Explore the options below to learn more about the special programs available at Sweetwater.
Sweetwater has many engaging programs, including the California Cadet Corps. The Cadets, featured in the photo at left, earn academic credit while learning leadership skills and participating in outdoor adventure and survival training. For more about the CACC, browse the tab in the list below.
Our Naviance Family Connection web-based program uses a combination of interest and personality type surveys that identify your strengths and help you explore career options that may work best for you. Our unique program allows you to research your options, including four year universities, community colleges, work place readiness, and military prospects. Our experienced counselors and teachers will guide you each step of the way.
Our Naviance Family Connection program uses a variety of interest and personality type surveys and research tolls to help you develop your chosen path:
- Game Plan: Create targeted goals for after high school.
- Personality Type: Learn about your personality strengths and gain insight into your educational and career needs.
- Learning Style: Find out what environment and methods make learning optimal for you.
- Explore Interests: Complete a Career Interest Profiler and explore what careers appeal to you.
- Cluster Finder: Report activities that you enjoy, personal qualities that you have, and school subjects that you enjoy to find a cluster of careers that would be a good match for you.
- Roadtrip Nation: Browse through interviews of famous individuals who followed their interests and made their dreams into reality.
- College Research: Look up schools that you are interested in applying to, and compare requirements and student life. You can even view maps of where students have historically been accepted from our school.
- SuperMatch: Match yourself to colleges that accept students just like you.
- Scholarships: Search through our database of local and national scholarships.
- Pathways pages: Each pathway expert creates and maintains his or her page with specific information about 4-year college, 2-year college, career readiness, and the military. (For more information about Pathways, see the tab below.)
Family Connection by Naviance is a web-based service designed especially for students and parents. Naviance Family Connection is a comprehensive website that you and your child can use to research colleges, sign up for college visits, and access college scholarship information.
Naviance is an electronic college data management system used by our counseling department to keep track of CdM student data including student GPAs, standardized test scores, college choices, college application information, and a personality and career assessment. CdM students are registered and trained on the Naviance Family Connection for access to their personal site which includes general college information, electronic college search tools, and anonymous college data from past CdM graduates. The college data in Family Connection allows a student to search for the right individual college matches.
Family Connection can also be used to store a personal game plan, a list of possible careers and majors, a resume, a list of colleges a student is considering, a list of colleges to which he/she is applying, college application tasks, and application results. This is private information that can only be accessed by the student, parents, or the counseling department. Students can also be contacted via e-mail about college visits, deadlines, surveys and other pertinent college information from the counseling department.
Life takes us down many different paths. At Sweetwater, our Pathways program ensures that you have a clear goal in mind for your post-graduation plans. Pathways puts meaning into your school work by providing you a clear, personalized vision for the future. It’s your life—which path will you choose?
Already Have A Path In Mind?
To prepare for the university path, our program provides rigorous academic coursework which is A-G approved by the University of California. Our students go on to four year universities including the UC system, CSU system, private universities, and out-of-state universities. Our college counselors meet with students beginning in the ninth grade year to provide a coursework outline for high school. College bound students who transfer into the program later in their high school career will have their courses translated onto a four year credit audit formulated to meet all college course requirements. Our Pathways/Naviance Family Connections program allows students to research university options and explore school programs online. Pathways provides the organizational tools to keep you on track for the university path.
The accessibility and availability of community college makes it a great path for many students. Whether the end goal is to transfer to a four year university or to complete one of the many certificate programs available, community colleges offer an affordable start to a post-secondary education. Community colleges have small learning communities and professional instructors with a vast amount of real work experience. If you are not sure if you want to start at a four year university or a community college, schedule a counseling session with one of our highly trained college counselors. Pathways/Naviance Family Connection will help you research programs and college options.
Some students choose the vocational path, joining the work force directly upon high school completion. Pathways enables students to learn about careers that match their interests and strengths. Students can explore career development courses and/or requirements for career training directly after high school. Students meet with our counselors to learn about various programs offered including certificate programs and Regional Occupational Program courses.
The military is an honorable path that provides enriching experiences for students on their way to another career or a lifetime of service to our country. The military offers an opportunity for students to benefit from free career training and paid educational expenses while serving. Additionally, the GI bill is available to service members upon discharge. Pathways allows student to review opportunities, scholarships, meet with a military advisor, practice the ASVAB, and consider each military branch before meeting with a recruiter. Students on our military path have chosen careers in:
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Public Health Service
Earn academic credit while learning leadership skills and participating in team-building, fitness activities outdoors! At Sweetwater, students can take Character and Leadership Development (CLD) classes or go a further and become a cadet with the California Cadet Corps (CACC). Both opportunities are open to all students in grades 7 through 12.
