California has a large number of students who have either dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of high school. For a variety of reasons, they have not succeeded in the traditional school setting. For students wanting a second chance to change their lives and become successful, Grizzly Youth Academy is a highly recommended option. We offer a highly structured environment in which students attend and participate in school every day, gain organizational and study skills, and receive the support and additional help they need.
Grizzly Youth Academy is a five month residential program run in partnership between The California National Guard and Grizzly ChalleNGe Charter School . Students choose to attend the program. They cannot be court-ordered or forced by their parent to enroll. Because of the voluntary nature of the program, we can better devote our time on teaching the skills necessary to succeed socially and academically. All of our instruction is designed to address California state standards, meet the requirements for a high school diploma and prepare students for the GED test.
In addition to academics, the Grizzly Youth Academy has taken on a deeper holistic approach focusing on the whole person. It is the philosophy of the academy to produce well-rounded, competent graduates who successfully transition immediately into the workforce, higher education, vocational schools, or enlist in the military. Therefore, we infuse our instruction with social and emotional growth opportunities as well as numerous goal setting and life planning activities to increase the likelihood of each student’s success.
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AT THE ACADEMY
A CHARTER SCHOOL
The Grizzly ChalleNGe Charter School is a WASC accredited school administered by the San Luis County Office of Education (SLOCOE). All credits earned are transferable into any California public secondary school. All teachers are highly qualified and possess valid California teaching credentials.
HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT/DIPLOMA
All students at the academy earn high school credits while attending the charter school. These credits are transferable to any high school. Students receive report cards for each semester and an official transcript upon graduation from the academy. Students may earn up to 60 credits during their 22 weeks in the program.
Students who arrive at the academy within 60 credits of completing a high school diploma are eligible to complete those credits and obtain a high school diploma issued by The Grizzly ChalleNGe Charter School. Those students will receive their diploma at graduation ceremonies at the end of the residential phase of the academy.
GRIZZLY CHALLENGE CHARTER SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
We sponsor a number of events and field trips to enrich our curriculum and integrate our students into the community. Some examples of events/field trips include the Steinbeck Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Hearst Castle, Career Day, Allan Hancock College, Cal Poly, Pacific Coast Performing Arts, Make A Change (guest speakers discussing positive changes they have made in their lives), and Student Elections.
State mandated exams: All students in grades 2 through 11 are required to participate in California 's STAR test. The STAR test is administered each spring. In addition, all students who have not passed the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) will have the opportunity to take it while they attend the program.
Program mandated assessments: The TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) is administered to all incoming cadets during the first two weeks of the program. The results of this test provide valuable information to education staff when preparing curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of all students.
Students are post tested with the TABE prior to graduation from the residential phase of the academy. The average academic growth for a student at the academy is 1.0 – 2.0 grade levels as measured by the TABE test.
In order to take the GED test while at Grizzly Youth Academy, students must be at least 17 years and ten months of age, have a California photo ID or driver's license and show through our assessments that they have a reasonable chance of passing. We use our TABE test, and course assessments to identify likely candidates.
There is a focus on technological skills for students at the Grizzly ChalleNGe Charter School. Our school has attained a greater than one to one computing ratio with the use of netbooks which are individually issued to each student. This is done in order to better integrate technology into the curriculum and help instruct our students in accessing 21st century skills. Some of the technology used by students on a regular basis includes; Moodle, photo stories, presentations, templates, research, word processing, publishing, photo editing, and graphing.
Students elect a student council. There are two representatives from each of the education groups, a class president and vice president. They meet with the Director of the Academy on a weekly basis to provide dialogue between the students and academy administration. The student council also plans various events for the student body.
The academy provides job shadowing experiences for over 50 students each cycle. Members of business organizations within the surrounding community have supported Grizzly by providing job shadowing experiences for our students. Selected students go to work four days a week for four weeks of the cycle and, through their apprenticeship, learn first hand what it is like to have a job. Students receive academic credit for this course. We have placed students in jobs at medical offices, law enforcement agencies, college administrative offices, Cal fire, animal shelters, automotive repair, state parks, restaurants, computer repair, retail sales, and construction. We are very grateful to the community for their support.
Students who have an IEP are appropriately addressed throughout the program. There are two RSP teachers on the staff as well as a school psychologist and counselor. Student progress is monitored closely and is communicated to parents/guardians regularly.