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Lakewood, Millikan Earn $1 Million Grant

A new $1 million grant will help Lakewood and Millikan high schools develop smaller learning communities that boost student achievement. Implementation begins this year and will include extra training for teachers and staff. Both schools completed extensive planning for the grant last year involving many focus groups, surveys and workshops. The schools learned this month that their planning was deemed worthy of the $1 million grant. "It was glorious news, especially during these lean times," said Charles Acosta, co-principal at Lakewood High School. "This winning effort was driven by the energy and enthusiasm of the instructional staff." Lakewood and Millikan already have worked to provide small, safe and successful learning communities. The schools offer several four-year academies that help students build lasting, positive relationships with peers and teachers. Smaller learning communities have been found to result in higher course-passing rates, better attendance and fewer suspensions. The large grant from the U.S. Department of Education will last three years and help both schools continue their popular academies. It will also allow the schools to provide specific career paths, with a strong focus on the state's academic standards, technology, and values like commitment and dedication. The project will offer students personal adult advocates who help them refine and fulfill individual learning plans. The ultimate goal is to have an increased number of students qualifying for admission to the University of California, California State University and successful careers. Students also will work to earn an Academic Foundation Certificate that workforce partners will endorse.