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Alternative Education

At San Juan Unified, we recognize that children learn differently. As such, it’s our responsibility to provide a variety of paths, particularly at the high school level, so each of our students can choose the one best suited to their individual needs. San Juan Unified is proud to offer the following voluntary programs for teens who need an alternative to the traditional, comprehensive high school experience – because of family or work obligations or because of their individual learning pace - or those who need some flexibility within the traditional environment.

High School Credit Recovery Program 

This program offers credit recovery and independent study opportunities for students to graduate and to access courses in impacted high school programs. For more information please contact your student's counselor. 


Students enrolled in a comprehensive high school program have the option of co-enrolling in any of our alternative education programs, including the academies at Encina, San Juan and La Entrada high schools. This option could be appealing to students who enjoy the traditional high school experience but need to make up a limited number of credits.

Students interested in co-enrollment should talk to their high school counselor.

El Sereno High School 

Located at the Fair Oaks Annex campus, El Sereno was one of the first independent study high schools established with the help of the California Department of Education, and remains our primary provider of independent learning opportunities for students.

El Sereno is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, meaning credits earned here can be transferred to other high schools or higher learning institutions. Students are not required to attend class on site; however, they do undergo weekly assessments and receive weekly one-on-one instruction by credentialed teachers, who also communicate with students via email and phone.

The program best suits self-motivated juniors and seniors, although sophomores have been accepted after careful consideration.

For more information, visit El Sereno’s website or call (916) 971-5060.

El Sereno’s Independent Study Middle School 

El Sereno's Independent Study Middle School offers an entirely remote program for 6th - 8th students. The program offers:

  • Apex online curriculum for all subject areas
  • A master teacher who will connect on a 1:1 basis with your student 1x time
  • Tutoring 4 days a week
  • On-campus physical fitness testing
  • CAASPP state testing for 6th-8th grade

For more information, visit El Sereno’s website.

Dual Enrollment

Students enrolled at El Sereno High School, an independent study program, can use the dual enrollment process to take a class at a comprehensive high school. They might do so to accelerate or complement their learning – for example, by taking an Advanced Placement or career and technical education course not offered through El Sereno’s independent study program. Students interested in dual enrollment should talk to their high school counselor.

TK-8 Homeschool Program

The optional homeschool program helps meet students’ individual needs and offers support to families who choose to educate their children in kindergarten through eighth grade at home, partnering with a San Juan Unified credentialed teacher. Learn more.

TK-5 Independent Study Program

The TK-5 Independent study program offers students a learning model that allows them to receive instruction remotely from fully credentialed San Juan Unified teachers. Learn more.

Online high school courses

A specific set of online courses have been pre-approved for our high school students who need to recover a failed grade, improve a grade or take an additional course outside of the school day. Click here for more information or contact your high school counselor. Learn more.