Its “All Good” at South Valley High

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Would you want to send your kid to school with axe-murderers and thieves?  Well many kids who are forced to attend continuation schools think that these schools are almost that bad.  Continuation schools have had a reputation of having students who are troublemakers. Continuation education is an alternative high school diploma program. It is for students who are sixteen years or older, have not graduated from high school, are still required to attend school, and who are at risk of not graduating. South Valley is a continuation school and has had the reputation of it being a “bad” kid school in our community. However, the kids that come here are just kids that needed a little bit more help with their credits. Since when does needing help mean you’re bad or a trouble maker? Maybe they caused some trouble because they were not getting the help they needed.  South Valley is a great school in so many ways and the students who go here are just as great.


I was one of those “bad” kids before I got to South Valley.  I got kicked out of the school I used to go to because my attendance was really bad. I was told that I was so “bad” that they doubted that South Valley would even take me, but I was accepted; I guess I wasn’t that “bad.” I enrolled here near the end of my junior year and liked it so much I decided to finish my senior year here. I’m not going to say that my attendance is perfect, but I have attended so much more than I did at my other school.

The way things work around here are so different than at other schools. On Wednesday we have advisory day, which is where we stay in one class all day and the teachers focus more on the bond they have with their students. They’ll make us breakfast and when we are all eating we have “family time,” which is when we all go around and talk about what’s going on in our life which makes us just a little bit closer.

I have formed better relationships with my teachers at South Valley in four months than I did at my other school in 3 years. The teachers in my other school barely even knew my name or who I was. They didn’t bother to see if I was struggling or not and I was always too afraid to ask for help because again they barely knew I was in their class. At South Valley the teachers actually know me. I can joke around with them and talk to them like if they were my friends, which in a way you can say they are. I’m not afraid to ask for help because of the bond I have with them and I know they will help me with anything, educational or personal. Having better relationships with my teachers has made me a much better student;  I have already been awarded student of the month.

This school is quite small and because of this everyone here is just like a big family. Teachers go out of their way to help you in school and in your private life. Once a kid that went here got arrested and it was a teacher who bailed him out. They truly do care about you and want you to succeed. I’m not saying that others schools aren’t like this, but because some schools are really big and teachers have six classes of up to 20-30 kids, they don’t have enough room to really focus on every single student.

South Valley staff actually take the time to listen to us and to try and compromise with us. Like when it comes to cell phones. I saw a lot of people get referrals at my other school because of them. Even if your headphone were out you’d get in trouble. Here, you can listen to music as long as you are being productive. The principal and student representatives actually met to discuss what would make the best cell phone policy — one that would work for both staff and students.  They actually take us into consideration on a lot of the things that go on in the school because this is our school and we need to have a voice in it.

Our leadership class is another good thing at this school. Many continuation schools don’t offer leadership classes — they are trying to turn kids into leaders, they are just trying to keep them from being “bad.” Leadership doesn’t just focus on making South Valley better, but it also focuses on our community. Last year the class adopted a family for Christmas so that they would get gifts and they also went around town helping out the homeless. The people in this school have big hearts and I really don’t understand how people could say we’re “bad” kids. We’re not bad kids. We are kids who just need a little bit more help and this school is great at giving us that help. And once we get that help, we turn around and try to help others.

South Valley should not be thought of as a “bad” kid school.  In fact, this year our principal was invited to attend a conference in Chicago because our school was recognized for the outstanding work it does and how we do things differently.  We were recognized because of how great we are and because this school does things to make our kids feel safe and pushes them to be “good” kids. The reputation of South Valley being a “bad” kid school is very inaccurate. We all make mistakes but that doesn’t make someone bad. This is a great school with great people in it.

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