TRUCKEE, Calif. — Sierra High Continuation High has once again been named one of 24 CA Model Continuation Schools (out of 479 in the state) by the California Department of Education. Sierra High has received this honor continuously since 2000.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the designation of 24 new Model Continuation High Schools on Feb. 25. These schools are being recognized for their exemplary programs that provide at-risk students the environment they need to flourish.
Continuation high schools offer students aged 16 years or older an alternative high school diploma program. While most students who attend continuation high schools do so because they are behind in high school credits, others may be in need of a flexible school schedule because they have jobs outside of school, family needs, or other circumstances.
Jennifer Vasquez, who attended Sierra High and North Tahoe High School, said she wouldn’t have been able to graduate without the help of her teachers at Sierra High. “The teachers really care about you. If you don’t understand something, they take the time to work with you until you do,” said Vasquez.
Sierra High also offers STEPP (Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program), a district program for pregnant and parenting teens. STEPP is a quality child development program with on-site care for infants and toddlers of teen parents. In addition to their regular academic day, students are offered parenting and life skills classes, as well as assistance enrolling in Sierra College classes to earn high school graduation credits as well as to supplement their education and prepare them for continuing education and careers.
More than 67,000 students attended the state’s 479 continuation high schools in the 2012-13 school year. These alternative programs focus on school-to-career education, individualized instructional strategies, and intensive guidance and counseling. The Model Continuation High School Recognition Program is a partnership between the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA). The goal of the partnership is to identify and recognize outstanding programs and creates a resource list of quality programs for school visitations.
Twenty-five applicants were selected to be visited by a review team. During the site visits, the review team interviewed staff, teachers, students, stakeholders and others familiar with the school. The recurring response from students when asked about what makes their school special was that “the teachers and staff care about the students.”
Selected schools retain their title for three years. Awardees will also be recognized in May at the CCEA State Conference in North Hollywood.
“I continue to be impressed by the hard work and success of the staff and students at Sierra High. This school is an invaluable resource for our district,” said Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Superintendent-Chief Learning Officer Dr. Rob Leri.