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SAN JOSE, CA – After a successful pilot year,
Opportunity Youth Academy (OYA) began its second year on September 6 as the newest countywide charter school following the recent approval of its petition on August 17 by the Santa Clara County Board of Education. After almost two years of development and support from the Board, OYA was successfully launched last school year as a credit-recovery program that re-engages students aged 16-24 to help them earn their high school diploma. The program offers teacher-directed instruction as well as online options.
Operating in four locations around the county with a fifth set to open soon on Story Road in San Jose, the program has re-engaged more than 200 mostly economically disadvantaged students, helping more than 40 graduate in the program's first year. Due to the success of reaching its target audience and the growth of the program, the funding model had to be restructured to continue meeting the needs of these unserved students. Under the leadership of County Superintendent of Schools Jon R. Gundry, the Santa Clara County Office of Education pursued the idea of operating OYA as a countywide charter school to receive state funding.
"We need to be resourceful to meet this critical need in our community and we believe the approval of OYA as a countywide charter school will allow us to continue providing access to a high quality educational pathway for students who are not currently enrolled in school and have not yet earned a diploma," Superintendent Gundry said.
The granting of the charter petition will replicate and extend the OYA program through an innovative curriculum with
SIATech that integrates technology with academics and involves several partners to assist with curriculum and comprehensive professional development.
The program also serves English language learners and students with special needs, provides individualized support of teachers, counselors, navigators, and liaisons, and offers a flexible schedule and the ability to accommodate students with children. The focus is ensuring that students leave the program with a high school diploma and on a path to college or a career. The classes students complete satisfy admission requirements for California public universities and military service.
"Anytime we can offer services to students who are most in need, it is a win-win situation," Mr. Gundry said. "With more sites planned to come online across the county, more students will be able to enroll, helping to reduce economic challenges that often hinder students' efforts to reengage in the educational system."
With more than 6,000 potential students who meet the OYA criteria in Santa Clara County, the SCCOE is embarking upon a comprehensive marketing strategy to reach the intended population through existing students and community based organizations.
Interested 16- to 24-year-olds who would benefit from the Opportunity Youth Academy program should call 1-844-OYA-4UUU (1-844-692-4888) or email
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