Many of our readers may know about Independence High School in Diamond Springs. It is accessed through the same driveway as the Mother Lode Lions Hall off of Missouri Flat Road. Its campus is situated along Pleasant Valley Road.
Independence High is a place where students go who may have missed some school because of a medical issue or injury, employment or family needs or they may feel more comfortable in this alternative to attending a comprehensive high school with a large student population.
Whatever the reasons for enrolling in Independence High, those who graduate and attend the small graduation ceremony each year do so with pride and the same sense of accomplishment as any other high school student. Their future is wide open. An IHS graduate could become the person who fixes your car, the person who makes your hair look great, the person who assists your dentist, the teacher who inspires the next generation, or the next Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak.
One such inspirational teacher is Alison Gennai, whom the El Dorado Union High School District had the inspiration to appoint as principal of Independence High School.
Ms. Gennai has inspired the students of IHS with a real can-do attitude and a spirit of inquiry that is remarkable. We specifically cite her work to take a contingent of students to Sacramento for a personal meeting with former Vice President Al Gore.
Ms. Gennai’s creative approach and high expectations of her students have led to IHS being recognized by the state for its outstanding program.
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. 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.”
Here is what Ms. Gennai said about her program at IHS. It is a statement that reflects her faith in her students and her commitment to their success:
“We … 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 highquality educational environment.”
This recognition by the state is a great achievement for Independence High School, its student body, its teachers and its principal. Credit also goes to the district administration and high school board for its continuous support and belief in this program.