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New program at Nightingale Middle School for college-bound students

LA School Report | August 15, 2016

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Principal Rafael Gaeta (Courtesy: LAUSD)

An announcement from LA Unified. For more see

At Nightingale Middle School, a college degree is within grasp, thanks to a new program there requiring students and their parents to attend Saturday classes. The Neighborhood Academic Initiative has a new home at Nightingale in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles. Directed by the University of Southern California, the initiative is a rigorous seven-year enrichment program designed to help students become college graduates.

“Nightingale Middle has a special place in my heart because it is part of the Cypress Park community that I grew up in, so I am always excited to see our students participate in unique programs like this,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez. “Because of Principal Rafael Gaeta’s leadership and USC’s investment in our young people, Nightingale continues to expand opportunities for our students by putting them on a solid and affordable path to college.”

To qualify, only 34 sixth-grade students will be selected to participate. The applicant must be a first-generation college-bound student, and will attend the Saturday Academy, held at the USC campus in East Los Angeles. The Saturday Academy is a 10-week per semester program that offers students support in math, English, science and other core subjects.

Low-income students, who complete the program (grades six-12) and choose to attend USC, will be rewarded with a full, 4.5-year financial package, minus loans.

“We are very excited to partner with USC to offer this opportunity to our Nightingale students,” said Gaeta, principal of Nightingale Middle School. “Our students are more than ready to meet the challenge to become college and career ready and attend USC in the future.”

A sixth-grade orientation was recently offered to families. Additionally a session will be held for parents and students to meet USC representatives and answer their questions about the program.

Gaeta said that once students graduate from Nightingale, they will attend either Wilson or Lincoln high schools where the initiative is also offered.

Since 1997, students participating in the program have graduated high school with a 99 percent college-going rate.

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