A continuation high school is an alternative grade 12 diploma program for students aged 16 to 18 who haven't already graduated and are at risk for not graduating. The purpose of continuation high schools is to give students, who may have family, drug or other problems such as depression, an alternative to complete their education. A continuation high school is career-focused and offers students more flexibility than traditional secondary schools.
For instance, a student who is skipping classes at a regular high school and is risking being expelled may be given a workable study schedule to be completed during hours considered non-traditional at most schools. Individual study plans and smaller class sizes are features of a typical continuation high school. School days may also be shorter in length.
It's important to note that continuation high school students often work at a faster pace than those at traditional secondary schools. In many cases, these students are behind with their classes when they transfer to the continuation school. Students come from diverse backgrounds and have many different reasons for attending the alternative school model.
Some academically gifted students choose the continuation high school model so they can work at a faster pace than most traditional schools allow. Many pregnant teens and young mothers attend continuation high schools so they can schedule needed classes around their child care responsibilities. Alternate school models also give young people in the same situation a chance to connect with other students in similar circumstances.
While most traditional high schools do have student counseling available, a continuation school is even more focused on providing students with guidance. Continuation high schools help students prepare for careers and/or college. They may also work with youth and scholarship programs to financially help students go on to college or enter a career. Individualized plans and counseling are done within the context of completing traditional high school curriculum. It's important to note that the graduation requirements are the same for continuation schools as they are for traditional high school.
Unlike a traditional secondary school, completing coursework online at home is usually acceptable at continuation high schools. Most exams must be taken in person at the school. While most students apply to continuation high schools themselves, courts in youth delinquency cases may refer students to these alternative diploma programs.