Principal’s Corner: An unwavering drive to help students
We begin this school year with great energy and support following our rigorous year of school accountability. We were awarded the 2017 Model School Award for Sierra Continuation High School, and a six-year WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation for Cold Stream Alternative (Independent Study). Additionally, we had over 20 graduates walk the stage in June, many of whom have scholarships to continue their schooling.
So what is to come this year? The goal this year is to maintain our high educational standards and break new ground on alternative accountability for alternative schools in California.
Another goal is to continue to offer alternative paths for graduation through individualized graduation plans for all students. This is a taxing process for students, staff, and families.
However, the results are rewarding for all stakeholders, including our communities of Tahoe Truckee. Watching students progress academically where they have struggled before, and then make great gains in the social-emotional arena of adolescence and young adulthood, is rewarding every day for our staff members, and it is an honor to be involved in this work for our community.
Students graduating from Sierra High School and Cold Stream Alternative have many choices when they graduate, including four-year colleges, community colleges, training programs, and the world of work. The key is choosing the correct classes and completing those classes to prepare for the next steps.
Sometimes credit recovery is needed, and attending Sierra College while enrolled with us, can boost students to a level where they can be back on track to attend a four-year college. We do not expect families and students to navigate the great void of, “What is next? And how do we do it alone?”
We help with that process to ease the burden and anxieties. Some key issues are deciphering what is wanted by the student after high school, what are the requirements for the goal or dream, and what are the steps to get there? If we cannot get there straight out of high school, then what steps are next? We work with these questions and strategies daily with students and families, and it is part of the magic at Sierra High and Cold Stream Alternative.
We know that a stroke of a pen, or a comment in a hallway, or stopping the day to reach out to a student for less than a minute or more than an hour, can change a life or a projection from downhill to the attainment of dreams inside or outside of our community. This is why our staff works as hard as they do, and it is hard to find a cause greater than the attempt to have a positive influence on the direction for the youth of our community.
Sometimes hard decisions need to be made in the realms of educational policy, expectations, and behavioral norms. However, that drive to be the best for every student is strong and unwavering in all staff members from Sierra High School, Cold Stream Alternative School, and the STEPP (Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program) Center.
Greg Wohlman is the principal of Sierra Continuation High School, Coldstream Alternative, & Educational Options