Over 20,000 students have started school at each of Compton Unified School District’s 36 school sites, marking a time of excitement as the school district enters into another year on the heals of its dramatic turnaround and featured schools marking major milestones.
Compton Early College High School, which opened its doors in 2015, welcomed its inaugural senior class, over a dozen of whom are on track to graduate from high school having also completed a college Associate of Arts degree via the school’s partnership with Compton College. Several more seniors will graduate with college courses under their belt, giving them a head start in their college careers. Students were welcomed with balloons and high fives from staff as they crossed entered campus. Compton City Councilwoman Janna Zurita and Compton School Board Vice President Satra Zurita were also there to greet them.
“This is truly a momentous occasion,” said Vice President Zurita, “These students have taken up the challenge of attending college and high school at the same time. We have provided them with support and they have excelled. As a board member, it brings me much joy to think that many of them will walk the stage in June with both a high school and college diploma in their hand!”
Dominguez High School literally rolled out the red carpet, welcoming students with its WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation recently awarded and solidified for the first time in years, due in large part to a turnaround led at the district level by the Board and Superintendent Dr. Darin Brawley, and at the school level by new Principal Blain Watson who has led a transformation of the school culture and climate.
Compton School Board member Alma Pleasant greeted parents at Foster Elementary, assuring new students nervous about their first day and thanking parents, “Thank you for trusting us with your children!” she shared with a crowd of parents and family members joining in on the first-day celebration. Students wrote messages to their new teachers on a banner at the front of the school, and one parent shared her hopes for her son, “Here at Foster he gets great support from the teachers, the principal and tutors. I bring him here because I want him to be a prominent person in society.”
Compton High School incoming 9th graders will be attending high school as the Compton High School 9th Grade Academy on the campus of Roosevelt Middle School so that the district may begin construction of the new Compton High School campus. “This incoming class of Compton High School students will make history, as they are set to be the first class to graduate from a completely new campus facility in 2022—one whose design recently won an award for architectural excellence,” said CUSD Board of Trustees President, Micah Ali.
“This will be an unprecedented year for all of our students as we work to provide them with outstanding teachers, facilities, and enrichment opportunities. The Compton Turnaround laid a solid foundation…now it’s time to elevate!” The new Compton High School campus will also include a state-of-the-art performing arts center named after Andre “Dr. Dre” Young who donated $10M toward its construction.
The opening of the school year celebration culminated in two rivalries played out on the football field: hometown rivals Compton and Centennial high schools battled for bragging rights, and cross-town opponents the Dominguez Dons played Inglewood’s Morningside High Schools. Both games ended in a blow-out, with Compton beating Centennial 41-0 and Dominguez shutting out Morningside 47-0 the inaugural game on its new football field.
Compton Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Darin Brawley summed up the day, addressing students as he toured the district on the first day of school: “We want the entire community to know how well our students are doing in Compton and to share in our excitement about this upcoming school year. We are elevating in every way and our students are proof of that. We believe that they indeed can be great—right here in Compton.”