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R.I.P. South Region High School #2 (Gage and Central Community Schools)

May 30, 2011

Central and Gage Community Schools stolen from the design team members who created the plans

UPDATE March 22, 2012: Apparently, there are rough seas at SRHS #2, especially at the Communications and Technology School.  I heard from a staff member of the complex that student behavior is out of control and that the administrators refuse to discipline the kids.  Some teachers are displacing themselves due to the conditions.  Recently, at an event, a student spit in the face of a teacher and nothing was done.  

I am so glad I work at a no tolerance school- no tolerance for bad behavior- students can and are sent out for even minor infractions and it works- the rest of the class knows we are serious and there are very few behavior problems.   One of the biggest issues in education today is the expectation that “classroom management” is the problem and not poor behavior.   100% of responsibility for behavior and achievement is put on the classroom teacher.

Whatever motivates the machievellian leaders in Local District 7, George McKenna and Russ Thompson, it certainly isn’t the education of students- that’s the last thing they care about- why else would they get about 20 dedicated teachers to do all of the work of planning a new school then take that school from them?  It’s a recipe for sheer chaos.   The principals and teachers who will staff these schools did not write the plans and have no knowledge of what was intended to be a community -based school for our students.

Curiously,  I am no longer that upset about the hijinks pulled by Local District 7 in regards to the school that so many ex-Fremont teachers put so much of their unpaid time into.   Nor am I upset that the feigned sympathy by PSC officials turned into nothing when we turned to them for help.  I was ready- I’ve been ready for this because I saw it coming at least two months before we began to lose control of the schools.

I guess that would have been right about in late March or so when Dr. Thompson sat down with the design team members and with a totally straight face- and I have to hand it to him for his fabulous acting job- said that due to the budget shortfall  there would be absolutely no money for professional development to open the four small schools and that in fact, we design team members would have to come up with our own materials for PD and have it off site.  We would not even be allowed to step foot on our own campus- a campus complex of four small  schools that we spent hundreds of unpaid  hours working on. You can bet all the editors and other retired LAUSD employees with six-figure pensions were getting paid but the teacher design team members who often put their own money into the project did it so we could hopefully teach in South Los Angeles once again.

At that moment, I really knew, I just knew it would all go bad.  How can you not provide PD for a brand new school and tell the design team members they would have to do it all themselves at their own expense off  site with no pay for new teachers?  Because LD7 knew that we most likely would not be there.  Then of course there was the suggestion that we “just consider” the 8 X 2 schedule. Yea. Right.   That was the moment that I stopped working on the plans diligently and started putting some emotional distance between myself and the Central and Gage project.   I’m sure that was much easier for me to do than for the former Fremont teacher who conceived the project.  I imagine she felt kind of like I did when I drove away from Fremont for the last time, knowing that my teaching skills were not the reason I was not going back, knowing that yet again, the kids of South LA were getting screwed.

The icing on the cake was when Erica and Kelley were univited to their own revisions meetings. Just because they were not hired as principals doesn’t mean they still weren’t on the design teams.  That was the blatant power play that LD7 did that was not challenged. It was also the biggest mistake by the design team- to allow George McKenna, a known hater of teachers, to have the final say in the principal hiring process.

I could get into UTLA’s role in this but I won’t- they are too weak in the Public School Choice process to really matter at this point.  Then of course there was the principal hiring process which I bailed out of at the first sign of D7 sleaze tactics   I can’t go into anymore detail  because I as the other design team members on the committee signed a confidentiality agreement. Unlike Local District 7, the design team members keep their word.

I don’t even bemoan the time I spent on the project that I could have spent on something else.   You see after the happenings at Fremont, I actually look at this as good fortune.  Technically and logically, the design team members were supposed to be at Central and Gage, but we are not going.  When the time came to replay a similar situation as what happened at Fremont, this time I did not hesistate and neither did the other design team members.  We stood together because Erica and Kelly  matter and our students matter.

There is a reason for everything and I view these series of events as a gift that I cannot yet appreciate- some force is looking out for us even if we can’t yet understand the meaning of the difficult  events that took place. On the surface, hundreds of unpaid hours, driving to countless meetings only to lose the schools seems senseless but it’s not.    What happened is not an accident.  It’s  providence – and I embrace it.

Even after Fremont reopened 30 rehired teachers quit- that’s not an accident, that’s evidence and an indictment of reconstitution.   I still see myself at times in my classroom at Fremont and I can picture where every single one of my Period 2 and Period 4 seniors are sitting.  I can see their faces- The picture pops into my mind when I least expect it.    I see Christian reading aloud from the third of  a series in a novel we were reading and wished I had recorded his voice. I see Lupita who didn’t like to speak in public confidently debating the Palestinian side of the Israeli -Palestinian conflict and I don’t feel bitter at the loss anymore. I feel so grateful to have had these experiences with these students that most of the robotic administrators who were “just following orders” will never experience.

