Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, located in Pacoima, is a large urban public school within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Since the early 1970’s, low student achievement had been a pattern. In 1993, tired of being helpless and hopeless, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center became the first conversion charter school in the nation and was authorized by LAUSD. The charter was renewed in 1998 and again in 2003.
This previously failing elementary public school is now a full-service, community-based, K-12th charter school. The school serves 1,917 neighborhood students that include 96.9% eligible for free meals, 2.8% eligible for reduced meals, 72% English learners, 7.3% students with disabilities, 98% Hispanic, 1.6% African-American, 0.1% Asian, 0.3% Other White. Vaughn Next Century Learning Center was awarded the California Distinguished Schools Award in 1996 and the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award in 1997.
During the past fourteen years, “The Little School That Could” pushed public school reform to its limits. Vaughn Next Century Learning Center many urban public school challenges and provides maximum learning opportunities to neighborhood students.
Opportunities for students and families include:
- A coherent educational system that offers a Kindergarten -12th standards-based instruction
- Separate full-day universal preschool education integrating State Preschool, Federal Head Start and the First 5/LA School Readiness Programs Full-day kindergarten
- Class Size Reduction (20:1 in Grades Pk-3, 22:1 in Grades 2-5, 25:1 in Grades 6-12)
- Accelerated English learning and school-wide literacy program
- Response to intervention system and special education inclusion program
- Extended school year to 200 instructional days beginning Grade 1
- International studies and world languages for high school students in partnership with Asia Society and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Early College design in partnership with Mission College and Unihealth Foundation
- Travel study and laptop match-fund purchase for eligible high school students
- Structured after school program till 6:00 p.m. daily serving more than 400 students
- Schools-Attuned Program that takes into account “All Kinds of Minds”
- Highly qualified teachers and support staff
- Onsite University Professional Development Center in collaboration with UCLA, California State University, Northridge and AlliantInternational University.
- Peer assistance and review process and performance pay plan and incentives for all staff
- Onsite Museum of American History
- School-based health clinic staffed by the Los Angeles County Department of Health.
- Counseling Center and case management
- Universal Child Nutrition Program and California Nutrition Network activities
- Family Center and Business Co-Op
- Become a model for school reform locally, nationally and globally.