Local District South middle school students are college bound under ground-breaking dual-enrollment program

Local District South middle school students are college bound under ground-breaking dual-enrollment program

Above, from left, Local District South Superintendent Christopher Downing, Fleming Middle School Principal Peter Hastings, Dana Middle School Principal Steven Gebhart, White Middle School Principal Dr. Adaina Brown, Los Angeles Harbor College President Dr. Otto Lee, Nancy Ceballos, deputy chief of staff to School Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic, and Superintendent Michelle King. 

Superintendent Michelle King is joined by students, from left, Jackie Luc, Paulina Escamilla, Andrea Tarelo and Maurijon Stewart, along with pianist Brianna Brunt, Local District South Superintendent Christopher Downing and Administrator of Instruction Pedro Garcia.

In a groundbreaking agreement announced Friday, eighth-graders in Local District South will be able to take special courses at Los Angeles Harbor College in a first-of-its-kind program designed to jump-start their journey toward college and careers.

During a ceremony at Harbor College, Superintendent Michelle King and other District leaders outlined how students at Dana, Dodson, Fleming and White Middle schools will be able to attend college-level classes at their schools one day a week, supplemented with Saturday classes at the community college campus in Wilmington. Officials said it will help demystify the college experience for young students while igniting their interest and excitement graduating from high school and pursuing a post-secondary degree.

“My challenge to each and every one of you is to take advantage of this opportunity,” King said. “It is your education.  It is your key to your future, and nobody can take it away from you. My vision is for each student in L.A. Unified will have the opportunity to experience a college class before they graduate from high school.”

Harbor College already has a dual-enrollment program with Harbor Teachers Preparatory Academy, allowing high school students to concurrently earn their associate’s degree along with their high school diploma. Other high schools in Local District South also have “promise agreements” with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and California State University, Dominguez Hills, giving their graduates preferred enrollment at the four-year schools.

“I challenge you to go out and take advantage of these opportunities,” Local District South Superintendent Christopher Downing said. “Claim your college seat so that you can move one step closer to becoming the next great scientist, lawyer, engineer, artist, teacher or athlete – anything that you can dream.”

Nancy Ceballos, deputy chief of staff to Dr. Richard Vladovic, said the school board member was proud that the unique program was being introduced in his district.

Details of the program are still being worked out. But District officials are working to offer  a course in engineering concepts at Dodson and Fleming Middle schools; health occupations and medical terminology at White Middle School; and journalism and mass communications at Dana Middle School.

“I want to pursue in career in electrical engineering,” Maurijon Stewart, an eighth-grader at Dana Middle School told the crowd. “I also want to improve my writing skills, which is why I decided to push beyond my comfort zone and take a college course.”

Olivia Remedios, an eighth-grader at Fleming Middle School, said she may pursue an engineering degree, though she noted few women choose that career path. She said, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if, in 10 or 15 years, I can be a mentor to students like myself?”

Los Angeles Harbor College President Otto Lee told an audience filled with middle-school students. “Right now, you are in college. Doesn’t that sound great?”


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LAUSD Shines

10 Dedicated and Deserving Social Workers includes L.A. Unified’s Verónica Obregón – Social Work Today

‘Cool Kid’ Camille Ng spreads warmth to kids in need – KABC-7

LAUSD Schools get new gyms through UCLA Health’s ‘Sound Body Sound Mind’ program – KABC-7

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Essay: The Translated Life, From Immigrant to Valedictorian. – NBC News

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Girls Academic Leadership Academy: A unique opportunity.– Jewish Journal

Modern Trades: The rise of continuing tech education. – KPCC

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How high-schoolers channel the drama of middle school experience into dramatic performance. – KPCC

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Coeur d’Alene Elementary: One school’s journey towards instructional excellence. – Cotsen Foundation

Video: Venice High School celebrates top seniors. Yo Venice

Student identity through the arts. Huffington Post

Op-Ed: Supt. Michelle King on frog dissections, STEM and the future of charters in LAUSD. Los Angeles Times

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