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Inglewood’s City Honors High to become charter school

INGLEWOOD — The Inglewood Unified School District is giving it’s students another option when it comes to finding a high school curriculum that will prepare them for college and career readiness. 

The five-year dependent charter petition for City Honors International Preparatory High School begins in August. The charter, which will offer open enrollment for Inglewood students, was approved during a school board meeting June 19.

Interim Principal Marcia Haskins is a longtime educator with more than 30 years of experience. 

“The students who come to this school are really no different from the students who go to Inglewood or Morningside,” Haskins said. “The difference is that the parents want their students to be strictly focused on going to college.

“We don’t offer sports, so if a student wants to be on a team he or she can be on Inglewood High School’s team and we have that.

“We’re hoping to build the school by giving Inglewood an opportunity to bring back a lot of the students that have run away to other districts,” Haskins said. “Even though we can accept students from any school district, we hope to pull back a lot of the kids that fled because they felt they weren’t getting a rigorous education.”

Haskins believe City Honors, which is currently housed on two floors inside Crozier Middle School, can be a catalyst in the turnaround of the Inglewood Unified School District.

“We reinvented what the school will be,” Haskins said. “It’s already known as a college preparatory and career readiness school but we have enhanced it to make it prestigious by becoming the first Cambridge University program school in the state of California.”

“That means that we had this rigorous diploma program with advanced courses that are similar and comparable to AP. We’re still keeping our AP classes but this gives (students) a two-diploma track. They can take advanced classes for two years and take exams and if they pass these exams, they can earn six college units and what’s known as an AICE diploma (Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education).”

The Cambridge Assessment International Education connection will also usher in educational innovations through the Asia Society, which will teach students Mandarin Chinese, to promote global connections.

“This is an exciting step forward for the district and the Inglewood community, providing more options for students to pursue their higher education and career goals,” said State Administrator Thelma Mélendez de Santa Ana. “We are building on nearly 20 years of academic excellence at City Honors, which provides a template of success for its students and beyond.”

City Honors will have a dependent charter school status, which means it will be operated by the Inglewood Unified School District. However, it will still have more autonomy than traditional public schools when it comes to developing curriculum.

“We get kids with bad grades and low test scores. … When we interview the students and tell them what our standards are, we give everybody a chance, so if a kid comes in and has a weak report card, we let them know upfront that this is a rigorous school but we’ll give you a chance if you didn’t do well in [a previous environment] maybe you’ll thrive here,” Haskins said.

The charter school has been open since 2001 and had an enrollment of 322 students last school year.

The district hopes 450 students will attend City Honors during the 2019-20 school year.

Ultimately, the district said City Honors will have the capacity to serve 600 students.

In addition to the Cambridge program, City Honors High School will continue to offer on-campus college courses through El Camino Community College’s dual enrollment program. 

City Honors International Preparatory High School is planning to host a community town hall in the next several weeks. 

“The goal is to have our own building and our own school and really make it a jewel in Inglewood to show that Inglewood does care about education and then maybe we can start middle schools and even elementary, building on what we’re doing so that those kids can be prepared,” Haskins said.