Desert Sands Charter High School qualifies under the Alternative Schools Accountability Model. This means we adhere to a different accountability model than traditional schools.
Alternative Schools Accountability Model
The Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM) was developed following the passage of 1999 Public Accountability Act under California Education Code Section 52052 [h] which requires that the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, with the approval of the State Board of Education, “shall develop an alternative accountability system for schools under the jurisdiction of a county board of education or a county superintendent of schools, community day schools … and alternative schools serving high-risk pupils, including continuation high schools and opportunity schools.
Desert Sands Charter High School voluntarily follows the Alternative Schools Accountability Model and adheres to all state mandated guidelines for performance.
What defines an alternative school?
Alternative schools are also known as district continuation schools, county community schools, and district and charter alternative “schools of choice”. ASAM schools are designed to help high-risk students including those who have been expelled, suspended, wards/dependents of the court, pregnant and/or parenting, recovered dropouts, habitually truant or insubordinate and disorderly, or retained more than once in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Desert Sands Charter High School is committed to serving these high-risk students who are largely without options. We are proud of the thousands of students we have helped graduate and create a new vision for their future.
How is success measured?
Schools participating in the ASAM are required to meet all federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 accountability requirements. Participating schools are also required to meet state Public Schools Accountability Act requirements.
Because Desert Sands Charter High School qualifies under the ASAM, we adhere to a different accountability model than traditional schools. What this means is that the current performance measurement methods used by the California Department of Education (CDE) to compute certain statistics/data are not applicable to ASAM schools.
For example, the CDE defines graduation rates based on a cohort which is defined as a “Four-year graduation rate”. The average Desert Sands Charter High School student is between 17-19 years of age, a year or more behind in credits, and at a fifth to seventh grade level in reading and math. Most have been out of school for three months or more, and have adult responsibilities such as working, parenting, or caring for siblings, making it impossible for them to graduate with their cohort in time. This means that four-year cohort rates are typically not a good measure for ASAM schools, some of which serve California’s neediest and most credit deficient students.
Alternative schools serving at-risk students may have lower graduation rates but that does not mean that the school is underperforming. In fact, ASAM schools have proven highly-successful in getting high-risk students that would otherwise not be in school, back in school and on track to graduate.
Desert Sands Charter High School Changes Lives
The dropout problem is a serious one, with millions of students dropping out of school each year. Each high-school dropout creates a huge economic and social burden on our society. Our mission is to re-engage dropouts and help them achieve graduation.
Desert Sands Charter High School is proud to qualify as an Alternative Schools Accountability Model helping recover students who have fallen out of the school system.