California Educator

November / December 2016

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HELPING TROUBLED YOUTH Table Mountain Court School/Juvenile Hall, Oroville K evin, 18, has been at Table Moun- tain Court School/Juvenile Hall in Oroville for nine months, as a result of making " bad decisions." After dropping out, he never expected to earn a diploma. But he walked across the stage in September as his mother watched proudly. "I was given a second chance," Kevin says. Edu- cators "pushed me to keep going when I didn't want to. ey kept saying, ' You can do this.' As I got closer and closer, they kept tell- ing me, 'Don't quit now.' " Th o u g h Tabl e Mo un - tain i s a lo cked faci lity, it has op en ed do ors for s om e of its stud ents. That 's because dedicated staff do whatever it takes to motivate, engage and encourage them to graduate. e K-12 school has 20 to 30 students at any given time. It typically serves students in grades 7-12, who stay anywhere from one day to 18 months. Students w ork at th eir own pace in a combination of independent study, direct instruction and online classes. Because classes are small, teachers can offer indi- vidualized attention , and nobody falls b etween th e crack s, say Butt e County Teachers Association members who work closely with probation staf f, classified employees, a "transition specialist," and a Boys and Girls Club after-school program on-site. "It's not for ever ybody," says science teacher Joe Crispin. "These kids haven't had a lot of success in school or elsewhere. But some will shine when you show them a different path." Math teacher Dave Anselmo says he's as enthused now as when he began teach- ing 35 years ago. "Some of these kids are brilliant. But you have to be positive here, or you won't last long." W h i l e s o m e b e l i e v e Ta b l e M o u n t a i n s t u - d e n t s a r e g e t t i n g a s e c o n d c h a n c e , h i s - tory teacher Roger Jolliff doesn't see it that way. " M o s t n e v e r r e a l l y had a first chance," h e e x p l a i n s , n o t i n g t h a t many have been abused and neglected. "I say, 'OK, you've made one mistake, but you can move on.' I ask them to view coming here as an opportunity. It can be both the best and worst thing that's ever hap- pened to them." Clockwise from top left: Dave Anselmo and Joe Crispin, math and science teachers, respectively, at Table Mountain Court School; Come Back Kids' Alexis Quinonez, who runs a club offering computer programming skills; Table Mountain students grow produce that is sold at the local farmer's market. 35 November / December 2016 " THESE KIDS HAVEN' T HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS IN SCHOOL OR ELSEWHERE. BUT SOME WILL SHINE WHEN YOU SHOW THEM A DIFFERENT PATH." — JOE CRISPIN, BUTTE COUNTY TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

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