North County Academy’s Associated Student Body (ASB) is responsible for planning and promoting events, working on the yearbook, and producing a newsletter for students.
It’s a lot of activities for any group of high school students to balance with schoolwork and other projects. At many comprehensive high schools, there are usually 15-20 students in ASB. At North County Academy (NCA) there are four. There were nine to start the school year, but class scheduling and student departures have reduced the group’s size. The students who continue in ASB are a dedicated bunch who work hard to generate school spirit and encourage student involvement.
Christian, a senior, and Aidan, a freshman, participate in ASB because they enjoy working with other students as one team. Tajanae, a senior, likes giving advice and opinions.
“I also like planning something and seeing it succeed,” Aidan added.
So far this year, ASB students have created spirit signs and sold popcorn at football games; organized students in preparing the campus for Back-to-School night; hosted the Fall Festival/Halloween event; started yearbook production; and launched the first newsletter of the school year.
The Fall Festival was something, “the kids didn’t want to leave,” said ASB Advisor Nancy Black.
Students transformed an ordinary classroom into a spooky Halloween experience complete with bats, hand-drawn artwork, and different stations that offered things like cookie decorating and a photo booth. New this year was the Little Shop of Horrors, which featured a give-away table, face painting, and more. In addition to the NCA high school students, elementary, and middle school students from the neighboring sites also attended the festival.
“We hear from students that they want more of these things in school, and it motivates us to do more,” Christian said.
Through the spring, the students will continue working on the yearbook and have begun planning for the prom in May.
NCA, operated by the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education SELPA in affiliation with SDCOE, is designed to meet the academic and therapeutic needs of K-12 students with mental health concerns. The school has approximately 30 students, which creates an environment in which students can participate in opportunities you would find on a comprehensive campus, but on a smaller scale.
“Many students would never take advantage of these opportunities or would be too afraid to participate at a comprehensive high school, especially something like running for office” said Talin Yesaie, therapeutic program manager at NCA.
Instructional Aide Jeff Cox said the group celebrates after each event before moving onto the next one.
“They don’t realize how much they are doing,” he said. “They put their heart and souls into their work.”