There are a variety of reasons that students attend a non-traditional high school. For many it is the best solution for credit recovery. For others it is the best academic plan for their individual needs. The Desert Sands Unified School District non-traditional paths include Amistad High School, Summit High School, and Horizon School. Horizon is a K-12 school based on independent study.

The students at these schools make some huge academic strides and build solid social relationships with their peers and their teachers. In addition, a surprise to many, is the opportunity to participate in competitive athletics. Through the Serrano League, the sports teams participate in boys and girls volleyball, basketball, soccer and softball. Amistad High School fields their own team while Summit High School and Horizon School combine forces. The league includes seven high schools in the general area including Palm Springs Unified School District’s Mount San Jacinto High School and Coachella Valley Unified School District’s La Familia High School. A representative coach or athletic director from each participating school makes up the council for the league.

Traditional Sports at Non-Traditional High SchoolsAccording to Summit/Horizon Principal Rudy Wilson, Ed.D., “There is a serious benefit to having competitive sports for the students. Students who participate in sports must focus on doing well academically and socially. They must maintain good attendance. The net result is the staff can better assist students to reach their potential. In the long run, competing in sports at the alternative education center is a positive for the students. The students get a chance to develop sportsmanship. It is also an opportunity for the families to come out and celebrate their children.”ar

Amistad High School Principal David Gustafson agrees saying, “The sports teams help forge a strong connection for students to our school. They give them the opportunity to compete with other alternative schools and experience the success and challenges that go along with competition. The students love this opportunity and relish for the chance to compete.”

At both schools teachers, staff members, and community volunteers serve as coaches and officials. The Sons of Norway organization helps fund the programs with the donation of equipment to the schools.

Volleyball play is September through November; basketball extends from November to February; soccer is played January through March; and the softball season is March through April. Schedules will be announced soon. Information on the schools’ schedules as well as more details on their academic accomplishments can be found at under the schools link. The web site for the Serrano League contains additional information on the program click HERE.