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‘This Is Impactful’: Kerry Washington and Don Cheadle Among Hollywood A-listers Helping to Launch TV and Film Magnet School for Underserved Students

Hollywood A-listers Kerry Washington and Don Cheadle are teaming up with some of their notable peers and the Los Angeles Unified School District to launch a new magnet school in the fall of 2022.

The specialized academy will provide “underserved communities a pathway to employment within the industry” by offering hands-on experience in television and film production. The magnet school, Roybal School of Film and Television Production, will be housed within the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center. The high school is located in downtown Los Angeles. 

Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, a high school in downtown Los Angeles, has been selected as the home of a specialized TV and film production program geared toward diversifying Hollywood. (Photo:

The coalition of industry figures working alongside Washington and Cheadle include George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Mindy Kaling, Nicole Avant, Eva Longoria, Working Title Films founders Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Creative Artists Agency co-chairman Bryan Lourd.

“This effort will help open the doors of opportunity for a diverse group of students from underserved communities,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a prepared statement. “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,” he added. ‘Physics is involved in the choice of a lens by a cinematographer, math is part of the foundation for a musical score in a film, critical thinking skills are needed to design a set, screenwriters need a foundation in literacy, and a make-up artist needs to know the chemistry of the different materials they might use – all of this will be tied into the curriculum at the school. We are excited to have the support of these extraordinary industry leaders to create opportunity for children in the Los Angeles area.”

The program will open in Fall 2022, starting with ninth and 10th-grade students. Grades 11 and 12 will be incorporated over the following two years. Should the program be proven successful, LAUSD is considering a pilot program that will be offered at other schools in the district. 

Each of the founding coalition members will also serve on the school’s advisory board, offering support and expertise to students pursuing careers in the industry. 

“Our aim is to better reflect the diversity of our country. That means starting early,” said Clooney. “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. It means understanding that we’re all in this together.”

Earlier in the month, “Chronic” rapper and producer Dr. Dre and record executive Jimmy Iovine joined forces to open Regional High School #1, also located in South Los Angeles. The school’s curriculum is said to focus on “design, business, and technology with hands-on, real-world learning to help develop young leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs.”

The music industry legends hope their efforts will help to reignite students’ interest and passion for education. “We want to give the next generation of students access to a proven, revolutionary learning experience that will not only prepare them for the jobs of today, but equip them to reimagine and shape the jobs, technologies and creative enterprises of the future,” Iovine said. “We’ve already succeeded in higher ed [with the USC Iovine and Young Academy]: now we’re bringing it to high school.”

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