Alessandro High School was named a 2017 Model Continuation High School by State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson. California has 450 continuation high schools and this three-year honor was only given to 35 schools this year. The Model Continuation High Schools Recognition Program is a joint effort between the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA) to recognize schools that provide innovative academic programs that help at-risk students prepare for 21st century careers and colleges.
In CDE’s press release announcing the 35 schools named as Model Continuation High Schools, Torlakson stated, “The positive and nurturing climate these schools have created inspires students to do well in their academic work and also to contribute to their communities.” The supportive climate that Torlakson described is exactly what CDE representatives experienced during their two-day visit to Alessandro High School.
CDE representatives noticed the sense of hope and determination among the students on campus. Students were engaged in the rigorous curriculum being taught, and staff had a sense of purpose and pride in their work. The representatives were impressed with not only the various credit recovery options and flexible schedules for students, but the support students constantly received from staff. These options contribute to a student’s goal to graduate not only possible, but attainable.
The honor of being named a Model Continuation High School came after much effort. Staff has been working tirelessly since May 2016 to apply for this recognition. Staff were assigned different categories to complete in the application process, parents and students were asked to make statements about the school’s programs, and data was collected to prove the effectiveness of these programs.
“This recognition lit a fire under all of us on creating new ways to further expand the programs we offer,” said Alessandro Principal Tara O’Malley. O’Malley said this recognition is a result of the continuum of excellence starting from when the school opened. She thanked Jim Smith who opened the school and Walt Brubaker, the second Alessandro Principal, who received this honor nearly a decade ago. “Alessandro still has some of the staff members that were hired by Smith and Brubaker,” said O’Malley. She continued to say that the school has been able to provide quality education to students because of the high quality of staff the school has always had.
“I am very proud of the recognition we have received, but it all goes to the students,” said O’Malley. “They care about their future and they are determined. They are the reason we get to highlight our program.”
Congratulations Alessandro High School students and staff on such a tremendous honor!