Martin Luther King High School in Davis was recognized this week by the California Department of Education as a model continuation high school for 2014, earning high praise from an evaluation team that visited last October, as well as accolades from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
“On the surface of things at King, what you can see from outside the classrooms, King is a symbol of excellence,” the evaluators said in their report. “But the real magic is what goes on in the classroom: excellent teaching, miracle-working and students who know they are personally cared for.
“At so many continuation programs (in other districts), often a district’s poorest teachers work and a high school’s ‘throw-away’ students go. But at King, the teachers are some of the best of the best, and the students come because they realize they need an alternative to success,” the report said.
The evaluators also commended “King’s mandatory career program, (which) points students in the right direction, and provides a personally meaningful context for even coming to school at all.”
And the evaluators noted “King graduates more than 90 percent of its students, which is a miracle in itself, because without King, these students would not have graduated at all.”
Torlakson, in a statement commending the 24 model continuation high schools that were recognized around the state, said, “Continuation high schools serve as an alternative highway for struggling students to complete their high school education and continue on the road to higher learning or out into the workforce.”
In a letter to King High notifying Principal Jeff Rogers that his school had been selected for the honor, Torlakson wrote, “The innovative programs at your school demonstrate an enduring commitment to provide young people with the educational options and support services they need to successfully complete high school.”
Continuation high schools offer students age 16 or older an alternative path to a high school diploma. Many students who attend a continuation high school do so because they are behind in high school credits; others may be in need of a flexible school schedule because they have jobs outside of school, family needs and other circumstances.
Rogers, who came to King High last fall, expressed considerable pride in the work done by King High’s teachers and staff in creating the program that put the school in contention for state recognition.
“I have worked in other alternative education programs, a number of those being continuation-based, and I can honestly say that it is an honor and a privilege to work alongside some of the most outstanding educators I have ever spent time with (here at King),” Rogers said. “It’s the people at King who care so much about these students that makes all the difference.”
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8055.