LINCOLN BLVD — Olympic High School, which offers programs designed for students who have struggled to stay in school, has been named a 2011 Model Continuation High School by State Superintendent Jack O’Connell, making it one of 27 schools to receive the honor.

“We at Olympic are delighted to have our school and staff recognized for the instruction and support provided to students on our small campus,” said Olympic Principal Janie Yuguchi Gates. 

The school’s Academic Performance Index score has increased from 256 during the 2005-2006 school year to 657 last year, according to Gates.

“The situations our students are in where they need to come to a school like ours isn’t always the student’s fault,” she said. “We really benefit from a community that is supportive of these students and doesn’t just condemn them and say that they have made mistakes. It really is a perfect environment for us and for our kids.”

From the Santa Monica Police Department, which co-teaches a criminal justice class, to St. John’s Hospital, which, along with the city of Santa Monica, provides counseling services, to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, which pays for a music instructor, Gates said the broader community plays a big role in helping provide opportunities for Olympic students.

“We are thrilled that Olympic High School has been recognized as an outstanding continuation high school,” said Sally Chou, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s chief academic officer. “Olympic provides opportunities for students who need a smaller environment, more individualized attention and a myriad of electives to keep them engaged and challenged.”

Continuation education is aimed at teenagers who are deemed at risk of not completing their education.

In a press release, O’Connell said the selected continuation campuses offer programs that should be emulated at the hundreds of other similar schools around the state.

“They help young people realize that getting a good education and earning a high school diploma is their chance toward leading a better and more prosperous life,” he said of the 2011 model campuses.

The Model Continuation High School Recognition Program is a partnership of the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA).

To be eligible for the recognition, applicants must be accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges — a designation Olympic achieved in June. They also must demonstrate exemplary program effectiveness in school management, curriculum, instructional strategies, educational climate, and guidance and counseling. As part of the application for recognition, parents, students, and community members were required to submit written statements supporting their respective schools by September. Site validation visits occurred in October and November

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