Students, Community Triumph as LAUSD Cuts the Ribbon on Edward R. Roybal Learning Center
For Immediate Release
October 18, 2008
Shannon Haber (213) 241-4575 # 08/09-110
STUDENTS, COMMUNITY TRIUMPH AS LAUSD CUTS THE RIBBON ON EDWARD R. ROYBAL
(Los Angeles, CA)-U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, daughter of legendary
community champion and late Congressman Edward R. Roybal, joined Los Angeles
Unified School District (LAUSD) school and elected officials, students,
parents and community members today to cut the ribbon on the Edward R. Roybal
"My father believed that education was the single greatest gift we could pass
on to our children, because an education, as he would say, 'can never be taken
away from you,'" Roybal-Allard said. "That is why he fought throughout his
career to provide our community with quality educational opportunities like
the Roybal Learning Center will offer."
The opening of the 2,808-seat Roybal Learning Center is a significant
milestone for the downtown educational community, allowing Belmont High School
to return to a traditional, two-semester calendar for the first time in 26
"Today we celebrate the legacy of our great civil rights leader Edward R.
Roybal," LAUSD Board President Mónica Garcﾭía said. "We also honor the
strength and courage of the hundreds of parents and students from the Pico-
Union community who fought to bring this world-class school to their
neighborhood. I am proud to be their partner as we strive to achieve one
hundred percent graduation for the students of LAUSD!"
"Edward R. Roybal Learning Center is the kind of school facility all of our
students deserve," LAUSD Superintendent David L. Brewer III said. "We are
here celebrating today because people inside the District and out had the
vision and tenacity to push forward in challenging times. That same vision
and tenacity remains at work to bring continued progress for our students."
"It is a fitting tribute to Ed Roybal, a man who has shown us what it means to
be an elected official," California State Senator Gil Cedillo said. "He was a
true public servant who made it a priority to serve his community."
"The Edward R. Roybal Learning Center is a gift to our students from our
community and symbolizes the great hope we have for their future," California
State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero said. "The Center stands as a
tribute to the great man for whom it is named. May all students who pass
through this learning center build on the great legacy of leadership he
bestowed to our nation."
The LAUSD Board of Education was supported by numerous community organizations
and elected officials in naming the school in honor of the late Congressman
Roybal (1916-2005), who is recognized as one of the most prominent Latino
civil rights leaders of the 20th Century. Roybal graduated from Roosevelt
High School and went on to become a devoted public servant and community
leader who dedicated his life to helping others. Roybal served on the Los
Angeles City Council from 1949 to 1962 and served in the U.S. House of
Representatives from 1963 to 1993. Key among his many achievements is his
work on behalf of young people, including the creation of educational
programs, expansion of college funding and development of employment
initiatives. He was also a founding member of the Congressional Hispanic
Caucus Institute in 1976.
"The opening of the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center has been greatly
anticipated by the community," California State Assembly Speaker Emeritus
Fabian Nuñez said. "This state of the art facility will certainly provide a
world class education to well deserving students in the City of Los Angeles.
I am honored to join in the celebration of this tremendous accomplishment and
I applaud the efforts by many who made this day a reality."
In addition to a portrait of Roybal which hangs in the school's main office, a
bust of the congressman by sculptor Pedro Martinez unveiled at the ribbon-
cutting ceremony will be housed in the school's library.
"By creating small schools and a safe campus for students, the new Roybal
Learning Center carries on the legacy of a great pioneer dedicated to
reforming education in Los Angeles," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
"After the vote was taken by the board back in 2003 to approve my plan to
move forward with this school, I recalled thinking that hope had won over
fear," Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar said. The former school board
president came up with an alternative plan for the site, which included the
adjacent Vista Hermosa Park. "That was a very proud moment for me, knowing
that this community and these children were finally going to get the state-of-
the-art campus they so richly deserved. And seeing it up and running today
reminds me that we did the right thing to create this learning and community
The campus facilities are comprised of small learning communities, each
including general studies, science, and specialized classrooms, as well as
local administration. A separate building on the campus accommodates a
library, cafeteria, auditorium and a parent/student center. The campus also
features a large gymnasium with locker rooms, as well as outdoor athletic
"The Edward R. Roybal Learning Center provides relief to some pockets of the
Temple-Beaudry community that reach 50,000 people per square mile," Los
Angeles City Councilman Ed P. Reyes said, whose district includes the new
school. "Before the opening of the new school, students were on a multi-track
calendar and packed in overcrowded classrooms. Now, students can enjoy a
traditional two-semester calendar and a more personalized learning experience
at a school that is like a mini college campus. The Roybal Center features
small learning communities with lots of open windows, and stretches of green
space for students to walk through on their way to class."
Thanks to the generosity of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation
and Parks, the Amateur Athletic Foundation, the Weingart Foundation and L.A.
84, the 9.7-acre park at Vista Hermosa features an athletic-turf soccer field
available to the public and school sponsored programs.
Roybal Learning Center, home of the Titans, serves students in ninth through
12th grades and is home to four small learning communities (SLCs) and two
independent pilot schools. The SLCs were established at Belmont High School
and have moved their complete programs over to Roybal Learning Center. The
SLCs are: the International School of Languages, the Activists for Educational
Empowerment, the Business and Finance Academy and the Computer Science
The two independent pilot schools are Civitas School of Leadership and the
School for Visual Arts and Humanities (SVAH). Civitas School of Leadership
opened with students in the ninth and 10th grade, and will add 11th and 12th
grades in the next two years. The School for Visual Arts and Humanities
begins with students ninth through 12th grades. These schools are part of the
Belmont Zone of Choice Initiative. First established in 2007, the Belmont
Zone of Choice is a network of 500-student, autonomous college preparatory
schools that downtown-area families can select based on students' interest.
"Had we abandoned our vision and listened to the naysayers, Belmont High
School would still be operating on a year-round calendar," LAUSD Chief
Facilities Executive Guy Mehula said. "Today is a crowning day for LAUSD's
building program, and most importantly for the students and community our new
school construction program serves."
"When the construction of this school was halted the community was outraged.
Parents, students and community leaders rallied at the steps of the school
board for years because we knew the school could be built safely, and the
District needed to be held accountable for doing so," Alliance for a Better
Community Executive Director Veronica Melvin said.
"Investing in the education of the children in our community will surely forge
a future for prosperity," parent activist and community member Francisco
La Plaza de Artes y Culturas and Alliance for a Better Community developed
as a gift to the school, which includes further information about the life of
Edward R. Roybal and the school community can be found.
"The Edward R. Roybal Learning Center is not only a beautiful multi-colored
structure, but it's also a well thought out learning environment, that
personalizes the education experiences for it's 9-12 grade students through a
combination of small theme based learning communities and autonomous pilot
schools," Local District Superintendent 4 Richard Alonzo said. "Our goal is
to improve graduation rates and educate students to be college prepared and
The Edward R. Roybal Learning Center is one of 74 new schools completed as
part of LAUSD's $12.6 billion new school construction program to end
involuntary busing and year round calendars, and to provide every student a
seat in a neighborhood school. To date, LAUSD has completed 74 new schools
and 59 additions, providing more than 77,000 new classroom seats for students
throughout the District. The program is on track to deliver a total of 132
new schools by 2012. For more information, please visit www.laschools.org.
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Contributed by Facilities News