2016 Grants Challenge

COLLEGE, CAREER, and COMMUNITY: POLAHS Career Technical Education (CTE) Program

POLAHS provides a college preparatory education with Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways in the high-skill, high-wage, high-demand industries of Boat Operations; Digital Media; and Construction.


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Los Angeles Maritime Institute

Please describe your project proposal.

POLAHS prepares 950 students to be college and career ready through our Career Technical Education (CTE) program. POLAHS offers a college preparatory curriculum with CTE pathways in the high-skill, high-wage, high-demand industries of Digital Media; Boat Operations; and Construction Technology. Postsecondary and industry partnerships are integral to the program, allowing students to graduate with core academic skills, employability skills, and technical, job-specific skills.

Which of the LEARN metrics will your proposal impact?​

College completion

College matriculation rates

District-wide graduation rates

Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math

Student education pipeline

Suspension and expulsion rates

Youth unemployment and underemployment

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South Bay

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles


Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to LEARN?

Port of Los Angeles High School (POLAHS) will make LA the best place to learn by preparing all students to graduate and be college and career ready through our Career Technical Education (CTE) program. POLAHS offers a college preparatory curriculum with CTE pathways in Boat Operations; Digital Media; and Construction Technology. CTE provides core academic skills aligned with state standards, employability skills, and technical, job-specific skills.

In 2005, POLAHS became the first new public high school to open in San Pedro in over 100 years. Educated on our campus are 950 students as diverse as the City of Los Angeles. Most students enrolling at POLAHS are considered at-risk; they struggle academically in middle school and would likely drop out of the education pipeline. POLAHS helps close the achievement gap and provides an environment in which students succeed.

POLAHS’ CTE program was introduced on campus in fall 2015. Approximately 400 students in grades 9-12 participate, the majority of whom are traditionally disadvantaged. POLAHS’ program offers individualized instruction, small class sizes of 25:1 on average; highly qualified teachers; and a network of postsecondary and industry partnerships. POLAHS maintains 98% high school graduation and college enrollment rates, and last year was named a California Gold Ribbon School.

The program addresses an important theme: that all students learn and thrive in different ways. High school students involved in CTE are more engaged and graduate at higher rates. CTE also fosters postsecondary completion and addresses youth underemployment. Studies show that 4 out of 5 CTE graduates who pursue college earn a credential or are still enrolled two years later (Association for Career and Technical Education, 2016). Technical skills from POLAHS' CTE program provide a viable way for students to work and pay for their college degree.

Overview of CTE Program

Introduction to CTE: Survey course required for all 250 freshmen. Students are familiarized with the CTE program pathways.

Boat Operations: Students master sailing, navigation, boat building, and seamanship through classroom instruction, apprenticeships, and a partnership with the Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI). Certifications include: Red Cross CPR; First-Aid; and U.S. Coast Guard STCW through El Camino College.

Digital Media: Six semester-long courses in Graphic Design, Photography, Web Design, and apprenticeships. Students complete the Adobe Certified Associate exam in Graphic Design and Photoshop, as well as Communications or Web Authoring.

Construction Technology: Students are equipped for employment and postsecondary education in the residential and commercial construction industry. Students earn college credit and certifications by completing an advanced Construction Technology class through El Camino College.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

POLAHS established a CTE Advisory Board to guide the program’s growth and development; measure student progress; and maintain program accountability. The Advisory Board consists of administrators; POLAHS’ CTE Career Counselor; CTE Department Chair; instructors; and postsecondary and industry representatives. The Advisory Board meets regularly to assess the following goals and outcomes.

Program Goals (defining success):

- All students will have access to a high quality CTE program

- Students will graduate high school in four years

- CTE students will be college ready: prepared for post-secondary education in the related pathways

- CTE students will be career ready: graduating with the technical skills necessary to enter the workforce in the related pathways

Program Outcomes (measuring success):

- A full sequence of courses will be available in three CTE pathways, serving a minimum of 350 students each year

- 100% of 9th graders (250 students) will participate in POLAHS’ Introduction to CTE course

- 98% of students in the Program will pass CTE courses with a grade of 'C' or better

- Students in POLAHS’ CTE courses will maintain an average attendance rate of 97%

- 100% of CTE students will graduate high school in four years

- 100% of CTE students will earn certifications and participate in industry apprenticeships

- 100% of CTE students will enroll in college or pursue CTE related employment

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?



Advisors/board members


Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)

Network/relationship support