The Spotlight Newsletter – September 2023

The Spotlight Newsletter, September 2023
A Monthly Newsletter From CCEA Plus | Second Issue, September 2023 | Download & Share PDF Version

A Message from the Board

Important clarification from the email newsletter — we mentioned the exciting news about the upcoming Model Schools award program for community day schools. The announcement in the email was just above the schedule and deadlines for the MCHS program, which is for continuation schools only. Since the deadline for continuation schools has already passed, there may have been some confusion about the dates for the new program. Community day schools will have an entirely different schedule to apply to become a Model School for the first time this fall.  Following the upcoming announcement of the “Model Community Day School Award” (MCDS), the new application and deadlines will be posted to both the CDE and CCEA+ websites later in mid-to-late September 2023.

To Our Alt. Ed. Community,

California Continuation Education Association Plus (CCEA Plus)We hope the beginning of your school year has started positively and you feel encouraged and invigorated to support your community.

We invite all members to take part of a unique and resourceful experience of being a model school reader. Whether it will be your first time or 100th time, the benefits of participating are extremely worthwhile. Experienced readers know how invaluable the time spent reviewing applications can be as they support other continuation schools and takeaway numerous ideas back to their own workplace.

If your school is planning to apply to be a model school in the near future, there is no better way to become acquainted with the process to build your confidence in submitting a high-quality application.

If interested, here is the link to sign up:

Sign Up to be a Model School Reader | Sign-up form

We hope you’re able to join us on October 6th or October 13th.

CCEA Plus Board | Meet the Officers

Save the Dates

Upcoming Dates for Model School Applications, as part of the MCHS Program:

Please note that the dates shown below are for continuation schools only. Community day schools will have an entirely different schedule to apply to become a Model School for the first time this fall. That schedule has not been posted yet for community day schools, but will include an “intent to submit” deadline of October 13, 2023.
  • August 31, 2023 — Model School Application Intent To Submit Due | Learn How to Apply
  • September 6, 2023 — Model School Application Due by 4PM | Get Application
  • September 29, 2023 — Model School Reader / Field Expert Application Closes | Apply to be a Reader
  • October 6, 2023 — Northern Applications Reviewed & Rated | Apply to be a Reader
  • October 13, 2023 — Southern Applications Reviewed & Rated | Apply to be a Reader
  • October 16 – December 15 — Site Validation Visits

CDE CCEA Model School Seal (MCHS)

This Month’s Spotlight is On…

Valley High School Logo

Grizzlies Gear Up For School Days

Valley High School (VHS) has maintained a focus of building relationships since its doors first opened. Over the last two years, VHS has kicked off their school year with a focus on strengthening relationships and transforming the school culture with Grizzly Gear Up Days. VHS staff collaborated and expanded on programs and ideas from schools within their district and continuation schools visited on Model School Visits.

Valley High SchoolGear Up Days consist of twelve breakout sessions. These sessions focus on topics such as attendance, school safety, sexual harassment, campus norms, dress code and conduct, as well as team building activities to help students bond with each other and staff (i.e. administrators, counselors, social workers, office staff and teachers). This allows staff members to have contact with every student within the first two days of school.

For the remainder of the week, students attended their classes which gives teachers time to get to know their students through Restorative Circles, icebreakers, etc. To further develop student-teacher bonds, conversations revolving around student strengths, learning styles and the development of Social Contracts (Norms) are established. Feedback is welcomed at VHS, as students and staff provide input to refine and improve Gear Up Days. Watch Video

Next Steps

The core of VHS is a 9-week Responsibility Training Orientation Program that helps students find their purpose. What comes next is a focus on relational capacity and literacy. Relational capacity are instructional moves and practices that create a culture where students believe that VHS believes in them. A focus on literacy will allow students to continue to learn after VHS and to continue to live with purpose. VHS is including these next steps as they continue implementing Restorative Practices.

VHS is excited to continue offering after school academic and enrichment programs via their 21st Century ASSETS Grant. Opportunities include, but are not limited to, intramural sports (basketball, soccer and football), clubs (cooking, community service & leadership, graphics, game room), and College & Career (scholarships, FAFSA/Dream Act, college apps. & visits).

Valley High School


Location: Escondido, CA
District: Escondido UHSD
District Pop: 7,166

Feeder Schools: 4
School Pop: 275 – 350
Certificated Staff: 18

Total Staff: 36
Model School Since: 2003

Tip of the Month

VHS has improved parent engagement by including the following in their LCAP and WASC goals:

  • Surveying parents in regard to start and end times for meetings and workshops.
  • Conducting meetings/workshops in the family’s primary language.
  • Meeting with parents at the end of the school year to discuss future meetings and workshops of their interest.
  • Working collaboratively between social workers, counselors, and office staff to present information to parents.
  • Being consistent by conducting parent activities/workshops, meetings once a month.
  • Provide food for families for workshops and meetings.
  • Use different sources of communication with parents and increase personal phone calls home.

Valley High School Principal - Mr. Jose A. EspinozaPrincipal’s Message

“I am excited to be joining a team whose motto is “learning for all, whatever it takes” and a community of educators who work with the most vulnerable students. Valley High School’s staff is committed to making our motto a reality for all VHS students every day.

As a model school for 20 years, we welcome other continuation schools to visit us, so we may be able to share best practices and build our communities together.

As an educator of nearly 25 years, I have experienced the power of helping students find their path to college or careers, creating learning environments focused on care and learning, and preparing students for what will come after graduation.”

-Mr. Jose A. Espinoza

The Value of Model Schools

Daniel Barajas -- Vice PresidentCCEA Plus has partnered with the CDE to implement the Model Continuation High School Recognition Program since 1990. The Continuation High School Model Recognition Program seeks to highlight continuation high schools that are innovating how they offer educational programing to students that are in danger of dropping out or failing out of high school. There are over 400 continuation high schools across the state and only 100 schools to date hold the distinction of Model Continuation High School.

The changes over the last few years have compounded the difficult work required of continuation schools, yet a school does not have to do this alone. Becoming a Model Continuation School allows your school to share best practices and opens up networks that can bring continuation schools together to increase outcomes of their students. If you do not think your school is ready to submit, consider volunteering to be a reader. Being a reader is another great way to learn about the Model Continuation School Application Process and certifies the reader to conduct Model Continuation High School visits. Sharon Clark -- CCEA Plus SecretaryThe school representative that participates will become acquainted with every step of the process. You can get more information about this opportunity using this link or by reaching out to us on our Facebook page. CCEA Plus is excited to partner with you as we move forward together.

Recent News & Resources

Announcing the 2024 Conference: April 25 – 28 @ Marriott Los Angeles, CA | Event Details

CCEA Plus 2023 Friday Gala
Model School Gala on the USS Midway in San Diego, April 2023 | View more photos

Upcoming Opportunities

Volunteer at the 2024 Conference | Google sign-up form

Sign Up to be a Model School Reader | Sign-up form

“The Spotlight” Feedback Form | Google feedback form — want to be featured?

More Useful Links

2023-2024 Model School Application Now Available | Application page

Model School Application Q & A Zoom Session | Zoom link

Webinars From Previous Conference | Member area — requires login

Professional Award | Nominations Page

2023 Model School Awards Gala Photos | Photo gallery

Report: “1 in 5 Community College Students is a High Schooler” | Read blog and article

Download and Share this Newsletter | PDF version

Join Us on Social Media

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More Resources

Click the logos below to visit their websites.



Center on PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports)

California Department of Education

Save the Date, 2024 Conference, April 25-28 (Front)