Rite of Passage Charter High School
Sierra Ridge Academy - Sierra Sage Academy - Qualifying House
sponsored by the El Dorado County Office of Education
The El Dorado County Board of Education serves as the Authorizer and Governing Board for the Rite of Passage Charter High Schools. The Rite of Passage Charter received charter number 55 from the California State Board of Education in 1994. The El Dorado County Office of Education provides all administrative, instructional, and financial support for the educational and vocational training programs. The Charter focuses on core academics and career/college pathways.
The Rite of Passage '7/24/365' residential treatment sites have enabled thousands of at-risk youth to move beyond their troubled home lives and negative former school experiences. Providing dramatic behavioral and lifestyle changes, the Rite of Passage treatment programs provide a unique, proactive setting for education.
Rite of Passage Charter High Schools, sponsored by El Dorado County Office of Education, offer a 250-day school year for students. This extended school year provides students with multiple opportunities to obtain credits toward a high school diploma and complete a variety of certification programs to support students as they pursue a career and/or college. Students, who are most often placed at R.O.P. through juvenile court adjudication or social service agencies, discover a focused, personalized learning environment. EDCOE teaching staff and students benefit from the presence of R.O.P. "coaches" in each classroom, reinforcing structures in the classroom that support accelerated learning. As a result, graduation from high school becomes a real prospect for students who have traditionally failed in mainstream public education.
Rite of Passage High Schools have earned distinction in several areas of education and vocational training. Staff at ROPCHS meet the needs of students with a diverse ethnic and cultural background as well as a broad range of aptitudes and disparate educational experiences. Academic proficiency and career/college readiness remain priorities, with a focus on the Common Core State Standards. The following curricular areas are emphasized in the program:
Students enter ROPCHS with various levels of written and verbal skills. Many students come from bilingual homes and communities. Addressing the needs of each student requires skillful teaching methods.
MAP (Measure of Academic Progress from NWEA) serves as a primary assessment tool to measure student reading lexile levels when they enter the program and at regular intervals during their stay at R.O.P. With the average length of stay being approximately 10 months, it is critical that teachers have accurate assessment information to determine the needs of each student and make the best use of the time that they have in the program.
The Accelerated Reader (AR) program is also used to motivate students to read a variety of texts and to improve reading comprehension. The AR reading program addresses Special Education and non-Special Education students, preparing low-level readers for our high school curriculum courses in all subject areas.
Students also focus on writing in their English/Language Arts courses as they write to a variety of topics and become familiar the characteristics of good written communication.
Recognizing the number of students with gaps in their educational experience, the Mathematics program at ROPCHS campuses offer a variety of levels of math that cover basic math concepts through Algebra 2. Using MAP as a guide, teachers are able to identify student strengths and weaknesses so that they can be placed in the most appropriate course for their needs.
For student needing to focus on basic skills, Accelerated Math offers an individualized program to develop math skills and provide a self-paced means for achieving math proficiency. Because the program accurately determines a student’s needs and provides immediate feedback, most students experience rapid progress with this non-threatening, interactive curriculum.
Students who are prepared for high school level courses such as Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2, are provided with small-group direct instruction combined with an online curriculum that supports their learning.
Note: The flexibility of our learning environment also allows for students to work independently as needed in Mathematics, Economics, History, U.S. Government and other subject areas.
Life, Earth and Physical Sciences
It is frequently the case that students are interested in learning more about science as they interact with so much of it in our world. Our capable and creative science instructors address a spectrum of student needs and abilities within the science courses. Moderate class sizes assure that those students who formerly struggled with science in a public school setting receive the kind of attention necessary for success. Using small-group and individualized teaching methods, students have the opportunity to excel, and successful graduates meet pre-college levels of competency.
Our emphasis on scientific inquiry encourages student engagement in the scientific process. Within our science programs, students also have the opportunity to explore related careers, including landscape design and health studies.
High school level World History, U.S. History, U.S. Government and Economics serve as an optimal opportunity for ROPCHS students to expand their social and cultural awareness while improving life skills. The multi-ethnic and multi-cultural attributes of our student population provide a rich environment for students to become more aware of the cultural diversity---and similarities---found in American communities today.
Emphasis on physical training has been a key element in the Rite of Passage programs. P.E. classes and organized sports include coaching by physical trainers and former college and professional athletes.
Sports such as football, soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, track, cross-country, bicycling, skiing (alpine and cross-country) form the roster of organized outlets that students can enjoy. Teamwork, sportsmanship, physical fitness and self-esteem are all areas of focus for the program. Additionally, an intensive P.E. program plays a continual role in the R.O.P. treatment regimen, and students continually earn very high marks on the President's Fitness Standards.
Art and Electives
Art and elective credit requirements are met in a variety of ways. ROPCHS offers independent study courses in art as well as courses in computer media, and other areas of interest to students.
At Qualifying House, a newsletter is developed each month for students to explore photography and journalism skills.
As part of the Rite of Passage treatment program, students attend life skills classes, including Anger Management, Gang Affiliation, Drug and Alcohol Dependency, Victim Empathy, Family Reunification, and Teen Parenting. Students also participate in a career-focused program that uses the Roadtrip Nation curriculum to guide them as they explore their interests for the future. Additionally, through a Positive Peer Culture behavioral modification strategy, students regularly attend Guided Group Meetings that further promote sensible conflict resolution and constructive peer influence.
Life Skills, OSHA training, CPR, Shop Practices and Vocational Orientation classes complement the students' vocational training and transition into adult life. We offer elective credits for these subjects while promoting a higher likelihood of employment and successful, independent living.
In addition to our success in the core academic arena, ROPCHS offers a variety of vocational training pathways. The skill set and work ethic that results from each of these intensive training programs leads students to be more likely to obtain jobs that will support them in the future.
Program focus is job-market readiness for our graduates. 500-600 proficiency-based training hours are the norm for our pathways. A blend of classroom curriculum and hands-on training meets adult trade school standards. Current vocational offerings include:
Job readiness is the goal in welding and manufacturing. Students learn the procedures necessary to meet industry standards in a range of welding environments. All phases of welding, a thorough understanding of craft metallurgical principles, safety practices, plus layout and blueprint reading help students gain the skills necessary for industry jobs. Students train at MIG, stick, oxy-acetylene (cutting, welding and brazing), flux-core, TIG and other processes. We have implemented American Welding Society guidelines and training methods to further meet industry standards. Use of 'AWS' guidelines makes a W.N.C.C. articulation agreement and college credits our current target. Successful graduates of the Welding/Manufacturing vocational pathway can look forward to high-skill, "family wage" jobs.
Students have the opportunity to pursue a number of certifications available in the field of computer science. These certifications add to the employability of the student as they leave the R.O.P program.
Project Based Learning
Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, teachers at all three ROPCHS campuses have been participating in training related to Project Based Learning. Students will be meeting standards following a multi-disciplinary model and ultimately presenting a project at the end of each unit of study. Projects not only allow for guided student choice, they also require that each student present their final product. As a result, students gain skills in the areas of research and communication—two areas of need as students enter careers and/or college.