School might have started for most Alhambra students on Tuesday, but for more than 60 freshmen it started two weeks ago. KPCC reports they were part of Alhambra Unified School District's "Fresh Start", an intensive high-school transition program that provides students who struggled academically or socially in middle school with skills that can help them succeed in high school, such as stress and time management.
The program, which is funded by a federal grant at no cost to families or the district, helps students recognize their own fears and discuss them with peers.
“We don’t have to be alone, there’s someone like us,” Dianna Dolores Zuany, 14, told KPCC. “There's always things going on in someone's life you don't know about, and I have those things going on in my life. Being here and able to talk about my feelings, and just being open, without being judged or criticized or commented on, it's cool."
- School Services Director Laurel Bear, who heads the district's school-based mental health program Gateway to Success, believes Fresh Start is a safe space for students to share their feelings.
“What we know is kids won’t talk to adults unless we make it a climate for kids to talk to adults,” Bear told KPCC.