By Shirley Hawkins
SOUTH LOS ANGELES — With the start of the school year right around the corner, the Westbrook Academy, operated by the LA Promise Fund, is now accepting enrollment of new students for its public charter middle and high school.
The academy is named for Los Angeles Lakers Russell Westbrook, a nine-time NBA All-Star, and his wife Nina who have teamed with business partner Donell Beverly and the LA Promise Fund to launch Westbrook Academy through the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation.
Founded in 2012, the foundation is dedicated to supporting community-based education and family service programs while encouraging young people to believe in themselves.
“The mission of Russell Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation is to inspire the lives of children, empower them to ask “Why Not? and teach them to never give up,” Westbrook said in a statement posted on the foundation’s website.
Westbrook wants his schools to offer a strong education curriculum while also offering high-quality athletic programs.
“Creating and supporting educational opportunities for underserved youth has always been a passion of mine,” Westbrook said. “It’s so important that every child has access to a good education regardless of their socioeconomic background. My goal in partnering with the LA Promise Fund is to ensure our South L.A. students are ready for college and ultimately succeed in a 21st-century career.”
Students in the sixth through eighth grades can enroll at the middle school campus which is co-located at Barack Obama Global Prep Academy at 1700 W. 46th St., Aug. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon.
High school students in grades 9 through 12 can enroll Aug. 12 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at Westbrook High School’s Bell location at 4210 E. Gage Ave., or Aug. 13 at Westbrook High School’s South L.A. location at 1755 W. 52nd St., from 9 a.m. to noon.
“The vision of the school is “Empowering young adults to be independent freethinkers ready for the world,” Westbrook added.
Westbrook Academy offers a digital media and film program to its students as well as after-school programming. All students will receive support in the areas of career exposure such as internships and dual enrollment community college classes; wellness programs to promote mental health; nutrition, and physical health; field trips to colleges as well as receive college advisement support; test prep and application assistance; and robust enrichment programs in athletics, science, technology, math and engineering and leadership cultivation.
A key component to student academic and life success is family engagement, and the LA Promise Fund achieves this through a school-to-home connection at Wesbrook Academy. Parents, guardians and care-givers are encouraged to serve as mentors and will be valued as partners throughout their student’s academic journey.
“We also encourage parents to visit our Promise Community Hub, which is a resource for our parents to learn about volunteer opportunities with our schools for community activities and outreach,” said Jade Stevens, communication director for LA Promise Fund. “They also will be able to speak to our principals and to teachers to learn more about our vision and create community. Our schools offer students a safe and personalized learning environment.
LA Promise Fund integrates its countywide signature programs at the Westbrook Academy to ensure a holistic approach to academic success. One of the newest initiatives is the Black College Success, a project operated by the LA Promise Fund, which received an Education Innovation and Research grant from the Department of Education for $4 million for five years. The purpose of the program is to support African-American students in getting to and through college and into successful careers.
“The program is unique because the school will follow students to college, assisting them with their educational endeavors,” Stevens said.
Approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Education, the Westbrook Academy seeks to develop academic achievers, athletes and youth committed to social change. Westbrook aims to ensure that students from South Los Angeles have access to a college and career education that is community-based, fights institutionalized racism, and uplifts and empowers individuals and the communities they live in.
High School Principal Zeidy Revolorio-Rocha said, “A small school setting can offer one-on-one attention, more opportunities to incorporate families as partners, and a stronger sense of community.
“As principal of Westbrook High School, I am hoping to continue the work of educating and preparing our students for college and career. I am excited to embark on a journey that inspires young minds and maximizes our small school resources,” Revolorio-Rocha added.
Middle School Principal Justin Shahbazz added, “We are extremely proud to welcome and partner with Russell Westbrook to advance our schools. As a South Los Angeles native, Russell has the ability to connect with our students on so many levels, emotionally and academically, which will prove invaluable for them.”
“I’ve realized through the work with my Why Not? Foundation how often schools in underserved communities lack the resources and funding needed to support their students,” said Westbrook in a statement on website. “I not only want to inspire and empower these students but I want to help provide the essential and necessary resources to set them up for success beyond the classroom.”
The academic year begins Aug. 15. To schedule an enrollment appointment, call the Promise Community Hub at (323) 970-3943 or book a tour online at bit.ly/WestbrookAcademyEnrollment.