West Edition

City Honors students voice concerns about lack of teachers

INGLEWOOD — Students at City Honors College Preparatory Academy here are having to cope with substitute teachers in advanced level classes such as physics.

Several students won community support when they protested the unexplained absence of a regular advanced placement physics teacher and other advanced placement teachers at the Inglewood school board meeting Sept. 8.

Students claimed they are falling due to unsuitable substitute teachers and unprepared lessons.

Samantha Sanchez, a City Honors junior, told state Trustee Don Brann and the advisory board, that there had been a large turnover in teachers and it was having an impact on her and other students.

“I had to change my whole schedule around because teachers were gone,” she said. “We lost Mr. Walsh. We lost a lot of core teachers that I had planned on taking this year. This is really my main concern: not having the teachers and the classes that I may need in order to graduate.

“As of right now, we have a substitute teaching my advanced placement physics class. We’ve been having this substitute for two weeks now. They haven’t told us if were getting a regular teacher or not. I don’t want to have a substitute because I’m trying to get good grades to pass my AP tests.”

Brann thanked Sanchez for coming to share her experiences.

“We will check on how the search is going for a real physics teacher,” he said. “We are checking within the district’s pool to find a physics teacher but there are not that many compared to 2013, when I got here.”

Local education activist Joe Bowers said Brann himself may be to blame for the shortage of advanced placement teachers.

Bowers said Brann serves as vice president on the board of trustees of the Da Vinci Schools, a group that operates four charter schools in the Los Angeles area.

“Prior to Brann coming to Inglewood, City Honors was a dependent charter school and competed academically with the Da Vinci Schools,” Bowers said. “Since then, he took the charter away from the school and City Honors has struggled. It is hard to believe this is a coincidence. It is highly unlikely that Dr. Brann would tolerate what is going on at City Honors, happening at the Da Vinci Schools.

“City Honors is the kind of school that teachers want to work at. If they are having problems finding teachers, they are not trying to find them. This problem was avoidable.”

City Honors College Preparatory Academy is a charter high school that operates on the campus of Los Angeles Southwest College. Although considered part of the Inglewood Unified School District, as a charter school it operates independently of the district.

About 80 percent of the students on campus are enrolled in advanced placement classes.

Principal Kiwiana Cain refused to answer questions about the teacher shortage and referred all questions to the district office.