Update: Daily Breeze Story (3/26/11) – Will Westchester High’s magnet plan stick?
After more than a decade of low academic performance, high dropout rates, a dropping enrollment and the very real threat of losing the campus to independent charter operators, officials at Westchester High School informed the education committee of the Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council that next week the LAUSD will announce a major re-organization of Westchester High School. The re-organization will in effect close the neighborhood school, give the school a new CDE location code, and convert the campus into a stand-alone magnet high school.
The re-organization will likely be completed in time for the 2011-2012 school year that begins in September.
The LAUSD has a number of specialized magnets high schools that focus on one or more career fields. Some of the fields include medicine, law, and the environment. Westchester’s focus will likely include two or three fields one of which will be the science/aerospace.
A magnet school is open to all students living within the LAUSD district boundaries, however, new students and those currently enrolled will have to apply through the LAUSD Choices program to attend the magnet. Westchester residents will not have priority over residents outside of the schools original boundaries unless the district offers an exemption. If space becomes limited, the Choices program uses accumulated points to determine who can enroll.
Regular high schools may have up to 42.5 students per class. By law magnet schools have reduced class sizes limited to 36 students per class.
According to officials, there will be no staff ‘job entitlements’ meaning that faculty and administrators will have to apply if they wish to continue to work at the school. Faculty members can opt to find positions at other schools if they do not want to apply at Westchester. The schools re-organization did not require a faculty vote.
A new website www.westchestercomets.org will be launched on April 13th.
As more information comes forth, I’ll continue to update this article.