L.A. Unified Board Expands 12 Magnet Centers, Approves Center for Enriched Studies in Maywood

LOS ANGELES (May 10, 2016) - The Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to add more than 5,000 seats in L.A. Unified’s popular magnet program in 2017-18, when the District will expand a dozen of the existing themed centers and open a new magnet campus for Grades 6-12 in Maywood.

The District currently has 198 magnets, which offer themed programs in subjects ranging from architecture and filmmaking to science and technology. Through co-located centers and full-campus magnets, the program enrolls approximately 67,000 students, with 44,000 others on waiting lists. Earlier this year, the school board approved a plan to add 5,800 seats at 16 magnets in the upcoming academic year.

“We embrace multiple strategies for student success on our path to 100 percent graduation,” said Board Member Mónica García. “We continue to expand the portfolio of options for our students, families and school communities.”

Under the newly approved plan approved for 2017-18, a campus being built to relieve overcrowding at Bell High School will open as a span magnet modeled after the highly successful Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks Centers for Enriched Studies. The new 1,425-seat campus will serve students in Grades 6-12.

In addition to providing families in the Southeast community with another high-quality option, the new school will allow Bell High to transition to a traditional, two-semester schedule. With approximately 3,100 students, Bell is the last District school to operate on a year-round calendar.

"The Southeast community has long advocated for more high-quality instructional programs in their neighborhoods,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez. "I am thrilled that the LAUSD Board and District have listened, and have taken another step forward in closing the opportunity gap by creating a Center for Enriched Studies to be located in the city of Maywood.

“This new magnet school highlights the Board’s commitment to increasing the number of magnet programs throughout the District, and adds to the portfolio of magnet programs available to middle school and high school students in the Southeast Cities."

Individual schools apply to create or expand a themed magnet, and must meet specific criteria designed to ensure the program will be successful and will meet the needs of its community. Of the 12 magnet set to open in Fall 2017, nine will focus on STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“The number of STEAM-related careers has increased over the years so we are trying to create a K-12 pathway by fitting new magnets into families of schools,” said Keith Abrahams, executive director of the Office of Student Integration Services, which oversees the magnet programs.

STEAM magnets newly approved for De la Torre, Gulf and Hawaiian Elementary schools, for instance, will feed into the existing high-tech magnet programs at Wilmington Middle School and San Pedro High School, he said.

Here is a list of the newly approved magnets, and the number of seats that will be available:

  • Angeles Mesa Elementary Design, Research, Engineering, Arts, Math and Science Magnet; 132 seats.
  • De La Torre Elementary STEAM Magnet; 132 seats.
  • Gulf Elementary STEAM Magnet; 132 seats.
  • Hawaiian Elementary STEAM Magnet; 132 seats.
  • Westminster Elementary STEAM Magnet. Its existing computer math/science magnet will expand by 201 seats to a full-campus magnet.
  • Griffith Middle School STEAM Magnet. Its existing math/science/tech magnet will expand by 1,020 seats to a full-campus magnet.
  • Hale Charter Gifted/Highly Gifted/High Ability STEAM Magnet; 510 seats.
  • Los Angeles Academy STEAM Magnet; 226 seats in Grades 6-7 in 2017-18; 340 seats in Grades 6-8 in 2918-19
  • Mount Gleason Middle School STEAM Magnet; 260 seats.
  • Stevenson Middle School Communication Arts Magnet; 198 seats.
  • Webster Middle School STEAM Magnet; 170 seats.
  • San Pedro High Gifted/Highly Gifted/High Ability Magnet; 370 seats.

I am thrilled that the board is approving twelve new magnet programs,” said Board Member Mónica Ratliff.  “Parents and students love our magnet schools. I am particularly honored to welcome the new Mount Gleason Middle School STEAM Magnet. It will serve the needs of San Fernando Valley students interested in becoming future scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and artists!”

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Contact: Barbara Jones (213) 241-6766