See stories and progress from The CENTENNIAL Campaign for
An innovative partnership is creating college opportunities for youth and a new model for K–12 education.
At age 11, Kevin Argueta arrived in the U.S. after escaping poverty and violence in his native El Salvador. Seven years later, he gave a graduation speech as a proud, college-going member of UCLA Community School’s Class of 2016. “I have learned to be more than a student,” he says. “I have learned to be a human being who deserves respect and has a voice.”
Argueta’s story is just one example of the Koreatown school’s successes. Before UCLA Community School opened in partnership with the school district in 2009, only one-third of the area’s high school graduates went on to college. With the help of the public pilot school — and the backing of a public university — recent cohorts’ college-going rates have climbed as high as 95 percent.
The school serves around 1,000 K–12 students, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds or families without college experience. Working with UCLA faculty and students, teachers at UCLA Community School help youth learn the skills and meet the requirements to attend college while cultivating the character to achieve in life. The school also takes a holistic view of student development, providing mental health support, family immigration services, and other resources.
Now UCLA is taking its approach to South Los Angeles, where Mann UCLA Community School opened in 2017. Karen Hunter Quartz, research director for both schools, says: “At the end of the day, the UCLA Community Schools exist to serve students and help launch bright futures.”
Your gift will open opportunities for UCLA Community School students in the classroom, in college, and beyond.
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