The Accelerated School

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/03/97

CONTACT: Deborah Claesgens,
(323) 343-4428

PreK-12 Teaching Reform Takes Major Step Forward in California
at Cal State L.A. Charter School of Education
with Donation of $6.8M Site

Los Angeles, California -- September 3, 1997 -- Moving forward on its promise to lead educators in their efforts to improve California's preK-12 schools, the Charter School of Education at California State University, Los Angeles in partnership with The Accelerated School (public school), Wells Fargo, EDUCATION FIRST! and other foundations and corporations, has announced the gift of a $6.8M site that will be developed into an inner city center for advanced preK-12 learning and teacher professional development.

"...As one of the largest producers of teachers for urban centers in California and the country, this donation means we can make a quantum leap in delivering on our promise to the 1,500 students earning teaching credentials and master's degrees from us each year, giving them the kind of real world, hands-on practice in successful classrooms that is often lacking in traditional teaching degree programs. With this new site, we can now create a professional development center where our students, working along side gifted teachers, committed parents and our own talented faculty, will learn how to close the achievement gap for poor and minority children,..." explains Dr. Allen A. Mori, dean of the Charter School of Education at Cal State L.A.

Formerly the headquarters of California Fashion Industries (CFI) on Martin Luther King Boulevard, in South Central Los Angeles, the four acre, five-building site was donated by CFI co-presidents: fashion designer Carole Little and her partner Leonard Rabinowitz, whose commitment has now raised the awareness of leaders in fashion and media to the needs of inner city education and the reform plans of Cal State L.A. for changing the status quo of professional development.

The site will merge a fresh approach to professional development and faculty research led by Cal State L.A.'s Charter School Education, with the new home of one of the LAUSD's emerging charter schools. Based on the Accelerated Schools models pioneered by Dr. Henry Levin, The Accelerated School has been exploring powerful learning outcomes for inner city students in collaboration with the University's Accelerated Schools Center, using an academic program delivered through faculty-designed and parent-supported curricula.

Plans for The Accelerated School include expanding to a preK-12 school and community center that will accommodate major on-site and distance learning facilities for Cal State L.A. faculty research and teaching, as well as intensive hands-on classroom experience for undergraduate, graduate and credential program candidates.

This donation gives a green light to Cal State L.A.'s reform goals by engaging the institution in one of the most extensive public/private partnerships in education, which merges university research and campus life wit business, media and a grassroots community public school on the south side of Los Angeles. Extensive program, curriculum, architectural, funding and organizational commitments have been made by each of the partners involved in this project.

"This is more than a simple lease-for-space or student teacher arrangement...," reflects Dean Mori, "...and it could not have happened without the direct support of the CSU Chancellor, the President of Cal State L.A., and the academic leadership of this campus. Now that this gift has been made, we face the challenge of developing a program and facility that responds to the needs of our faculty and students during the next twenty years. It's an enormously time consuming task, but one that will be well-worth it for us all as educational professionals and citizens. It's right for Cal State L.A.'s Charter School of Education to be involved in this project because it is right for our children and it's right for Los Angeles."

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