WHITTIER – Four Whittier Union high schools have been named to the 2020 Top Los Angeles County Public Schools for Underserved Students list for helping to close the opportunity gap for low-income students of color, particularly Latino students, in Los Angeles County and helping them thrive despite the barriers.

Created in partnership with USC, the Innovate Public Schools list features 278 schools that are beating the statewide average for low-income Latino or African American students in one or more factors, including math and reading scores and college eligibility rates, while maintaining low suspension rates.

Among the 2,075 schools in Los Angeles County, 1,346 schools serve at least 43% of low-income Latino students. Of these, only 254 schools have been recognized as Top Schools for closing the gap for low-income Latino students.

Whittier Union schools that are leading the way include La Serna, Pioneer, Santa Fe and Whittier high schools.

“Demographics Do Not Determine Destiny at Whittier Union, where our teachers, staff and administrators are dedicated to ensuring that our students can access a world-class education and thrive regardless of their background,” Superintendent Martin Plourde said. “Our commitment to equity and diversity is unwavering, and we are proud that our schools are helping our students achieve their full potential.”

According to the list, low-income Latino and African American students attending a Top School in Los Angeles County have a better chance of getting into college – 70% versus 41% of students attending a non-Top School.

Last year, the District was identified as one of 167 California school districts to excel at supporting the learning of all students, particularly Hispanics, at higher-than-expected levels on the state’s new, more rigorous math and reading assessments in a “Positive Outliers: Districts Beating the Odds” study. Whittier Union ranked at 65 in the study, released by the Learning Policy Institute out.