of working it out on other people, people willing to own their stories, live their values, and keep showing up.” -Brene Brown
It is with great pride that we recommend El Camino Real High School to be recognized as a Model Continuation High School for the2021/22 school year.
El Puente High School
El Puente High School is a Continuation School located in Firebaugh in Western Fresno County. The school’s enrollment is about 15 students. The staff provides great support to the evolving needs of its students and is unique in that they offer their students programs not normally seen in such a small setting.
The first thing that stands out at El Puente is the work they have done to become WASC accredited. They have done well to ensure the program they offer is of the highest quality and that the students are being taught in the subject areas by a highly qualified teacher.
El Puente and the Principal Mr. Terry Anderson are highly valued within the district. As a former Principal of the partnering Traditional School, Mr. Anderson has a good working relationship with the other site and the district board/administration values the work being done at the Continuation School.
Another highlight of El Puente is the opportunity it provides students to earn Community College credit and even an AA by partnering with the local Community College District. This helps the graduating students get ahead academically and also career wise by saving time.
El Puente is an example of a small school with a big impact on its community. This makes the site a model for others that look for ways to improve the community through its students and schools.
John H. Milor High School
The campus focuses on creating a healing space for all students. Social emotional learning is targeted and a School Wellness Center provides a safe space for all students and families. PLCs are a daily part of the school schedule. The PLCs are data driven where the teams come together to design interventions based on individual and class needs. A variety of A-G classes are offered and APEX is used to help students catch up on credits. The parents and students describe the campus as an outstanding healing space.
The Milor Farms and Garden Space is an ongoing project that is maintained by students under the supervision of staff. The Manhood Leadership Group helps teach the male population with specific life skills necessary for success. From student led advocacy to a student-centered culture, the campus provides a positive culture with support built in for all to succeed.
Parents and teachers both stated that the direction that the principal and vice-principal have taken John Milor in the last few years has made a huge difference on staff moral and student successes. Several examples that stand out are a one to one ratio for students and computers, this being a critical component to access both curriculum and the world around them. Further, they now have large, touch screen Viewsonic television monitors in every classroom, another innovative teaching tool to help reach all of the diverse learners and learning styles. Students now correspond with teachers via Google Classroom, check grades and progress via Synergy and Student Vue, as well as being able to access the curriculum in a variety of ways.
Milor has increased their graduation rates, lowered their absenteeism and tardiness and changed from a semester to a quarter system. They have lowered class sizes to ensure that the critical component of lower teacher to student ratio is in place, as well as creating a quarterly awards ceremony for the students. There is also a school wide barbecue to celebrate their academic and
social accomplishments each semester.
In closing here is a quote from the student letter that sums up John Milor and continuation schools:
“There is no lie that people have preconceived notions of others, especially adults and teens. When people think of continuation students they often think of failures, addicts, and future felons. They don’t think of those of us who will graduate earlier than their peers who go to “regular” high school. They don’t think of kids who have careers they plan on pursuing like fashion design, dentistry, business, behavioral studies, and so much more that my classmates have shared with me. When we think about continuation students we don’t think of a seventeen-year-old who has founded their own company, participated in educating other young people in political science, and co-founded a political web series for Generation Z-but all of these things have been done by a continuation student.”
Kings River High School
There are several reasons why Kings River High School is a model continuation high school. First is due to their leadership. The KRHS administrative leadership team established collaboration structures that ensure all stakeholders have a voice in the decision making, which included the establishment of the sites vision, mission and core beliefs. It was evident in the site visit interviews, that all stakeholders played an active role in supporting KRHS’s progress towards reaching their site goals and school vision. In addition to involving all stakeholders, the leadership team assured that all Kings River staff were active with the site and district’s Professional Learning Community model.
Next, their support services are exemplary. KRHS’s mindset is that every student can succeed with the proper supports. KRHS counseling services, along with ALL 4 Youth (Fresno County Counseling and Outreach), have establish extensive student supports to help guide students back on the path to school and career success. One of those supports includes their PBIS model, a schoolwide student support model that recognizes and incentivizes positive behavior. They also utilize campus surveys to gather feedback from students, parents and staff, as to best align supports with the needs of their learning community. These surveys led to helping the KR leadership team compile a student support team that includes; a full-time resource specialist, a guidance learning specialist, a student-parent advocate, and SEL support through ALL 4 Youth. In addition to academic counseling, KR support team offers Individualized RSP support to SPED students, along with targeted counseling to address anger management and drug related offenses. KR’s commitment to preparing students for life after high school was highlighted during the virtual visit and interviews. KR students have career and college opportunities that include; community college workshops, trade school presentations, job recruiters and access to Sanger Adult School certificated programs.
Lee V. Pollard High School
Lee V. Pollard High School meets the criteria for consideration as a Model Continuation High School.
Upon entering the campus of Lee V. Pollard High School, you immediately become aware that you have entered a space dedicated to the well-being of all students. Friendly smiles abound and everywhere you look, the teachers and staff are engaged in positive and proactive interactions with their students. Students eagerly seek out teachers and staff before school, during passing periods and lunch time, and after school just to touch base . . . because they know that they are important, respected, and cared about. Lee V. Pollard High School is a powerful place to be.
Under the leadership of their principal, Michael Ridgeway, Lee V. Pollard High School is successfully providing every student with a welcoming, engaging, academic, student-centered, environment where students and parents know that they are important and care for. Students, parents, and community members/partners repeatedly mention that the teachers, staff, and administrators at Lee V. Pollard High School are the key to making it a special place to be. There is a deep appreciation for the work being done and for getting kids back on track with their education.
