From the principal’s office: Options abound at Cold Stream, Sierra High |

From the principal’s office: Options abound at Cold Stream, Sierra High

Jane LoomisSpecial to the Sun
Submitted photoMeasure A funding enabled Sierra High School students to take an experiential field trip to Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay Area in October of 2011. The trip fulfilled a portion of their state Social Studies standards.

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Cold Stream Alternative was opened in 1985 as Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s K-8 home school option. Today, CSA offers TTUSD parents and students a full time home school/independent study educational option for students in grades 6-12. With campuses in both Truckee and Tahoe City, CSA is dedicated to providing an environment in which students become self-sufficient and self-motivated learners. This educational option is ideal for students needing flexible scheduling due to extensive travel demands and/or for students who want more control over their educational outcomes.CSA endeavors to provide a standards-based, challenging and rigorous academic program while preparing students for employment and socially responsible living. The staff participates in district staff development opportunities. Decision-making is data driven within the school’s professional learning community. In 2008, CSA was awarded the bronze medal from the U.S. News & World Report for three areas of excellence: standardized test performance, proficiency rates of all students, including the least advantaged, and challenging college-ready curriculum.The other alternative school within our community is Sierra High School. Located in Truckee, SHS opened in 1979 as the district’s continuation high school. The school is a unique blend of students, educators, family, community members and support staff who, as role models and mentors, are vested in creating a high quality, nurturing, and safe learning environment. SHS is dedicated to providing our students with the education, guidance, and the support necessary to succeed in all aspects of life. The staff is committed to the belief that through education students will discover that learning adds quality to their lives.The school’s program, like most California continuation high schools, is designed primarily for students in 11th and 12th grades, or 16 years of age and older. Students who are pregnant or parenting under sixteen-years of age may enroll. Students are provided with a high quality program that addresses their academic, emotional, and social development as well as opportunities for career and vocational exploration. The school’s master schedule is a Response to Intervention (RTI) model, allowing students the opportunity to recover credits for graduation, accommodate work schedules, attend classes at the community college, participate in extra-curricular activities, and receive academic tutoring as well as social and emotional support.Two diploma tracks are offered: a University of California/state university college preparatory diploma and a minimum diploma requirement for those entering a community/career college. SHS has been a three-time recipient of the prestigious Model Continuation High School Award from the California Superintendent of Schools. The school is well connected to outside agencies and programs that support student learning and achievement, and local service organizations support the post-secondary pursuits of our students through generous scholarships: Truckee Optimist Club, Truckee Sunrise Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Truckee, and Soroptimist International, Truckee-Donner.Our students also have a long history of service to their community through service learning projects. Local programs and organizations that have benefited are the Humane Society of Truckee, Tahoe Forest Hospital Hospice, and the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s Student Clothing Fund.Both alternative schools are fully accredited through the Western Association for Schools and Colleges; their courses are A-G university approved, and they are staffed by highly qualified, credentialed teachers. Through our College Fast Track option, students may earn dual credit-courses that count for high school credits as well as college transferable courses at our local community college, Sierra College, where students attend classes free of charge. College textbooks and supplies are loaned to students free of charge thanks to Measure A funding. Individuals may take courses for career interest, for credit recovery, to earn elective credits, and for early graduation. Students at Sierra High and CSA may also participate in extra-curricular activities at the traditional high schools, and take courses not otherwise available to them: sports, drama, music, culinary arts, and foreign language, AP courses. In return, CSA provides Truckee High School and North Tahoe High School students with single subject courses for early graduation and/or for credit recovery. Neither CSA or Sierra High School is a Program Improvement School.Thank you to our community partners! Measure A provides funding for many courses and activities that enrich students’ high school experiences: technology equipment and supplies (netbooks, digital cameras, software); field trips to museums, ballets, and plays; academic enrichment, classroom instructional equipment and supplies, library books and resources, science equipment and supplies, and career preparation services through the schools’ School-to-Career Community Liaison. Additionally, Arts for the Schools provides our students with art instruction through their Artists in Residence program (again, thanks to Measure A).I’m proud of our students and staff and to have a culture at our school that supports student success.