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1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord, CA 94519 (925) 682-8000

 Alternative Education

You are here: Mt. Diablo Unified School District > Alternative Education

Necessary Small High Schools 


Necessary Small High Schools (NSHS) are small alternative educational programs serving approximately 54 students.  The  NSHSs serve students who may not have been successful in a comprehensive high school setting.  Special Education students must have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) designating a Necessary Small High School as the most appropriate educational placement.  The instructional team normally consists of an administrator, 2 teachers, a part-time resource specialist, a part-time counselor, a part-time student services coordinator, and part-time clerical support. 

Eligible students:

  • Are 16 to 18 years old, in 11th or 12th grade (except Crossroads, which serves pregnant or parenting teens in 9th through 12th grades).
  • May be deficient in credits.
  • May be lacking in social skills.
  • Have the potential to master grade-level standards.
  • Need more basic academic courses rather than a variety of electives and lab courses.
  • Find success in a smaller setting.

Students who attend a Necessary Small High School are not eligible to participate in California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) sports.


Graduation plans are developed as part of the entry process. For those students wishing to return to the comprehensive high school to graduate, courses are scheduled that align with the comprehensive school requirements.  Students returning to the comprehensive high school do so at the semester. NSHS staff will coordinate with the comprehensive site staff to ensure a successful transition. 

Students may also graduate from an NSHS with a high school diploma.  Students who graduate from an NSHS complete all high school requirements and are eligible to continue education in community college settings.  Students may then transfer from the community college to 4 year colleges/universities if they desire. If a student is not achieving success at an NSHS, other alternative programs may be considered.    

Graduation from an NSHS requires a passing score on the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).

Necessary Small High School Graduate

Comprehensive High School Graduate

Credits needed to graduate = 180 credits

Credits needed to graduate = 200 credits

Courses count for different categories,

i.e., PE = electives

A – G requirements

Eligible for community college

Eligible for 4 year college

Must pass CAHSEE

Must pass CAHSEE

Modified instructional day

Traditional 6-period day

Grades + productive hours = credits

Grades = credits

Smaller class size

Varying class size

Limited course offerings

Variety of course offerings

Not eligible to participate in CIF sports

Eligible to play CIF sports with appropriate grade point average and discipline record

The Application Process
  1. Student and parent should schedule a meeting with the Student Services Coordinator or the appropriate Vice Principal at the school where the student is enrolled to evaluate the student's progress toward graduation.
  2. If placement in a necessary small high school seems appropriate, student should obtain a Voluntary Transfer application from the school where the student is enrolled.
  3. The Voluntary Transfer application must be completed and signed by a school administrator, the parent and the student.
  4. The high school will forward the student's records and the application to the Director of Alternative Education.
  5. The student will continue to attend the school where he/she is enrolled throughout the application process.
  6. After review, the Director of Alternative Education will forward the application of a student meeting the basic eligibility requirements to the administrator of the appropriate school.
  7. The administrator of the NSHS will review the student's records to determine if the student is an appropriate candidate for the school.
  8. The student and parent may be contacted by the NSHS administrator for an interview.
  9. If the student's Voluntary Transfer application is accepted and there are spaces available in the school, the student will be given a start date.
  10. If the student's Voluntary Transfer application is accepted and there are no spaces available in the school, the student will be added to a waiting list and will be notified when space is available.
  11. If the student's Voluntary Transfer application is denied, the student will be notified and should discuss other options with the Student Services Coordinator or Vice Principal at the school where he/she is enrolled.
The Schools
Administrator:  Kate McClatchy
2701 Willow Pass Rd. (on the Olympic Continuation High campus)
, CA  94519
(925) 689-6852
Fax:  (925) 603-1771
Single Plan for Student Achievement

Administrator: Rachelle Buckner
235 Pacifica Avenue (on the Riverview Middle School campus)
Bay Point, CA
(925) 458-1316
Fax:  (925) 458-1487
Single Plan for Student Achievement

Administrator:  Brook Penca
4200 Concord Blvd. (on the Concord High campus)
, CA  94521
(925) 687-0991
Fax:  (925) 603-1770
Single Plan for Student Achievement

Administrator: Leyla Benson 
1 Santa Barbara Rd. (on the Pleasant Hill Education Center campus)
Pleasant Hill, CA  94523
(925) 682-8000 ext. 3999
Fax:  (925) 937-6271

Single Plan for Student Achievement