Three California public schools were recently recognized by State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson for their excellent educational practices, including Lincoln Street Independent School.

The school is an independent study program sponsored by the Tehama County Department of Education that serves about 70 students per year.

"Lincoln Street School has evolved as a model program for parents wishing to teach their children at home, while having the support of highly effective teachers and state adopted curriculum," said Larry Champion, superintendent of schools.

The schools were selected by a joint project of the California Consortium for Independent Study and the California Department of Education to receive the Exemplary Independent Study Recognition Award.

"I am proud that California's public school system provides a variety of options so that all students can succeed," Torlakson said. "The (schools chosen) challenge students with a rigorous academic program while providing flexibility and personalization through independent study. Congratulations to all the students, teachers and administrators, and the parents who are helping to make these schools models of educational excellence."

Lincoln Street uses a proven, standards-aligned curriculum which helps them maintain a strong core subject focus.

"It's our dedication to the core subjects that helps our students to be successful," said Chris Byrd, lead teacher. "It's also what allows us to offer, with support from community partners, the other fabulous opportunities that our students enjoy like photo club, field trips and hands-on art activities.

We're very pleased that the state has recognized our model with this award."

Students were asked to share their experiences with the selection committee, which drives home the message on the benefits of a flexible learning environment and the success of the model that Lincoln Street School uses. One student said, "Lincoln Street School is very important to me. My life can get very busy and I have learned to organize my time to fit school work in first. I like being able to spend more time on the things that interest me and do my school work quietly at home."

This type of flexibility, combined with rigorous study is becoming an increasingly popular and highly successful model of instruction.

The award is designed to recognize excellent educational practices in schools where independent study is the primary mode of instruction. Eligible applicants must have 75 percent or more of the school's students enrolled in independent study, a statewide API rank of 6 or above, and may not be in Program Improvement. Schools must have successfully completed a rigorous, three-part review before they can be designated as recipients.

Also recognized with the award were The Classical Academy High School and El Camino High School at Ventura College.

"These three schools join a cadre of other EISRA recipients who demonstrate an impressive track record of helping students succeed academically in alternative settings designed to meet their unique needs and the full grade level academic expectations," Torlakson said. "I encourage other schools that offer independent study to learn from the successful strategies used in these schools."

For more information on Lincoln Street School, visit www.tehamaschools.org.