By Emilie St. John
COMPTON – Compton Unified School District unveiled an innovative learning program at Dominguez High School on Aug. 24.
Junior Achievement of SoCal, in partnership with the district, announced the launch of 3DE, which was first piloted in Georgia.
“The Compton Unified School District Board is committed to making sure that our students have what they need in order to be successful both in the classroom and outside of the classroom,” said Compton school board President Denzell Perry. “Partnerships like this allow our students to be connected to the careers of tomorrow.”
The 3DE instructional model uses case methodology to help students develop key competencies like communication, collaboration and self-direction through real-world business challenges that are woven across their core subjects.
During the 2023-24 school year, 100 ninth-grade students will solve six business challenges provided by local and national corporate partners like Delta Air Lines and NBCUniversal.
“This school district has to provide more programs to eliminate the opportunity gaps that are consistently present for Black and brown students,” said district Superintendent Darin Brawley. “3DE is one example of providing an in-depth experience for students to apply their critical-thinking analysis skills and project-based learning to solve real-life problems that exist in the workforce for various companies throughout the United States.”
Compton Unified continues to add programs to enhance students learning experiences that members of the board hope will lead to greater opportunities for them outside of the classroom.
“Teaching students about financial literacy and bringing more programs that address life skills creates a whole student who is equipped with a solid academic foundation and increases their confidence after leaving high school,” school board member Satra Zurita said. “Our job is to prepare them to succeed and programs like 3DE are a step in the right direction.”
Zurita points to the success of the Early College High School as another example of the district’s commitment to student excellence.
“Our partnership with Compton College is a testament that Compton Unified is providing innovative programs that have a proven track record of being successful,” Zurita said.
Bryan Benitez was one of 83 graduates of Compton Early College High School’s class of 2023. He simultaneously attended Compton College and high school, graduating from both this past summer. Benitez, who has a cumulative high school grade point average of 4.59 and a college GPA of 3.8, has earned two associate degrees, one in arts and humanities and one in social and behavioral sciences, as well as earning an intersegmental general education transfer curriculum certificate.
“I had the opportunity to enroll in college classes that not only piqued my attention but also pushed me intellectually and helped me prepare for life in the real world,” said Benitez, one of five Compton College 2023 Presidential Scholars. “I’ve had the opportunity to interact with real college instructors who have inspired and motivated me.”
“The 3DE model provides students access and exposure to diverse and high-growth careers and provides businesses innovative perspectives from students who are future leaders, consumers and employees,” Junior Achievement So Cal President and CEO Les McCabe said. “But more importantly, it articulates the ‘why’ behind why kids are learning what they’re learning. 3DE is the most innovative instructional model in a generation and we are excited for the students of Compton to be a part of it.”
Originally piloted in Georgia in 2015, 3DE schools have seen tremendous success, with students consistently outperforming their school peers on all state standard benchmarks and milestones.
Other 3DE outcomes include:
• 90% of students scoring proficient or above for state end-of-course assessments during the 2018-19 school year.
• 3DE increases student competitiveness with 89% of seniors successfully participating in an internship/consultancy.
• And 3DE’s 2019 graduates have shown a 92% college persistence rate.
“When an organization like Junior Achievement, school districts and business partners come together to create opportunities for students, it can be truly transformational,” said Compton’s Chief Academic Officer Mario Marcos. “And for the next four years, these students are going to embark on an exciting journey working with 16 different partners and attacking 16 different case challenges. And those opportunities will foster creativity, innovation and collaboration skills, 21st century skills that are necessary for the workforce today.”
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.