Leadership magazine May/June 2015 V 44 No 5 - Page 16

From obstacle to opportunity Organizational networks of support help ensure that learning works better for the students in these San Diego County Juvenile Court and Community School programs. 16 Leadership “W e turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.” The student speaker at San Diego County Office of Education’s Juvenile Court and Community School (JCCS) graduation made clear that while personal choices and life circumstances might have brought them into our classrooms and schools, they leave prepared for college, career and community. Turning obstacles into opportunities is a strategy many of our students use to achieve personal success. They build individual networks of support to cheer them on, push them, and keep them focused on their goals. JCCS also establishes organizational networks of support to better serve all of our students and staff. JCCS serves more than 12,000 students over the course of a year in two different programs from 42 school districts across 4,700 square miles in San Diego County. The Court School Program serves approximately 670 students on a daily basis; our Community School Program serves approximately 1,800 students each day. Community Schools are operated on both classroom-based and blended learning models (formerly known as Independent Study). We provide educational services to minors incarcerated in the detention facilities/ camps operated by the San Diego County Juvenile Justice System, and in our SDCOE Community Schools we enroll students in grades K-12. Students enrolled in our Community Schools are considered high-risk and referred based on their current status with their home school district and/or probation. Reasons for referrals typically include expulsion, chronic truancy, severe behavioral issues, or terms of probationary status. However, we are also beginning to enroll a significant number of students who have self-selected JCCS due to our much smaller class size, highly personalized learning plans By Stacy Spector