October 7, 2021
Corrine Manley, Area Superintendent, Vista Real Charter High School
Every month we feature stories of individuals and agencies that are making a difference in their communities. Today we are talking with Corrine Manley, Area Superintendent, Vista Real Charter High School.
How did you get interested in the field of Education?
Corrine: I have been fortunate to live in Ventura County my entire life. I absolutely love our community and have always wanted to serve others. My dad was a teacher for almost 40 years and for as long as I remember my sister and I would play “teacher” together. I guess you could say school and education were ingrained in all facets of our life. I always knew I wanted to help people, and specifically nurture, guide and educate young people. I’ve always enjoyed school (I still do!), I love to learn and am passionate about making high quality education accessible to all.
When did you get involved with your school?
Corrine: I started with Vista Real Charter High School in 2006 as a teacher. I quickly realized it was where I belonged. I wholeheartedly believe in what we do for our students and community, and as soon as I started at Vista Real I knew I would be here a long time.
What is the goals for your students and what is unique about your school ?
Corrine: Our goal at Vista Real is to reengage students in their high school education by providing personalized learning, flexible schedules, wrap-around services and job skills training. We want to help prepare students for a future beyond high school, whether that is higher education, vocational training or entering the workforce with in-demand job skills. We are here to serve kids who are not finding success, for whatever reason, in their previous school and provide a more individualized program for students who perform better in a one-on-one environment.
Vista Real is a fully accredited high school, our teachers are highly qualified, and we provide a myriad of on-site support for our students in the form of counselors, social workers, tutors, paraprofessionals and more. Most students excel in a traditional classroom-based program, but there is a segment of kids that need something different to graduate with a high school diploma. As we know, “one size does not fit all” when it comes to education and how people learn.
We are a public school, so we serve any student, ages 14-24 who wants to work toward a high school diploma. Many of our students come to us because they have fallen behind due to a variety of circumstances, including traumatic experiences, bullying, needing to work to support their families, teen pregnancy or parenting, experiencing homelessness, or are in foster care.
Since we work with our students one-on-one, we can truly build a program for each individual and tailor their high school experience to their individual needs and future goals. We offer year-round schooling and students can enroll anytime – for free.
How is your agency specifically addressing issues of community engagement and change in the community? How are you as an agency making a difference?
Corrine: Vista Real’s ultimate goal is to work with the surrounding schools and community organizations to reduce Ventura County’s dropout rate. We pride ourselves on not only providing a high-quality education to our students, but also helping prepare them for life after high school. Our education model emphasizes college and career preparation, but also leadership, advocacy, engagement, change and contribution to the community. Some items to note:
What are the areas that you hope to make changes in?
Corrine: Our passion at Vista Real is making education accessible for all – no matter your background, what successes or failures you’ve experienced in the past or how far you feel like you may have fallen behind or whatever responsibilities you have outside of school. We are here. We won’t judge you. We will meet you where you are and help you move forward. We want to help you change your story.
Tell us something about your agency that will help us learn more about it?
Corrine: Many people do not realize that Vista Real has been serving our community as a public high school of choice for over 16 years! We are authorized through the Ventura County Office of Education, which ensures that we receive oversight, support and access to resources and experts to maintain a high quality program. We are fortunate that Ventura County has an incredibly rich network of community organizations, therefore collaboration is a cornerstone to our success.
If you could give a closing remark or words of inspiration for the community during this time, what would it be?
Corrine: One of my favorite things to remember, particularly during challenging times is the Franklin D. Roosevelt quote, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” We tend to grow the most when we are required to get uncomfortable and stretch beyond what we are used to. That is when we truly change.
Learn more about our school and support programs at vrchs.org.
Thank you Corrine for sharing your experience with us. You are an inspiring Driver of Change!