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Grad School Student wins $250,000 Grant

Ph.D. Candidate at the Graduate School of Education wins $250,000 Grant

Funds will pave way to higher education for students at the school where he serves as principal.

(April 3, 2008)

Luis Cruz, a doctoral candidate from the UCR Graduate School of Education (GSOE) and principal of Baldwin Park High School.Enlarge

Luis Cruz, a doctoral candidate from the UCR Graduate School of Education (GSOE) and principal of Baldwin Park High School.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Luis Cruz, a doctoral candidate from the UCR Graduate School of Education (GSOE), is an obvious believer in the benefits offered by higher education. Not only is he a doctoral candidate in GSOE’s Institutional Leadership & Policy Studies but also principal of Baldwin Park High School where he earned the school a $250,000 grant to help ensure a path to college for its students.

Cruz received the grant from the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP), a partnership between California higher education institutions and public schools. CAPP awards grants to partnerships between schools, higher education institutions and business entities to improve academic programs so that more students are prepared for college. Baldwin Park High School is one of 11 schools receiving grants out of 47 applicants.

“I applied to the program at the suggestion of UCR Assistant Professor Robert Ream, my faculty advisor,” Cruz said. “His enthusiasm toward making me aware of the CAPP grant illustrates the school of education's commitment to its students beyond the program itself. I am grateful, too, because CAPP offers support in helping reverse the upward trend in high school students being less prepared for college at the time of graduation.”

CAPP officials indicated that the awards were offered to the 11 schools based on the strength of their proposal and because as a group, they represent California's diversity with respect to geography, size, urban/rural setting, student body, and Academic Performance Index. One of the criteria also used to identify schools worthy of the CAPP grant included a presence of effective leadership at the high school with the strong potential to raise student achievement and success.

“Charting a course for higher education is first and foremost on our minds as we have multiple outreach programs at UCR geared towards higher achievement for students attending K-12 schools,” Ream said. “Naturally, we keep abreast of resources to assist in this strategy and believed that CAPP would be a good fit for Baldwin Park High School.”

In addition to the grant, each school will be assigned a mentor from CAPP who will assist each principal with decisions. Cruz and the other principals will also be able to collaborate with one another on solutions.

The grants, which are distributed in $50,000 increments over five years, have only been available the past two years. Cruz is anxious to implement the necessary changes for his school to ensure a better future for his students. Baldwin Park High School, serves approximately 2,000 students, the vast majority (90 percent) are of Spanish speaking origin.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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