State hon­ors con­tin­u­a­tion schools in Val­ley

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY MARIO REN­TE­RIA Man­ag­ing Edi­tor

Desert Oa­sis and Au­rora high schools were re­cently hon­ored by state Su­per­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic In­struc­tion Tom Tor­lak­son by be­ing named “Model Con­tin­u­a­tion High Schools” this year.

Desert Oa­sis in El Cen­tro and Au­rora in Calex­ico are two of 32 schools in the state given the recog­ni­tion that was pub­lished Mon­day. “These model con­tin­u­a­tion high schools pro­vide a space where stu­dents can feel a sense of ac­com­plish­ment and in­creased con­fi­dence and re­ceive strong ed­u­ca­tional sup­port,” said Tor­lak­son in a state­ment. “Cre­at­ing an aca­dem­i­cally chal­leng­ing yet en­cour­ag­ing school cli­mate can help turn an at-risk stu­dent on the verge of drop­ping out into a high school grad­u­ate pre­pared for a future ca­reer or col­lege.”

Ac­cord­ing to the state Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, in the 2014-2015 school year, there were 460 con­tin­u­a­tion high schools re­port­ing an en­roll­ment of 60,027 stu­dents. How­ever, CDE en­roll­ment de­mo­graphic re­ports from prior school years in­di­cate that the to­tal num­ber of stu­dents served by these schools over the en­tire year av­er­aged more than 116,500.

The press re­lease from Tor­lak­son’s of­fice specif­i­cally high­lighted three high schools from the state, in­clud­ing Desert Oa­sis.

“Desert Oa­sis High School in El Cen­tro has a coun­sel­ing staff that is ex­cep­tion­ally ded­i­cated to pre­par­ing stu­dents for aca­demic op­por­tu­ni­ties after grad­u­a­tion.

The school has cul­ti­vated strong part­ner­ship with lo­cal com­mu­nity col­leges, hosts col­lege ori­en­ta­tion and fi­nan­cial aid work­shops, and al­lows dual en­roll­ment classes on cam­pus,” stated the press re­lease.

Desert Oa­sis Prin­ci­pal Fer­nando O’Campo said the school’s fo­cus on work­ing with other ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions is what’s help­ing stu­dents be suc­cess­ful.

“Desert Oa­sis High School has flour­ished over the years as our staff has pro­vided var­i­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties to all our stu­dents to be col­lege and ca­reer ready after grad­u­a­tion and be pro­duc­tive mem­bers of our com­mu­nity,” O’Campo said.

The school has im­ple­mented AVID cour­ses, part­nered with Im­pe­rial Val­ley Col­lege, Im­pe­rial Val­ley Re­gional Oc­cu­pa­tional Pro­gram and even has a Mock Trial team.

“We will con­tinue to bring ex­cep­tional pro­grams and op­por­tu­ni­ties to our school and con­tin­u­ally strive for aca­demic ex­cel­lence and sense of be­long­ing,” O’Campo said.

Au­rora Prin­ci­pal John Moreno said Au­rora is com­mit­ted to help­ing stu­dents be ready to be suc­cess­ful after grad­u­at­ing.

“We are al­ways striv­ing to im­prove our in­struc­tional pro­gram and pro­vide our stu­dents with the best op­por­tu­ni­ties for post high school op­tions and at the same time de­liver a rig­or­ous aca­demic pro­gram tai­lored to fit their needs,” Moreno said. “We feel that a high school is mea­sured by what its grad­u­ates be­come and we like to see our stu­dents en­joy suc­cess and take ad­van­tage of the many op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able after high school.”

Desert Val­ley High School in Braw­ley and Im­pe­rial Av­enue Hol­brook High School in Im­pe­rial were named to the list in 2017. Desert Val­ley and Au­rora were also named to the list in 2014.

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.

The schools were se­lected based on a com­pre­hen­sive and com­pet­i­tive ap­pli­ca­tion process that in­volves ef­fec­tive­ness, as­sess­ments, and use of data. The process in­cluded a peer re­view panel and on-site visit.

The Model Con­tin­u­a­tion High Schools Recog­ni­tion Pro­gram is a joint pro­ject of the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (CDE) and the Cal­i­for­nia Con­tin­u­a­tion Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (CCEA).

The pro­gram started in 2012 and hon­ors con­tin­u­a­tion high schools for the com­pre­hen­sive ser­vices they pro­vide at-risk youth through in­struc­tional strate­gies, flex­i­ble sched­ul­ing, guid­ance, and coun­sel­ing. More than 53,000 stu­dents at­tended the state’s 441 con­tin­u­a­tion high schools dur­ing the 2016–2017 school year.

The 32 schools se­lected as Model Con­tin­u­a­tion High Schools re­tain their des­ig­na­tion for three years and will be rec­og­nized at this year’s CCEA State Con­fer­ence in San Diego on April 27-29.

Stu­dents leave cam­pus after class at Desert Oa­sis High School in El Cen­tro in Au­gust 2013. IM­PE­RIAL VAL­LEY PRESS FILE PHOTO

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