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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bowling together or bowling alone : continuation high school students tell their stories

  • Author(s): Holt, Kevin Daniel
  • et al.
Abstract

Continuation schools offer a high school diploma program to meet the needs of students 16 through 18 years of age who have not graduated from high school, are not exempt from compulsory school attendance, and are deemed at-risk of not completing their schooling. This paper includes a historical review of continuation high schools. The paper considers the political, economic, and social forces that have challenged continuation schools throughout the 20th century. This study's methodology consisted of gathering and analyzing qualitative data. These data derived from photographic activity and interviews with students attending a continuation high school, a student inquiry group discussion with students attending a comprehensive high school the same district, and a review of archival documents from the continuation high school. Perceptions of social capital were examined in terms of barriers and supports. Perceptions were compared between the continuation high school students and the comprehensive high school students. Common supports and barriers identified through the analysis of the qualitative data included: administration, caring relationships, computer lab, counselor, credits to graduate information, electives, family, friends, nutrition, office staff, personal choices, physical education, rewards/incentives, teachers, time, physical campus, and visual representations. A final section addressed areas for potential future research related to the presence of social capital as perceived through students attending a continuation high school. By using the lens of social capital to analyze the culture of a continuation high school, those interested improving the achievement levels of students in these settings may learn how to increase the degree of social capital in a specific setting

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