In The Classroom:

Iveth Robles, 18, a new mom and student at Daily High School, said she would have dropped out of school long ago had there not been a place where she could leave her daughter while attending classes throughout the day.

“I don’t work, so I would have to pay,” said Robles, as she began a writing assignment on her school’s laptop. “I would not have been able to continue.”

Robles is enrolled in Daily High’s California School Age Families Education program, or Cal-SAFE, which provides free child care and parenting education to mothers in high school.

“They teach us everything, like what to do when they get sick,” said Yessenia Alvarez, 17, a former Burbank High School student who wants to study child development and become a teacher.

“The nurse comes and helps us. Teenagers don’t know a lot of health things.”

According to Principal Cuauhtemoc Avila, most districts in the state have an active Cal-SAFE program.

“What the adult parent would get from a book or from a class that they might take in college, they get it here,” Avila said. “It’s part of the instructional program.”

The program also affords teachers and students more one-on-one time, said Susie Valle, head teacher of the infant and development program at Daily High.

But the most important aspect is providing the children and moms with a routine.

“Once they leave us — once they leave high school — those kinds of routines are important once they go outside to the real world,” she said.

Valle, who sometimes is responsible for babies as young as 6 weeks, said the routine of coming in every day allows the children to make a smooth transition to preschool.

“She likes it; she likes playing here,” Alvarez said of her 21-month-old daughter. “It was especially hard for her. She would cry. Now she likes it.”

Student and teen mom Carolina Gonzalez, 17, while working on a scrapbook project, said she wouldn’t be able to finish school if not for Cal-SAFE.

“I want to finish school,” said Gonzalez, a former Burbank High student who has been enrolled in the program for a year.

Her 8-month-old boy, she said, looks forward to coming to school with his mom.

“He plays and sleeps,” Gonzalez said, stopping at a page in her scrapbook bearing an image of mother and son.


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