News Releases

Juvenile Offenders Receive High School Diplomas, GEDs

103-Year-Old Namesake of Johanna Boss High School Attends 

SACRAMENTO — Thirty-two youth from the O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton today received a high school diploma or GED in a significant step toward their rehabilitation. Another 52 youth graduated from the adjoining N.A.Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility one week ago.

Ms. Boss, a resident of Ripon, taught math at the school from its opening in 1965 until her retirement in the early 1970s. She continued as a substitute teacher and volunteer mentor until 2001, capping nearly 40 years of involvement with the school, which was named in her honor in 1997. At the age of 93, she was named the oldest active teacher in the nation before her final retirement.

“A high school education is critical for youthful offenders to build successful lives as they prepare to return to their communities,” said Rachel Rios, Director of Juvenile Justice. “An education opens doors for our youth to have more opportunities to turn their lives around and become productive members of society,” said Rios. “Those opportunities reduce recidivism, which improves public safety.”

The graduation also was an opportunity for the youth to share their success with family members, many of whom attended the ceremony, reflecting the importance of family involvement in the state’s juvenile justice programs.

The Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) operates a network of high schools that meet California curriculum standards, ensuring that youth receive the same education they would receive in their communities, including special education. Those standards require youth to be in classrooms for the state-mandated 240 minutes a day, 210 days a year. The schools also are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The educational needs of each youth are assessed when they are committed to the DJJ. Youth are enrolled in a curriculum to receive a high school diploma, or a GED for those who are not expected to remain at DJJ long enough to earn a diploma, ensuring that every youth receives a high school education before being discharged.

Since March 2005, when DJJ adopted a remedial plan for education, approximately 5,716 youth have achieved some level of academic performance, from a high school diploma or GED, to enrollment in vocational or continuing education classes. That represents a 300 percent increase over previous years, despite a significant decline in the number of youth committed to the DJJ by the courts.

In addition, approximately 50 percent of eligible youth have enrolled in college classes, taking advantage of long-distance classes offered by Coastline College.

More information regarding DJJ programs is available at



June 17, 2011
Contact: Bill Sessa
(916) 205-9193
(916) 262-1448