The announcement, made by Christopher Downing, superintendent of Local District-South for L.A. Unified, and Dr. Willie J. Hagan, the university’s president, came during a ceremony where they signed what was described as a “promise agreement.”
“We are extremely proud of our work with Cal State Dominguez to create this pathway for the students of Local District-South,” Downing said. “Our local district exemplifies the diversity of L.A. Unified. With our focus on STEAM, we feel strongly this partnership will ensure a bright future for our students and benefit the school communities.”
The educational leaders said they believe the plan will lead to more college graduates from South Los Angeles. Knowing a spot has been reserved for them at the university, students will be inspired to take challenging courses, especially in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics that better prepares them for higher learning, Downing said.
When asked if every student in Local District-South who is qualified under the promise agreement would be admitted to the university, Hagan said, “It would be a great problem to have.”
"We’re not just guaranteeing admission; it’s about you students keeping in mind that college is a part of your future,” Hagan added. “Our part is to guarantee admission, but you students have to do the work. If you do the work, trust in yourself, trust in your teachers, and trust in those who support you, you will then have a great choice to make about what you want to do with your lives.”
The agreement represents the first for L.A. Unified to provide graduates with automatic enrollment to a university across an entire local district. It is a model Downing believes will expand in coming weeks. L.A. Unified also hopes to introduce the model to other parts of the District.
Another element that makes the agreement unique allows students to give back to their communities. The university and L.A. Unified will conduct annual hiring fairs to hire university graduates as teachers in Local District-South schools that historically have been hard-to-staff. In addition, the educational partners will continue to explore ways to provide students with college credits as reward for taking advanced-level courses.
“Cal State Dominguez is ramping up our STEM and STEAM programs, and we are particularly excited about partnering with LAUSD Local District-South in creating a pathway for high school students to come to our campus for our high-quality programs that will lead to thriving jobs and careers in business, industry, agencies and schools in our neighborhoods and regions,” said Provost Ellen Junn.
Local District-South includes 20 high schools and 4,700 graduating students in an area that stretches from the 10 Freeway south in downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach and San Pedro.
Contact: Susana Romo (310) 354-3411