Communities In Schools - Los Angeles West
CISLAW taps community resources to empower student learning so that young Angelenos can achieve their goals and fulfill their potential throughout life.
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Venice High School student leaders with Mayor Antonio Villaragosa at a Creative Artists Agency reception
Letter from CISLAW?s Executive Director
Do you remember the thrill of graduation day? Family and friends in the stands to celebrate your achievements! Friends and classmates at your side as you marched into the stadium to ?Pomp and Circumstance!? Do you remember sitting in that late afternoon sun reflecting back on all the fun you?ve had over the past four years and how many new, exciting and mysterious adventures await you in college? You probably didn?t think much about the classmates who didn?t make it to the stage for their diploma nor the students who had dropped out along the way, but things have changed.
Recently, The Los Angeles Times ran a front-page article about the ?Dropout Crisis? in California, indicating that 1 out of 4 high school students in our state do not graduate. By not graduating from high school, these young people are crippling themselves for a full and productive future. This dropout rate is also felt here in West Los Angeles at Venice and Hamilton High Schools. The quality of our city?s future workforce is being dramatically diminished. More importantly, for hundreds of our young people, the human potential for a successful and rewarding future is being diminished each year. Dropouts are most likely to commit crimes, end up on welfare, and suffer health and medical risks.
Since 2007, at Venice and Hamilton High Schools, Principals Lonnie Wallace and Gary Garcia have a local affiliate of a well-established national organization working to keep our young people in school and get them to graduate with marketable skills for the future. Communities In Schools Los Angeles West now serves approximately 300 at-risk students at Venice and Hamilton High Schools.
Graduation is the beginning, not the end. It leads to other opportunities. It?s the key that will unlock these kids? futures. At CISLAW, our job is to make sure that kids graduate with the skills kids need to live life beyond high school?everything we do to get there is just a tactic.
CISLAW provides at-risk 9th and 10th graders with tutoring, mentoring, career and college exploration, enrichment field trips to museums and theaters, and a fitness program being funded through Matthew McConaghy?s j.k. livin foundation. Through generous support from Creative Artists Agency, students also have access to ?job shadowing? opportunities and motivational incentives from several segments of the entertainment community. CISLAW also connects many of these young people to community agencies and organizations who can provide the specialized support necessary.
As a former principal of Venice High School and a 30 year veteran of LAUSD, I am excited to bring a nationally proven model to students in West Los Angeles. We have two talented and committed graduation coaches in our program --Ms. Dana Henry at Hamilton High School and Mr. Tomás Licea at Venice High School. Our coaches mentor our student and connect them to the resources they need to succeed such as UCLA tutoring and numerous community agencies like the Centinela Youth Association, Didi Hirsch, Mental Health Center and Venice Boys and Girls Club.
In CISLAW?s first year at Venice and Hamilton High Schools, over 75% of the program participants:
? Improved attendance
? Improved academic performance
? Increased participation in school activities like tutoring
? Increased their promotion rate
? Defined college and career goals for the future
These young people are back on track to graduate and you could also be a part of their success. If you are interested in tutoring or mentoring; providing ?job shadowing? opportunities at your place of work, sponsoring a field trip or museum tour, or contributing to the organization, please contact me at 424-288-2809 or .
Communities In Schools Los Angeles West