USC-backed high school one step closer to permanent home

February 6, 2019

East College Prep groundbreaking gave many a moment to gratefully reflect

By Jonathan Riggs

Siblings Robert, Elexiz and Ray Padron share their school stories at the Feb. 5 groundbreaking for the permanent East College Prep, Ednovate with USC Rossier building in Lincoln Heights.. (Photo/Margaret Molloy)

Braving the threat of rain in their navy blazers, East College Prep, Ednovate with USC Rossier students joined supporters to celebrate the Feb. 5 groundbreaking for their school’s long-awaited permanent Lincoln Heights campus.

“This new building is going to allow us to meet the needs for every individual student,” said Drew Goltermann, principal of East College Prep. “When families look at us and say, ‘That’s an amazing school in my community,’ that’s something they’re going to be proud of for decades to come.”

Projected to open in January 2020, the 16,000-square-foot building at 3825 North Mission Rd. will include eight classrooms, two large open spaces and three stories, including a garage.

Currently operating downtown, East College Prep is the second of five public high schools created and operated by charter management organization Ednovate, the brainchild of a USC Rossier School of Education initiative. Focusing on empowerment, Ednovate schools offer personalized college prep for students who need it most.

“As chair of the Ednovate board, I speak for all of us in telling you how excited we are to break ground and see all four grade levels under one roof,” said Karen Symms Gallagher, the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of USC Rossier. “This has been our dream from the day we first acquired this building.”

Fulfilling a promise

East College Prep opened its doors in a temporary location in fall 2015.

“We promised the East community this building would be up and running so we can provide a high-quality education for years to come,” said Ednovate CEO Oliver Sicat ’01. “We are going to make sure we follow through on that promise.”

During the ceremony, three siblings—senior Robert, sophomore Ray and freshman Elexiz Padron—shared their gratitude.

“This building represents the growth our school’s willing to give to our students,” said Robert. “I want to give thanks to everyone.”

“I came here after Robert—he was telling me so much about it and it was making me really excited, and it was just like he promised,” said Ray. “I love this school.”

“I remember hearing from my brothers how great and different this school was, so I pushed myself to get A’s to get in,” said Elexiz. “I’m just so grateful to be here.”

East College Prep currently has 369 students, 78 of whom are seniors. As of February, 92 percent of the senior class has been accepted to at least one four-year university. That includes senior David Hayes, who already has two acceptance letters and plans to go to medical school.

“I’m glad we’ll get this new campus finished, even if it’s after I graduate,” he said. “Since the school’s motto is ‘positive multigenerational change,’ I feel like this will be a good change for future students.”

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