Lee V. Pollard High School provides their students with an opportunity to excel in small classes, where teachers are dedicated to their individual needs and unique learning styles. Lee V. Pollard High School provides their students opportunities to excel academically through a wide range of a-g approved courses, develop socially and emotionally through a strong and proactive counseling and support staff, and to prepare themselves for life after high school with a structured approach to College & Career Readiness.
With strong support at the District level, Lee V. Pollard High School offers students a wide range of activities and supports throughout the day. Lee V. Pollard High School has a strong offering of Career Technical Education courses, provides a proactive comprehensive counseling and support program, and is committed to making every student college and career ready. Providing a safe and nurturing learning environment is at the core of everything that happens at Lee V. Pollard High School, “Our culture is key to everything . . . it is how we act and treat each other.”
Lorin Griset Academy
LGA’s educational climate is high-quality and its biggest strength. Students, staff and community seem to hold their school at the highest level. The culture of mutual respect between staff, students and parents is evidenced by both everyday communication protocols and special events planned with the purpose of bringing families and staff together on campus. The staff seems to be sensitive to the needs of students to have autonomy in choice making both academically and socially emotionally, which plays a critical and proactive role in moderating behavior. The staff prioritize communication with parents through personal phone calls and the use of Parent Square when addressing issues that affect students, including attendance, behavior and academic achievement. Parents are informed of student concerns and activities and events on campus are planned to welcome parents and families together. Parents are encouraged to take a role in decision making as community stakeholders.
LGA practices a restorative justice approach to discipline, including school expectations rooted in PBIS. While the conduct code is implemented in a fair and consistent manner across the school, the unique circumstances of each student and each situation are always taken into consideration. A key component of the discipline process is working in conjunction with mental health and restorative practice providers. Although students are always held accountable for their actions, the school is committed to finding the root cause of behavior issues that arise. LGA currently works in partnership with a social worker, school psychologist, two school counselors, and EHRMS counselor, as well as several community agencies. Project Kinship is a local organization that has three dedicated days at LGA per week. Project Kinship provides support and training to lives impacted by incarceration, gangs, trauma and violence through crisis intervention, paraprofessional counseling, family support, home visits, intensive case management, mediation and restorative circles.
The teachers and support staff at LGA are dedicated to ensuring that all students receive the best personalized education possible and focus on breaking students into small groups, which allows students more time to critically think, analyze and evaluate content with their classmates. Teachers have incorporated gallery walks, jigsaws and breakout rooms to allow students to strengthen their social skills in the academic setting. Special education students are enrolled in an academic support class and special education instructional assistants push into all general education classes to support all students. Academic mentors receive a caseload of EL students and those students that are at an increased risk of not graduating to partner with and help monitor academic progress. They also establish relationships with the students and provide academic goal setting and action plans for post-graduation.
For these reasons and many more, Lorin Griset Academy is a model school with many exemplary practices that benefit all school stakeholders.
Maple High School
“Small school, big heart,” are the words one student used to describe Maple High School (MHS). C.A.R.E is more than an acronym, it embodies the intentionality of the students and staff. Earning Credits, the importance of Attendance, showing Respect and active Engagement are the foundation of all they do. It was evident that the entire staff at MHS genuinely C.A.R.E. about their students and their future.
Ms. Laurel Ciervo rejoined the staff of MHS last January. While away she was a high school counselor, dean, involved in starting a new high school, and was Director of Student Services for three years. She returned to MHS with a wealth of knowledge and experience to help lead MHS to success. She puts her trust in the experience of her veteran staff and the innovative ideas of the newer staff as well as the proven systems and structures in place. Together they come together as a strong foundational team that is focused on student relationships and a firm belief that all students can learn and succeed.
New students are referred to MHS every 6 weeks from two comprehensive high schools in the district. Maple High School staff work with the administration and counseling staff at the two schools, along with support from the district, to identify students to be referred. Once students are identified they, along with their parents/guardians attend an orientation to determine if they want to transfer.
Upon being transferred students are placed in an AVID Jumpstart Homeroom class and Mediation class for the first 6 weeks. These classes will help students learn the Maple High School way and how they can be successful students. MHS provide “high bar” options for students. MHS students earn credits at the end of each six-week session. Students are offered general education courses, including A-G approved courses, online learning through APEX, as well as CTE pathways (Business and Finance, Ornamental Horticulture and Animal Science, and Information and Technology/Gaming Simulation), and concurrent enrollment Allan Hancock Community College courses (Political Science 103 and Introduction to Life and Career Planning 301).
MHS staff believes that students who are able to advocate for themselves will achieve more. All MHS students are required to carry a binder to all classes. This binder has a planner, dividers for each of their classes and a self-monitoring weekly Check Sheet and Individual Learning Plan. The Check Sheet must be signed by their teacher each period and are turned in at the end of the school day.
Teachers record their points towards earning credits, as well as positive or negative behaviors. This gives students immediate feedback and is a way they can monitor their progress daily and know how many points they need to complete a course. The Check Sheet also includes the students individual QR Code. The teacher can use this to award students CARE points towards PBIS Rewards. Students are also able to download a PBIS Rewards app on their phone where they can keep track of their reward points and spend them on items in the PBIS room.
MHS has been implementing PBIS strategies for three years. All staff members meet every Wednesday afternoon as a PBIS Team to discuss student concerns and areas that they can help students be successful in the classroom and achieve their goals. MHS has an SEL counselor that is available each period in the PBIS room to work with students on SEL lessons or students who need redirection in the classroom. Teachers can refer struggling students to the PBIS room or students can elect to go there on their own. This is another example of a structure in place to prevent students from slipping through the cracks.
MHS has a Care Team in place that meets weekly to discuss students who need academic or behavior intervention, have attendance issues, or may need additional counseling. The team uses information from a student’s weekly Check Sheet as well as observations to determine how to best serve the individual student. The Care Team sets up meetings, afterschool intervention, tutorials, or home visits when needed. In addition to the Care Team, MHS has a schoolwide focus on school wellness. They are developing a Wellness Center and offer students SEL lessons during their Homeroom class as well as in the PBIS classroom.
