State program highlights Fresno, Tulare community schools

John J. Cairns Continuation High School, located at 290 N Harvard Ave in Lindsay.(Rigo Moran)

Fresno and Tulare Counties’ schools shine as California’s first Model Community Day Schools for exceptional educational support

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In an unprecedented move, the California Department of Education, led by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, has unveiled the inaugural list of Model Community Day Schools (MCDSs) for 2024, spotlighting exceptional educational institutions in Fresno and Tulare Counties among others.

Community day schools are tailored for students requiring more focused support, and this year marks the first implementation of the MCDS Recognition Program, a collaborative effort between the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Continuation Education Association Plus (CCEA Plus).

In Fresno County, Pathway Community Day School and Sanger Community Day School have been distinguished for their outstanding efforts. Pathway has been lauded for its active collaboration with parents and integration of social-emotional learning, creating a nurturing and inclusive educational environment. Sanger’s program’s inclusion signifies its excellence in similar domains.

Tulare County’s Lindsay Community Day School also made the prestigious list, recognized for its innovative educational practices and commitment to student success, though specific initiatives were not detailed in the announcement.

These schools have been recognized for their innovative approaches to addressing the needs of students facing challenges with attendance, behavior or those who have been expelled. They will retain their designation for three years and are expected to provide annual assurances of their adherence to the model school guidelines. They will also be celebrated at the upcoming CCEA Plus 2024 State Conference.

Superintendent Thurmond praised the schools for their “extraordinary commitment to students and their families,” highlighting their comprehensive offerings, including educational diversity, mental health resources and additional support services. These provisions not only cater to the students’ immediate needs but also aim to empower them towards completing high school and pursuing further education or entering the workforce.

The selection of these model schools is part of a broader strategy to serve as benchmarks and resources for districts aspiring to establish new community day schools or enhance existing ones. The criteria for recognition included a self-evaluation covering various aspects such as school management and instructional strategies as well as the integration of social, emotional and mental health support.

This recognition not only honors the hard work of students, educators and administrators but also sets a standard for holistic and inclusive education across the state, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to succeed regardless of their challenges.

For more detailed information on the Model Community Day Schools and their programs, interested parties are encouraged to visit the CDE Community Day Schools web page.

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