With a new location in Turlock, the Come Back Kids Charter School Program is hoping that increased accessibility and a larger space will encourage more people who — for whatever reason — were unable to complete high school to “come back” and finally earn their diploma.
Offered through the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Come Back Kids is a free high school academic program designed for adults that want to return and earn their diploma in order to move onto college, technical school or the workforce. The program, which is both flexible and customized, follows a community college model where students are enrolled in courses for identified individual areas of need. Courses are available online, and all courses offer support classes with small groups of students of one-on-one with a teacher. Since its inception, the program has produced over 500 graduates throughout the Stanislaus County.
Now located at 2239 Geer Road, Moore said that the independent study program decided to relocate from its previous site at John B. Allard School earlier this month for a number of different reasons — one of which was to accommodate growth.
“The new site has much more space. We can accommodate at a maximum six teachers easily if we needed to meet that kind of growth,” said Director Julie Moore.
There are two teachers currently at the Turlock site, according to Moore, who said that she hopes to add another two teachers by August. The program currently has 20 to 30 students, but has the potential to accommodate up to 180 students if six teachers are present. The new location also allows the program to be more accessible to the community, and separates the adult students from the younger students at John B. Allard.
“The major goal is to bridge that gap that exists in our county for individuals who don’t have a high school diploma,” said Moore. “We all know what happens when you don’t have the education you need. You limit yourself and it affects you, your family and your community
“We are definitely excited about our ability to offer this and bridge that gap to make that number smaller and smaller in the county,” continued Moore.
As part of the program, students are required to meet with teachers and complete at least one assignment once a week. The Turlock site also hopes to offer a lounge-like area for students that will encourage them to come in more than once a week.
“They are required to have a face-to-face weekly meeting, but we’re hoping that they’ll want to come in more often than that,” said Moore. “We give them a quiet environment and there’s wifi there so it’s a great place to work with other students.”
Students not only receive assistance in completing their high school diploma, but they also get training for different job skill sets, support with resumes or college applications, and help looking for jobs. The program also offers a full-time mental health clinician for students as needed.
“We’re not really satisfied with just offering this opportunity for a high school diploma,” said Moore.
With over 500 students currently enrolled, Moore said that each student has a different story.
“We have students that for whatever reason they didn’t finish their high school diploma,” said Moore. “They could’ve been a teenager who wasn’t interested in school or someone who underwent a personal family tragedy. Life got in the way and they were unable to complete that diploma at that point in their life.”
SCOE will hold an informational orientation for prospective students interested in learning more about the program at 2 p.m. on Jan. 30 at the Martin Petersen Event Center, 720 12th Street in Modesto. Currently enrollment is open at sites in Modesto, Turlock, Patterson, Ceres and Oakdale.
For more information about orientation or Come Back Kids, call 238-8650 or visit stancoe.org/SCOE/ed-options/cbk.