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Continuation Education Program Summary

Provides information on program purpose, services, outcomes, funding, students served, and results for Continuation Education.


Continuation Education, an educational option for students since 1919, is a high school diploma program designed to meet the needs of students aged sixteen and older who have not graduated from high school, are not exempt from compulsory school attendance, and deemed at risk of not completing their schooling. Students enrolled in continuation education programs are often credit deficient. Others need a flexible educational environment because they are employed or engaged in family obligations. California Education Code (EC) sections that provide for continuation education include EC sections 44865, 46170, 48400–48438, and 51055.

Students enrolled in continuation education programs are often credit deficient or in need of a flexible schedule due to employment, family obligations, and/or other critical needs. For apportionment purposes, a minimum day of attendance in continuation education is 180 minutes. However, many continuation high schools offer academic programs that exceed the minimum daily attendance requirement.


For apportionment purposes, minimum attendance is 15 hours per week or 180 minutes per day. However, many continuation high schools provide full day programs that exceed the minimum daily requirement. In addition to the required academic courses for graduation, the program of instruction emphasizes occupational or career orientation or a work-study schedule and intensive guidance and counseling. Supplemental programs and services may include, but not be limited to, independent study, regional occupation programs, career counseling, concurrent enrollment in community college and/or adult education, and job placement and apprenticeships.


Outcomes include dropout prevention, recovery of out-of-school youth, increased student retention, increased graduation rates for students at risk of failure of completing high school, learning gains for students who are significantly behind in credits, educational services and support for foster youth, diversion from the criminal justice system, support for pregnant and parenting students, and other services that derive from a supportive educational environment.


Funding for Continuation Education is part of the Local Control Funding Formula.


Educational services vary widely depending on the resources that each local educational agency (LEA) dedicates to the continuation high school. For example, Model Continuation High Schools are typically supported by adequate resources from their districts and are Western Association of Schools and Colleges External link opens in new window or tab. accredited with small class sizes, individualized learning plans, intensive guidance, strong parent involvement, enrichment programs, expectations of high academic performance, and attendant student outcomes including graduation and advancement to postsecondary education and meaningful careers. When LEAs devote few resources, continuation high school students suffer from the lack of quality educational services and may drop out of school.

Questions: Dan Sackheim | | 916-445-5595 
Last Reviewed: Friday, January 12, 2024