Students in Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) rely on
teachers for their day-to-day education. But what happens when those
youths are poised to leave a community school or juvenile hall classroom?
That’s where the San Diego County Office of Education's student transition technicians come in.
In the past year, JCCS has assembled a five-person team that serves students in
both court and community schools. A critical piece of their work is to support
students transitioning from court schools back into their home schools. The
technicians work to ensure that there is not a lapse in student education, and
that students continue with needed courses.
“Our student transition technicians provide invaluable
support to our students as they navigate into, through, and beyond our
schools,” JCCS Senior Director Sean Morrill said. “They collaborate with school
districts, probation, parents, and community-based organizations to ensure the
most appropriate placements for all our students.”
The student transition technicians serve as a technical
resource to school districts and JCCS staff members, and maintain complex
records for JCCS students. Perhaps most importantly, their job is also about
making a connection with students.
Student transition technician Araceli Scholl knows the
importance of connections, and can relate to her students. Scholl was in the
JCCS system herself in a pregnant teen program when she was 16.
“I was on my way to being expelled in Vista because I
stopped going to school,” she said. “I had a social worker who asked if I
wanted to go to school, and I said, ‘Yes.’ So I was introduced to JCCS.”
She looked to her JCCS teachers as models.
“I’ve always been an observer, and I knew there was always
more for me,” she said.
She joined SDCOE as a teacher’s aide in 1998. When the
transition technician job came along last July, it was everything she wanted to
She now divides her time between juvenile hall and Camp
She calls for honesty with her students when creating a
“I tell them, ‘You need to do this for you. Show me your
potential,’ ” she said.
On any given day at juvenile hall, she may be pulled into a
classroom to answer a student’s question about a transcript or missing credits.
A teacher recently invited Scholl to speak to a class of older high school
girls, and she shared her story.
Scholl tells her students, “I’m going to be here. I’m going
to bug you. You’re going to have to get rid of me.”
The need for additional transition services for JCCS
students was called out in the initial development of SDCOE’s Local Control and
Accountability Plan. In addition, legislation that took effect in 2015
strengthened education rights for youths who have been in the juvenile justice
system. The new laws require education and probation agencies to implement a
transition planning policy focused on students being released from juvenile
The student transition technicians also focus on
post-secondary options through career discussions and research, guest speakers,
college and certificate program field trips, and one-on-one planning.
“We’re pretty unique in what we’re doing, especially with
our focus on career and technical education,” JCCS Student Support Supervisor
Stephanie Austin said. “It is so rewarding for our staff to aid in this
While the student transition technician position requires
some college experience, Austin said that the most outstanding quality required
to work with students in JCCS “is a passion to connect students with the
supports, information, and connections that will assist them in achieving their
individual goals for college, career, and life.”
The transition technicians know their students’ strengths
and areas of need in order to guide them in developing a personalized learning
“Our JCCS students have talents, goals, and dreams to
continue past any of the difficulties that have impacted their lives thus far,”
Austin said. “We work to help them see beyond the now, and onto what can be. In
one of my favorite student quotes, we assist students in ‘turning stumbling
blocks into stepping stones!’”