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In this June 6, 2018, file photo, Maple High School's Class of 2018 participate in an on-campus graduation ceremony. Lompoc Unified School District announced that Maple had been selected by the state as a Model Continuation High School.

Maple High School, located in Vandenberg Village, has been selected as a Model Continuation High School by the California Department of Education.

The designation was approved by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and will last from April 2019 through March 2022. Thurmond's office announced Wednesday that Maple was one of 31 schools to receive the honor, and Maple was specifically cited in that announcement for its "expansive Career Technical Education program that introduces students to various career options after high school."

The state’s Model Continuation High School Recognition program, according to the department of education website, “identifies and recognizes outstanding programs and creates a resource list of quality programs for school visitations. These schools provide comprehensive services to at-risk youth through the use of exemplary instructional strategies, flexible scheduling, and guidance and counseling services.”

Continuation schools provide a high school diploma program for students ages 16 through 18 who have not graduated from high school, are required to attend school and are at risk of not completing their education. They often provide alternative programs for students whose needs aren't met in traditional classrooms.

Schools are selected for the Model Continuation designation based on a comprehensive and competitive application process that involves effectiveness, assessments and use of data. This year's process included a peer review panel and on-site visit.

Maple High School Principal Katy Wallace expressed excitement over receiving the designation.

“The staff and students at Maple High School are an exceptional crew,” Wallace said. “Each student at Maple High School has a unique story. The MHS staff sees the whole student, addressing the academic and social needs of each student. I believe our programs, staff and individualized approach to education is what makes MHS a California Model Continuation High School.

“As a principal,” she added, “I could not be more excited for the staff, students and parents at our school.”

Lompoc Unified School District Superintendent Trevor McDonald shared a similar sentiment.

“I am extremely proud of the Maple community for providing a quality education for our students,” he said. “It is humbling to have another award-winning school within our district and serving our kids.”

Maple High School will be recognized at the 2019 California Continuation Education Association State Conference, which is scheduled for April 26 through 28 in Santa Clara. The school is slated to be presented with a certificate at the conference.

Elizabeth Gonzalez, who graduated from Maple High School on Tuesday, seemed to think the honor was well-deserved.

“Maple High School has encouraged me and helped me to graduate on time,” she said. “The staff here is very understanding and is relatable and gives you someone to look up to. ... I am graduating because I went to Maple High School.”

The Model Continuation High Schools Recognition program is a joint project of the California Department of Education and the California Continuation Education Association.

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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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