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LA Unified receives $700,000 grant to help struggling students

Mike Szymanski | November 2, 2015

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The federal government has awarded LAUSD a $700,000 grant to assist struggling at-risk students to stay in school and keep on track to get to college or into the workforce.

The grant will build on the district’s collaboration with the Los Angeles city government, the Los Angeles County Departments of Mental Health, Probation and Health Services and other agencies to help curb the school dropout rate and steer youth to graduation. Other agencies are taking notice: This week the district will present the collaboration with the probation department to state officials.

Debra Duardo, the executive director of LAUSD’s Student Health and Human Services, said, “Our goal is to create a system that will serve our highest-risk youth in a more holistic, coordinated and efficient manner that will not allow one more youth to fall through the cracks. We look forward to expanding our efforts to re-engage our disconnected youth and coordinating efforts with our partners who have already been working tirelessly to improve outcomes for our students.”

The district plans to use the new grant to prevent dropout rates through programs with the Men and Boys of Color Initiative and the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center and YouthSource facilities, among others. Nine communities across the country are receiving this grant as part of the Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth, an initiative from the U.S. Department of Education.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan emphasized that the grants are earmarked for the students who are at most risk in the education system, saying, “If we care about our country’s future, we must work together – at the local, state and federal levels – to reconnect all young people with the education and career pathways that lead away from poverty, desperation and violence and toward a renewed sense of community, stability and success.”

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