Sunday, March 11, 2012

Slots For Forty Students Who Want to Attend the New San Pedro High Annex Should Apply Now 

By Diana L. Chapman

San Pedro students -- who must be local residents -- should apply now to see if they can hit the jackpot  and have their name pulled in an April lottery to attend the newly built, $80 million high school  annex.

School officials said that 40 slots remain open at the John M. and Muriel Olguin Campus. 

Those are designated specifically for San Pedro residents after some locals fought bitterly, but failed to halt the building of the environmentally designed school. It's one of many concessions the Los Angeles Unified School District made in order to build the campus, wedged between Alma and Gaffey Streets on a bluff top above the sea.

Applications for entering one of the small learning communities at the annex must be turned in by noon March 29. Ninth through 12th graders can apply.

"Sorting day," as one school official called it, will be held at 4 p.m. April 9 at the San Pedro High school auditorium.

Expected to be one of Los Angeles Unified's gems, the annex sits on a former military site. The land was later donated to the school district and is surrounded by a myriad of facilities that can provide academic, hands on exploration. 

"I'm looking forward to the opportunities that will be afforded to both residents of San Pedro students and magnet students on the Olguin campus," said Sandra Martin-Alvarenga, the magnet coordinator.

 "We're looking forward to partnering with the Angels Gate Cultural Center, the Marine Mammal care center and others."

Built at the Fort MacArthur Upper Reservation in the area of Angel's Gate, the school will open Aug. 14 with two small learning communities -- the Police Academy and the Marine Magnet. Those houses currently have 460 students combined.
To attend, students in the lottery must select one of those houses as one of their number one choices.

"The Marine Magnet has a rigorous math and science focus," said San Pedro High School principal Jeanette Stevens, who will oversee both schools. "Students will take math and science each year they attend the Marine Science program. The Police Academy has a partnership with LAPD and includes four years of physical training, similar to the academy."

Not all classes will be available at the annex, so students will be shuttled to San Pedro High for some of their courses, Martin-Alvarenga explained.

All 500 students, including those that win the lottery, will be bussed via Gaffey Street after residents living along Alma Street across from the school complained profusely that the road is already dangerous and should not be used to enter the school.

A shuttle will also take Olguin students back to San Pedro High  for some classes not offered at the new school, administrators said.

 The school's development strained relations between school officials and many residents, who contended the campus-- intended to relieve overcrowding at San Pedro High -- would mar the serene beauty of the park- like area.

School officials, however, see an area peppered with educational discoveries, such as the Marine Mammal Care Center, the International Bird Rescue, the Fort MacArthur Museum and the Angels Gate Cultural Center. Local artists, many of whom visit Los Angeles Unified schools to teach, also have studios in the area.