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Our Opinion: An important chance

May 02, 2002

Community schools play a critical role in giving young people a chance to think about and work toward a future they might — through their own lack of vision — let slip through their grips.

Fortunately, the county has the community school program and a program head, David Schoneman, who together are striving to meet the needs of youths who have chosen wrong paths and find themselves on the verge of slipping through the cracks of society.

Imperial County education officials are trying to do what they can to prevent young people from wasting their lives after being put on probation or being booted from public schools. Because they have a last chance at the community schools, such youths can turn around their lives and see there are plenty of people concerned about them.

The county is building two state-of-the-art community schools in El Centro and Brawley that will provide such youths positive environments in which to learn — environments that look like any other school. Right now the community school in El Centro is in a tin shed, which has to make some young people there feel as if they are throwaways.

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In a recent presentation to the Brawley Union High School District board, Schoneman spoke about how the emphasis of the community schools is to keep youths on track with their education so they can eventually get back to mainstream programs without having fallen behind in their studies. Another emphasis is improving the reading levels of students, which can help the young people in school and most other areas of life.

We credit county education officials for addressing the need of these young people, and we applaud those teens smart enough to take advantage of the chance they are given.

We look forward to seeing the success stories that come out of the new community schools. The schools will create an atmosphere in which parents and others can become more involved and the students can feel less like outcasts.

The more a young person feels a part of the community and as though people care about him or her, the more easily he or she will find the road to an improved life. If that happens, everyone benefits.

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