As they received their high school diplomas Thursday, 23
students at San Pasqual Academy shared a special and emotional moment, one some
of them said they never thought would come.
Perhaps even more importantly, all of the students plan to
continue their education, mostly at local community colleges. Four are going to
CSU campuses this fall.
For many students, graduating and college are expected, but most
of the students at the residential school for foster teens have faced obstacles
that many other students couldn’t imagine.
Several of the students who spoke at the graduation ceremony
at the rural Escondido campus said they wouldn’t have been as successful as
they have been without the stability the school provided and help of the
“San Pasqual Academy has helped me shape my character and develop
skills needed to be successful in the real world,” said Michael, one of the
All of the students received several scholarships, and many
also received awards from local service clubs.
The school’s auditorium was filled with well-wishers,
including family members, teachers, school officials and other community
members. Three students who were recognized for outstanding citizenship received
cars and two got iPads.
San Pasqual Academy started in 2001 to address the needs of
foster youth in San Diego County and is the first residential education campus
for foster youth in the nation. The school is changing lives and helping to set
the community’s foster youth on a path of success by providing foster teens
with a stable, caring home; a quality, individualized education; and preparation
for independent living.
The 238-acre campus is a unique placement option for foster
youth who are 12 to 18 years old. Four collaborative partners on campus offer a
seamless delivery of services—providing residential, academic, work readiness,
and dependency case-management programs and services. The collaborative
partners include New Alternatives Inc., San Diego County Office of Education,
San Diego Workforce Partnership, and the County of San Diego.
The San Diego County Office of Education provides the
on-site high school program, which includes personalization of instruction and
differentiation based upon student need, rigorous grade level lessons aligned
to Common Core State Standards, after school enrichment and tutoring for
additional intervention and support, access to courses at Palomar College, and
career-technical courses in culinary arts and entrepreneurship.