For high school drop outs or those missing many of their credits to graduate, earning a GED is often the only way to receive credit for competing courses and moving on to a vocational school, college or even the military.
Now the Redding charter school, California Heritage YouthBuild Academy, offers students ages 16-24 an alternative to path to a high school diploma.
Since opening in September of 2012, the school has 34 students from as far north as Shasta Lake City and as far south as Cottonwood.
According to Chelsea Martinez, while the school does serve those under 18, they really are trying to capture those students 18 and older who dropped out, and want a diploma not a GED.
“About two years ago, several local educators came together with an idea to provide a high school option for students that have dropped out,” said Martinez. “Once a student turns 18 there are real no options for obtaining your high school diploma if you have dropped out.”
These educators did research and discovered California Heritage YouthBuild Academy, which is a charter school with a program designed for those students who will not graduate on time because they are behind in high school credit, or those young adults who have dropped out.
“Our school is YouthBuild affiliated which means we give back to our community in every way we can,” Martinez noted. “There are several adult schools in town for students over 18 that provide means to a GED, but we currently are the only free option for students over 18 looking for a second chance to get a high school diploma.”
This is because the YouthBuild program is a public charter school, meaning it is federally and state funded like a traditional public high school, and it free to students.
A large component of being a YouthBuild school is not only the community service, but also directing students to be college or career ready by offering a vocational element.
“One of our biggest successes is we have partnered with Shasta Builders Exchange and offer certification courses in construction technology,” said Martinez. “This means that students not only end up with a high school diploma, but job skills to back it up.”
She added it is a goal of the school to continue to add different vocational job trainings, like technology, health services and hospitality to name a few, as the school grows to better serve students.
For information, contact Chelsea Martinez at 378-5254.