Dropout Prevention and Recovery Schools are Providing a Valuable Service

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June 1, 2012 The beauty of charter schools is that there are so many examples of different kinds of school serving different populations. So many of these schools look different than the traditional public schools that we've grown accustomed to see in our neighborhoods.

A while back I wrote about increasing school choices for families to help keep students engaged and to help in the prevention of students leaving the best environment for them to grow, develop and prosper ... I'm talking about students dropping out of schools. There is a lot of talk of this subject in the Fresno area due to the work of the Fresno Unified Graduation Task Force. Many of the schools that have designed themselves to serve this challenged population do not boast high test scores or high college graduation rates, but they provide a valuable service to our communities of re-engaging youth so that they can become productive members of our communities and provide for their families. We have a couple of excellent local examples.

The Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission sponsors 2 school efforts the School of Unlimited Learning (SOUL) High School and YouthBuild which targets young adults age 18-24 where participants of the program work toward their diplomas or GED while learning job skills. I asked my colleagues throughout the state of schools that are doing a good job with this challenged population and they provided me with a list of schools that are worth checking out. That list includes School of Integrated Academics & Technologies (SIA Tech) Schools, Soledad Enrichment Action Education Centers (SEA), ACE Charter School serving grades 5th through 8th in San Jose and I'm including a link to a video featuring Life Learning Academy in the Bay Area, a previous conference award winner. Serving this population is challenging; there is much to be learned from these schools.

John Madrid
Regional Director, Central Valley