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Santa Cruz COE News

Alternative Education Update – September 2022

Alternative Education is off to a great start. Our enrollment has increased significantly compared to this time last year. Our  Mission for the year is “To provide restorative safe havens for culturally responsive teaching and rigorous student learning.” Both our professional development topics and classroom initiatives are aligned with this mission. One common initiative this year is our new English Language Arts program, entitled Reading with Relevance.

Reading with Relevance is a locally developed, evidence and standards-based English Language Arts Program that guides students and educators through the process of reading culturally relevant, socially and emotionally rich literature. The curriculum breaks high-interest, diverse books into a series of thoughtful lesson plans that culminate in a final writing product. Each lesson and unit is designed to support educators to explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading — inspiring students to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

Our first two books for this year are:

  • Ghost, by Jason Reynolds – Castle is a boy who is running from his problems, and his past. A local track coach discovers Castle’s natural talent for sprinting and takes him under his wing. Castle discovers challenges and joys of joining this elite track team.
  • With the Fire on High,  by Elizabeth Acevedo – Told through the eyes of Emoni Santiago, a passionate cook who always puts a little magic in her food, this novel explores the challenges young people face as they inhabit the space between childhood and adulthood: from navigating complex relationships, to balancing the demands of family, school, and a part-time job, to making decisions about life after high school.

The Alternative Education Department has succeeded getting these courses approved for a-g credit through the UC Portal.

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