Find more information on the CLD & California Cadet Corps page.
Interested? Talk with your teacher today!
The Altus College Dual Enrollment Program provides opportunities for SSS’s high school students to take college courses for college credit while completing high school coursework. College Courses may be taken on a college campus or online.
Talk with your teacher today!
For more information visit our College & Career Readiness page.
Sweetwater Secondary School, like all Altus schools, is based on a university model of independent study that includes online and tutoring session options for academic support (Please see our “About” page to learn more about our educational model). Within this model, we offer various educational pathways for our students with special needs. Our Resource Specialists and Education Specialists collaborate with general education teachers, contracted service providers, and parents to create an individualized plan for each student to meet their post-secondary goals. We encourage our parents and students to meet with the educational team frequently to communicate changing educational goals and interests.
Altus Schools are dedicated to identifying, locating, and assessing all students within the respective LEA (Local Education Agency) who may have disabilities and providing appropriate support and/or related services to those students as determined by an educational evaluation.
Altus Schools are committed to providing eligible students with disabilities a free and appropriate public education consistent with federal and state laws. Altus schools provide high-quality services and supports based on the individual needs of each student. Students who receive Specialized Academic Instruction and Related Services at Altus schools are supported in their educational goals, graduation goals, and post-secondary goals through a personalized plan based on individual student achievement data, interests, learning style, personality profile, and other relevant history and input from IEP team members.
Altus Schools are proud members of the El Dorado Charter SELPA (Special Education Local Planning Area). The El Dorado County Charter SELPA empowers Charter schools to succeed, by providing expertise, innovation, and individualized solutions. As a member of the El Dorado Charter SELPA, we are provided with governance, program support, and parent support. Please visit the El Dorado Charter SELPA website for more information and parent resources. For the SELPA CEO Council Public Hearing Notice, please visit our Public Notices page.
Kirsten Ramirez Henderson, Administrator of Special Education
Phone: (619) 393-2270
Resources for Students and Families
If you are interested in joining the Community Advisory Committee or attending Parent Meetings, visit www.charterselpa.org/Parent-Resources.
CAC Parent Meeting Information
January 23, 2024
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Register to join the Virtual Meeting
April 23, 2024
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Register to join the Virtual Meeting
CAC Parent Handbook – Spanish(pdf) [Comité Consultivo de la Comunidad]
Notice of Procedural Safeguards and Parents’ Rights – Spanish (pdf) [Aviso de las Medidas que Protegen la Integridad de los Procesos y Derechos de los Padres]
For questions or more information, please contact us at 858-678-2020.
LEA Child Find Responsibility
Child Find Notification (ENGLISH)
Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et. seq) and relevant state law, Sweetwater Secondary School is responsible for identifying, locating, and evaluating children enrolled at Sweetwater Secondary School with known or suspected disabilities to determine whether a need for special education and related services exists. This includes children with disabilities who are homeless or are wards of the State. To ensure that eligible students are receiving the services to which they are entitled, we would like to request your assistance.
If you know of a child who has a disability or that you suspect may have a disability, you may refer that child’s parent or guardian to the Administrator of Special Education, Kirsten Ramirez Henderson at 619-393-2270 or email@example.com.
Please note: All referrals are considered confidential. The parent, legal guardian, or surrogate parent retains the right to refuse services and other procedural safeguards under federal and state law.
Child Find (SPANISH)
De conformidad con la ley de Educación para personas con discapacidades (20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et. seq) y la ley estatal, Sweetwater Secondary School es responsable de identificar, localizar y evaluar a los niños matriculados en Sweetwater Secondary School con discapacidades conocidos o sospechosos para determinar si existe una necesidad de educación especial y servicios relacionados. Esto incluye a los niños con discapacidades que no tienen hogar o está bajo la tutela del Estado. Para asegurar que los estudiantes elegibles reciban los servicios a los que tienen derecho, nos gustaría pedir su ayuda.
Si usted sabe de un niño que tiene una discapacidad o que se sospecha que puede tener una discapacidad, puede consultar el padre o tutor de ese niño a la Coordinadora de Educación Especial, Kirsten Ramirez Henderson en 619-393-2270 o firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nota: Todas las referencias se consideran confidenciales. El padre, tutor legal o padre sustituto se reserve el derecho de rechazar los servicios y otras salvaguardias procesales bajo la ley federal y estatal.
Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program
Altus Schools’ procedures for identification are equitable, comprehensive, and ongoing. The school has developed an identification process that ensures all students, including those from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and/or disabilities, have equal opportunity to be identified and participate in the GATE program.
