IMPERIAL COUNTY – It is estimated that 63,577 adults in Imperial County have less than a high school education, and only 13.3% of adults 25 years of age and older have a four-year college degree, compared to 30.7% statewide.¹ While graduation rates have increased these past few years in Imperial County the fact still remains that approximately 200 students were reported to have dropped out of schools as recent as 2014.
The need for continued efforts to raise graduation rates among special populations was stressed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson when the 2014 state wide graduation data was released in 2015. Torlakson stated: “I challenge educators, parents, students, and community leaders to continue the hard work needed to help every student graduate.”²
Imperial County Office of Education has accepted that challenge and has recently been approved to open a new charter school, Imperial Pathways Charter School (IPCS). The charter school is a drop-out recovery program for individuals between the ages of 17-24 years old who want to obtain a high school diploma. Pending ICOE board of trustee approval, IPCS will require just the State of California minimum of 130 credits to graduate, which is closer than many dropouts realize.
IPCS will offer high quality educational options designed to meet the educational needs of the following populations:
Transition-aged youth (TAY) and adults ages 17 and older
Those who have dropped out of traditional school before earning a high school
diploma or equivalent
Adults in custody
Adults involved in the Public Safety Realignment (AB109)
Adults qualified for the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program(WIOA):
Laid-off workers unlikely to return to their previous jobs
Those employed by a qualifying employer
New entrants into the workforce Veterans
Persons with disabilities
Students served by Imperial Pathways Charter have not yet completed the credits needed for a high school diploma. The students served by IPCS have either dropped out of high school, are adult students at risk of dropping out or have been unable to complete the required credits. IPCS students are returning to move forward with their education.
The program will focus on the long-term success of students, including completion of high school diploma, transition to post-secondary education, vocational education, and career- oriented job paths. Students will experience an integrated education approach connecting job skills and practice to high school content. IPCS is not a public or private school conversion, but the creation of a new and unique educational option for at-risk students.
All students will be served exclusively in partnership with the local Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs, as required by Education (Ed.) Code §47612.1. WIOA is a federally funded program designed to promote an increase in employment, job retention, earnings, and occupational skills improvement by participants.
1U.S. Census Bureau (2015). State & County QuickFacts. Five-year Estimate 2009-2013. Retrieved June 22, 2015 from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06007.html
2 California Department of Education (2015). News Release #15-34. State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reports Record High Graduation Rate. Retrieved June 22, 2015 from http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr15/yr15rel34.asp