Whitman Continuation High School students who recently completed a Brown University course pose for a photo with Los Angeles USD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Whitman Principal Simone Charles.
Continuation students defy expectations by completing Brown University course
Principal advocates for students’ access to rigorous college material
March 4, 2024
In a remarkable display of resilience and determination, a group of high school students from Whitman Continuation High School in Los Angeles is garnering attention for their performance in a college course at Brown University, an Ivy League institution renowned for its academic rigor. These students have shattered expectations and have proven that with the right support and opportunities, there are no limits to what they can achieve.
The college course was offered by Brown University through a partnership made possible by the National Education Equity Lab, which supports online college credit-bearing courses being taught in teacher-led high school classrooms across the country. The courses demand an exceptionally high level of commitment and dedication. Students are required to meet the same academic standards and expectations as any other Brown undergraduate.
Ten students at Whitman Continuation High School enrolled in the semester-long course Law & Literature. They faced challenging lessons and a demanding workload, but they have risen to the occasion, determined to seize this unique opportunity to broaden their horizons and unlock their potential.
“I firmly believe that all students, regardless of their background, should have the chance to shine.”
Simone Charles, Principal, Whitman Continuation HS
Students who pass the course will receive college credit from Brown University and will receive a transcript from Brown University. Students also receive high school credits. The course ended Dec. 15 with 80 percent of students passing at the college level.
Throughout their experience, students had the support of Principal Simone Charles, nationally board-certified English Teacher Sami Malek, and their StudySmart tutors. The educators involved in this program have been instrumental in guiding and motivating these students. They have recognized their potential and provided the encouragement and resources needed to navigate the demanding coursework. These students are now not just meeting the expectations — they are exceeding them, a testament to the transformative power of education and the dedication of educators who believe in their students’ abilities.
During a recent conversation with LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Board Member Nick Melvoin, student Jay Martinez shared that he enjoys being a student at Walt Whitman Continuation High School because he has “opportunities that other schools don’t get” and that “being at a continuation school has provided these opportunities.” Student Rosa Hernandez concurred, saying that they are looking forward to their upcoming study tour to New York where they will meet one of their Good City Mentors, Delfin Ortiz of Legends.
“I firmly believe that all students, regardless of their background, should have the chance to shine,” Charles said. “I will go above and beyond to ensure that my scholars continue to have opportunities to thrive academically.”
Following the groundbreaking success at Brown University, Charles has advocated for her students to have equal access to another educational opportunity, this time in a rigorous Environmental Science course offered by Cornell University.
By collaborating with these universities through the National Education Equity Lab, Charles is not only expanding educational horizons but also reinforcing the importance of diversity in higher education. The success of these students at Brown University and the upcoming endeavor at Cornell University exemplify the extraordinary potential within all students, regardless of their background or the challenges they face. It is a testament to the impact educators and leaders can have when they prioritize equity and inclusion, breaking down barriers and opening doors to brighter futures for every student.
“These stories stand as beacons of hope and inspiration, reminding us that educational opportunities should be accessible to all and that, with support and determination, success knows no bounds,” Charles said.
For more information on the National Education Equity Lab, visit edequitylab.org.