When offered equal access to rigorous coursework, strong instruction, and teachers with high expectations, all students achieve at high levels, oftentimes closing existing gaps. Unfortunately, many kids are being failed by school systems that are not equipping them to achieve their full potential. Many factors hold kids back: poverty, systemic racism, language barriers, and struggles at home or in their community. These are compounded by limited funding to schools, and district and statewide policies and practices that don’t work.
But some schools are finding ways to help all of their students succeed, despite the many socioeconomic barriers and barriers in our public school system. These schools are currently the exception, not the rule. But they each show what a single school can do.
Innovate Public Schools in partnership with USC Price Center for Social Innovation and the USC Center on Education Policy, Equity and Governance, released the Top Public Schools for Underserved Students report highlighting those schools closing the achievement gap for low-income African American and Latino students in Los Angeles County. This is the first year that the report is produced for Los Angeles County.
To qualify, schools must beat the statewide average in one or more factors including math and reading scores, and college eligibility rates, and suspension data. Of the many schools considered across Los Angeles County, two Pasadena schools qualified.
Longfellow (Henry W.) Elementary is among the top elementary schools for low-income Latino students in English. According to the report, 58% of low-income Latinos in the school are proficient in English.
Marshall Fundamental is among the top public high schools for low income Latino students. According to the report, 54% of low-income Latinos at the school meet UC/CSU eligibility, 58% are proficient in English, and 19% are proficient in math.
There isn’t one single program or model that works. In fact, all school governance models — traditional district, charter, and other magnet or pilot models — are represented in this report. Innovate Public Schools has studied high-performing schools across the country and found that they are as diverse as the communities they serve.
To learn more about the report, visit reports.innovateschools.org/top-la-public-schools.