NUSD’s Discovery High School is among the top continuation high schools in all of California in helping students to graduate and prepare for the next chapter of their lives after graduation. The announcement came Friday, February 21, 2020, that Discovery was 1 of 43 schools in the state to earn the 2020 Model Continuation High School Award. “This award is a testimony to the perseverance and ownership exhibited by the Discovery High School staff members,” said Keven MacDonald, Executive Director of Alternative Learning. “Their dedication to supporting every aspect of our students and willingness to extend themselves beyond the classroom provides students with the inspiration, confidence, and skill set to achieve beyond their expectations.”
MacDonald has led the school for the last four years. When asked what makes Discovery so special, he proudly shared that it’s the small community where the teachers and staff know each student and take time to build meaningful relationships. “When students feel connected to their school and an adult on campus, they tend to have a more enjoyable school experience which supports good attendance, behavior, and academic performance.” Antranig Sameen, a Discovery student, is an example of that. He felt that strong connection when he arrived on campus. “It’s a friendly school. The teachers are supportive, and the students are really nice,” said Sameen. Sameen has always had an interest in photography, so Digital Photography is one class that he’s definitely looking forward to taking next quarter and taking up as a hobby. “I just love the school. When I graduate in May, I plan to go to college, transfer to a 4-year university, and become a computer scientist.
Natomas Unified has 10 Career Technical Education Pathways, and one of them is located right on the campus of Discovery High School. The Hospitality Pathway allows students to learn culinary arts skills and get hands-on experience with preparing food, interacting with guests, taking orders, serving and getting exposure to many other aspects related to the Hospitality world. Discovery students also have access to the new Building & Construction Trades Pathway which is located adjacent to their campus. There, students are learning and gaining skills in multiple fields of construction.
All of this has been made possible because of the dedicated staff and support of the Natomas Unified School District Board of Trustees. “Congratulations to the entire Discovery High School team for the difference they are making for our students,” said Chris Evans, Superintendent. “They have helped students graduate, who otherwise would not have, made connections with students where they felt disconnected, and built Career Technical Education options that provide students with post-graduation opportunities.”
The Model Continuation High School Recognition Program is a collaborative partnership between the California Department of Education and the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA). The program honors continuation high schools for the comprehensive services they provide at-risk youth through instructional strategies, flexible scheduling, guidance, and counseling.
The 43 schools selected as MCHS retain their designation for three years and will be recognized at the 2020 CCEA State Conference in San Diego on May 1–3, 2020.