A team of Hollywood heavy hitters including George Clooney, Nicole Avant, Don Cheadle, Mindy Kaling, and CAA co-chair Bryan Lourd are backing a new LAUSD magnet academy aimed at bringing more underrepresented talent into the entertainment industry, outgoing superintendent Austin Beutner announced Sunday.
Housed within Westlake’s Edward R. Roybal Learning Center and scheduled to open in fall 2022, the Roybal School of Film and Television Production’s inaugural class will be made up of ninth and tenth graders from around L.A. with a mission to have industry professionals join LAUSD teachers in preparing a more diverse generation of students to work in a business that’s still overwhelmingly white behind the scenes.
While the curriculum is still being worked out, the Hollywood insiders are expected to do more than show their pretty faces. It’s up to them to convince their pals at studios, agencies, and elsewhere to provide experts, internships, equipment and money to get the school up and running. Plans are also underway to bring in 11th and 12th graders over the next two years, as well as to expand the program to other L.A. schools.
“This groundbreaking program will help prepare students for good-paying jobs in the film and television industry by integrating practical industry experience and internships for students into the curriculum,” Beutner tells Deadline.
Clooney added, “Our aim is to better reflect the diversity of our country. That means starting early. It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras, and editing and visual effects and sound and all the career opportunities that this industry has to offer. It means internships that lead to well-paying careers.”
Clooney’s coalition aren’t the only players getting into education. Last week, rapper and Beats billionaire Dr. Dre and his business partner, music mogul Jimmy Iovine, announced plans to open their own public magnet school in Central L.A.
Currently known as Regional High School No. 1, and set to open in Leimert Park’s Audubon Middle School in fall 2022, Dre and Iovine’s “coolest high school in America,” as they call it, is being envisioned as a place to focus on critical thinking skills with an eye toward turning inner-city youths into entrepreneurs.
Dre told the Los Angeles Times, that his academy’s ideal student would be “the younger me… That guy that didn’t have an opportunity, that had to scratch and figure out things on his own. That had the curiosity but didn’t have these type of opportunities, really smart kids—we want to touch and give them this open door and these opportunities to be able to show what they can do.”
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