It's a Great Day in Compton!

It's a Great Day in Compton! Episode 5 of CUSD's Compton School Success TV show is the most powerful show to date. You must watch the first 24 minutes of a very powerful dialogue I had with student leader around the Trump Presidency! It was a conversation that I knew was necessary to put our students at ease. These are dynamic student leaders from all three high schools! Enjoy!

CUSD "Passes" Audit With Flying Colors

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Compton Unified School District was given a clean bill of financial health by an outside auditor who just completed a thorough review of the District’s financial statements.

According to the auditor, Christy White Associates, CUSD’s financial statements did not reveal any major deficiencies.

“Once I heard the Auditor’s report I knew this was something our parents, students and all our staff needed to hear,” said CUSD Board President Satra Zurita. “It provides further evidence of our turnaround. We can actually brag about the effectiveness of our financial operations, and that’s not something very many Compton Unified school boards in the past have been able to do.”

The audit, designed essentially to find problems, discovered instead that the District is in full compliance with how it uses both federal and state funds. In fact, the auditor’s report found no “material weaknesses” and determined that all of the district’s financial statements are in accordance with accepted financial guidelines.

“Every year these audits look better,” said Alejandro Alvarez, CUSD’s Deputy Superintendent and Chief Accounting Officer. “The Board gave us clear direction to get our financial house in order and we believe that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

CUSD Board President Satra Zurita Kicks Off Baseball Season

As a school board member, CUSD Board President Satra Zurita, is often called upon to demonstrate her negotiating skills around complex issues of education policy.

But last week Board President Zurita demonstrated she’s just as comfortable negotiating her way around a baseball pitcher’s mound, even when pitching to a former major league baseball star.

Zurita, and former California Angels catcher/outfielder Darrell Miller, were on hand to kick off the Compton baseball season at a Compton College baseball game – with Zurita throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Miller.

Also attending the game were all of CUSD’s high school baseball and softball teams representing Compton, Dominguez and Centennial High Schools.

“I’ve been practicing that pitch and am confident that Darrell will report to the Dodgers and Angels that he found a pitcher who can really bring it,” said Zurita. 

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Miller, who is now Major League Baseball’s vice president of youth and facility development, caught Zurita’s pitch and along with the Board President, took a few moments to address the students prior to the game.

“Education is the only way we’re going to make a difference in anyone’s life,” said Miller. “Our MLB urban youth academy provides baseball and softball structure as well as educational support. This is why our relationship with the City of Compton and the Compton Unified SD is so important.”

“The opening game is a great opportunity for our Compton Unified student-athletes to learn about the athletic programs offered at the community college,” said Zurita. “The importance of athletics and other extracurricular activities in achieving student success cannot be understated.”

CUSD’s baseball and softball season kicks off the first week of March.

Compton Holds Rally to Protest Rash of Shootings

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Due to a spate of shootings in Compton that have left 19 dead so far this year, a “Compton Watch: Take Back Our City” rally was held on May 26 in Gonzalez Park to address the recent rash of shootings.

According to statistics from the Compton Sheriff’s station, a spate of four murders was committed during the weekend of May 14. Of the 19 homicides committed in Hub city this year, 17 remain unsolved, a spike from the nine murders committed in Compton in 2015.

Nearly a hundred residents and dozens of community activists, faith-based leaders, county sheriffs and elected officials joined city officials to voice their concerns and to discuss possible solutions.

Compton City Council Mayor Pro-Tem Janna Zurita and Council Member Tana McCoy organized the event. Both expressed concern about the recent spate of shootings that have sent the city’s murder rate soaring.

“We’re holding this event to kick off the Compton Crime Watch,” said Zurita, adding that the shootings have reached an “unacceptable” height in the city.

“We want to encourage the neighbors and citizens of Compton to get involved and to report crime.”

District Four Compton Councilwoman Emma Sharif said that she was especially concerned about how the rash of violence was affecting the city’s youth.

“As a former school board member, I know firsthand how violence affects our young people,” she said.  “It affects their sense of security as they travel to and from school–and this is an all too real threat.  As a council member, I am also aware of the impact violence has on this city when our children lose their lives.   It is a tragedy that impacts all of us–our families and our entire communities.”

Many residents milled about after the rally to express their sadness over relatives who were randomly gunned down and to express their frustration that the perpetrators are still at large.

“I lost my grandson, 25-year-old Marquise Bryant, in October of 2015,” reflected 79-year-old William Bryant, who said that Marquise lived with him. “The evening he was killed, Marquise was visiting his mother. He was walking out of the door of his mother’s house around 10 p.m. A car drove by and someone inside the vehicle opened fire,” recalls Bryant, sadly shaking his head. “The police later told me that it was a case of misidentification.”

“Several years ago, Compton’s crime rate was down and we were doing real good,” recalls Compton resident Ronald Freeman. “But they let a lot of these young guys out when the county jails became overcrowded. That’s when I noticed that Compton’s homicide rate went up.”

