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Student Success Story

Submitted By: Michelle Cohen, LAUSD
Consortium: Los Angeles Regional Adult Education Consortium

Meet Valerie

Program Area(s): Adult Basic & Secondary Education

The Challenge

Valerie's family immigrated from Honduras in the '80s. She came from a very strict upbringing, which didn’t settle well with her, and she was on the street at 14, sleeping in abandoned cars, apartments, houses, empty buses- wherever she could find shelter. Although she faced pressure to do so, she knew she was never going to sell her body or use drugs or alcohol, and that she had to be strong and have a strong mind. Valerie got pregnant at 16, dropped out of school and started working odd jobs.

The Solution

Our adult school counseling staff carefully analyzed Valerie's transcripts, including credits she had earned at our neighboring community college, and determined that she only needed six more classes to complete her high school diploma. We worked closely with her to design an individualized education plan that included scheduled time in the classroom and Adult Independent Studies, and took into account classes she was concurrently taking at the community college, so she could make it to her self-imposed deadline to graduate by May 2019 and avoid taking any unnecessary classes along the way.


Valerie received her high school diploma from LAUSD and graduated with the Class of 2019, just as she had told herself, and us, that she would do. She completed all six classes in record time. Incredibly, at the same time, she graduated from L.A. Trade-Technical College with her A.A. Degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences! Valerie now plans to transfer to a university and get her B.A. in Psychology. After that, she'll open a group home for aged out foster youth since she's already a foster mom.