Last week I was invited to the groundbreaking for ACES (the Accelerated Charter Elementary School). ACES is not new; they’ve been around for a decade holding classes in a neighborhood church, stacking tables and chairs after class so as not to interfere with church activities. Last Thursday marked the start of construction for a new campus built specifically for them.
ACES will be located across the street from the Keck Early Learning Center (pre-Kindergarten-age children), The Accelerated School (Kindergarten through 8th grade) and the Wallis Annenberg High School (WAHS). Together they form The Accelerated Schools of Los Angeles, or TAS for short.
I had the pleasure of serving as the project manager for the construction of the 140,000 sq. ft. TAS complex located in South-Central LA. It was the first charter school in California to be built, in part, using State School Building Grants. The rest of the funding came from the Los Angeles Unified School District Prop BB and privately raised donations, including the site for the buildings.
At the groundbreaking the speakers shared the stories of how the project came to be. During the LA riots in 1992, residents convinced rioters to bypass the neighborhood and the Carole Little Clothing headquarters where TAS now stands. Carole Little and business partner Leonard Rabinowitz donated their headquarters to two teachers who had started a small charter school in a nearby church in 1994. These tenacious teachers, with help from the many they recruited, spawned the private/public project that resulted in the construction of the TAS complex which opened in 2005. A year earlier they had opened ACES with three K-1 classrooms in that nearby church.
Since then, TAS has accumulated an impressive set of accolades and the WAHS is rated among the top 100 high schools in California. Their 97% graduation rate is impressive enough, but 100% of the graduates received college acceptance letters and 70% were able to move on to a 4-year college or university. ACES features a distinctive dual language immersion model and will provide a direct pathway for students to move on to the WAHS.
TAS is a major part of the neighborhood it was built in, and is a valuable asset to the community. ACES is another major step forward, and is the result of many tenacious and generous people helping to build a truer reflection of the people that live here and provide their children (their future) with a place to thrive. All of us here at Colbi Technologies are honored to play even the smallest role in supporting these amazing efforts.
If you would like to read more about TAS, click here.