California Model Continuation School Mountain Vista Honored

By Frédéric M. Martin, Editor-in-Chief

The California State of Education has selected Madera’s Mountain Vista High School for its Model Continuation School Award. One of 32 state wide designated recipients, the Mountain Vista continuation school went through the lengthy and rigorous award application process, a program that was designed to identify and recognize outstanding schools that provide comprehensive services for at-risk students. As mentioned in the State’s press release: “These schools are recognized for creating innovative programs that focus on academics and social and emotional learning and helping students who have faced many challenges, including chronic absenteeism and truancy, get back on the path to realizing their full academic potential.” Mountain Vista has developed a stellar program with encouraging results and exemplary practices. The school was recognized on April 27, at the Annual California Continuation Education Association (CCEA) conference in San Diego, where Mountain Vista school administrators and two students were publicly handed their well-deserved award. This is a significant distinction that will list Mountain Vista as one of the 32 leading continuation high schools in the state, out of 441 schools currently serving over 53,000 students in California; the winning Model School retain the distinguished designation for three years (2018-2021 for Mountain Vista), after which time, the school can reapply for the distinction. One of the school’s learning innovations included the solar suitcase program, in cooperation with a PG&E sponsorship, in which students build portable solar units to be sent to students in Kenya, who are located in areas not yet served by the country’s electrical power grid. Mountain Vista has 170 students, with classes that are no larger than 25. Aimee Anderson, Principal at the school, emphatically stated that her goal is that every single student who leaves the school can continue, at the very least, at the Madera Center, where they can obtain a certification and give them a chance to compete, flourish, and in some cases get out of poverty. Some of the students do go to college and can still get resources from their Mountain Vista High School teachers if they need guidance when attending higher education institutions. A Career Technical Education (CTE) program is available at Mountain Vista, a public safety pathway, that features a public safety class taught by a retired Stanislaus sheriff and a forensics class, taught in cooperation with a biology course to deliver public safety and life science standards; in addition, participation at CTE programs offered at other MUSD High School locations is under consideration, to expand the school’s CTE offerings while leveraging other sites’ facilities. Aimee’s dream situation would afford more one-on-one school work planning with every single at-risk student who enters the school, because each student has a unique background that, if properly assessed and addressed, would provide an individually tailored plan for each youngster’s academic career.

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