These model schools serve high-risk youth
March 13, 2023
Last month, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that 37 schools throughout the state were recognized as Model Continuation High Schools for 2023. Model Continuation High Schools provide comprehensive services to at-risk youth through the use of exemplary instructional strategies, flexible scheduling and guidance and counseling services. Continuation schools provide a high school diploma program for students ages 16 through 18 who have not graduated from high school, are required to attend school, and are at risk of not completing their education.
More than 430 continuation high schools serve close to 78,000 students throughout the state. Model Continuation High Schools excelled and provided exceptional opportunities for their students to pursue academic and social success. For example:
Citrus High School in Porterville not only values each student but also is committed to building relationships with each student as staff “meet them where they are” and help students to grow into the adults they were destined to become. Peer tutoring at the local elementary school and serving as camp counselors boosts student confidence and worth but also truly connects the school to the community itself.
Donald C. Jamison Continuation High School in Lemoore provides students with additional opportunities to earn credit. The use of the online program Edgenuity helps all students take advantage of the courses available in person each day on campus while making up credit through online classes. The school offers students a number of “outside the norm” classes and community connections that lead to high levels of engagement and success because student voice is valued.
Fernando R. Ledesma High School in El Monte provides an excellent alternative education for students in the San Gabriel Valley. The caring, nurturing, experienced staff committed to “at-promise” youth is a point of pride. This dedication has resulted in low staff turnover; staff have an average of 20 years working with and serving the student population. Ledesma High School educators focus on preparing students for continuing their education at the college level, and the crown jewel of the school is a soon-to-open multipurpose facility.
Palomar High School in Chula Vista relies on an administrative team that follows a shared leadership model, so all decisions that directly impact students, staff, and school culture are based on data and a shared consensus. The leadership team oversees multiple committees that are made up of representatives from the school staff, counselors, teachers, students and the community. When the teams come to a consensus on a school matter, the rest of the staff is confident that all lenses were used to ensure that the students’ best interests are taken into consideration.
Abraxas High School in Poway can best be described as a student-centered, student-first learning community wherein thoughtful adults have intentionally designed and redesigned all aspects of the student experience based on student needs. All stakeholders, administrators, teachers, staff, parents, district officials, community partners and — most importantly — students have agency and voice in decision-making around school practices.
The 37 schools selected retain their designation for three years and will be recognized at the CCEA Plus 2023 State Conference April 27-30 in San Diego.
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