Clovis Unified's Gateway High School was named a model California continuation high school for its programs to assist struggling students stay in school.
It was one of 27 schools -- and the only Central Valley school -- honored Friday by state Superintendent Jack O'Connell.
Gateway was honored for school management, curriculum, instructional strategies, educational climate, guidance and counseling.
To earn the designation, the school had to show supporting statements from parents, students and the community.
"It's our staff and the way that they relate to the kids," said Barbara Parks, Gateway's principal. "They are very caring and committed and dedicated to working with our at-risk youths."
Students who attend Gateway have behavioral problems, attendance issues or credit deficiencies, she said.
The goal of the school is to get students to where they should be academically and return them to their neighborhood high schools.
"We help our students overcome obstacles and get them on track to graduation or move back to their on-track schools," she said.
Some students, she said, will stay at Gateway because the school offers a smaller setting that fits their needs.
"Anybody who comes and visits our campus is always impressed by the facilities and technology we have," she said.
Last year, Gateway graduated 48 students. The school has a total of 295 students.
"We don't do anything different here in curriculum than the other schools," she said, "so when they transition back to their home high school, they don't miss a beat."
Selected schools retain their designation for three years and must submit annual assurance that they meet model school guidelines. With those added this year, there are 53 model continuation high schools in the state.
There are 509 total continuation high schools in California, with about 69,000 students.