Case Study

Help Students Overcome Barriers to College and Career Readiness

August 19, 2014
Alternative Learning Center, Oceanside Unified School District, CA


Re-engage students who have not historically found success in school, or who cannot attend classes on a traditional academic schedule due to personal circumstances.


Prepare students for college and career success with a flexible academic program tailored to meet students' specific educational needs and life circumstances.


Leverage digital curriculum within an independent study program to provide:

  • Personalized learning plans
  • Flexible scheduling
  • UCOP-approved courses in "a-g" instructional areas


During their initial year of implementation, the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) experienced an 84 percent course pass rate, with 1,885 credits earned toward graduation. Because of the success at the ALC, Apex Learning Comprehensive Courses will be utilized in all three of the district's high schools as part of an accelerated credit recovery program.

1,855 Credits Earned Towards Graduation

District Profile

  • Suburban district in San Diego County, CA
  • 20,281 K–12 students
  • 2 comprehensive high schools
  • 1 alternative school

Creating a Pathway to College and Career

Located on the campus of Ocean Shores High School (OSHS), the ALC provides students who have been unsuccessful in the traditional classroom with an alternative route to graduation. Some students enroll because their personal circumstances make it difficult for them to attend school consistently during regular hours. Others have been suspended or expelled from their home school for behavioral problems or poor academic performance.

"We recognize each of the students we serve has a history. They have experiences outside of school that have impacted their ability to be successful," said Barry Tyler, ALC administrator. "We are committed to preparing each of these students to be college and career ready." At the ALC, each student receives a personalized instructional plan that focuses on developing the academic skills and confidence they need to be successful.

Following a comprehensive review, the administration selected Apex Learning as a digital curriculum partner. Along with the expansive course catalog and rigorous instruction, the courses are certified according to University of California Office of the President (UCOP) "a-g" instructional areas. This certification is a critical requirement for ALC administrators when selecting curriculum. "Even though our students have personal or academic struggles, many have the goal of attending college. UCOP-approved, "a-g" courses are required to prepare our students for the academic rigor found at the collegiate level," explained Barbara Perez, OSHS Principal.

Finding the right educational
environment for each student
is very important. Offering
additional education options,
such as online learning, flexible schedules, and the ability to work at one's own pace, we can see an increase in student success, which ultimately means an increase in graduation rates.

Barry Tyler


Alternative Learning Center


Offering One-to-One Support

Using an independent study format, students spend their instructional time engaged in online courses with appropriate monitoring and support. The interactive, self-paced instruction provides students with an engaging learning experience tailored to their individual needs. The instruction within the curriculum is embedded with scaffolding, supports, and frequent assessment, all of which enable students to acquire a deeper understanding of the content they may have struggled with in a traditional classroom. This instructional approach is conducive for both student and teacher success. The use of digital curriculum has reduced planning time and allowed the teachers to take on the role of a learning facilitator. Teachers now work one-to-one with students, providing an added layer of support and engaging them in conversation about their learning.