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Alternative schools' 'relentless' fight to keep track of students during pandemic []


By Carolyn Jones, EdSource, August 6, 2020

When Amistad continuation high school closed its campus in March due to the pandemic, the staff went into overdrive to stay in touch with students. They called all 205. If a student’s phone was disconnected, they went to the student’s house. If no one answered, they asked neighbors.

“The effort was relentless,” said David Gustafson, principal of the public school in Indio, near Palm Springs, that serves students who’ve been expelled or are at risk of dropping out of traditional schools. “Our staff was working seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, to keep these kids connected to school.”

Amistad High is typical of California’s 430 alternative schools in its commitment to keeping track of students during the pandemic — students who are at especially high risk of dropping out, said Gerardo Abrica, president of the California Continuation Education Association and a math teacher at an alternative school in Tulare County.

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