By ARNOLD ADLER, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Wave | http://bit.ly/gBGqj3
Rowena Lagrosa, interim superintendent of Local District 6 in the Los Angeles Unified School District, explains to the Huntington Park City Council Monday night plans to improve academic achievement at Huntington Park High School. (Photo by Arnold Adler)
Feb 9, 2011 at 9:10 PM PST - HUNTINGTON PARK — Residents may meet the people and learn the curriculum which will be taught at Huntington Park High next fall at a meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the school, 6020 Miles Ave.
Representatives of three groups which are seeking to take over the school under the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Public School Choice Program will be on hand to talk with current parents as well as parents from Gage and Nimitz middle schools for new programs at those sites, said Rowena Lagrosa, interim Local District 6 superintendent, which covers Huntington Park.
Based on low academic achievement, Huntington Park High has been named a focus school, meaning it needs help and is open to new instructors and new ideas under the school choice program.
Groups seeking to take over focus schools under that program may be existing charter school organizations, groups of current teachers or teachers’ union members and other organizations in the community.
Lagrosa addressed the Huntington Park City Council Monday night at the request of Vice Mayor Ofelia Hernandez, a local school advocate.
“It’s important that you meet the people who will be teaching your children,” Hernandez said of Thursday’s meeting.
Three groups that have applied to the LAUSD to take over classes at Huntington Park High are the School of Social Justice, the Huntington Park Design School and the Huntington Park 21st Century School.
A fourth group may appear before the Feb. 28 deadline to submit a school plan, Lagrosa said.
She said parents should meet the applicant teams that are writing improved school plans. She urged parents and the community to question the applicants and share their thoughts with them.
LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines is expected to select the winning group or groups in mid-March, with final action expected from the LAUSD school board on April 12.
Most of the members of the three groups that have submitted applications are current Huntington Park High School teachers and administrators, Lagrosa said.
She explained that Huntington Park High became a focus school last fall when it failed to score 600 or more on the state’s Academic Performance Index, had less than 20 percent of students earn a proficient or higher score on the California Standards Test and for showing no academic improvement in the last five years.
It was first thought that the school exceeded the 600 mark with a 603 score, but it was then learned that the score included test results of the 100 students in the Libra Academy program on the Huntington Park campus.
When the scores were separated, Libra students listed a commendable score of 720 to just 546 for the rest of the school, which was actually less than the previous year’s 568.
Libra, as with other applicants, is independent of the LAUSD with its own administrator and teachers and offers advanced classes for volunteer students.
Lagrosa said Huntington Park High students are 99 percent Latino, with 88 percent on the free or reduced lunch program for low-income families.
Test scores indicate that only 2.4 percent of the student body of about 2,000 were proficient in language arts and one-half of one percent were proficient in math, Lagrosa said.
About one third of the students are English learners.