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Learn4Life designs schools starting with realities that opportunity youth face, leading to a 90% success rate at scale for 45,000+ students.

Student Centric Education Design

location_on Los Angeles, United States
Our students' needs exceed the scope of traditional high schools. We designed our schools to explicitly shift the use of time, space, curriculum, credit, tutoring, instruction, wrap around supports, dual college enrollment, partnerships with employers, and other innovations explicitly driven by the realities our 14-24 year-students face. We all must master essential student-to-adult relationships.
Caprice Young, National Superintendent
Do more of what works, less of what doesn't, and know the difference.

Caprice Young, National Superintendent


HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created on March 31st, 2019
Key figures

Innovation Overview

14 - 18
Age Group
45 000
3 991
Updated on June 30th, 2022
about the innovation

Realities are facts, not faults. We design explicitly for student success.

Our philosophy is simple. Remove every barrier to student learning. Here are examples:

Reality 1: Students enter reading on a fifth-grade level; Solution 1: Learn4Life provides one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction reintroducing students to decoding and rebuilding skills and knowledge that others learn earlier.

Reality 2: Students enter doing math on a sixth-grade level; Solution 2: Learn4Life provides one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction reintroducing students to basic math facts and vocabulary needed as scaffolding to support algebraic concepts and more advanced work.

Reality 3: Students have not been appropriately identified for special education services; Solution 3: Learn4Life assesses the special learning needs of each student within the first 30 days.

Reality 4: Students are English Learners; Solution 4: Learn4Life provides explicit English instruction by teachers trained to address their needs and materials/technology tailored to learning English.

Reality 5: Students are pregnant or have babies they need to care for; Solution 5: Learn4Life encourages students to bring their babies to school with them and provides access to community services, parent training, and health care, as well as free diapers, toys, and food.

Reality 6: Students have to work to support their families; Solution 6: Learn4Life arranges for students to come to school at a time consistent with their work hours and supports their independent work, as they show both proficiency and progress.

Reality 7: Students don’t decide to restart their education at the beginning of set semester calendars; Solution 7: Learn4Life’s calendar is year-round and students may matriculate on any day, starting instruction at whatever level they are academically.

Reality 8: Students have trouble juggling five or six classes at a time, plus probation, parenting, counseling and/or work; Solution 8: Learn4Life supports students taking as few as two classes at a time, but more intensively, to keep them learning and making progress.

Reality 9: Students dislike the social pressure of lunch, recess and other downtimes in traditional high schools; Solution 9: Learn4Life requires students to eat when they are hungry and take breaks as needed in order to stay focused on learning.

Reality 10: Students have to change schools or miss class due to external factors, losing credit for work done when they can’t finish a semester; Solution 10: Learn4Life arranges the curriculum so students can finish credits on a weekly and monthly basis, ensuring they don’t have to re-do work they have already done.

Reality 11: Students are or become homeless; Solution 11: Learn4Life introduces them to social services and resources to get off the street and into safe, secure housing.

Reality 12: Students need more time to make up for years of struggle; Solution 12: Learn4Life works with students up to age 26, ensuring that they never give up.

Reality 13: Students need a job; Solution 13: Learn4Life works with local employers to define the training requirements for good paying jobs then implements career standard certification courses for students.

Reality 14: Students want to go to college; Solution 14: Learn4Life assesses their learning needs to be ready and qualified for college, then supports them in fulfilling their goals. We build dual-enrollment programs with local colleges so that students can graduate high-school with confidence and some college completed.

Reality 15: Students want to know how what they are studying is relevant; Solution 15: Learn4Life arranges for experiential learning opportunities and trips aligned with the course curriculum.

Reality 16: Students forget to or simply can't come to school; Solution 16: Learn4Life calls/texts tardy students, makes regular home visits and provides bus passes.

Reality 17: Students are victims and/or perpetrators of family and neighborhood violence; Solution 17: Learn4Life trains all of its staff in trauma informed care and awareness as well as providing onsite counseling for students and staff experiencing trauma. AND

Reality 18: Life happens; Solution 18: Learn4Life always welcomes students back and enables them to pick up where they left off, even in a different center, always.


See this innovation in action

Learn4Life Students Compete In (and win!) A National Slam Poetry Competition
Learn4Life's HOPE Program Is In The News! - l4l
Learn4Life Community Impact 2019
Learn4Life – Cambiar Historia (FULL)
Israel's Story
Eunice's Story
Girls Empowerment Workshops Help Teens Gain Confidence and Self-Respect
Teens Learn to Battle Cyber Threats
Trauma-Informed Schools are Helping At-Risk Students Thrive
Assurance Civic Engagement Highlights
#WeWill #YourVoteYourVoice
Your Vote Counts
Turning Liquor Stores into Learning Centers
Daniel – Learn4Life Student Stories (30s)
Fidela + Orquidea Dominguez – MLC Alumni Story
Staff vs. Students - Learn4Life Kickball
Learn4Life 2018 Graduations – Highlighted Moments
San Diego Community Impact (Spanish Subtitles)
Credit 2B Reaction Rates
[3.21.18] College & Career Expo
Francisco's Learn4Life Alumni Story
H.O.P.E. Program 2019
Chelsea Summer: Get Lit Poet & Learn4Life ALumni
Elizabeth's Learn4Life Story (Full)


Achievements & Awards

May 2019
March 2019
Innovation page created on

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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Come Visit Us In Person or Via Real-time Tech (Skype, etc)
We love visitors! And, who doesn't want to come to California? We will introduce you to our community and schools either in person or via real-time tech. Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime... have internet, will travel. We can even walk around our schools with a tablet so you can interact with people.
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Bring your community together, including your students!
The first step in the process is to get everyone together to brainstorm all of the realities (facts) your stakeholders face. This must be done without judgment. For example, our students have babies. That's a fact. Telling them they are bad for having babies early doesn't help.
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Figure out how to address the barriers to learning.
So, for each reality, pick a way to ensure it doesn't get in the way of student learning or teacher empowerment. Ignore all the regulations and financial challenges for now and start with what's right for kids.
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Explicitly decide how to address each education variable.
This should include variables like school calendar, use of time, instructional groupings, curriculum, adult roles and qualifications, facilities, discipline, parent/guardian engagement, technology, data, assessment, supports, services, food, transportation, enrollment timing... and more.
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Go change the laws and regulations.
Seriously, this is the most depressing part. Most education laws and funding processes were built for educational models that weren't designed for our students to be successful. However, the analysis you've just done will help you build the case for change.
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Implement. Assess. Improve.
We'd be happy to collaborate with you as you carry this out in your context.
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