Degree to which continuation schools successfully help students earn a high school diploma

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the degree to which continuation schools, specifically Alta Vista High School in the Vista Unified School District, successfully help students earn a high school diploma. Continuation schools have long been a more successful placement for students who were at risk of dropping out of school due to truancy, disinterest, delinquency, and academic failure; and also a haven for students who were "pushed out" of comprehensive schools because they "did not fit in anywhere". Continuation schools typically have a high rate of transcience, with students frequently enrolling and then checking out. Prior to this study, limited data existed as to the degree of success of Alta Vista High School in terms of students earning diplomas. The findings suggest that between 30% and 35% of continuation school students successfully earn a high school diploma or earn enough credits to be current with their peers and return to a comprehensive high school to graduate with their class. It was discovered that the number of graduates is represented equally among ethnicities; that is, a proportional number of graduates represent an equally proportional number of students. When the results were disaggregated by gender, it was determined that females graduate significantly more frequently than males. Fiftysix percent of Alta Vista students are male and 44% of students are female. However, over the four year period studied here, 52% of graduates were females. Results for English Language Learners mirrored the overall results of the study, as did the results of pregnant or parenting students.