Vista L.A.

Vista LA: Education in LA Latino community

Sunday, November 20, 2011
The Adelante Young Mens Conference tries to make a positive difference in the lives of Latino high school boys. Verbum Dei High School in Watts is a high-performing, all-male school with a 100 percent college acceptance rate. As a teacher in the 60s, Sal Castro saw the disparity in education for Latino students, moving them to protest. The Accelerated School treats all students as gifted with grades K-12 located on one South L.A. campus. Young Eisner Scholars are high-achieving Los Angeles public school students who have gone on to elite universities.

The stakes are getting higher for new generations of Latino students, and Vista L.A. takes a close look at L.A. schools and programs achieving amazing results.

Adelante Young Men's Conference

Organized by the Pasadena Youth Center, the Adelante Young Men's (AYM) Conference attempts to make a positive difference in the lives of Latino high school boys by providing inspirational speakers, information about college admissions and career workshops presented by Latino professionals from a variety of fields [Watch video].

Verbum Dei High School

Located in Watts and run by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Jesuit Order, this high-performing, all-male high school boasts a 100 percent college acceptance rate. With funds from corporations and private donors, these mostly Latino students receive college-prep guidance as well as workplace experience.

Latino Fraternity

With male Latinos still in the minority at many colleges, the Gamma Zeta Alpha Fraternity serves as a haven for students trying to navigate college life as well as maintaining ties with their culture. The fraternity also connects students with a network of alumni to help them succeed in their careers.

Sal Castro

As a teacher in the '60s, Sal Castro recognized the disparity in education for Latino students. That's when he helped mobilize students to protest, resulting in the historic student walkouts of 1968 in which thousands of students took to the streets. This protest became the inspiration for the HBO movie, "Walkout," with actor Michael Pena. And now, a local school has been re-named Sal Castro Middle School in his honor.

Cal State Dominguez Hills President

As one of seven children raised by Puerto Rican parents in the low-income projects in New York, Mildred Garcia had little hope of a higher education. But, with determination and the help of encouraging teachers, she not only graduated from college, she went on to become the first Latina President in the California State University system. Recently named as a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans by President Obama, Ms. Garcia hopes to bring about even more change in education for disadvantaged kids in addition to what she has already accomplished at CSU Dominguez Hills.

The Accelerated School

As a former public school teacher, Johnathan Williams is well aware of how the Los Angeles Unified School District functions. So, he and a fellow teacher took matters into their own hands by raising funds from corporations and donations to create a new business model for education which became The Accelerated School. Their philosophy is to treat each student as gifted, with grades K-12 located on one campus in South Central L.A. With the addition of CEO Joaquin Hernandez, the school has changed the curriculum to emphasize longer classes, more sports, arts and music classes as well as preparing students for college.

Young Eisner Scholars

Thirteen years ago, entertainment lawyer Eric Eisner wondered what would happen if he took some of the brightest kids from inner-city schools and got them full scholarships to high-performing schools. His experiment proved a huge success for high-achieving, but frustrated L.A. public school students who now thrive academically in their new school environments. As a result, many of his students have gone on to elite universities and successful careers.

[Original air date: November 20, 2011]

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