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.

    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.

    Independent Study Physical Education 2

    In the fall of 2015, we will be piloting a new independent study physical education course designed to help high school students free up space in their impacted schedules or recover physical education credits.
    The course, Independent Study Physical Education 2, is primarily designed for sophomores, juniors or seniors. I.S.P.E. 2 will be administered by El Sereno High School, our independent study high school mentioned above, although students will be able to check in at one of two regional hubs, Rio Americano or Del Campo high schools.
    The course will benefit students who need room in their schedules for academic, athletic or extracurricular interests and those who are deficient in their physical education credits. Students must complete two years of physical education – for a total of 20 credits – to graduate high school.
    Students taking the course must engage in physical activity for a minimum of 200 minutes for every five school days. The activity must be part of an approved, organized program coached or supervised by qualified individuals who can document and verify student participation, progress and performances. Parents will not be considered supervising instructors. Students also must complete required I.S.P.E. 2 coursework and submit an activity log.

    A grade of pass or fail will be given at the end of the course. Students can earn up to 10 of their 20 required physical education credits.

    Students interested in enrolling in I.S.P.E. 2 should talk to their counselor.

    Home school program TK-8


    The optional home school 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. Click here for more information.

    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. For more information, Click here.


    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.

Last Modified on April 27, 2023