Professional Learning Community time is allocated by the district which allows MHS teachers to work with teachers at the comprehensive sites. They are working with Orenda Education on assessments and curriculum alignment and are focusing on inequalities throughout the schools and the district. It is evident that the LUHSD values MHS based on the support staff and opportunities for staff to be included in district level professional development and time to collaborate with other teachers.
MHS has support from community members as well. Deputy Thomas and his therapy dog Dougie visit the campus at least two days a week. Together they provide positive interactions with students as well as staff. Having Dougie with him has opened up the lines of communication with students and he has developed lasting relationships with students. MHS uses innovative ways to meet the academic and therapeutic needs of their students. They have invited a local yoga instructor to work students during PE three days a week. Once a month Girls Inc. runs a girl’s identity group during 4th & 5th period.
Teachers and staff at MHS are a special group of people. They truly care about their students. Their students are the reason they get up and come to work. The students need them. Being able to talk with students and share experiences and give back is something they all hold dear. As mentioned, lots of people can teach academic standards, the beauty of MHS is they have created an atmosphere of human connectedness and trustworthiness. They come together and work as a cross curricular team. This allows students to get a feel of real learning rather than isolated subject area lessons.
They are consistent as a staff to use all the systems in place to empower students. Teachers offer students a culture of accountability and rigor and enable students to rise and challenge themselves. Parents mentioned that they saw their child grow and change due to the support and relationships that the school provides. Students begin to see their worth and attend school regularly. The students are the best advocate for the success of the school. MHS students unanimously felt the teachers and staff care about them. They felt the school was a family united in their successes and challenges.
They felt safe at school and that they were able to get the help and guidance they needed to graduate and be prepared for life after high school. Many of the students talked about how different their experience has been at MHS as compared to other schools. They felt respected and part of a family. When asked to describe their school in one word they said, “unique, perfect, awesome, unified, respectful, and united.”
March Mountain High School
March Mountain High School (MMHS) meets the criteria for consideration as a Model Continuation High School. MMHS serves the community of Moreno Valley, California, and is under the governance of Moreno Valley Unified School District. March Mountain provides a unique educational experience while providing a caring, challenging learning environment at the same time. The school climate and culture are a genuine new beginning opportunity for students to learn how to be responsible members of the local community. The school staff consists of caring family members helping students transform their lives and change their future outcomes. Relationship building is an integral part of the puzzle to address the needs of their students. Real world relevant connections are part of the assessments in the core curriculum to maximize student engagement. Elective courses are custom-built real-world experiences.
The Moreno Valley school district leadership and governing board provide the necessary and equitable allocation of resources to support site administration that ensures safe, clean, and functional facilities. In addition, March Mountain has exemplary community partnerships that support the site creating a transformative educational experience, empowering students to prepare themselves for the challenges of becoming young adults and responsible members of the community. March Mountain High School is a small secondary school that creates an environment where students can be themselves and meet their educational goals. The staff is a collaborative team who share the responsibility of school management; each assumes a leadership role when needed, and integrated into all of their plans is what is best for their students. The entire school community is an exemplary model for a response to intervention.
Stakeholders were asked during each focus group to give one word to describe the school.
The word “the village,” “family,” and “home” were confirmed as the modes among the data collections heard during the interviews with stakeholders. In addition, the visiting team confirms that all staff members are committed to ensuring that every one of their students stays on track academically and earns the credits needed to complete a high school diploma.
Students highlighted the rigorous course work and tutoring support as the vital component of maximizing their learning engagement, improving school attendance, and improving individual learning outcomes. Principal Quintero and Vice-Principal Handysides provide long-term leadership support for the future. The long-term relationship with Deputy Kennedy (law enforcement) and the Sigma Beta Xi community partnerships complete the March Mountain Family Village.
The focus group interviews and examination of available evidence support the recommendation that March Mountain High School should be a Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 program year.
Marie L. Hare Continuation High School
Marie Hare High School meets the criteria for consideration as a Model Continuation High School. Hare is the only continuation high school for the Garden Grove Unified School District and serves seven different traditional high schools. The staff at Hare are committed to both the students’ academic and personal growth. Staff members are not only instructionally competent but are uniquely encouraging and caring, often taking on the role of mentor to their students. When students enroll at Hare they are taught the meaning of the school-wide expectations: PACK- Perseverance, Attentiveness, Cooperation, and Kindness.
The school’s climate and culture create an environment where students can be themselves and meet their educational goals, learn how to and then voice their opinions in a positive and productive way, and allow them space to explore a variety of post-graduation choices. When each group was asked to give one word to describe their school, words like “unique”, “family”, “supportive”, “respectful”, “understanding”, and “close” were echoed by all.
Another focus is the social and emotional well-being of their students. Students and parents validated the exemplary learning supports available and the positive communications that keep parents informed of student progress. The open communication was highlighted throughout the visit, and was one of the first things mentioned in all the meetings. The campus works together as a team at all levels. All staff take accountability for student success. The administration and leadership team work with teachers, staff, students, and the community to foster student success. The students are actively involved in improving the school climate via ASB. Some examples of the ways Hare students make a difference in the community: Hygiene Kit drives for homeless, sock drives, canned food drives, circles and healing groups using art, and annual Thanksgiving Potluck. The campus collaborates with a variety of school community partners to provide a safe campus where students learn self-advocacy and academic support to build upon success.
