Diploma Plus high schools are public schools that offer high school diplomas and comply with state graduation requirements, including passing the California High School Exit Examination. Diploma Plus high schools are based on an alternative, small-school model designed to provide students with strong academic skills through a rigorous academic curriculum, valuable life skills and work experience, as well as college credits that can be applied to a future college degree.
These schools serve students ages fifteen through nineteen who have not experienced success in traditional high school settings. These students may have dropped out and want to reenter school or may still be enrolled and underachieving. The Diploma Plus model provides these students with two to four (or more) years of education service as well as the transition to postsecondary opportunities.
Diploma Plus high schools are administered by the Center for Youth Development and Education at the Commonwealth Corporation (CommCorp). CommCorp has successfully managed the development of 16 Diploma Plus high schools in four states. A Gates Foundation grant awarded to CommCorp supported the addition of three Diploma Plus high schools in California by 2008. CommCorp, New Ways to Work (a partnership organization), and the CDE are working together to expand the Diploma Plus model in California.