USC Rossier’s innovative charter high school model to serve Lincoln Heights students
by Merrill Balassone
USC East College Prep, a second charter high school developed and designed by USC Rossier, will open in August, serving students in Lincoln Heights, the neighborhood of USC’s Health Sciences Campus.
USC Hybrid High, the predecessor of USC East College Prep, will expand to full capacity next year to serve about 450 students in downtown Los Angeles. Hybrid High’s first class of seniors will graduate in June 2016.
Ednovate, the charter management organization of which USC is a fiscal and operating partner, operates both schools, which are chartered through the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“USC Hybrid High and Ednovate are committed to making a positive multigenerational change not only in the lives of students, families and communities, but also in the profession of teaching,” said Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. “USC Rossier built these schools with the intention of not only learning what works and what doesn’t in personalized learning, but also sharing that information widely to impact the work of teachers and administrators, and therefore the success of students.”
Personalized Pearning Program
USC East College Prep students will benefit from the same personalized learning program developed at USC Hybrid High, which blends online curriculum that the students use in class at their own pace with one-on-one instruction from teachers, group work, community projects and internships.
“USC Hybrid High and Ednovate are committed to making a positive multigenerational change not only in the lives of students, families and communities, but also in the profession of teaching.”
—Dean Karen Symms Gallagher
The school’s primary goal is to ensure that 100 percent of graduates will be accepted into a selective four-year university, with 90 percent continuing after the first year.
Its mission is to create positive multigenerational change, enabling students to go on to use their college degrees and careers to impact their families, their community, their nation and the world.
USC East College Prep plans to welcome 130 ninth-graders this fall, building up to a total of 450 students within four years. Interest in both Ednovate schools has been high, with 617 total applications, a ratio of more than two applicants for every seat available. Because the schools are public charter schools with no prerequisites for entry, admission is determined by a random lottery system.
The school has hired 12 teachers, administrators and support staff members, including four who have roots on the east side of Los Angeles.
“I’d like to commend USC for helping improve the communities of the First Council District with the establishment of the USC East College Prep school in Lincoln Heights,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “Some of the communities in my district have been challenged with access to college, either because no one in their family has ever attended college or because they frankly don’t see it as an option. With the establishment of this new school, I hope the pipeline to college will be established for residents in the surrounding communities, creating more access and opportunities for our bright students.”
Like its predecessor, USC East College Prep is expected to serve first-generation, college-going students. Based on initial data, the incoming class is expected to be primarily Latino, with more than 90 percent of its students coming from low-income families. Approximately 15 percent of the incoming class has special needs.
“Opening a second innovative Ednovate campus will not only allow us to serve more Los Angeles families, it will also allow both of our schools to improve more rapidly as they collaborate and compete with one another to find better ways to personalize learning for students,” said Oliver Sicat ’01, the CEO of Ednovate and a nationally known charter school leader and graduate of USC Rossier.