The school is working on restorative practices via the community partnership with Project Kinship and by an individualized PBIS program that is supported with an app that teachers and staff use with students to promote a program built on fidelity to throughout the campus. Specific at-risk students are identified and supported both academically and by the use of SEL intervention practices. SEL practices are embedded into the school culture of learning. High academic standards, relevant college and career readiness curriculum, and mastery of content are focuses of the campus. Students report that after transferring to the campus, students felt a part of a community that allowed them to be successful academically as well as supporting them emotionally. Students describe the school as a respectful understanding place of learning where they are valued. This campus has built an empathic, supportive, and caring community.
The focus group interviews and examination of available evidence support the recommendations that Marie Hare High School should be a Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 program year.
Mount Toro High School
Mount Toro High School is a Continuation School located in Salinas in Monterey County. The school’s enrollment is about 200 students. The large staff provides great support to the evolving needs of its students.
Mount Toro is a complete school that offers flexibility to the students, resources to help them in their teen years, and facilities/programs that ensure their success in life.
The first thing that stands out at Mount Toro is the staff’s attention to what is happening in the lives of their students. Both students and staff pointed out to the visiting committee that the adults on campus always look for ways to support the students both on and off campus. The students appreciated the staff’s efforts to get to know them personally, and help them when needed in their personal lives.
Academically, Mount Toro’s program provides students with options on how to earn credit. The use of the online program Plato helps students with scheduling and learning styles to ensure they have an individualized plan to earn their High School diploma.
The on-site Teen Parent Program supports the education of teen parents and prenatal students. Certified caregivers provide child care for the parents during the day and also parenting education to the students.
Mount Toro is a very nurturing environment for its students. The care and attention to individual student needs make it a model school for others.
Mount Toro should be recognized as a Model Continuation School for their accommodating atmosphere to students. The combination of Plato online platform and instruction provided by teachers helps students have options to be successful academically.
Another accommodation is the on-site Child Care Center that both serves as day care for students that need the service and educational opportunities for students to learn how to care for children.
Nueva Continuation High School
Nueva High School (NHS) meets the criteria for consideration as a Model Continuation High School. NHS serves the rural community of Lamont, California, and is under the governance of Kern High School District. NHS provides a transformative and highly responsive educational experience while providing a caring learning environment creating a school culture described by all as having a family. Relationship building is a crucial area of concern with all stakeholders and understanding the needs of the whole child is a significant focus for their professional learning community. NHS has exemplary community partnerships that support the site creating a transformative educational experience, empowering students to prepare themselves for the challenges of becoming young adults and responsible members of the community.
The school’s climate and culture create an environment where students can be themselves and meet their educational goals. The staff is small and joyfully collaborate to share the responsibility of school management; each assumes a leadership role when needed, and integrated into all of their plans is what is best for their students. The entire school community is a Tier I intervention focus group with an on-site Tier II team on-demand.
When the visiting team asked each group to give one word to describe the school, words like “safe,” “family,” “life-changing,” “opportunities,” “teamwork,” “college preparation,” “passionate,” “dedication,” and “caring relationships” were echoed by throughout the site visitation. Especially “family,” the most common word heard during the interviews with stakeholders. All staff members are committed to ensuring that every one of their students stays on track academically and earns the credits needed to complete a high school diploma.
The shared leadership model facilitated a smooth transition during administrative changes before this Model School site visit. The school district support focuses on relationships and a diverse mix of social/emotional support while maximizing community involvement. Students and parents validated the exemplary learning supports available and the positive communications that keep parents informed of student progress. In addition, students highlighted the rigorous alternative learning activities as the critical component of maximizing their learning engagement, improving school attendance, and improving individual learning outcomes.
The focus group interviews and examination of available evidence support the recommendation that Nueva High School should be a Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 program year.
Nueva Vista Continuation High School
Nueva Vista High School is an integral part of the Jurupa Unified School District system of supports for students. The main focus at Nueva Vista is to provide students with a successful, positive learning experience with an emphasis on earning a high school diploma and graduating with a plan for future success. During our visit we observed overwhelming evidence of their mission statement- “Passing with Pride”. This mission statement was prevalent in all aspects and responses of the focus groups we interviewed and reinforced Nueva Vistas ability to meet the criteria for a Model Continuation High School recognition.
Students at Nueva Vista High School are able to pursue a program that best meets their learning needs with the option of a traditional 6 period school day, a half-day program, or through an independent learning program where students report in person a minimum of two days a week while completing courses in a self-paced manner using online Odyssey Ware (O- ware) curriculum. NVHS is on a quarter system (4 quarters in the year) where student can earn 27.5 credits or more per quarter.
During our visit, we were overall extremely impressed with the school’s top-notch organization, communication, consistency and clear evidence of student learning. Students overwhelming expressed their love and gratitude for the school’s dedication to supporting their educational paths. Students reported a caring, determined, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment where they said the small campus and one on one attention from their teachers was key to their academic success.
Relationships, support, accountability, and consistency play key roles in the success of Nueva Vista’s program and their students. The staff at Nueva Vista High School work hard to meet students where they are, to support their needs, including social, emotional, and academic, to provide a personalized program designed to support their success. Student, parent, and teacher focus groups all repeated NVHS’s school mission statement of “Passing with Pride”. Parents and community members said that NVHS was their favorite school in the district and that the school has done an excellent job of helping students prepare for the next step in life.
Teachers deliver instruction using a variety of instructional strategies or methods like direct instruction, collaborative learning, project-based learning and independent study self-paced curriculum via O-Ware. Teachers also differentiate instruction to support all learners. Grading scales are individual to each teacher’s course and communicated to students in teachers’ syllabi.
Teachers proactively look to support struggling students and communicate with parents about interventions. Teachers and the GC communicate as concerns arise regarding a students’ academic progress, attendance, behavior concerns, social-emotional concerns to monitor and plan needed interventions. NVHS utilizes PBIS strategies to support a positive school culture. This includes having clear school-wide behavior expectations that are communicated through our student handbook, behavior matrix for distance learning, classroom teacher expectations and GC and classroom visits by the principal.
