While many Angelinos headed back to work after Labor Day, nearly 100 concerned parents, alumni, business leaders and community members embarked on a far more festive early morning ritual—cheering on students as they entered the doors of Crenshaw High School for the 2008-2009 School Year!!!!
As part of the launch for the highly anticipated transformation of Crenshaw High School, students were given the celebrity treatment with a special “Back-to-School Welcome Week” that was complete with a blue carpet runway, Cougar Blue & Gold Balloons, a large welcome banner and an adoring crowd.
Many students were beyond surprised to be greeted with such fanfare, while others students strutted with Cougar Pride down the walkway; some students, clearly not used to receiving thunderous applause and well wishes, rushed down the walkway with bowed heads. There was definitely a spirit of “something new” and celebration in the air.
Strong community support was evident by the appearance of greeters from the Highway Patrol, LAPD, the Sheriff’s Department, local business owners, Park Mesa Heights residents, local chapters of African American fraternities and sororities, organizations, the University of Southern California (USC), the Los Angeles Urban League’s Board of Directors and staff, as well as Crenshaw High School alumni, parents, administrators, and teachers. Everyone was excited and thrilled to witness such a huge array of support for the success of the students this school year. Teachers and neighbors passing by could not help but join in the festivities. Parents enthusiastically honked car horns as they dropped their children off at school. There was even a surprise appearance by LAUSD Deputy Superintendent Ramon Cortines. One wide-eyed student remarked, “I don’t even get this kind of treatment at home”. All in all, it was remarkable way to begin the school year.
The “Welcome Week” events highlighted the reform efforts already underway at Crenshaw High School. The high school, a pioneering member of the LAUSD iDesign Schools Network, is supported by the Greater Crenshaw Educational Partnership (GCEP), which includes the LA Urban League, USC and the Tom and Ethel Bradley Foundation. Under the leadership of Dr. Sylvia Rousseau, the interim GCEP Executive Director, Crenshaw High School has established Small Learning Communities for all students, grades 9 to 12. With its accreditation in hand, Crenshaw High School is working on a strategic plan which will empower it to become a California Distinguished School by 2012.