I know many of the other design team writers and members are moving on with plans such as obtaining administrative credentials and advanced degrees and I know they will be successful.  For one brief shining moment, we thought we could bring back what was lost at Fremont and for whatever reason, that is not to be.

What will happen to the schools now?  They will become as one design team member put it bastions of  “LD7 style mediocrity” where periodic assessments pass as teaching and teachers are bullied over test scores.  I’m sure the new principals will be compliant and spineless, just as LD7 would wish.  LD7 bureacrats are much too threatened by intelligent, dynamic true education leaders such as Erica or Kelly to hire them.

And what will become of our students who asked for assurances at the community meetings that the teachers they met would be at SRHS #2?  That’s the worst crime of all. South LA students, screwed over yet again.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. teacher formerly in Rm 223 permalink
    June 2, 2011 2:32 pm

    thanks for that

  2. June 2, 2011 10:05 pm

    I hope it sheds some light for teachers still at Fremont on what is happening with the new high school- and thank you for continuing to serve Fremont students.

  3. HpHs Spartan permalink
    August 19, 2011 8:28 am

    I am deeply saddened with all the mismanagement LAUSD is demonstrating. I taught in Huntington Park High and our school was also “Reconstituted”. 3/4 of the teachers were laid off and continue to struggle with interviews and job placement. I have been able to sub at the school and it is horrible. There is no structure, no administrative support, students are running a mock, new teachers do not have a handle on the students, and on and on. Is this what the district had in mind when they decided to break apart our school? But wait, next school year the few standing teachers will have to go through the same process o reapplication and re-interviewing.

  4. August 19, 2011 2:55 pm

    Everything you are talking about happened also at Fremont, and the fact that CST scores rose (as they had with the pre-reconstitution staff) only proves that the CST has nothing to due with actual learning. The students in these low income areas will suffer with new teachers and subs until the parents say “Enough!” Change will have to come from the parents.

    The fact is students are graduating from these schools with “improved” test scores, yet what marketable skills do they have? We are producing the next generation of minimum wage earners. What a crime.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    September 9, 2011 12:14 am

    whn school open????

  6. Anonymous permalink
    September 14, 2011 1:15 pm

    this s a good school yet they could do better if all the students could actually eat. my daughter can’t eat because she doesn’t have lunch tickets

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 3, 2011 5:51 pm

      thats not true if the the student did not have a lunch ticket she had to stand in line a lot of the student’s did not wont to do that so they didn’t eat!!!

      • Patricia Ceja permalink
        June 24, 2014 4:58 pm

        The food is free x’DD she just has to go and get her lunch easy as that. just walk to the lunch area.

  7. September 14, 2011 8:21 pm

    Well this is kind of my pet peeve- i think it is the parent’s responsibility to send their kids to school with lunch. Food is not that expensive and sending them with say a tuna sandwich, fruit water and a snack in a refrigerated little sack would be better for them than county food. My parents were working class- we only had one used car for a long time and still they sent me with lunch every day. But i can see how it would be an issue if parents are unemployed. They should have sent tickets from the sending school whether it was Fremont or a middle school.

  8. ParentA+ permalink
    October 11, 2011 8:35 pm

    What is wrong with new teachers? Weren’t you a new teacher at once? As a parent I find the new teachers much more friendly and willing to work with my children.

  9. October 15, 2011 12:46 pm

    Yes, and like most new teachers I was severly lacking in real rigor. “Friendly” doesn’t equal competent teaching.

  10. EvilBitch permalink
    October 22, 2011 1:06 pm

    this school sucks want to go back to Fremont

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 3, 2011 5:59 pm

      if you wont to go back to fremount then go! in every school there is things that are wrong but if parents started coming to some of the the meetings and find out more about the school it would help everyone!!

  11. Anonymous permalink
    November 2, 2011 3:51 pm

    Wow , This School Is So Unprofessional , The Teachers Need To Learn How To Teach, (Public Service)

  12. Anonymous permalink
    November 3, 2011 6:01 pm

    and so are some of the students and there parent’s!

  13. January 3, 2012 8:35 pm

    Well I haven’t checked in to my own blog in quite a while due to unforseen circumstances but I guess SRHS #2 is going through 1) normal growing pains of a new school and 2) suffering from the sudden departure of the design teams.

    I am in contact with a teacher there and he told me things were improving and I hope that is the case.

  14. Anonymous permalink
    March 29, 2012 11:12 pm

    SRHS #2 is a good school its not the staffs fault that the students are imature. Point being that i am a student there and i was also a student in fremont so far they are not that different.

