University of Southern California


Working with our neighbors to build a strong community

College Prep Partnerships

Partnership with Crenshaw High School

USC has a multifaceted affiliation with Crenshaw High School, one of the schools the Los Angeles Unified School District has targeted for improvements to enhance student test scores and graduation rates.

  • As part of Neighborhoods@Work, a model for sustainable neighborhood revitalization in central L.A., the USC Rossier School of Education has established the Greater Crenshaw Educational Partnership to assume leadership of Crenshaw High.
  • In spring 2009, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Integrated Media Systems Center unveiled GameDesk, a program to improve students’ mathematical and analytical skills through the creation of live-action games, at Crenshaw High. (Together with Jordan High School and Pomona Valley High, Crenshaw is part of a three-school pilot of GameDesk.)
  • As part of “Intersections: The South Los Angeles Reporting Project,” journalism students from the USC Annenberg School for Communication are mentoring Crenshaw High students by working with several classes to produce audio slideshows, radio commentaries and blogs.
Marco Perez and I AM mentor Brian Rodriguez (Photo/Kathy Christie)

Marco Perez and I AM mentor Brian Rodriguez (Photo/Kathy Christie)

School-Based Outreach

Many individual USC schools and departments also offer enhanced educational opportunities for students in local K-12 schools. Here are just a few highlights:

  • The USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ Joint Educational Project sponsors several programs that send USC students out into the community to serve as tutors or mentors for local schoolchildren. Two of JEP’s most popular programs are ReadersPlus and the Literacy Project.
  • Through the USC Marshall School of Business’s Youth Outreach, business students volunteer at neighborhood elementary, junior-high and high schools.
  • The USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Pre-College Programs encourage, support and prepare local K-12 students to major in science or engineering when they reach college.
  • The USC Dana and David Dornsife College’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies organizes educational programs for everyone from kindergarten students to retirees.
  • The USC Roski School of Fine Arts offers two- and four-week studio art courses for local high-school students.
  • The USC Thornton School of Music’s school programs include free weekly music classes for local children, music workshops for classroom teachers and the popular JazzReach.

USC JEP Anniversary“As a 9-year-old girl growing up in California’s San Fernando Valley, América Ferrera remembers lying in bed, dreaming of fame and diamonds.

“That’s a 9-year-old’s fantasy of celebrity,” Ferrera said in a keynote address to more than 250 people who attended the 40th anniversary celebration of USC Dornsife’s Joint Educational Project (JEP) held at Town and Gown on the USC University Park campus Oct. 29.

“My mother gave us the courage to dream big dreams,” Ferrera said of América Griselda Ayes who had emigrated from Honduras and raised her six children as a single mother. Ferrera was the youngest.

“Ridiculous dreams like becoming a movie star. That was my crazy dream.” More here