LAUSD board approves expansion of Ednovate charter school network

The successful vote means that new schools will be added in both Pico-Union and East Los Angeles.

Ednovate’s first charter school is USC Hybrid High, which opened in downtown Los Angeles in 2012. Photo: Chris Shinn.

Ednovate’s first charter school is USC Hybrid High, which opened in downtown Los Angeles in 2012. Photo: Chris Shinn.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) approved Ednovate’s fourth and fifth personalized learning high schools Tuesday night, bringing two new high-quality charter public school options to students in Los Angeles for the 2017-18 school year.

Ednovate, Inc., a charter management organization, was designed and developed by the USC Rossier School of Education. The vote from the LAUSD board means that the two new schools, to be located in Pico-Union and East Los Angeles, will be added to Ednovate’s current operations. Existing schools include USC Hybrid High School, which opened in downtown Los Angeles in 2012; USC East College Prep, which opened in 2015 in Lincoln Heights; and a third school in Santa Ana that will open this fall.

This expansion fulfills an initial promise from Ednovate to create five top-performing high schools in Southern California by 2017, ultimately serving more than 2,300 students per year once all five reach full capacity.

“We believe that the board’s vote reflects the thought, energy and research put into our existing charter schools and is a testament to the hard work of all those involved,” said USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher, who is also chair of the Ednovate board of directors. “We recognize the level of trust that has been placed in us, and we look forward to helping elevate a new generation of students toward higher education.”

Several students, parents and educators attended the LAUSD board meeting to lend their voices in support of the expansion.

“As a teacher, I have seen and experienced firsthand how our model is setting our students up for success,” said Rod Lopez, an English teacher at USC Hybrid High. “I truly appreciate how, as teachers, we are given autonomy to push our students to succeed in whatever ways we know will work.”

“Coming to USC Hybrid High has definitely opened many doors for me,” said Vanessa Ruiz, a senior and class president. “But now we currently have a waiting list of 100 to 200 students looking for the same opportunities I had.”

“This school changes kids. Their maturity level completely changes when they go here. There’s no playing around here. They’re trying to get us somewhere. This school makes kids not be a statistic,” said Tyriq Moses, a USC Hybrid High senior.

Unmet demand is a significant factor in Ednovate’s decision to open two new schools. Oliver Sicat ’01, the CEO of Ednovate and a nationally known charter school leader, explained Ednovate’s growth into the Pico-Union and East Los Angeles neighborhoods to the board: “In this case there were two clear communities that asked us, ‘Can you open up one of your high schools in our area?’”

USC Hybrid High’s first senior class is set to graduate later this spring. Within the class of 2016, almost 99 percent of students have gained acceptance to a four-year college or university, accounting for 390 total college acceptances (including six to USC) and $4.8 million in scholarships. Just over 80 percent of students will be the first in their families to attend college.

Central to the Ednovate model is a focus on combining great teaching and cutting-edge technology to tailor learning experiences to the individual needs of each student. Each Ednovate school is guided by the mission that all students will use their college degrees and careers to make a positive multigenerational change. In addition, Ednovate sets a goal that 100 percent of graduates will be accepted into a four-year university, with a 90 percent retention rate after their first year.

For more information about Ednovate or how to support its schools, contact Lisa Shapiro at 213.740.5080 or lisashap@usc.edu.