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INDEPENDENCE HIGH SCHOOL'S Student Council holds up a sign as the school was named a California Model Continuation High School. Standing left to right are school Principal Alison Gennai, Jerry Chavez, Michael Ornelas and Associated Student Body Director Russ Hayden. Bottom row, left to right, is Crystal Floyd, Brandon Reece, Nicole Dredge and Deshawn Jones. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum


State praises Independence HS

The California Department of Education has awarded the prestigious designation of California Model Continuation High School to El Dorado Union High School District’s Independence High School, located in Diamond Springs. A total of 24 model continuation high schools were selected in the state for 2014, each school holding this distinction for three years. Since 2012, a total of 62 schools have received this distinction.

When visiting the Independence campus, the California Department of Education Model Continuation High School Review Team noted the school’s outstanding formula of continuous parent/guardian and community involvement, high quality and diverse extracurricular opportunities, engaging academic curriculum emphasizing school-to-career education, flexible individualized instructional strategies, and intensive guidance and counseling.

Principal Alison Gennai recognizes a high octane blend of factors contributing to the school’s success:

“Independence High School is fortunate to be uniquely positioned in a district and community that believes in what we’re doing for students and routinely extends their support to us to the highest degree possible,” said Gennai. “We also are blessed with an amazing staff that is passionately committed to providing a place of authenticity, warmth, safety and diversity. We also recognize the dedicated parents and guardians of our Independence families who join us in the mission to help students succeed. Together as a school district, community and school family, we have, frankly, high expectations for the academic performance of our students. We also embrace the fact that students learn in a variety of ways and at different paces, so we need to be flexible in helping them be successful.  Independence is immensely pleased that we have been recognized as a model continuation school because of our high quality educational environment.”

The Independence High School legacy for students has steadily grown and flourished, culminating most recently with a grant awarded by Save the Redwoods League for the school’s biology program and the students meeting Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore during his Nov. 12 visit to Sacramento. Ongoing opportunities offered to Independence High School students create a culture of both individual and community expression through circle groups to share coping skills for teen challenges, along with opportunities to pursue dance, drama, poetry, gardening, forestry and physical fitness.

Continuation education offers an alternative high school diploma program for students 16 through 18 years of age or older. Students enrolled in continuation education programs are often credit deficient or in need of a flexible schedule due to employment, family obligations, or other critical needs.

El Dorado Union High School District

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