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Community Day Schools

Community day schools are schools for students who have been expelled from school or who have had problems with attendance or behavior. They are run by school districts.

These schools serve troubled students in many ways. They offer challenging classes and teach important skills. They have counselors and other professionals who assist students.

The California Department of Education is involved in the funding and management of community day schools.

  • For information about community day schools in your area, contact your local school district.
  • The Community Day Schools - CalEdFacts page provides additional information about community day schools.
  • The links and information below were developed for educators and others who are directly involved with community day schools.

Community day schools are operated by school districts. Community day schools serve mandatory and other expelled students, students referred by a School Attendance Review Board, and other high-risk youths. The 360-minute minimum instructional day includes academic programs that provide challenging curriculum and individual attention to student learning modalities and abilities. Community day school programs also focus on the development of pro-social skills and student self-esteem and resiliency. Community day schools are intended to have low student-teacher ratios. Students benefit from learning support services that include school counselors and psychologists, academic and vocational counselors, and pupil discipline personnel. Students also receive collaborative services from county offices of education, law enforcement, probation, and human services agency personnel who work with at-risk youth.

Program Summary
Information on program purpose, services, outcomes, students served, and results.

Model Community Day School Recognition Program
Identifies and recognizes outstanding community day school programs and creates a resource list of exemplary programs for school visitations and mentoring.

Guidelines for Establishing a Community Day School
The general guidelines for establishing a community day school include a Checklist, Assignment of Students, Minimum School Day, Approval of Attendance Accounting, Location, Facilities, and Countywide Plan.

Core Elements
The California Department of Education, in collaboration with the leaders of the statewide Community Day School Field Colleague Network, has outlined core elements and questions to guide you in describing your community day schools.

Community Day School Email List
Join the community day school listserv to receive timely information about the establishment and operation of community day schools. This includes professional development and funding opportunities.

County-District-School (CDS) Codes
The CDS code system is an administrative convenience designed to provide the California Department of Education, the Department of Finance, and post secondary institutions with a basis for tracking schools. Each community day school must have its own unique code number.

Education Code (EC) Waiver Process
The purpose of a waiver is to provide flexibility in a school district or county office of education without undermining the basic intent of the law. The governing board of a school district or county office of education may request that the State Board of Education (SBE) waive parts of the California EC and/or implementing regulations. The SBE may approve such waivers under its general waiver authority.


California School Directory
This directory includes California's community day schools by county and district, including grade span and contact information.

Community Day Schools - CalEdFacts
Part of California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For similar information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

Resources for Educational Options Programs
Provides links to additional community day school information.

Law for Community Day Schools
California EC sections 48660 through 48926 and other related sections of the EC pertaining to community day schools.

Questions: Dan Sackheim | | 916-445-5595 
Last Reviewed: Friday, May 24, 2024