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The Daily Dish: California School Makes High School Graduation a Priority for Homeless Students

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June 17, 2015 04:12 pm

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The Daily Dish digs deeper into one of the day’s top news stories on K–12 education. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed for all the latest updates and follow the Alliance on Twitter at @All4Ed for more education news.


High School is not only a means for academic success for students, but can also act as a place of support for those who face adversities. The Atlantic’s Eilene Zimmerman takes an in-depth look at the Monarch School in San Diego, California, one of the only schools in the country that exclusively enrolls homeless students, and the difficulties those students face to reach graduation. Zimmerman notes that of the roughly 1.2 million public school children who are homeless, 75 percent will drop out of high school.

She goes on to explain how the Monarch School, opened in 1987, supplies its 300 K-12 homeless students with a reliable source of food and healthcare as well as a path to a diploma.  Zimmerman quotes Joe Wiseman, Monarch’s principal, as saying: “Here, they all share the same story. There’s no reason to be embarrassed, we eliminate all those barriers. Every day they come to a safe place and focus on learning.”

This year, Monarch launched a program to help its students focus on life after high school – be that post-secondary education or the workforce. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education hopes to do the same by way of high school diplomas.

Chalkbeat Indiana’s Shaina Cavazos explained in an article Tuesday the board’s plans to overhaul its high school diploma types to include one which focuses on college and career preparation. Cavazos says the new College and Career diploma, if approved by the Indiana State Board of Education, “would require students to take more core classes, especially in math and science. It also would allow students to specialize in an interest area…”

Students at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C. earned their diplomas June 13, and hear remarks from US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the importance of appreciating those who helped them get to graduation and taking the next step in their education. Duncan said to graduates:

“You must make your next graduation—from college—a priority and you cannot stop until you’ve earned a degree or certificate. A college credential is the best investment you can make in yourself, and your future. Whatever your dream in life may be, more education will always open up doors for you that you may not know ever existed today.”

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.