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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Guillermo Mendoza, Desert Regional Consortia

School districts partner to restore adult education services in Coachella Valley

The Challenge

Prior to 2009, the Desert Regional Consortium’s Coachella Valley had three prosperous school district-based adult schools. In 2009, K-12 school district funding previously reserved for adult education was redistributed to other areas of education, resulting in the eventual closure of Desert Sands Adult School and Palm Springs Adult School. That left only one adult school in the region, Coachella Valley Adult School, located in the Coachella Valley Unified School District. The closures produced a sizeable gap in services and left thousands of adult learners without hope of furthering their education.

The Solution

To address the challenge of having more adult learners than the single remaining K-12 adult school could accommodate, consortium members came together to leverage limited funding and other resources. Coachella Valley Adult School (CVAS) entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) to provide adult education services within DSUSD. The partnership allowed the entities to serve more adult learners in the region by taking advantage of existing educational structures in place at CVAS to expand services into DSUSD, offering evening classes at DSUSD’s existing school sites.

New adult education programs were introduced in DSUSD as a result of the partnership. They include English as a second language (ESL), high school equivalency (HSE), adult high school diploma and comprehensive student support services, including child care and counseling/transition support.


Since 2016, the CVAS and DSUSD partnership has expanded and continues to be strengthened. Due to an increase in student demand, the consortium added an additional English program at Johnson Elementary School last year. For the 2017-18 school year, it plans to add an additional English program, as well as a citizenship preparation program, and DSUSD hired a full-time Adult Career Transition Counselor to assist students at CVAS and DSUSD with transitions to career and postsecondary education.

The Data

As a result of the partnership, adult learners are meeting their educational goals and progressing toward them. For the 2016-17 school year, a combined 350 students – that includes DSUSD and CVAS adult learners – earned their high school diploma or equivalency. Also CASAS test results show that students from both locations combined experienced an average learning gain of 8.9.

Looking at it another way, an average of 71 percent of lower-level students successfully completed their CASAS level during the 2016 school year and for all levels of adult basic education, adult secondary education and ESL, the students who were part of the CVAS-DSUSD partnership exceeded California Performance Goals in nine out of 10 levels.

Supporting Information

News article

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