The Accelerated Schools, a Pre-K to 12th grade network of public charter schools that provides high quality education to students in South Los Angeles, celebrated their grand opening of a new, $37 million campus for its dual language (Spanish/English) school, The Accelerated Charter Elementary School (ACES). The brief reception honored the hard work and dedication of ACES supporters, staff, and students; including special recognition of donors. This campus represents an absolutely unique public/private partnership between The Accelerated Schools, Los Angeles Unified School District and Private/Corporate Foundations.
“The Accelerated Schools was founded on the heels of one of the most polarizing events in Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Unrest of 1992. The incredible partnerships that we have been fortunate to form with LAUSD and a multitude of partners in the philanthropic community of Los Angeles have allowed us to create a proven model of success in South Los Angeles. Carole Little and Leonard Rabinowitz donated their former headquarters at the corner of MLK, Jr Blvd and Main Street to give back to a community that protected their business during the riots because they worked there. The community’s efforts to stop their headquarters from burning to the ground resulted in a seed of kindness being planted, which has grown into an elementary school, a middle school, a high school and now a dual language Pre-k to 6th grade school. Many of our older graduates have succeeded against the odds and graduated from top-notch and Ivy League universities. The diversity of our community, of our board, of our students and our many supporters is what makes us strong. We thank all of you for helping to build our foundation for educational success,” said, Johnathan Williams, CEO and Founder.
Wells Fargo and the Weingart Foundations were the first major private foundations to fund The Accelerated Schools. At today’s event, Wells Fargo was presented with the Corporate Champion Since 1994 Award. John W. Ward, Senior Vice President represented Wells Fargo.
Eric Crail-Johnson, TAS Board President, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Service. Mr. Johnson has been a relentless supporter of The Accelerated Schools since their inception and will retire this year from his role as Board President.
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office and Senator Holly Mitchell’s office was represented at the grand opening. Also in attendance was Monica Garcia, LAUSD board member – District 2; Curren D. Price, Jr., Los Angeles Councilman, 9th District; Jan Perry, general manager, city of Los Angeles, Workforce & Economic Development; Mark Hovatter, LAUSD chief of facilities; Jose Cole-Gutierrez, LAUSD director of the Charter Schools Division; Sydney Kamlager-Dove, trustee, Los Angeles Community College District; and Rachel Barchie, The Moss Foundation.
The following donors were recognized for their participation in building ACES: Wells Fargo Foundation, Weingart Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, W.M. Keck Foundation, The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, The Moss Foundation, The Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Foundation, Joseph Drown Foundation, Crail-Johnson Foundation, The Carol and James Collins Foundation, Elizabeth Bixby Janeway Foundation, Los Angeles Unified School District, the State of California through Proposition 55, with Special Thanks to: Monica Garcia, LAUSD Board Member, District 2; Dr. Richard Vladovic, LAUSD Board Member, District 7; and Curren D. Price, Jr., Councilman, city of Los Angeles, 9th District.
The students of ACES treated the audience to personal stories and poems recited in Spanish and English, sharing how impactful ACES has been in their lives and thanking donors for giving their school a home.