Equitable Approaches for Expanding College and Career Readiness


California is home to millions of students of color and low-income students, but our school systems are not adequately preparing underrepresented students of color, low-income students, and English learners for college and career.

New research from Ed Trust–West takes an in-depth look at promising practices from schools and districts that have expanded college and career readiness opportunities and supports for underserved students. Key approaches for increasing college and career readiness opportunities for underrepresented students include:

  • Publicly recognizing and celebrating students’ higher education efforts
  • Making a-g the default curriculum
  • Developing meaningful district-community partnerships

When schools and districts intentionally and explicitly change their policies and practices, students of color and low-income students graduate prepared for college and career.

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.