A Safe Haven: LA Charter Nurtures, Educates the Homeless

September 7, 2017

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On Monday August 14, a Los Angeles-based independent charter school opened its doors with a goal to not only change the educational trajectory of its students, but in particular, put homeless children and their families on the path to success.

Crete Academy, which opened its doors to students in South L.A.'s Leimert Park neighborhood, serves children in transitional-kindergarten (TK) to 6th grade. An estimated 10 percent of the 140 students enrolled have experienced homelessness. Additionally, it is expected that 100 percent of the students enrolled will qualify for free-and-reduced price meals based on parent surveys and rates at neighboring schools.

Anticipating the high needs of their incoming student population, Crete, with the support of local partner organizations, will provide students and families access to wrap around services such as medical, dental, mental health, nutrition services, and social services to promote overall physical and mental well-being. The school has also purchased two 15-seat vans that will transport approximately 50 students each morning who would be unable to get to school otherwise.

Crete will focus on promoting a college-going culture as early as TK and Kindergarten and will support the needs of the "whole child" by teaching them life skills such as patience and mindfulness. Additionally, Crete will offer children enriching experiences such as language arts, performing arts, yoga, culinary arts, and horticulture.

Crete serves some of the poorest communities in Los Angeles. In fact, the surrounding zip code is home to more than 7,000 children who in 2010 had experienced homelessness at one point. This is about one third of the surrounding community's children, according to a 2015 analysis in Crete's charter application.

CCSA looks forward to watching Crete grow and help every child, regardless of their background, receive a free, public education with teachers that will ignite a passion for learning in students.