Apply to Become a Model School
We invite all community day schools in the state to submit an application to become a “Model School” for 2023-2024, sponsored by the California Department of Education (CDE).
The newly developed Model Community Day School (MCDS) Recognition Program will identify and recognize outstanding community day schools and will create a resource list of exemplary programs for school visitations and mentoring. The MCDS Recognition Program is sponsored by the California Department of Education (CDE) in collaboration with the California Continuation Education Association Plus.
Community day schools serve and support high-risk youths, including those referred by expulsion, probation, a School Attendance Review Board or other district level referral process. They provide challenging academic curriculum and develop pro-social skills and resiliency. The CDE encourages community day schools to submit an application to the MCDS Recognition Program.
Intent to Submit Deadline: October 13, 2023
Principals who intend to submit an application must complete the MCDS Application “Intent to Submit” Survey online here. The survey will close on Friday, October 13, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. Submission of the survey does not obligate the principal to submit an application.Intent to Submit Survey
Application Deadline: October 20, 2023
Applications must be submitted to the CDE electronically as a single PDF via the CDE exFiles File Transfer System (see application for specific instructions). Applications must be received by no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, October 20, 2023.
Program Contact: Educational Options Office, CDE
September 12, 2023 — Applications available to the field.
September 20, 2023 — Application Webinar.
October 13, 2023 — Intent to Submit Survey to be completed.
October 20, 2023 — Applications due.
November 3, 2023 — Applications reviewed and rated.
November 13, 2023 – December 15, 2023 — Site Validation Visits.
November 30, 2023 — Application fees due (click link to make payment).
December 15, 2023 — District Audit Reports due.
February 2024 — Schools notified.
April 26, 2024 — Awards ceremony (Model Schools Gala in Los Angeles).
Please note: it is strongly recommended that all schools process payments online rather than by mail to meet the deadline. You can now pay the Model School Applicant School Review and Evaluation fee online here.
Application Forms | Downloads
Invitation Letter — Letter inviting principals of community day schools to apply for the 2023–24 MCDS Recognition Program.
Intent to Submit — Online form will close on Friday, October 13, 2023, at 4 p.m.
Model School Application 2023-2024:MCDS Recognition Program Application 2023-2024 | Overview and Instructions to complete and submit the application | PDF Version | Word Doc
Attachment A – Application Cover Sheet | PDF Version — either an electronic signature or typed name will be accepted.
Attachment B – School Information Sheet | PDF Version
Attachment C – Certification Form | PDF Version — either an electronic signature or typed name will be accepted.
Attachment D – Glossary | PDF Version
Annual Assurance of Services:
Schools selected as MCDSs agree to submit an Annual Assurance of Services Form by June 30 for each of the second and third years of designation. The Annual Assurance of Services Form certifies that the school meets or exceeds the MCDS Recognition Program standards as described in the 2023–24 application. If the applicant school is selected as an MCDS in 2024, you may obtain a copy of the form from the CDE MCDS Recognition Program web page and retain it for your records. Complete the form and submit it to the CDE on or before the following dates: June 30, 2025, and June 30, 2026. A reminder email will be sent to principals and district superintendents in mid-April 2025 and 2026. The Annual Assurance of Services Form should include electronic signatures or typed names. Submission instructions are provided on the form.
Alternately, you can download the latest application forms at CDE.
Model Schools retain their award status for three years. The first MCDS awardees will be selected in 2023 and announced in 2024. To avoid a gap period in your school’s MCDS designation status, new MCHSs would need to submit a new application in late summer / early fall 2025 for the 2025-2026 program year.
Webinar with CDE:
When: Wednesday, September 20, 2023, from 9:30–11:30 a.m. (Pacific Time)
Topic: 2023–24 MCDS Application
Hosted by: CDE
Register in advance for the webinar: 2023–24 MCDS Application Webinar (Zoom Link)
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.Find more program updates and info at CDE.
Dear Community Day School Principals and District Superintendents:
I invite you to participate in the Model Community Day School (MCDS) Recognition Program sponsored by the California Department of Education (CDE) in collaboration with the California Continuation Education Association Plus (CCEA Plus).
The newly developed MCDS Recognition Program is based on the longstanding Model Continuation High School Recognition Program. The MCDS Recognition Program identifies and recognizes outstanding programs. In addition to celebrating excellence, a major goal of this program will be to create and maintain a resource of exemplary programs for school visitations and other forms of peer mentoring to support other schools to adapt successful approaches and practices of these model schools in their own communities.
California’s MCDSs provide comprehensive services to students whose needs and strengths can be better met within these specialized settings using exemplary asset-based positive instructional strategies and social, emotional, and mental health and guidance and support services.
The application primarily consists of five narrative statements, addressing the following topics:
- School Profile
- School Management
- Educating “This Whole Child” (Instruction)
- Educating “This Whole Child” (Social, Emotional, and Mental Health and Development)
- School Evaluation of Effectiveness
Principals who intend to submit an application must complete the Intent to Submit form online in order to be considered for model school status. The online form will close on Friday, October 13, 2023, at 4 p.m. Submission of the online form does not obligate the principal to submit an application.
The self-nomination application packet is available on the CDE MCDS Recognition Program web page and on the CCEA Plus Model School Recognition Program web page. The packet includes instructions for completing the application and required forms and instructions for submitting the application via the CDE exFiles File Transfer System. Applications are due on Friday, October 20, 2023.
The CDE will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, for prospective applicants. Any principal interested in applying may participate. The principal may also designate someone else to attend in their place. The webinar will provide information regarding the application and the application process. To sign up for the webinar and receive the required login information, check for scheduling and details on the CDE MCDS Recognition Program web page.
Successful applicants will be identified through an application evaluation and site visit process. Representatives from the CDE and CCEA Plus will honor and present awards to 2023–24 MCDS Recognition Program awardees at the annual CCEA Plus State Conference.
If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact Dan Sackheim, Education Programs Consultant, Educational Options Office, by phone at 916-323-2183 or by email at CommunityDayScl@cde.ca.gov.
Nancy Kim Portillo, Deputy Superintendent
Student Achievement Branch
Important Dates to Remember
- A webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. (Pacific Time) for prospective applicants.
- The Intent to Submit online form must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Friday, October 13, 2023.
- Applications must be submitted to the CDE via the exFiles Transfer System. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, October 20, 2023.
Deadline requirement: Any applications that are not received by the October 20, 2023, deadline will be disqualified.
CDE Postings Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 13, 2023.