COVINA, CA – Covina-Valley Unified’s Fairvalley High School has earned re-designation as a Model Continuation High School (MCHS) from the California Department of Education (CDE) in 2023, celebrating the impact of its innovative, student-first programming, and focus on college and career readiness.
Fairvalley High was one of 37 continuation schools distinguished as a 2023 Model Continuation High School, announced by the CDE on Feb. 14. The MCHS Recognition Program honors continuation schools that provide comprehensive services to at-risk youth through outstanding programs, instructional strategies, flexible scheduling, and guidance and counseling services.
“Fairvalley has maintained its model standing since it first qualified for the recognition in the early 2000s,” Fairvalley Principal Rebecca Handzel said. “This is a huge honor, as it says we have done such an outstanding job serving our students that we are going to be an example for others. This speaks to how our school and staff provide our students with full support, beyond just the traditional academics.”
Model Continuation High Schools retain their status for three years and serve as examples and resources for new or existing continuation schools needing support. The Model Continuation High School Recognition Program is a collaborative partnership between the CDE and the California Continuation Education Association Plus (CCEA Plus).
Fairvalley has emphasized social-emotional learning for its approximately 120 students with a solid foundation of support. Students thrive by working with full-time counselors, the principal and assistant principal, a school social worker, and social work intern. They have full access to technology and dedicated one-on-one interaction with teachers and staff through Fairvalley’s smaller class sizes, Handzel added.
“We do a lot holistically for the students, but the first thing we do is make a connection with each of them because if you don’t have that, you can’t do anything,” Handzel said. “Our team is extremely good at connecting with students.”
Fairvalley also provides its students with shorter school days, career technical education (CTE) pathways, credit recovery classes, and consortiums with local colleges, including Mt. San Antonio College, Citrus College, and Azusa Pacific University.
Students at Fairvalley can accelerate credit completion with the school’s trimester system and have extra time to prepare for college, explore potential career paths, or work as the school day runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with 43-minute class periods.
Fairvalley offers CTE pathways in welding and other regional occupational programs. Students can enter the workforce and earn elective credits while also getting paid at their job in the school’s work experience class.
“I commend Fairvalley High School students and staff on this honor. It directly reflects their hard work,” Covina-Valley Unified Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Eminhizer said. “Fairvalley has used unique methods to ensure its students have access to the tools, resources, and experiences they need in preparation for college or a career.”
CVUSD_FAIRVALLEY1: Fairvalley High School Teacher Tanya Martin addresses her class. Fairvalley was one of 37 continuation schools distinguished as a 2023 Model Continuation High School from the California Department of Education.
CVUSD_FAIRVALLEY2: Fairvalley High School Teacher Micki McAulay, left, and senior Bryan Santana interact during a sociology class. Fairvalley’s innovative, student-first programming and focus on college and career readiness earned it re-designation as a Model Continuation High School from the California Department of Education in 2023.