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LACOE's award-winning Road To Success Academy model of instruction is gaining support statewide.

The California Division of Juvenile Justice and the El Dorado County Office of Education have now adopted the approach, which addresses the academic and social-emotional needs of incarcerated youth.

"We are excited to be bringing thematic project-based learning to the youth of DJJ," said Troy Fennel, superintendent of education, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "After visiting the camps [served by LACOE] and seeing the student success there, I knew the RTSA approach would help us reach our youth in DJJ as well."

DJJ serves youth offenders up to age 25 who have the most serious criminal backgrounds and intensive treatment needs. Each of its three sites (two in Stockton and one in Camarillo), which together serve some 400 youth, is implementing RTSA.

"Close to 20 percent of the students we serve in our L.A. County Juvenile Court Schools will transfer to one of the DJJ facilities," said Diana Velasquez, director of RTSA programs for LACOE. "The continuity of instruction we've now established gives these young people a greater chance of earning their diploma or equivalency, which is vital to their successful re-entry into the community."

LACOE's RTSA team began training DJJ teachers and administrators in August 2016. The three sites held their pilot student exhibitions in December. The team will continue to support DJJ with coaching and monitoring for the next two years and then conduct a review following the RTSA certification process.

"The students that participated in our first pilot semester all stated that they enjoyed this way of learning," Fennel said. "We are looking forward to expanding this approach for all of our students."

The El Dorado County Office of Education in Placerville also has contracted with LACOE. They have completed the training and have begun implementation of the RTSA approach in its Juvenile Court Schools.

Learn more about RTSA here.

Photo: A student project at the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, one of three state Division of Juvenile Justice sites that has adopted LACOE's Road To Success Academy model of instruction.

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