Alternative Education Options: A Descriptive Study of California Continuation High Schools

By Gregory Austin, Jorge Ruiz de Velasco, Don Dixon, Joseph Johnson, Milbrey McLaughlin, Lynne Perez

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State school authorities estimate that over 115,000 California high school students will pass through one of the state’s 519 continuation high schools each year. This year-long descriptive study of continuation high schools in California is the first in a series of reports from the ongoing California Alternative Education Research Project conducted jointly by the John W. Gardner Center at Stanford University, the National Center for Urban School Transformation at San Diego State University, and the Health & Justice Program at WestEd.

The report summarizes available data describing the demographics, behavioral characteristics, and academic performance of students in California’s continuation schools. The authors focus on state policy from the point of view of local educators involved with continuation schools and the role that counties and districts play in affecting school quality and outcomes. School-level factors, as reported by principals and teachers, that appear to be associated with better student achievement outcomes are also considered.

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