LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines congratulates Crenshaw High School for demonstrated success
Crenshaw High School was granted a full two-year accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) with a one-day revisit in 2012 and an opportunity at that time for an extension of six years to 2016. The WASC Accreditation Team visited Crenshaw High School for four days in March 2010 and released its recommended term in July. WASC is one of six regional associations that reviews and accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States.
The accreditation visiting team’s exit report indicated that Crenshaw High School demonstrated a strong commitment and capacity to make continuous improvements. They also commended the school’s existing successes in students’ academic and personal growth, the effectiveness of the Greater Crenshaw Educational Partnership (GCEP) and other partnerships, community support, and growth in all of the key areas of the “Focus on Learning” report. Crenshaw met key areas of improvement through a school-wide action plan, made appropriate progress on implementation of the plan and improved student achievement relative to the expected school-wide learning results.
“The two-year full accreditation is the result of major efforts by all stakeholders in the Crenshaw High School family,” said Principal Carrie Allen. “A great deal of collaborative work and commitment went into the preparations for the WASC Self-Study in order to accurately document and portray Crenshaw’s successes since our last review in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment and student support services.”
In a message to Allen, LAUSD Superintendent Ray Cortines stated:
I want to extend my congratulations to the teachers, students, parents, classified staff, and administration on a job well done on your recent WASC term of accreditation. I am very pleased …and look forward to your one-day revisit in 2012. This is a major milestone for the Crenshaw High School community that should be marked as what can be accomplished when stakeholders are united around a common goal and work toward improving academic outcomes for all students. I encourage each and every member of the community to stay on the trajectory of improvement and providing a quality educational experience for all students. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the support and contributions of the Greater Crenshaw Educational Partnership and Local District 3 for their commitment to this process and the Crenshaw family.
Since 2008, Crenshaw High School has been under a unique oversight structure, governed by GCEP within the iDesign Division of LAUSD. The structure allows for charter-like flexibility and localized decision making over curriculum and budget. GCEP, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), harnesses the combined resources of the Los Angeles Urban League, the University of Southern California (USC) and the Tom & Ethel Bradley Foundation into the school, working diligently with Principal Allen, the students, dedicated teachers, staff, and parents for constructive change. Dr. Sylvia Rousseau, the founding Executive Director, laid the foundation for the organizational development and instructional improvements recognized by the WASC Team. Teachers and parents led the search for the outstanding and experienced principal. Allen’s exemplary leadership paved the way for concerted efforts of improvement across all sectors of the school. Presently headed by Executive Director Dr. Rudy Crew, GCEP deployed an unwavering commitment to rebuild the school from within and leveraged the myriad strengths on the campus.
The results have been considerable, including a 27% increase in graduation rates, the implementation of four Small Learning Communities, 19% increase in CAHSEE first-time pass rates, and substantial improvements in student attendance rates with decreases in discipline and suspensions. The Tom & Ethel Bradley Foundation provided curriculum support such as financial literacy training for Crenshaw students. The USC Rossier School of Education supported the professional services of Professors Rousseau and Crew at Crenshaw and provided comprehensive professional development programs for teachers and administrators. The League’s neighborhood change model Neighborhoods@Work and its K-12 Collaborative are actively engaged with feeder schools, working with the principals to strengthen academic outcomes to ensure that students entering Crenshaw’s doors in the 9th grade arrive ready to succeed. Along with the internal improvements, there has also been considerable progress surrounding the school as crime rates have been substantially reduced due to the efforts of Neighborhoods@Work and partners LAPD, LA Sheriff’s Department and the CA Highway Patrol.
“Crenshaw High School, once the jewel of the African American community in South Los Angeles, had been plagued in recent years as one of the lowest performing schools in the city,” said Blair H. Taylor, President & CEO of the League and GCEP Board Chair. “It is a true victory that a school which lost its accreditation in 2005 is now well on its way toward implementing a quality curriculum and best practices in instruction for all students, and working to make sure that everyone in the community takes accountability for achieving and measuring that success. The length of the accreditation term provides formal and public notice that Crenshaw High School is once again taking the appropriate steps to meet rigorous educational standards.”
About the Los Angeles Urban League
Founded in 1921, the Los Angeles Urban League is Los Angeles’ premier community organization in advancing equal opportunities on behalf of African Americans and other minority youths and adults through innovative job training, job placement, youth achievement and business development programs. Through its collective programs, services and advocacy activities and seven offices located in the Crenshaw District, South Los Angeles, and Pomona, the Los Angeles Urban League serves over 100,000 constituents annually. Blair H. Taylor serves as the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, one of the largest and most successful affiliates of the National Urban League, which has affiliates in 100 cities throughout the United States.