The All In for Students Awards honors the exemplary dedication of CIS staff, educators, community partners and our alumni, who go all in for students, empowering them to stay in school, graduate and go on to brighter futures.
Students at Chaparral High School face extraordinary barriers, including transiency, homelessness, and gang activity. Having come from a rough community himself, Principal Lolo James believes that all students have greatness in them, and comes up with inventive ways to help them reach their potential. He is passionate about sports and other extracurricular activities, and sees them as “the spark that motivates kids to come to school.”
He encourages his students to do well academically by letting them know that studying goes hand in hand with the after-school activities that they want to participate in. “Very few kids want to come to school for algebra,” he says. “But we teach them that you have to work on the academics along with what you love in order to be successful.”
Principal James has eagerly embraced and supported CIS in every way possible, resulting in whole school initiatives like a clothing closet, housing assistance, self-esteem classes, food, school supplies and eye and dental care. The success of Principal James, CIS, and the rest of the team is stunning: graduation rates have soared from 34 percent four years ago to 80 percent last year.