On the Rise: RiseUp Community School Supports Students with Innovative Focus on Post-Secondary Options
RiseUp Community School is helping families and students dream—and heal—by providing a restorative school environment that helps students explore post-secondary options beyond higher education.
As an alternative charter school that serves roughly 120 students ages 15-21, with more than 80% eligible for free or reduced lunch and roughly 90% identifying as Black, Indigenous or Latinx, RiseUp does much more than help students recover credits to earn a diploma. It goes beyond that to provide support for students who have been harmed or underserved by systems in other schools. Some have been expelled or threatened with expulsion, and others have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out.
RiseUp provides those students with a path to graduation and an opportunity to identify postsecondary paths that align with their interests and talents.
“Our goal is that our students are happy—however they define happiness,” said Karen Ikegami, the principal at RiseUp. “After high school, they’re going to have to do something, so let’s make that something they really want to do.”
Some people believe alternative schools provide an easier path for students to graduate, Ikegami said, and that isn’t true. RiseUp’s courses are rigorous, and in addition to the core curriculum, students are challenged to engage in courses that help them explore post-secondary paths.