The school uses a multi-criterion assessment process to determine identification for the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program. Students in grades 2-5, 7, 9 are universally evaluated. Parent permission is required to administer assessments to their child. The school conducts assessments biannually. Parents are provided with information on the assessment windows, assessment types, and the GATE identification process, through traditional and electronic mailings.
The following categories are used for the identification of students’ extraordinary capability in relation to their chronological peers:
- Intellectual Ability: A student demonstrates extraordinary or potential for extraordinary intellectual development. The school measures intellectual ability with the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).
- Creative Ability: A student displays characteristics of flexibility, originality of thought, curiosity, and adventurousness. The school measures creative ability with the Renzulli scales.
- Leadership Ability: A pupil displays the characteristic behaviors necessary for extraordinary leadership. The school measures creative ability with the Renzulli scales.
- Motivation Ability: A student demonstrates a capacity for high levels of interest, enthusiasm, perseverance, and endurance. The school measures creative ability with the Renzulli scales.
GATE Program Overview
Altus Schools recognize that each student is a unique individual with their own interests, strengths, and challenges. The school’s goal is to identify and celebrate the unique gifts and talents of every student. “Giftedness” occurs along a continuum. Strategies that work for one gifted student will not necessarily work for all gifted students. Altus Schools pair the principles of personalized learning with research-based strategies for gifted students to maximize the academic, social, and personal successes of GATE (Gifted and Talented) students.
At Altus Schools, GATE students are offered an Individualized Gate Plan (IGP). The IGP is created by the student, parent(s), and teachers, to plan the services and program options that address the unique needs of each gifted student based on their needs, interests, and abilities.
Each IGP incorporates essential elements of gifted education:
- Differentiated learning experiences including Acceleration and Enrichment
- Differentiated curriculum responsive to the needs, interests, and abilities of students that utilizes a variety of teaching and learning platforms
- Learning environments that inspire creativity, flexibility, and autonomy
- Small group instruction
- Opportunities for independent study, community-based learning, and project-based learning
- Postsecondary Education
Students receive individualized instruction with a GATE Certified teacher one-on-one and in small groups. Students are encouraged to enroll in Honors courses, Advanced Placement courses, and Accelerated courses. The curriculum is compacted based on standards mastery. At all times possible, courses incorporate project-based learning, community-based learning, and student choice and voice in topics and subject matter to master key concepts and skills.
For questions regarding a student’s GATE identification or the GATE program, please contact Altus Schools’ GATE Coordinator:
Ana Maria Rojas, Equity and Inclusion Administrator
504 Parent and Student Rights
504 Q & A’s
Q: What is a 504 Plan?
Answer: A 504 plan is a legal document falling under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is a plan including instructional services to aid students with special needs who are in a general education setting.
A 504 plan is not an IEP; an IEP is an Individualized Education Plan for students receiving special education services.
Q: How is a student considered for a 504 plan?
Answer: A student with a physical or emotional disability, or who is recovering from a chemical dependency, or who has an impairment such as Attention Deficit Disorder that restricts one or more major life activity.
Q: What are examples of “major life activities?”
Answer: Major life activities include (not limited to):
Q: What is the process for referring a student for a 504 plan?
Answer: If you suspect that one of your students may benefit from having a 504 plan, please contact your 504 Coordinator first, before any other step is initiated!
- The student is referred by a teacher, parent/guardian, physician, therapist
- A 504 meeting is held to gather information relating to the student’s condition
- The 504 team determines eligibility based on information
- A 504 plan is developed or negated
- If a 504 plan is developed, it is implemented by the general education staff and reviewed annually.
Q: Who is involved?
Answer: The student (if appropriate), parent/guardian, teachers, principals, support staff (nurse, counselor, psychologist) may all participate in the process. The 504 team (designated by the school site) will have the responsibility to determine eligibility.
Q: What is the role of the teacher in the 504 placement process?
Answer: Teachers are valuable members of the 504 team; teachers participate in meetings where a 504 plan may be developed and supply relevant information about the student including test scores, grades, attendance, discipline, general knowledge of the student.
NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION
Sweetwater does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to all programs.
Sweetwater will provide a free appropriate public education to each qualified student with a disability in accordance with federal law and regulations. The non-discrimination policy includes, but is not limited to, benefits of participation in LEA programs and activities.
Sweetwater does not sponsor or endorse extracurricular activities or sports programs. Students with a disability who seek to participate in field trips or an educationally-related activity may be entitled to an accommodation.
The following person has been designated to handle inquiries from parents and/or students regarding the non-discrimination policies:
Contact Kirsten Ramirez Henderson:
Administrator of Special Education, Altus Schools
More information coming soon!
More information coming soon!