San Jose Unified School Districtís Six PLUS Schools
San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD), in an attempt to address the needs of its diverse student population, has created a myriad of options for students who may not fit the traditional mold.
Necessary Small Continuation High Schools, also referred to as the Plus Schools, provide social structure and educational interventions in cooperation with a comprehensive high school that assists at-risk students to graduate and pursue post-secondary educational and vocational options.
In SJUSD, the Plus Schools were established at all of the comprehensive high schools and consist of 40 students each. The school programs consist of a morning class and an afternoon class, with 20 students enrolled in each session. When not in class, students may attend the comprehensive high school, Community College, work, or participate in many other approved activities.
According to Linda Ferdig-Riley, Principal of the Plus Schools, the ideal Plus School student is a young person who is able to succeed on a comprehensive high school campus and wants to be included in normal campus activities such as sports programs and school dances. The student would receive the extra needed attention and focus from staff, which helps them stay focused on graduation. Each school has its own faculty consisting of two teachers, one counselor and a centralized administration including an off-site Principal and a Resource Teacher of Curriculum and Testing. All staff is well trained on the strategies needed to help close the educational gap, with focus on high leverage activities such as summarization, notetaking, vocabulary development, test taking skills and the like.
The Plus Schools are graded based on the Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM); which evaluates areas such as attendance, credit accrual and suspension rates. To date, all Plus Schools have fallen within the commendable or sufficient scores of the ASAM. Also, each school has a 95% or higher pass rate this past year!
The Plus Schools have proven to be successful in helping at-risk students stay in school and graduate and are now models for other California Counties. For more information on San Jose Unified School Districtís Plus Programs, please contact Linda Ferdig-Riley, Principal/Manager at (408)535-6539.