It is for all these reasons and the above narrative that we feel that Nueva Vista High School should be recognized as a CA Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 school year by the California Continuation Education Association Plus.
Pacific High School
Pacific High School (SMHS) meets the criteria for consideration as a Model Continuation High School. PHS is in the city of Ventura and is part of the Ventura County Unified School District. The vision as stated on their website is “To equip our students with the academic, social, emotional and success skills necessary to overcome adversity and achieve college and career success.”
The staff truly believes in this and is active in finding, designing and incorporating all curriculum that can help them achieve this vision. Under the leadership of Ms. Deidre Monarres the school has blossomed, many of the staff members had been there for years and praised her to the heavens as a redeeming feature for the site over the last four years. She has created an atmosphere of respect and comradeship that allows the teaching staff to be creative, resourceful and allows them space to support the students and their futures. The classified staff also mentioned the changes.
When asked ‘why do you get up and come to work?’ – The universal answer was the students. Many felt that the connections and interactions revived them as teachers, the ability to recognize and bond with their students due to the smaller classes and the more 1-to-1 approach was invigorating and rewarding. Pacific High School has active and continuously growing CTE pathways that are relevant to students and their likes and the area in which they are living.
When asked the same type of question the student response was the teachers and staff. They felt that these adults see them as individuals, are more respectful and caring then at the comprehensive, and can teach so that they actually understand the concepts and can master the knowledge. All in the focus group said that they had no worries about asking ANY staff member for help, certificated, classified, or admin. They feel safe and they feel seen.
The one word challenge brought forth some interesting words like “innovative”, “inclusive”, “inspirational/inspiring”, and “genuine”. Pacific is a school where at each turn I was impressed with the feeling tone and dedication that came through the computer, and those words match the impression I had during the virtual visit.
The focus group interviews and examination of available evidence support the recommendations that Pacific High School should be a Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 program year.
Paloma Creek High School
Paloma Creek High School (PCHS) meets the criteria for consideration as a Model Continuation High School. PCHS serves the communities of Atascadero, Santa Margarita, Creston, and California Valley and is under the umbrella of the Atascadero Unified School District. PCHS provides a fluid and highly responsive educational experience and a personalized caring learning environment that was described by all as having the feeling of family. Relationship building across all stakeholders and understanding the needs of the whole child is a major focus for their professional learning community. They have a strong community partnership that supports the site creating a transformative educational experience, especially by helping students prepare themselves for the challenges of becoming young adults and responsible members of the community. The school’s climate and culture create an environment where students can be themselves and meet their educational goals. The staff is small and joyfully collaborate to share the responsibility of school management, each assumes a leadership role when needed, and integrated into all of their plans is what is best for their students.
When each group was asked to give one word to describe the school, words like “safe “, “family”, “quality education”, “transformative”, “reflective teaching”, and “caring relationships” were echoed by all. Especially “family”, that was the first word out of most of the groups. All staff members are committed to ensuring that each one of their students get back on track academically and earns the credits needed to complete a high school diploma. The leadership of Dr. Madding ensures a focus on relationships and a diverse mix of social/emotional support through community involvement. Students and parents validated the exemplary learning supports available and the positive communications that keep parents informed of student progress. Students highlighted the problem-based alternative learning activities as the key component of maximizing their learning engagement and improving school attendance.
The focus group interviews and examination of available evidence support the recommendations that PCHS should be a Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 program year.
Redwood High School
Redwood High School should be proud of its exemplary program, which not only meets every quality indicator in the Model Continuation High School recognition application, but has developed a range of truly notable elements. RHS has rebranded itself to become a school of choice, where students that want to attend can accelerate, or recover their academic credit progress. Redwood is regarded as a high quality, relevant and supportive school where staff and students want to work and attend. Sequoia Union High School District has supported the construction of a beautiful new campus and school, and has placed Redwood in a thoughtful position within the District school community. Redwood serves students of all levels of need, and boasts an exemplary recruitment program with a dedicated enrollment counselor identifying students appropriate for Redwood’s intervention and placement. Redwood is also home to a range of significant community partnerships that not only support students in school with direct services, but connect the school to the community itself. Finally, RHS houses an innovative small-school program; Redwood Environmental Academy of Leadership or REAL that is connected to a quality garden and culinary program. RHS should be proud to be recognized as a CCEA/CDE Model Continuation High School.
RK Lloyde High School
The school’s motto “A Bulldog always CARES” serves as a foundational tool for Lloyde. Lloyde High School is a community, a caring place of many opportunities in a highly supportive atmosphere for students. Lloyde has a strong focus on academic success and planning through “Life After Lloyde”, which allows Bulldogs to develop a plan post high school; using their high school diploma as a stepping stone to their next goal. The Lloyde High School Wellness Center team provides group and individual therapy, counseling, and connection to community services. Commitment, Attitude, Respect, Encouragement, and Safety; which are the hallmarks of the Lloyde “CARE” school environment.
Ruben Salazar High School
The leadership at Ruben Salazar High School (RSHS), within staff & the student body, make this site a special place for the district and entire community. The array of community partners is outstanding and what’s more impressive, is the data driven efforts to ensure that all student support services are efficiently implemented. A few words that describe RSHS, from the parents, community partners and students, are the following: supportive, caring, hopeful, appreciative, organized, positive, safe, helpful, caring, family, and consistent. RSHS is working hard to support the “whole” student with their resources on campus and within the community.
