The Jill Kinmont Booth School in Inyo County is called a community school, designed to serve students who have been expelled, probation/court referred or chronic truants. We hear from local folks who wonder what the place is all about and how many students really study there?
Inyo County Superintendent of Schools Terry McAteer said that the JKB School works to try to get the students back up to grade level so they can return to regular high school McAteer said that right now there are 16 youth who attend day-long classes. Students wear uniforms and function on a closed campus. JKB, said McAteer, is a kind of last chance school for many at risk youth in the Inyo community. It’s not a school of choice. That is, students can’t just decide they want to attend.
So, how do students move on from JKB? McAteer said that mutual discussions with students, probation, parents and school staff can lead to a return to Bishop High School. He said in most cases students move on to Palisades, which is a Continuation High School. McAteer said most of the students at JKB are on probation, so they work closely with the courts and Probation Department to determine placement. Someone with probation comes to the school every morning, and a half-time counselor deals with anger management and mental health issues, according to McAteer.
There are success stories. A current student who was constantly cutting classes on a daily basis has now studied at JKB for two years and will graduate in June. McAteer said she has had two years of straight A’s and is now applying to college. The County Superintendent described JKB as very structured. The school offers specialty courses like a culinary class so students can enter the local restaurant work force, an active greenhouse science class with the main focus on reading, writing and math.