Great Public Schools Now announces planning grants

Great Public Schools Now announces planning grants of $20,000 each to two L.A. Unified-governed projects

November 21, 2016 (LOS ANGELES, CA) – Great Public Schools Now (GPSN) announced today that L.A. Unified Local District South will receive grants to plan replication of successful educational practices at Diego Rivera Learning Complex Public Service and King-Drew Senior High Medicine & Science Magnet as part of GPSN’s plan to spend up to $3.75 million to replicate high-quality L.A. Unified schools.

GPSN also released the full Request for Proposals for the high-quality school replication grant program, which is open to traditional L.A. Unified schools in 10 neighborhoods throughout the city. The Local District South planning grants will provide the opportunity for teachers, parents and administrators to complete their applications for the replication grants, which are designed to grow successful schools and give more students a chance at a high quality education.

“We are excited to be able to fund the planning of projects in LAUSD schools where we know high-needs students are finding supportive learning environments that result in high achievement,” said Myrna Castrejón, Executive Director of GPSN. “Our goal is to increase the number of students enrolled in high-quality programs, and to do so quickly. We believe there are many ways to find success, and these schools have a model that works. We are proud to be funding the planning process as they seek to grow their model, get beyond politics, and make a difference in the lives of their students.”

The deadline for applications is March 8 and winners will be announced by early April.

The planning grants were available to non-selective, high-performing magnet, pilot, or traditional schools where at least half of the students met or exceeded proficiency in English or math on state tests, as well as campuses where no fewer than 25% of students perform at proficient levels and the school as a whole performed significantly better in math and English than surrounding schools with similar demographics.

“These planning grants are another opportunity to increase the number of high-quality choices for our L.A. Unified families within the existing framework of successful District schools,” said L.A. Unified Supt. Michelle King. “Investing in our campuses will allow more of our students to attain the academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to be successful in college, their careers and in life.”

The grants were only available to district-run schools and came after the L.A. Unified Board of Education approved a motion this spring seeking to replicate high-performing District schools.

“These grants will create additional pathways for our students,” said Christopher Downing, who oversees 148 schools as superintendent of Local District South. “We are honored that GPSN has selected our programs for support.”

The grants are the first of a series to support LAUSD schools and GPSN officials hope to expand the scope of the program in the future. As the winning campuses implement the planning grants, GPSN and LAUSD officials will track results to see what educational strategies can be replicated and how the grant-making process can be improved.

Another school, San Fernando Senior High School Math/Science/Technology Magnet, also submitted an application for a planning grant but then withdrew it.

GPSN is also seeking ideas for future collaborations and will be holding a town hall forum to discuss education in South Los Angeles on Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Watts Labor Community Action building, 10950 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90059.


For Great Public Schools Now questions, contact:

Jason Song
(213) 223-2018

For L.A. Unified questions, contact:

Shannon Haber
(213) 241-4575

To download a copy of the RFP, click here.