Alternative Education

The Sonoma County Office of Education operates alternative schools for Sonoma County students who are seriously at risk of school and/or societal failure. These schools provide small school settings for referred students who are experiencing difficulties in traditional schools, offer home and independent study alternatives, and deliver daily instruction for incarcerated youth and juvenile wards of the court. In operating these programs, SCOE strives to offer education alternatives that connect students to positive opportunities for learning.

Teen Parent Program

Teen Parent Program (:30) | June 2013
This is a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) on SCOE’s Teen Parent Program. View in Spanish.

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Alternative Education Student

Alternative Education Programs (7:02) | Sept 2012
In this video, students and teachers discuss the impact of SCOE’s foster youth tutoring and Community School programs.

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Community Schools

Community Schools provide a different kind of learning environment for students who are experiencing difficulties in a traditional school setting or who are exhibiting negative behavior patterns in school or the community. These small schools are located at two- to four-room sites, with 18 to 25 students per classroom. Students may range in age from 12 to 18 years old and a multiple-grade, multiple-subject curriculum is taught.

There are two Community Schools in Sonoma County: Amarosa Academy in Santa Rosa and Headwaters Academy in Petaluma. Many of the students enrolled in these schools have been expelled from their district school, identified as habitually truant, or placed on probation by the juvenile court. The emphasis of the program is to reestablish the educational direction of students by providing a learning environment that meets their needs. Counseling and other support services are provided by public and community agencies.

Adera Teen Parent Program
The Adera Teen Parent Program is a unique program option that provides education and support services to help pregnant and parenting students continue their education. Located at Amarosa Academy in Santa Rosa, the program provides childcare and related services to assist teen parents in graduating from high school.

Clean and Sober Services
SCOE provides “clean and sober” services for Community School students in grades 9-12 who are struggling with recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Students in rehabilitation often need to change their environment to be successful and can benefit from a school environment that supports them in living an alcohol- and drug-free lifestyle. Referrals to the program are made by school districts, the probation department, and parents. Specific requirements for participation include:

  • Commitment to living a clean and sober lifestyle
  • Daily attendance
  • On-site counseling, including twice weekly process groups and weekly individual therapy sessions
  • Participation in after-school support services
  • Participation in positive outside activities
  • Parent involvement
  • Random drug testing

Home Study Program
SCOE’s Home Study Program is a voluntary Community School program that provides alternative K-12 public education for families who, for many diverse reasons, prefer homeschooling as a means to meet the academic needs of their children. The program is based on an independent study model authorized by the California Department of Education. It provides an alternative educational program for families not served by home study options in their home districts.

In SCOE’s Home Study Program, the teacher is a supervisor or facilitator who guides and supports parents who are responsible for the direct instruction of their children. The Home Study teacher meets with parents and students weekly to introduce teaching strategies and lessons and to develop curriculum appropriate to the needs and learning style of each student. A give-and-take relationship between parent and child is important if their teacher/student relationship is to succeed. Once the parent and child become confident about their abilities and direction and they begin to take independent responsibility for the student’s educational plan, the Home Study teacher may meet with them less frequently. Communication via telephone or mail is frequently used between visits. Parents must be able to assist with instruction of all curriculum for their child’s grade level.

Court Schools

Court Schools provide instruction for school-age children and youth residing in court-supervised programs, such as Juvenile Hall, Probation Camp, and Sierra Girls Center.

Countywide Plan for Expelled Students

In addition to offering alternative school programs for students, the Alternative Education department coordinates the development of the Countywide Plan for Providing Educational Services to All Expelled Students in Sonoma County as required by Education Code Section 48926. The plan is updated every three years.

2012 Countywide Plan for Expelled Students (pdf)
2009 Countywide Plan for Expelled Students (pdf)