USC study praises Downey schools for helping low-income students

DOWNEY — Eight Downey Unified elementary school campuses were highlighted in a study for closing the “achievement gap” for low-income African American and Latino youth.

The study, “L.A. Top Public Schools for Underserved Students,” was published by the University of Southern California and Innovate Public Schools, an educational non-profit.

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Researchers looked at data from more than 2,000 schools and found that of these, 279 are closing the achievement gap.

The data also showed that of one million Black and Latino youth attending public schools in L.A. County, only two out of 10 students attend a high quality public school or “top public school.”

Low-income Black and Latino students attending top public schools have a better chance of getting into a college or university, according to the study.

“These top public schools -- traditional district, magnet and charter -- serving large numbers of low-income black and Latino students are beating the odds and helping kids succeed in spite of challenges such as limited funding and resources, poverty and much more,” said Jeimee Estrada, regional vice president at Innovate Public Schools - Los Angeles. “We often hear this can’t be done, but now we know that nearly 300 schools in L.A. County are making it happen and that many more can do it too.”

Eight Downey schools were recognized in the study for helping low-income students surpass statewide average scores in math and English Language Arts, and increasing college eligibility rates:

  • Carpenter Elementary

  • Gallatin Elementary

  • Lewis Elementary

  • Maude Price Elementary

  • Rio San Gabriel Elementary

  • Unsworth Elementary

  • Ward Elementary

  • Williams Elementary.

Each of the schools were honored in a ceremony at USC last Saturday.