CDCR Honors Adult School for Dedicated Inmate Education

By CN Staff

EL MONTE, Calif.—An innovative adult school that provides incarcerated people with a wide-range of opportunities, including access to college courses, basic literacy instruction and career skill development, has been named a “Distinguished School” by the CDCR.

California Rehabilitation Center’s Vista Del Rio Adult School (VDRAS) was honored in a virtual ceremony recently by Shannon Swain, superintendent for CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education.

“There are few things more rewarding for a correctional education superintendent than honoring the dedication and commitment of an entire prison staff to the success of its school,” said Swain, in a statement. “The Vista Del Rio Adult School is an outstanding school, with great teachers and dedicated custody staff supporting student success.”

This is the second year CDCR has honored a school through its Distinguished School initiative. The award seeks to encourage excellence and build an engaged school climate in all CDCR’s 35 schools. In 2019, the Robert E. Burton Adult School at San Quentin State Prison was the first to be recognized with the award.

VDRAS has more than 1,500 students enrolled in an array of courses. Students may take adult basic education, obtain a GED or high school diploma and move on to college courses. Career Technical Education, computer technology, physical education, and library services also are available. Additionally, VDRAS trains offenders for CDCR’s Conservation Camp Program. 

VDRAS’ mission is to prepare students for work when they reenter the community. Part of the school’s success is attributed to its commitment to personalized learning. Based upon student data, teachers design curriculum and tailor their teaching style to address student needs. Lessons are designed with adult learners in mind. 

CDCR educates more than 50,000 incarcerated men and women. Each of its 35 prisons operate an adult school, and each is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. All teachers are credentialed through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.