WHITTIER, CA – Whittier Union’s Frontier High School has been recognized by the California Department of Education as a Model Continuation High School for providing an academically rigorous program that has helped close the achievement gap among student groups taking the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and given at-risk students the environment they need to flourish.

This year, 29 of California’s 480 continuation schools were designated as Model Schools, which offer exemplary comprehensive services to students behind in high school credits or in need of a flexible school schedule due to employment outside of school, family needs or other circumstances.

This is the sixth time that Frontier has been honored with the designation. The school will be recognized at the 2015 California Continuation Education Association (CCEA) State Conference, scheduled May 1-3 in Burlingame.

“At Frontier, our CAHSEE pass rate and credit completion rates have increased and many of the students who return to the comprehensive high schools are successful because we have better aligned our instruction and assessment to the rest of the District,” Principal Margie Moriarty said. “This designation marks a huge accomplishment for our students and exemplifies the commitment to excellence by our teachers and staff.”

The Model Continuation High School three-year designation stems from a partnership between the CDE and the CCEA that seeks to identify and recognize outstanding continuation education programs.

Frontier – which earned a six-year Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation in 2012 – submitted an in-depth application that detailed the programs it has instituted to drive student success and foster student achievement. It also included multiple written statements of support.

Parent Tiffany Begin praised the school for helping her son – who struggled in traditional school and home study – find the right balance of structure and flexibility.

“Frontier High School is where my son finally felt a comfort level that he thrived in,” Begin said in her statement. “The hours he spends on campus have been productive and positive, helping him reach his goal for graduation.”

English teacher Paul Menza lauded the school’s credit recovery system and year-round schedule for enabling students to get back on track quickly.

“Whether it’s living with a hard family situation or homelessness, these issues are better addressed by our smaller class size, access to technology and Frontier’s flexible schedule,” Menza wrote in his statement.

Frontier’s numbers support its status as a Model School.

At the campus, English learner students have outperformed English-only students for several years. In 2013, Frontier’s CAHSEE featured an 83 percent English language arts pass rate and a 91 percent math pass rate, compared with a 56 percent pass rate in English language arts and 62 percent pass rate in math in 2012.

“I want to thank Dr. Margie Moriarty for her leadership and the Frontier faculty, whose efforts truly epitomize our ‘Whatever It Takes’ initiative and the District’s commitment to preparing all students for success in college and career through a supportive, inclusive and integrative educational curriculum,” said Whittier Union High School District Superintendent Sandra Thorstenson.