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Meet the 15 new schools opening in LAUSD this week

Sarah Favot | August 14, 2017

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First day of school at Crete Academy, a new charter school in South LA, on Monday. (Courtesy: Facebook)

Even as enrollment has steadily declined over the last decade in the nation’s second-largest school district, LA Unified is opening four new schools this week, while independent charter schools will continue to grow with 11 new schools opening in Los Angeles.

The district will launch a new all-boys school called Boys Academic Leadership Academy, the Maywood Center for Enriched Studies, Horace Mann UCLA Community School, and New Middle School Pathway.

Superintendent Michelle King has been a supporter of single-sex schools as a way to boost the district’s enrollment. The new boys’ school, Boys Academy, will open for sixth- and seventh-graders in South LA one year after the district opened an all-girls school, Girls Academic Leadership Academy, in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles. Boys Academy has a STEAM focus: science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. GALA has a STEM focus.

• Read more: Seeking a few good (young) men: LAUSD’s first all-boys school is at half-capacity days before opening

Maywood Center for Enriched Studies is the 131st — and final school — that will open as part of the district’s $20 billion school building program. It allows Bell High School to come off a year-round schedule that was put in place 36 years ago as a result of overcrowding. It will be a magnet school in Maywood that will serve students in sixth- through 12th-grades.

• Read more: Maywood school is the last to open in massive building project. But dwindling enrollment makes today’s LAUSD a very different district

Horace Mann, a district middle school in South LA, this year welcomes its first ninth-graders as it becomes Horace Mann UCLA Community School. It will be UCLA’s second community school in the district. It is modeled after UCLA’s first community school at the Robert F. Kennedy campus.

• Read more: A model for change in South Los Angeles: UCLA steps in to rescue a struggling middle school

New Middle School Pathway will serve students in grades 6-8 with a STEM focus. It was also developed in partnership with the district and a Los Angeles university. Loyola Marymount University has partnerships with several district schools. The new school will be located near LAX on the campus of Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet.

The district projects that it will lose a net total of 10,642 students this school year, according to budget documents, and independent charter schools will gain 4,089 students.

Here is a list of the new charter schools opening, from the California Charter Schools Association:

1. Celerity Rolas
2. Celerity Himalia
3. Equitas 4
4. PUC International Preparatory
5. USC College Prep Esperanza
6. USC College Prep Pico Union
7. Gabriella Charter School #2
8. KIPP Corazón Academy
9. LA’s Promise High
10. WISH Charter High
11. Crete Academy

Several of the new charter schools are expansions of existing charter management networks. For example, Equitas, located in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles, has three other schools. PUC, or Partnership to Uplift Communities, has 15 other schools in Northeast LA and the northeast San Fernando Valley. PUC Internationship Preparatory Charter School will offer a Spanish and Mandarin dual-language immersion program and will have four grade levels to begin with: kindergarten, first-, sixth-, and seventh-grades.

KIPP Corazón Academy is opening for transitional kindergarten through first-grade in South Gate. It will focus on academics and developing character. It will be KIPP’s 14th school in Los Angeles.

Celerity, which is opening two schools, has come under scrutiny by federal authorities. In January, the FBI and other agencies raided Celerity offices. The LA Unified school board voted last fall to not renew charter petitions for two Celerity schools: Celerity Troika in Eagle Rock and Celerity Dyad in South LA. The schools lost appeals to the state Board of Education and are now closed. The two new Celerity schools are opening in those same areas: Celerity Rolas will open in Northeast LA, and a portion of the school will be at the same location as the shuttered Celerity Troika. Celerity Himalia will open in South LA in the same location as Celerity Dyad.

USC will open two charter schools as part of Ednovate, a charter school network the university formed, building on the success of its Hybrid High, which graduated its first class last June, with all 84 students heading to four-year colleges. USC Esperanza College Prep will enroll its first ninth-grade class this fall. The curriculum is based on personalized learning, which incorporates technology to guide students through coursework at their own pace.

Gabriella Charter School is opening its second campus with kindergarten through second-grade classes. The school combines dance instruction with academics.

LA’s Promise High was founded by the LA Promise Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps students prepare for college and careers. LA Promise Fund oversees three district schools and a charter middle school. It will open with 110 seats in the ninth-grade. It will provide a television and film career-themed education with project-based learning and personalized instruction.

WISH Charter High, which stands for Westside Innovative School House, will open its first high school, expanding from its elementary and middle schools in Westchester. WISH serves students with disabilities alongside able-bodied students. The school board vote to approve the charter petition last year was contentious. District staff and Superintendent King had recommended that the board deny the charter’s petition to expand, citing financial concerns and whether the school would be able to attract enough students to enroll. The decision to approve the charter was split.

Crete Academy will open its first school in South LA near Crenshaw High School starting with transitional kindergarten through second grade. The school will focus on serving students who are living in poverty or are homeless. The school was founded by Hattie Mitchell, who was inspired to open the charter school focusing on homeless students after visiting LA’s Skid Row. The school provides wrap-around wellness services for the students and their families, in addition to a college-preparatory curriculum.

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