County Superintendent of Schools Fabio Robles announced during the first Board of Education meeting for the new year, Jan. 17, that RISE Academy will be closing indefinitely at the end of this school year.
RISE Academy, which stands for restoring individual success in education, was given its name through a vote by its students in the 2019-2020 school year and opened the year before in 2018 as the Trinity County Community School.
According to the school’s website, during the 2017-2018 school year a collaboration between Trinity Alps Unified School District and Mountain Valley Unified School District with the county Office of Education started, which led to the creation of RISE Academy the next year. The school has served as the county’s alternative placement school for trauma impacted and vulnerable students since then.
However, the Trinity Alps Board of Trustees dissolved their contract with RISE after discussions in November and a vote in December, opting to reopen their Community Day Schools to serve vulnerable students as it had in the past. Robles said the Mountain Valley superintendent also indicated to him that her district would also be pulling out of RISE, saying there is currently not enough student need in the district to continue.
Robles aired some disappointment that the award-winning alternative placement school that he has served as superintendent of since its inception would be going away.
In its five-year run, RISE Academy was awarded by the state with the California School Boards Association Golden Bell, along with the California County Board of Education Apple for Excellence Award (The Trinity Journal, “State groups honor Trinity’s R.I.S.E Academy,” Dec. 16 2020).
“We’re gonna miss providing that service, and we had a positive impact on kids,” Robles said.
Robles continued saying the Office of Education will carry on focusing its energy on at-need students wherever it can and will support the districts as needed going forward.
“While I’m disappointed that our school is closing, I’m excited about continuing the work around supporting our neediest student populations and working closely with each district in providing the services they need and deserve,” Robles stated in an email to The Journal.
Lynne Gervasi, a member of the Board of Trustees for Trinity Alps Unified, spoke with The Journal saying the district appreciated RISE for all the work it has done, but that the trustees felt students could be better served by the district itself.
Gervasi said that, for example, RISE could only take in students who were expelled, whereas the Community Day School could take in those students as well as students on suspension rather than having them at home, and she said there were also interruptions with curriculum when students went to RISE and came back.
She also said students in need from other districts would be able to attend Trinity Alps’ day schools.
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