Lakeport Alternative Education Center & People Services Provide New Options for High School Seniors

Natural High School supports students 16 years and older through flexible scheduling, individualized instruction, and a smaller classroom environment. As part of the Lakeport Alternative Education Center, the district-approved curriculum meets California standards. Benefits of the alternative education program include an opportunity for credit recovery, adapting to health and/or family needs, customized education planning, parent involvement and participation, a focus on student interests, and the ability to pursue college level classes. Students are evaluated in a manner consistent with those students enrolled in the Lakeport Unified School District.

People Services was established in 1974. Their mission is to provide quality services for people with disabilities. They focus on community access, consumer rights, fostering independence, economic self-sufficiency, employment services, and transportation. Their goal is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by providing services that promote life exploration and informed choices.

The goal of the collaboration between Natural High School and People Services is to help continuation high school seniors earn their diploma, to enhance their independence, to promote career options, and to encourage self-confidence. Ilene Dumont works with each student individually. Each student submits a resume and completes a professional interview prior to working. The student then completes specific tasks such as working with clients, cleaning and detailing vans, and working in the vehicle shop. Dumont takes a firm but compassionate approach with the students. “They are treated as employees. They are required to show up for work or call and reschedule if an emergency arises. Cell phones aren’t allowed and students have a timecard to complete. We celebrate and make a big deal when they finish the program. We want them to understand the work they’ve done is important and valued,” says Dumont.

After the requirements are complete, each student meets with Principal Joe Aldridge to discuss job performance and how the newly learned skills apply to a post graduation job search. Successful students are considered for job placement within People Services or partnering organizations.

Superintendent, Erin Smith-Hagberg, shares, “this partnership between Lakeport Unified School District and People Services, Inc. is inspiring because it is an innovative way to support our students and our community.”

For more information about Natural Continuation High School or the Lakeport Alternative Education Center contact the administrative office at 707-262-3013. There is still room for enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year. For more information regarding People Services contact 707-263-3810.