Natomas Continuation High School Honored

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell has named 14 California schools as 2009 Model Continuation High Schools for their programs designed to help struggling students stay in school.

Natomas Unified School District’s own Discovery High School was among those honored.

“In these challenging economic times, the risk of vulnerable students dropping out of school is greater than ever,” said O’Connell. “These model continuation high schools may provide the last connection that keeps troubled students in school, on a path to graduate, and on to better opportunities in life, college, and careers.”

Continuation high schools, created in 1919, are celebrating their 90th anniversary this year. These schools focus on school-to-career education, individualized instructional strategies, intensive guidance and counseling, and flexible school schedules to meet student needs.

Continuation high schools serve students aged 16 years or older who lack sufficient school credits and are at risk of not graduating. More than 71,000 students in the state attended 523 continuation high schools in 2007-08, the latest data available.

The Model Continuation High School Recognition Program is a partnership of the California Department of Education and the California Continuation Education Association that identifies and recognizes outstanding programs and creates a resource list of quality programs for school visitations. To be eligible for the recognition, applicants must be accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and demonstrate exemplary program effectiveness, school management, curriculum, instructional strategies, assessment and evaluation, education climate, and guidance and counseling.

As part of the application for recognition, parents, students, and community members were required to submit narrative statements supporting their respective schools. Fifteen schools applied for the recognition. A review team visited the schools and recommended 14 for model school status.

The selected schools retain their title for three years and must submit an annual assurance of compliance with model school guidelines in order to maintain the designation. The 14 schools join 61 previously designated Model Continuation High Schools for a total of 75 Model Continuation High Schools in the state.

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