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Oceanside school district consolidates alt ed programs

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Unified School District Board of Education approved a plan April 16 to consolidate the district’s alternative education programs and house them under one roof.

Beginning next year school year, the district’s alternative education program will be housed at Ditmar Elementary.

Previously, the district established an Alternative Education Committee to discuss the need for a “consolidated, unified and comprehensive alternative education program” that would provide personalized learning to meet its students’ needs.

The committee met on three occasions and reviewed data regarding the district’s various alternative education programs.

Currently, the district offers alternative education through its Clair Burgener Academy Academic Acceleration and Recovery Center (AARC), an independent study-based program that gives students in grades six to 12 an alternative instructional strategy meant to respond to the student’s educational needs, interests and abilities.

Both El Camino and Oceanside high schools have AARC programs as well. 

The district also offers alternative education at Ocean Shores, its continuation high school, which includes a childcare program for teen parents and its Alternative to Suspension program for middle and high school students.

Additionally, Ditmar’s transitional K-5 home-school program and the California Street Academy of Science & Engineering, which is a high school housed in Lincoln Middle School, are also considered alternative education programs.

According to the committee, consolidation and alignment of the district’s alternative education programs would assist with “maximizing resources, unified choice locations and ability to market.”

The committee met with staff at both Ocean Shores and Clair Burgener to discuss consolidation.

City staff asked the district to have a safe, clean and compliant facility that provides a neutral location for scholars and maintains the integrity of existing programs.

Staff also requested the consolidated program leave room for growth and expansion of programs and the continuation high school, to establish and maintain a play area for scholars and babies, dual enrollment with MiraCosta and to allow for teacher input for consolidating administrators. 

According to the committee’s presentation to the board, consolidation could possibly result in reassigning some employees to other openings in the district.

In addition to recommending the consolidation of the district’s alternative education programs, staff also recommended consolidating students from California Street Academy of Science & Engineering to other options because the academy’s “sustainability is not foreseeable” given its enrollment numbers.

Currently, 17 students are enrolled and two teachers are staffed there.

The board unanimously approved the alternative learning consolidation recommendation with a 5-0 vote.