By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Daily News
April 22 -- Los Angeles Unified's most expensive campus, touted as the district's crown jewel for the visual and performing arts, might not be accredited unless it addresses "serious concerns" raised by a leading accrediting agency.
Central Los Angeles High School No. 9, sometimes nicknamed Roller Coaster High because of its quirky architecture, must significantly improve its professional development and internal teacher culture, district officials said Tuesday.
The issues were discovered by accreditors for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges who made a preliminary visit to the downtown campus late last month.
"There was no final report written, but we concluded that things needed to be done," said WASC executive director David Brown.
The LAUSD School of Visual and Performing Arts cost more than $230 million to build. Failure to gain accreditation could mean trouble for graduating seniors heading to college. (September 2009 file photo by John McCoy/Staff Photographer)
WASC accreditors decided to return to the school on May 13 to complete the review, giving administrators time to address the concerns.
"They saw some concerns and some things that needed to be sorted (out)," said Byron Maltese, Local District 4 superintendent, who oversees administrators at the arts high school.
The school, now in its first year, cost more than $230 million to build and is envisioned to become Los Angeles' top performing arts campus.
Maltese said the school has been working to resolve the problems.
Maltese said it is critical for the school to be accredited by fall 2010, in time for college application season for the school's first graduating class.
"There is a burning desire on behalf of everyone - parents, kids, teachers and administrators - to make this work ...," Maltese said. "I am certain we will pass with flying colors."
Failing to pass the accreditation process could create nightmares for seniors applying to any of California's public universities, which want to see a diploma from an accredited high school.
The last LAUSD school to be denied accreditation was Crenshaw High School about five years ago, WASC officials said. But the school was eventually reaccredited.