San Antonio High School
San Antonio High School (SAHS) meets the criteria for consideration as a Model Continuation High School. The school is located in the southern region of Claremont, California, and is under the governance of the Claremont Unified School District. The students come from two diverse socio- economic environments (Pamona and Claremont). San Antonio High School offers services and programs that promote quality education despite the challenges and obstacles. Students have access to an a-g and NCAA approved set of courses on an 18-week semester track with additional opportunities for credit recovery using the Edgenuity online curriculum.
SAHS provides a highly responsive educational experience while providing a caring learning environment. The exemplary “Science of Games” project applies learning using interdisciplinary and collaborative work on iPad devices. SAHS was the first continuation school recognized as an Apple Distinguished School (ADS). SAHS supplements instruction with College and Career Readiness (CCR) endeavors like ROP courses and Early College courses with Citrus College professors for dual credit.
Relationship building is a crucial area of concern with all stakeholders and understanding the needs of the whole child is a significant focus for their professional learning community. SAHS has exemplary community partnerships that support the site to help empower students to prepare themselves for the challenges of becoming young adults and responsible members of the community. The school’s climate and culture create a connected family community where students can be themselves and meet their educational goals. The staff is small and joyfully collaborate to share the responsibility of school management; each assumes a leadership role when needed, and integrated into all of their plans is what is best for their students.
When we asked each group to give one word to describe the San Antonio High School, the words like “engaging,” “safe,” “caring,” “life-giving,” “helpful,” “motivating,” “supportive,” “opportunity,” “connections,” “invested,” “supportive,” “dedicated staff,” “and “family” were echoed by stakeholders. “Family” was heard the most during discussions with various stakeholders. The school community is committed to ensuring that every one of their students stays focused on learning and earning the credits necessary to complete a high school diploma. The school district and governing board fully support San Antonio High School through additional funding allocations to improve facilities and placement of exemplary teachers and administrators at the site. SAHS emphasizes whole child development through programs such as ASB, extracurricular intramural sports programs, and interest clubs such as the “Key Club.” Students and parents validated the exemplary learning supports available and the positive communications that keep parents informed of student progress. Students identified the rigorous alternative learning activities as the critical factor that promotes school engagement, improves school attendance, and improves individual learning outcomes.
Examining evidence validated through observations and stakeholder discussions during the virtual site visitation supports the recommendation that San Antonio High School is a Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 program year.
San Joaquin Valley High School
San Joaquin Valley High School’s culture and leadership practices make this school a model school. San Joaquin Valley High school has an established intervention flow chart to address behavior issues. Minor issues are usually handled by the classroom teachers and major issues are handled by the site principal. Every situation is different, but students are treated fairly and with respect.
Depending on the situation, students may be referred to onsite resources or may participate in activities to address the negative behaviors through use of alternative suspension strategies. These strategies require some instructional reflection, coaching and restorative practices. Staff has also been trained on trauma informed practices and restorative practices. The commitment to each individual student that SJVHS demonstrates that make this school exemplary.
Also, San Joaquin Valley High School uses a collaborative approach to ensure students, staff, parents and stakeholders are informed and participate in the decision-making process at the school site every Wednesday. These days are used for staff development, site meetings and teacher Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s). At the site level, the staff still managed to meet in person despite the pandemic because of the small number of staff members.
Additionally, SJVHS utilizes Beyond SST (Student Success Teams) or SST Online to collaborate as a school and document student areas of need. As part of the staff meetings, a recurring topic is student concerns. In past years, the school was assigned a special education teacher for one period of the day to assist with students on an Individualized Education Program (IEP).This current year a full-time Resource Specialist Program (RSP) teacher is on site to assist during the entire school day.
The exemplary practices of SJVHS is reflected in the following quote from a current student:
“I felt and feel really comfortable with everyone in the staff. When I first started, the only teacher I knew was Mr. Amezquita, and he was amazing with helping me try to catch up on credits and have success in my life. Our counselor at San Joaquin Valley High is Ms. Guerrero has been extremely helpful to help me choose the right path I want to go through in life and so has every teacher on this campus. Our principal Mr. Almendarez has been awesome to make sure everyone feels comfortable and happy, and I really appreciate everything they have done for me and my fellow classmates.”
Slover Mountain High School
Slover Mountain High School (SMHS) meets the criteria for consideration as a Model Continuation High School. SMHS serves the communities of western San Bernardino County and is under the umbrella of the Colton Joint Unified School District. SMHS’s goal is to graduate students as responsible citizens, critical thinkers, and positive communicators. The school’s climate and culture create an environment where students can be themselves and meet their educational goals, learn how to and then voice their opinions in a positive and productive way, and allow them space to explore a variety of post-graduation choices. The staff is bonded and supportive of each other and their students. Ms. Hampton allows for all stakeholder input in the management of the site and the staff and students are willing and able to do as much as they can. There is a strong culture of respect and school pride at Slover.
When each group was asked to give one word to describe the school, words like “nurturing”, “family”, “quality education”, “compassionate”, “motivating”, and “inclusive” were echoed by all. Especially mentioned was some form of caring that was the first word out of most of the groups. All staff members work to ensure that each one of their students is on track academically and has access to all courses and levels needed to graduate. Another focus is the social and emotional well-being of their students. Students and parents validated the exemplary learning supports available and the positive communications that keep parents informed of student progress.
Communication was highlighted throughout the visit, talking and voicing ideas, was promoted and asked for by and from all stakeholders. Students highlighted the fact that they had the power to plan and decide their educational path in some form. The self-directed learning pattern allows them options that could best support their learning pattern.
As was mentioned on more than one occasion during the visit (basically every focus group):
— You can’t spell Slover without Love – and that was evident in the interactions seen during the virtual tours and videos shared and discussed in the focus groups.
The focus group interviews and examination of available evidence support the recommendations that Slover Mountain High School should be a Model Continuation High School for the 2021-2022 program year.
