Alternative Education Programs

The Marin County Office of Education Alternative Education Programs serve high risk youth and incarcerated adults.  We are committed to high expectations and equity for all students.  We value diversity and strive to raise the achievement of all students eliminating the existing achievement gap between students of color and their white classmates.  We work to accomplish these goals through relevant professional development and the delivery of standards-based, culturally responsive curriculum and instruction.  All teachers are credentialed and/or highly qualified in the subject matter for which they are responsible.

The juvenile programs serve approximately 600 students each year.  Alternative education serves students who are truant, have chronic social/behavioral difficulties, are on juvenile probation, have been expelled, pregnant or parenting teens, homeless youth, those in foster care and/or students who need to support themselves. Local school districts, local School Attendance Review Boards, probation officers or social workers may refer students to the programs. These students represent a wide range of scholastic abilities ranging from the gifted to the academically challenged.

A Centralized Intake Team reviews all referrals on a weekly basis to determine the appropriate option(s) to offer to a student and his/her family. Marin's Community Schools provide instruction for students in grades 7 through 12 via a minimum day, full day or contracted learning schedule on an open entry/open exit basis. Students and their parents/guardians meet with the program administrator to develop an Individualized Learning Plan designed to assist students to reach their goals of re-entry to the comprehensive middle or high school, graduation, completion of the High School Equivalency Certificate via the HiSET exam or of the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE).

Marin's Community School
Oracle Independent Study
Phoenix Academy

Counseling and pupil services are major components of the educational program.  The system includes educational, social/emotional, substance abuse prevention/intervention and career development services. 

Alternative Education - Referral Process

Students may be referred to the MCOE Alternative Education Programs through a Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) meeting/referral. The student may be referred through a district or MCOE SARB for habitual truancy or chronic behavior problems. If a student is already on probation, s/he can be referred directly by a Probation Officer. Students who are expelled may be directly referred by their district of residence.
There are three options for alternative education students: Marin's Community School (grades 7-12) for students needing a smaller, more structured school environment addressing their academic, attendance and behavioral needs; ORACLE, a drop-out prevention independent study program that can serve students who have full time jobs, are pregnant or parenting teens, etc.; and Phoenix Academy (grades 9-12), for students who have a substance abuse issue and are willing to work a program of sobriety with counseling support and family participation in addition to their high school curriculum.
Alternative Education Referral Form - For MCOE Alternative Education Programs

Related Program Information:


Ken Lippi
Assistant Superintendent, Student Programs
Lisa Schwartz
Alternative Education
Katy Foster
Program Manager/Principal
Marin's Community School
Oracle Independent Study
Phoenix Academy
1111 Las Gallinas Ave.
San Rafael, CA 
Fax: 415.491.0981