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March 13, 2018 > Alternative school earns state merit award

Alternative school earns state merit award

Submitted By Alameda County Office of Education

Hayward Community School, run by the Alameda County Office of Education, recently received the 2018 Civic Learning Award of Merit from the California Department of Education. The school was the only one in Alameda County to be recognized. Throughout the state, 65 schools received Awards of Merit. Three schools received Awards of Excellence and six schools received Awards of Distinction. The Civic Learning Awards celebrate public schoolsÕ efforts to engage students in civic learning.

In honoring Hayward Community School with the Award of Merit, the selection committee said they were "very impressed with (Hayward Community School's) commitment to providing students with a high quality civic education."

The award is based on the work of the Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) Law Program, which teaches law-related education and life skills to high school students at Hayward Community School. The school is an alternative school designed to provide educational opportunities for middle and high school students, ages 12-17, who have not been successful at traditional schools.

"FLY is a very powerful and valuable program, providing students who have experience with the juvenile justice system the opportunity to learn to advocate for themselves and others,Ó said ACOE Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe. ÒFLY helps our students to both understand and apply what they learn in a way that has immediate impact for their situation.Ó

In the FLY Law Program, an elective program for students in grades 9-12, students have opportunities to discuss laws relevant to their lives. Students act as California State Senators and debate the merits and detriments of laws and are forced to examine all sides of reasoning and history behind the law. Students also learn to de-escalate high-stress situations in encounters with law enforcement and have an opportunity to debate and discuss police tactics.

ÒI am so proud of the Hayward Community students, particularly at a time when young people are being recognized for their civic engagement,Ó said Monica Vaughan, ACOEÕs Chief of Schools. ÒAs we look across the country to students demanding justice and change for inspiration, I am heartened that we see activism taking hold here among our own students. Congratulations as well to our school leadership and staff, who create the atmosphere for these students to learn and thrive.Ó

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