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Educational options recognized

• Bowman High principal's lobbying efforts succeed

Posted: May 31, 2008 1:28 a.m.
Updated: August 1, 2008 5:03 a.m.

It's been a long time coming, but alternative schools like Bowman High School finally got the recognition they deserve when state legislators named the month of May Educational Options Month.

Bowman Principal Robin Geissler is statewide chairwoman of the Education Options Counsel, and has been working to get legislative leaders to validate schools that provide a choice of educational pathways in order to meet the needs of all students.

"We've been very active in lobbying this year for positive recognition for what we call ‘of promise' students," Geissler said of the population usually referred to as "at risk" students.

Bowman is a continuation high school for students considered at risk of not graduating at the normal pace. Continuation high school students consist of kids with discipline problems as well as mentally gifted students.

In addition to continuation high schools, the legislative resolution recognizes magnet programs, charter schools, independent study, adult education and other alternative schools.

"With over 414,000 California students currently enrolled in alternative educational settings, we must find ways to meet their needs and to provide them with hope," Geissler said. "The statistical data from my school is inspiring, but the achievement at Bowman High School represents so much more than numbers. When I think of our school's incredible strides, I see the faces of the kids who have turned their lives around."

Behind every statistic, there is a story of a kid who had no hope of earning a diploma, who had no chance for a better life, who beats the odds to succeed and prosper, she said.

Geissler is very pleased that the state has chosen to recognize students who choose a different path to success.

"It's a very important portion of the student population that we feel strongly about," Geissler said.


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