Somerset High School
The faculty and staff believe that all students can succeed. Somerset’s Career Technical Education courses prepare students for their future. The creation of career pathways has been implemented by offering CAD and Graphic Design and Production during the school day, with the addition of after school classes of Fire, Police, and Health Occupations. The annual career fair helps students connect with colleges, trade schools, and other careers they might have never considered. Somerset’s intramural sports program affords students the opportunity to compete athletically while at the same time learn the rules of fair play, teamwork and sportsmanship. Somerset has a strong Advisory class which serves as a way to connect with their students on a weekly basis to discuss social emotional needs and college/career readiness. Somerset is a fun place to attend and students have the opportunity to attend the Somerset prom each year to ensure that all students who attend have a memorable high school experience.
Travis Education Center
Travis Education Center (TEC) is recommended as a model continuation school. They meet at the criteria. The district office is extremely support of the program. The staff works with students and other stakeholders to ensure that student needs, teacher support, parent engagement and site operational issues are addressed in a transparent and effective manner. Through the District, TEC also has access to a School Social Worker and School Based Mental Health Clinician two days a week. TEC has worked on developing more Multi-tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Intervention Strategies (PBIS) for dealing with discipline and behavior supports. Travis Education Center offers students a standards-based curriculum that provides knowledge and skills that will be needed to successfully transition to college, career training and/or the workforce. TEC Instructional Strategies are an important aspect, and reflect sensitivity of each student’s strengths and needs, the individual learning style and climate in the classroom. TEC students are able to work at their own pace and teachers have time to guide them through assignments. Stakeholders described the educational climate as welcoming and warm. Students have individual learning goals. Students set graduation goals and work with monitoring along the way.
Valley Alternative Schools is recommended as a mode continuation school. It meets each part of the criteria process. Stakeholders are a part of the decision-making process at Valley Alternative Schools (VAS). VAS teachers actively participate in district-level curriculum meetings and professional development opportunities. VAS staff work to ensure that core standards are met and built into the curriculum. The teachers at VAS emphasize literacy across all content areas. Stakeholders repeatedly shared about the supportive and caring climate Each student has an Individualized Learning Plan and they learn to become advocates in their education.
Valley Vista High School
The team felt instantly welcomed and felt part of the family from the beginning. It was evident that Valley Vista High School is a place where students are respected, treasured, and are encouraged to grow by their teachers and better themselves for their future goals. As stated by the staff statement Valley Vista High a special bond is created that leads to student achievements that are not immediately seen in test scores, but in decreased behavioral problems, positive relationships with adults, improved attendance and participation, and gains in self-confidence. The extra care and support provided helps many students succeed academically and emotionally where they were unable to in the past. In addition to the bonds created between staff and students, there are the close ties built amongst staff. They are a family, and like all families, they look out for each other and take care of their own. They may not always agree or get along, but they are united by one common purpose, the success of students. When someone is struggling or needs additional support, they are there for each other. It is this sense of community and family that facilitates the conditions in which students can thrive, both academically and emotionally. The Principal allows the teachers the freedom to choose curriculum and activities that they feel will work for their individual classrooms and student personalities. Thinking outside of the box is not only encouraged, but strongly supported. The teachers and staff are all included in the decision making process and teachers and students state that their voices are heard.
Valley Vista High School administrators, staff, and teachers felt supported by the school district and they are also included in the professional development. Valley Vista receives the same benefits that the traditional high school does.
The teachers at Valley Vista High School choose to be there and they respect and deeply care for all their students. They are challenged daily to be the best they can be because of the challenges their face each day. They treasure the daily contact with students and staff and feel a responsibility to be a positive role model for their students. With smaller class size, Valley Vista teachers are able to establish a good rapport with their students. The small class size also allows teachers the opportunity to create lesson plans to meet the individual students needs of personal and academic needs. The teachers feel that the school’s strengths are close staff relationships and the opportunity to develop relationships with students and the flexibility to reflect and revise their lesson plans.
The parents of Valley Vista felt that they are kept in the loop when it comes to school activities, grades, and progress. Many of them felt apprehensive about their child being transferred to the school, but now realize it was the best thing for their child and they have seen a complete turnaround in their interest in school. They have seen growth academically and self-confidence and cannot thank the school enough.
Valley Vista High School students are proud to be there and feel this school has changed them for the better. As many students noted, all the teachers inspire them to be the best they can be.
Vista West High School
Vista West High School is exemplary in providing a safe and supportive environment, enhancing student support services, and strengthening school and community relations are very important to the entire staff. They are fair and consistent in their approach to all discipline and intervention, and adhere to our district-wide Behavioral Matrix. They believe that all core instruction, including interventions and supports, start in the classroom, and Vista West’s exemplary teachers and counselors are engaged in this process. The Tier I team created the Gator “Flow Chart” which delineates the process at a glance on how to address student behavior. In level 1, teachers reteach rule/expectation, positive redirect, use restorative dialogues and change student’s seat. In level 2, restorative circles are scheduled, teachers call home and document interaction. In level 3, a minor incident report (MIR) is completed and submitted. If intervention is provided successfully at this point, then student returns to level 1; otherwise, the next step escalates to a referral to the Dean of Interventions and Supports, On Campus Intervention, and/or counselor conference. Then a Tier II referral submitted for evaluation; and as a result, student referred to Tier II, Tier III or SST (Student Support Team) services.
The student-teacher ratio is consistent with the California Department of Education (CDE) recommendation and is currently 13:1. Our ratio was just below 15:1 during the 2020-21 school year. The KHSD ensures that Vista West only hire and maintain highly qualified and credentialed teachers. Teachers participate in district-wide, continuation-wide and school-wide professional development to improve effectiveness and best teaching practices. A district Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), serves as a mentor and support for teachers providing strategies and creative ideas to support the Tier 1 classroom. The TOSA also provides Social Emotional Learning (SEL) training for staff. Other areas of professional development include Subject Area Content, Restorative Practices, and appropriate use of Technology in the classroom.
