Salinas Union High School District, CA - 2012 Transformation Award Winner

Mary Kate Appel

Transformation Award: For flexible time and place learning options raise district-wide credit completion among at-risk students. 

Salinas Union High School District in California has a high concentration of at-risk students. With a student population of 60 percent English Language Learners and 70 percent qualified for Title I funding, boosting credit completion is no easy task.

After a successful summer program implementation during 2011, when 144 students earned 720 credits, the district decided to implement a district-wide Credit Recovery program using the FuelEd Credit Recovery (formerly Aventa) curriculum. Their approach was to provide different options for students at each of the four comprehensive high schools and two alternative schools.

The options for high school include:

  • A hybrid model in which students can work online during class time and with a mentor during their advisory period in the school library;
  • Classes before or after school; or
  • A Self-contained, 4-hour credit recovery class, for targeted at-risk students.

The district also offered different approaches in their alternative schools, where more than 25% of students are parents and can take advantage of onsite child care. One school offered online courses during the school day, and the other offered online courses in an Algebra 1 class with a math teacher.

For all of these programs, the district uses iNACOL standards for measuring online teachers, online courses, and the effectiveness of program implementations. Further, Salinas has implemented a unique onboarding process to ensure students are engaged in the program. During the first few weeks of the online program, teachers and administrators meet with students to check that they are engaged, understand how to navigate the online programs, and are familiar with the tools. They have found that this process dramatically increases completion rates. After one year, the district has seen excellent results, with 465 students successfully recovering credits.

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