Diploma Plus High Schools - CalEdFactsThis content is 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.
Diploma Plus high schools are public schools that offer high school diplomas and comply with state graduation requirements. 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 has built its capacity to provide rigorous and student-centered alternatives for high-need youth since 1996. Diploma Plus was founded as a 100-student pilot initiative with two community-based organizations, supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and a handful of Boston-based funders. The potential of the model attracted considerable attention, and in 2003 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided funds to support replication in 10 schools in New England and New York City. With encouragement and advocacy from the Gates Foundation, Diploma Plus became a founding member of the Association for High School Innovation. The initial success of this replication led to additional investments by the Gates Foundation and national and regional foundations to extend the work to 12 additional schools in New England, New York City, and California, and the opportunity to form a strong partnership with The Mind Trust, a well-noted non-profit devoted to developing and expanding transformative education initiatives.