Also, Vista West further separates themselves from typical continuation high schools because of their commitment to excellence by their teaching staff. Teachers share best practices and are fully vested in the PLC model while maintaining a Focus on Learning. VWHS staff also meets with the other four continuation schools in subject area PLCs monthly at one of the school sites. Professional development is carried out both school and continuation wide in the Kern High School District.
Vista West High School distinguish themselves by having multiple exemplary practices as evidenced in their Behavior Matrix, Leadership, Support Services and PLC practices.
Wasco Independence High School
Family. This word embodies the essence of Wasco Independence Continuation High School. WIHS is located in an agricultural region of the Southern San Joaquin Valley and is the only continuation high school in the Wasco Union High School District (WUHSD), which serves a population of 1,852 students in the area of Wasco and Lost Hills. WIHS is a safe and nurturing environment where students get a second chance to complete their educational goal of graduating, while at the same time growing as individuals and realizing their potential and becoming life-long learners. It is the prized jewel of the community.
The principal, Mr. Prado, has been with the WUHSD for 18 years. He started as a teacher at WIHS for 15 years then moved into administration and returned to WIHS two years ago as principal. He returned with the experience, knowledge and drive to make things happen. Teachers and staff feel that Mr. Prado pushes them to be better versions of themselves. They feel their voices are heard, their ideas are prioritized, and their input is valued.
WIHS is based on a philosophy of shared decision making between administration, students, parents, community, and staff. Mr. Prado has an open-door policy. Site level decisions are made with input from the School Site Council (SSC), English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC), students, parents, teachers, and staff. Teachers and support staff attend weekly Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings to discuss site decisions, procedures and student intervention. Data from student and parent surveys are also used to help improve the programs that are offered to students.
WUHSD supports WIHS by providing for students’ academic and emotional needs. They support small class sizes, counseling services, campus supervision, an independent study program, a WIHS teacher on special assignment, current technology, and a well maintained and clean campus.
Teachers mentioned that they are included in district level decisions about curriculum and pacing as well as textbook adoption.
The WIHS principal and counselor work closely with WHS and the district to ensure the best placement for students. Students are referred to WIHS for many reasons, such as discipline, credit recovery, independent study needs, IEP placements, and voluntary transfers. Once students are transferred to WIHS, the student and their parent/guardian will meet with the principal and the counselor to welcome them to the WIHS family. This is when the relationship building begins. All students must first complete a week-long Orientation Program prior to beginning their regular scheduled classes. This Orientation Program was started years ago with Mr. Prado and focuses on setting students up to be successful. Students learn about S.O.A.R. (Skillful, Opportunity, Accountability, Respect) and how these lessons will help them succeed at WIHS and in their future. WIHS students benefit from the successful counseling program that delivers academic, social/emotional, and career counseling services to all. The counselor meets with every student and develops an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) during Orientation. She then meets with students quarterly to monitor their academic success, update their ILP, and adjust their class schedules as needed. In addition, the counselor works with students to help them prepare a plan for their future. She works closely with Bakersfield Community College and Adult Ed to offer students help in applying for college, Scholarships and Financial Aid. In addition, she organizes an annual Career Day Fair, Army recruiter and Technology school visits, and work experience.
Teachers and Staff are at WIHS because they choose to be. They want to make a difference in the lives of their students. As a staff they listen to one another and work well together. They always have the student’s best interest in mind.
Teachers offer students curriculum that is aligned to the state standards and is the same that is offered WHS. The only change would be the pacing and resources. They have high expectations for learning and believe that all students will rise to meet the challenge. Teachers meet the students where they are at academically. They use ACES and NWEA test data to drive their instruction and lesson planning.
WIHS students and staff are involved in the neighboring community in many ways. The Art teacher works with students in submitting their work to local Art Competitions. In addition, students have participated in the COVID Drive-thru Trunk or Treat, helped petition to get lights installed at the local skate park, decorated bags and prepared food to sell at the WHS football games, local festivals and help prepare the local cemetery for the local Memorial Day services. Students feel their voice matters in the community. Community members credit the staff at WIHS for instilling the importance of giving back to the community and those in need.
The principal, counselor, campus supervisor, teachers, and staff include the parents in their child’s educational journey. They help parents understand the importance of an education and coming to school. They communicate with parents often and include them in the decision-making process for improvements at the school. Developing these trusting relationships with parents often leads to a willingness on the part of the parents to reach out to school staff with issues that go beyond the classroom. The trust and communication between parents, students, and staff leads to student success. All parents mentioned the dramatic changes they have seen in their child since they have transferred to WIHS. They credit the way the teachers and staff accept and interact with their students. This helps them believe in themselves and grow as individuals. Parents feel HOPE.
Overall, students at WIHS feel welcomed and part of a family. They see that the other WIHS students are just like them. They are just people trying to earn their credits to graduate. They mentioned that the teachers and staff take them where they are. No matter how far behind they are and no matter the problems they may have, the staff finds a way to help them succeed. All staff at WIHS genuinely cares about every student. It is this love and belief in them that helps students believe in themselves. Many of the students mentioned that they now see themselves continuing their education and are able to start planning for their future. They have found HOPE. All students felt supported in getting the help they need to achieve the goal after graduation. When asked to describe their school in one word the students said; awesome, community, respecting, epic, outstanding, support, unique, recognized, family, phenomenal, happy and soar.
This has been a year like no other for WIHS. Since coming back from the pandemic their staff, students, and community have had to deal with tremendous loss. It was through our visit that we realized the resiliency that helped them overcome these tragedies was the strength of their programs and the culture of “family”.