Lt. Lecrivain of the Compton County Sheriff’s Department addressed the meeting and urged residents to pick up the phone and call if they see a crime being committed. She said she understood that some Compton residents might feel intimidated to call and report a crime. “We can talk on the phone. We don’t have to come to their homes. We want this to be a community where people feel safe to walk their dogs, to run, and let their kids play in the front yard. That’s our vision for Compton.”

Nish West, 28, a Compton resident, attended the rally to support the effort to end gun violence in the city. She can still recall how shocked she was when her boyfriend, Robert Shann, was gunned down several years ago.

“He was shot multiple times in broad daylight,” recalls West. “A friend called and told me the news.”

West said that the incident greatly affected her. “I didn’t date or go out for two years,” said West. “I didn’t visit Robert’s gravesite until two years later.”

West felt that those in the city who own guns should think hard before they pull the trigger. “Ask yourself, what would it feel like if you were staring down the barrel of that gun?”

Long-time Compton residents Gwendolyn and Kirby Williams, who attended the Crime Watch meeting, were still grieving over the recent fatal shooting of their 24-year-old son Richard Williams.

On the evening of May 15th at approximately 9:20 p.m., Richard, the father of a five-month-old son, went with a friend to McDonald’s when they stopped at the 76 gas station at Wilmington Avenue and Caldwell Street in Compton.

A rash of gunfire rang out and Richard and his friend were shot. The two friends crumpled to the ground and were later declared dead. “The police called me and told me the news,” recalls Gwendolyn. “I was able to identify my son by his tattoo. He had his girlfriend’s name tattooed across his chest.”

Asked to describe her son, Gwendolyn reflected, “He was quiet, a hard worker, determined, helpful and kind hearted. He was taking courses at El Camino Community College and he was also taking courses at the Long Beach airport.  He wanted to get a job in aircraft recovery.”

The Williamses’ said they are determined to find their son’s killer. “We’re going to find out who did this,” said Gwendolyn quietly, adding that a reward for the identification of the suspect has yet to be announced.  “We are not going to let our son’s death be filed away by police and become a cold case.”

To report a crime or suspicious activity, call 800-222-TIPS.

CUSD’s Satra Zurita Honored as a Woman of Influence

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Compton Unified School District Board President Satra Zurita has been honored as a “Woman of Influence” by the Greater Zion Church Family. “When you talk about a woman of influence in Compton, Satra Zurita is often the first name that comes to mind,” said Pastor Michael J. Fisher of the Greater Zion Church Family. “Her long service to this community and her extraordinary leadership on the School Board have made a difference that will benefit Compton for many years to come.

”Zurita has long believed that the entire community must assume accountability for educating Compton’s children. “It’s is truly a great personal honor to receive this recognition, which wouldn’t have been possible if not for the many people in Compton who support our work.” said Zurita. “The fight to transform our schools and our community goes on. While there is more to do, it is greatly satisfying to look back and see how the lives of our students and their families are already being improved by our work.”Board President Zurita, who is a third generation resident of Compton, comes from a family that is rich in community service. She has been on the School Board for over a decade and has been a driving force in the turnaround underway in the Compton Unified School District. 

“I have worked with Satra Zurita for many years. She is hard working, diligent and has always fought for public education and the students in the Compton Unified School District, said Assembly member Mike A. Gipson. “She is definitely a Woman of Influence and deserving of this award.” 

Satra and her younger sister Janna Zurita are no strangers to public service. They are daughters of retired public administrator Clarence Zurita and retired, two term City Councilwoman Delores Zurita. “I’m very proud of this recognition for my sister,” said Janna Zurita, a member of the Compton City Council. “We were raised in a home that encouraged us to get involved and make a difference in our community. Satra has done so many good things for Compton and it’s just outstanding that she’s received this award.”

Test scores and graduation rates have been increasing in the Compton Unified  School District in recent years as the Board and Administration have honed in on student success as a top priority. 

“President Zurita is richly deserving of this recognition. She has been one of the main architects of the turnaround in the Compton schools, and it is gratifying to see that her great work is being acknowledged,” added Micah Ali, Compton Unified School Board Vice President.

The Men and Women of Influence award acknowledges members of the community that have used their respective platforms to create or work with grassroots organizations to support the improvement of the quality of living in the greater Los Angeles area.  

Oct 8th, 2016 5TH Annual Compton Walk for a Cure

Satra Zurita

IT'S A GREAT DAY IN COMPTON ! Welcome to my website for my re-election campaign to the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees. You overwelming elected me in 2005 and 2009 to DELIVER results and improve education for EVERY STUDENT in our community. Thats exacty what I've been busy doing! We have come a long way over the years and there is much more PROGRESS to make. Please visit my website often for campaign updates, opportunities to volunteer and general information about the great Compton community. It's been a Pleasure to Serve,