Exeter Unified School District- County of Tulare
Exeter Unified School District increases graduation rates in collaboration with local Boys & Girls Club of the Sequoias
A discussion with local community service providers and school representatives resulted in a groundbreaking collaborative program that won a Golden Bell Award from CSBA. Kaweah High School is a continuation school located in Tulare County and is part of Exeter Unified School District. Kaweah High had a reputation of being ineffective due to the low graduation rates, low attendance records, and minimal student success expectations. Up until fairly recently, students from Kaweah High were not well respected in their community and in the job market upon graduation. However, such negative perspective towards Kaweah High students soon began to change with the help of district and high school staff.
Working On Our Future, otherwise known as WOOF, is a program that aims to transform the lives of students who at some point encountered academic and behavior difficulties. In collaboration with staff at the Boys & Girls Club of the Sequoias, WOOF staff developed a three-pronged strategy that focused on academic intervention and enrichment, life skills development and job and career preparedness. The partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of the Sequoias was critical to WOOF’s success. The organizations share data, space, staff and resources to provide comprehensive services to students. Grants and financial donations from nonprofits, business and the community also support the program.
Exeter Unified School District has opened the program to include students in other district’s alternative education and independent study programs. Neighboring districts are also taking notice and are pursuing similar programs. The Fresno Unified School District and the Fresno County Boys & Girls Club have implemented portions of the WOOF program, as has a collaborative of service providers in rural Tulare County. Combining work experience with a focus on academics has turned out to be a winning formula.