California Educator

November / December 2016

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W hat 's s om etim e s chal l en gin g, sh e admit s, i s gettin g stud ent s to b eli e ve in themselves. "Many believe they are failures or inca- pable of accomplishing something, and so they stop trying. It's our job to encourage them to keep trying." e school offers child care in a state-of- the-art facility, along with parenting and child development courses. "I learned how to be a parent here," says 12th-grader Isabella Torres, mother of a 1-year-old. " Without this school, I'd have no one to help me. I 'd be at home. I missed five months of school when she was born. It feels good to be back on track to graduate." Students play on sports teams against other continuation schools, which pro- vides incentive to keep their grades up. Luis Barriga, an art teacher who coaches, believes sports are an important way to foster communication , teamw ork and c o l l a b o ra t i o n th a t m ay b e l a c k i n g i n some students. "Good sportsmanship promotes good citizenship," Barriga observes. Al s o uni qu e i s th e l ea d ership cl a ss taught by Monica Cruz, where students l earn how to adv o cat e for th emselves and others. "I can honestly say this is the best school I 've ever been to," says Cindy Sosa , 17. "I used to be truant or late every day. But I 've completely changed. I 'm hoping to graduate early. Now, as a leader, I go to school board district meetings and have m et w ith th e scho ol b o ard pre si d ent. I never saw myself in this position before." Independent studies teacher Rebeca Peters loves graduation time the best. He says everyone cries when students take the stage. "Some of these kids were kicked out of traditional schools. Some live with their grandparents because their parents are incarc erat ed or unf it. S om e w ork th e graveyard shift. Th ey fell through th e cracks in other places. And we've given them a second chance. There's nothing better than that." Coronado English teacher Tunisia Fountain does an activity with her students. 39 November / December 2016 "MANY BELIEVE THEY ARE FAILURES OR INCAPABLE OF ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING, AND SO THEY STOP TRYING. IT'S OUR JOB TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO KEEP TRYING." — TUNISIA FOUNTAIN, TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF WEST COVINA

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