  15. March 30, 2012 10:58 am

    No but it is the fault of the administration to not set standards and expel students who SPIT on teachers. Many teachers will not be back next year due to the fact that they are voluntarily displacing themselves. I am happy you can work amid chaos in the classroom but many students cannot.

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 15, 2012 11:50 pm

      I have a question. Is SRHS’s behavioral problem been fixed? and I ask this question because I am a junior at palisades high school and I am looking for a good school closer to my home.

  16. Anonymous permalink
    October 17, 2012 2:24 pm

    I am a teacher at this school SRHS#2 and I can tell you I am happy here. You talk from a point of the things that happened yesterday!

  17. Susan McLeary permalink
    November 7, 2012 1:21 am

    wow…. am I glad I did not accept their offer.

  18. December 17, 2012 1:47 pm

    No the behavior problems have not been fixed. Many kids trashed the school and some recently threatened to riot and the students sent home early. One cursed out the principal and said to him “We’ll still riot.” There is no security. Truly horrendous. Several teachers displaced themselves.

  19. Anonymous permalink
    July 30, 2013 5:27 pm

    i am a student here, and although i did not go to fremont i think it is a much more better option than fremont, the security issue is not as intense as its being made out to be, its literally a square so not much goes on before it is stopped and there is zero tolerance as for the comment about the pscs teachers being unprofessional i have to disagree i have attended several high schools in lausd and did not excel until i got to pscs the teachers are amazing

  20. Siria Diego permalink
    September 8, 2013 12:21 pm

    Hi , I’m a student that attends Hamilton Highschool. I’ve been trying to make up a class before my college applications . But my school doesn’t provide the class that I need which is Chemistry . And I was wondering if there was any way I can get the class through South region #2 , I really want to attend college and if there’s any thing you can do, your help would be greatly appreciated. If you can please contact me after you receive this message my name is Siria Diego and my email is thank you .

    Sent from my iPhone

  21. October 22, 2013 5:29 pm

    Hi anonymous…I am sure the school has improved from its bumpy opening. However I do know several teachers who displaced themselves, one this year because of overwork.

  22. June 24, 2014 4:57 pm

    Well everything has changed. All I have to say being a student here at Diego Rivera Learning Complex High School (new school name) haha yeah. It’s the best. They teach us so much, it’s just awesome. The best for me. In Pscs (Public Service Community School) they show us responsibility and respect in case some of you guys did not know, PSCS got first in the CAHSEE in my school with 65% I’m not gonna lie I am impressed especially because of where the school is located. Well I don’t know why Fremont says this when this is when the school started. it’s obviously going to be like that being located in South Central. Anyways, the school has very bright minds. Besides Green Design, that school is just something else.Today when attending the Summer Bridge for incoming 9th graders a.k.a me all I saw was kids from that school going to Summer school. Some were going to CATS (Communications And Technology School). But yeah on the bright side, This school is just getting better and better. The security is improved which is good. Yes?? I believe this school will be a very smart school in a couple of years. Or maybe this year you never know what’s gonna happen. Our school is awesome. (: Trust the students.

    • November 20, 2014 9:45 pm

      65%? That is nothing to be proud of. The CAHSEE is an 8th grade test and in most areas kids take it in the 9th grade and pass it the first time. This means that 35% of your students cannot read and write at an 8th grade level. The sad part about this district is that it gives kids the impression that they are doing better than they are. Until discipline is brought under control, a success oriented culture cannot take hold and in fact the vast majority of LAUSD students who start college never finish because they don’t have a realistic view of the workload.

  23. Patricia Ceja permalink
    June 24, 2014 5:05 pm

    This is an amazing, perfect, outstanding school that doesn’t deserve to be talked about like this to be honest. Plus is seems like people who comment rude things about this school didn’t even go to school. no offense to those just saying. I don’t believe Fremont is any better haha. It’s actually worst, really bad. Diego Rivera is always there to help students.

    • November 30, 2014 11:24 pm

      Honestly, Patricia, you don’t even write structurally correct sentences. Do you understand what a problem that is for you in high school? You just proved my point. Young, hip, cool teachers make you feel good but that won’t get you too far. It should say ” In addition, people who make rude comments about this school never attended here.” And that’s just one error in your short paragraph. When you have kids, don’t send them to LAUSD schools. This is why your CAHSEE pass rate is only 65%.

  24. November 30, 2014 11:19 pm

    Patricia, This was written when the schools opened and in fact all of the criticism was deserved. Ask yourself how many teachers displaced themselves due to conditions. More than you can count on one hand. Of course Fremont is no better because of the reconstitution which emptied the school of experienced teachers and instituted a ridiculous 8 X 2 schedule. When you only teach or attend high poverty schools, you don’t really see how well run most schools and districts are. LAUSD is not the norm

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