Roosevelt High School as Small Schools
• Roosevelt teachers, parents and students helped plan the school’s transition from the previous learning communities to the current seven small schools
• Roosevelt is still Roosevelt, and students are discovering ways to turn their interests and talents into a high school degree
• Students experience more personalized attention from teachers, and a safe environment that fosters experimenting, challenging and learning
• Students graduation rates are improving while they reach new levels of achievement
• Roosevelt graduates are entering college, trade school and employment better prepared academically and emotionally.
• Why small schools? Because our students deserve the best education possible
School of Communications, New Media and Technology (CNMT)
If the idea of telling stories to create change or social justice seems fascinating to you, then the School of Communications, New Media and Technology might just be your kind of place.
The CNMT school recognizes that media – communicating – is central to nearly every business or profession and especially to the idea of literacy. Literacy used to mean that a student was skilled at reading and writing, but that definition has expanded to include many concepts important to today’s high-tech world. As a result, students now will understand how to use computers, and how to understand and explain numbers and computations in order to create compelling news stories, powerful films or exciting websites.
Using media tools such as a laptop computer, camera or a simple pencil, students will bring their lessons to life, whether they are delivering a pod cast, an online slide show or a persuasively written speech. In addition, those media tools may be used to complete coursework in creative and interesting ways.
Humanitas Art School (HARTS)
For more than 20 years, the Humanitas model of high school instruction has encouraged students to understand how various courses of study connect to each other. Students may explore the relationship between art and history, lyrics and literature, and nature and science.
Toward that goal, teams of teachers will create classes that study a theme from several different disciplines and points of view. Students will become creative problem solvers as they actively participate in debates, simulations, literature circles and Socratic seminars.
The course work in HARTS concentrates on three central themes: creative arts, writing and outdoor education. Students who learn well in a visual and creative environment may appreciate classes in ceramics, drawing, digital art and painting. The writing-based program also will focus on drama, creative writing and essays.
Exciting outdoor education programs will illustrate the importance of respect for the planet. A multi-day field trip to Catalina, for example, may reinforce lessons about literature of the sea, marine science and geography.
In addition, the program aims to make students fluently bilingual.
With the school’s focus on arts, writing and A-G requirements such as English and social science, students will be prepared to attend college and create an impressive portfolio of their writing and artwork.
School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
Science is serious stuff in Mr. Restrepo’s classroom, but it’s also full of fun activities and projects that just happen to be educational. Recently, to illustrate the size of the universe, his students created a scale model that included an 8-foot sun, a football field and the nearest planet, a pea-sized Mercury. Such active learning projects form the basis of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Small School, or STEM, for short.
For students who always wonder how things work, the STEM coursework will allow their curious minds to explore all types of engineering – civil, electronic, mechanical, chemical and environmental – as well as the life, physical and natural sciences, and many types of technology and computer-related projects and occupations.
Partnerships with California State University Los Angeles and the East Los Angeles College will allow teachers to develop advanced programs in robotics, engineering, computer repair and technology.
With an emphasis on non-fiction writing, students may meet their English requirements by writing essays about a science topic, or perhaps about a controversy in the history of mathematics. Teachers already are actively exploring unique teaching methods and materials that will create the kind of personalized learning that leads to enthusiastic and engaged students. After all, it’s not every day that your teacher turns a lecture into a game show, complete with mini flashlights and contests.
With high academic expectations to motivate them, STEM students will be encouraged to learn, to prepare for college, and to pursue careers that will make them competitive in current and future economies.
School of Law and Government (L&G)
Would you like to be a judge? A lawyer? An elected official? How about a community activist who fights for social justice?
In the Law and Government school, you will learn how to use the tools of law, how to understand politics, and how to be a leader in your community. With field trips, internships, team projects and an actual on-campus Teen Court, students will learn how law, the justice system, public service and the government play a role in everyday life.
“Think of the possibilities,” says Gardenia Gonzalez, a Roosevelt counselor at the School of Law & Government. “You could learn how to lead a march or fight for equality, fairness or your legal rights.”
To help students understand how events link together, teachers in different disciplines will coordinate subject matter. For example, in English class, a student might read and analyze Night, Elie Wiesel’s memoir of surviving the Holocaust, while World History Class explains the events of World War II that helped create the Holocaust. Other subjects may focus on the history of immigration and how that history is presented in literature.
While learning to be community leaders, students will study the role of public service, how persuasion is used to win an argument and how to be an advocate for themselves, their families and their communities.
Academy of Medical and Health Sciences (AMAHS)
The Academy of Medical and Health Sciences has a Latin motto that serves as a guide and a lasting reminder of its mission: Mens sana in corpore sano, which means "A sound mind living in a sound body."
As you could guess by its name, the Medical and Health Sciences Small School is all about health and science, but also fitness. Inside and outside the classroom, students will be encouraged to stay physically fit, to involve their families in good health practices and illustrate how strong, active bodies and minds are an important part of academic and personal success.
Whether students train for a marathon or join a sports team, they will learn how to build teamwork, be accountable and responsible. Toward that goal, students will improve attendance and academic involvement with the help of one-on-one advisement, parent meetings and incentives. For those who would like to explore alternative paths to healthy living, the program may include individual and personalized activities, such as yoga and the study of food and nutrition.
But it’s not all fun and games. Students will be encouraged to explore careers in the medical and health-related fields. They may develop group presentations, learn how to read scientific studies and take courses on medical terminology. To see real-world uses of their schoolwork, students may attend lectures by guest speakers in the medical field, develop in-depth projects or take an internship with area hospitals and clinics.
The Medical and Health Sciences coursework will also prepare students to pursue college educations or highly skilled employment in the health sciences. Most important, students in AMAHS will learn to love learning.
Academy of Environmental and Social Policy (ESP)
Roosevelt’s satellite campus will continue to operate as the Academy of Environmental and Social Policy teaching its nearly 400 students how to bring about positive change in the environment and society. At ESP, you can learn how to make choices for a cleaner, greener planet by studying animals, green technology and ecology; an how to be active in your community to protect and guarantee equal rights, safety and justice for everyone.
The ESP Academy offers two career pathways to prepare students for college and a wide range of careers, including those related to environmental studies or social change. After freshman year, students choose either Environmental Studies or Social Change as a career pathway. Both career pathways include a career awareness class, a career certificate through the East Los Angeles Skills Center, college courses through Los Angeles Trade and Technical College, and volunteer and internship opportunities at local businesses and organizations.
Unlike the traditional, six-class-per-year schedule, the ESP school uses a “block” schedule that allows you to take your first four classes during semester one. In the second semester, you switch to four new classes, but never have to take more than four classes at one time. You can take up to eight classes each year, which lets you explore more electives or complete all of your required courses at a faster pace.
Further, ESP schoolwork comes to life in a variety of club activities. In the Outdoor Adventure Club, students may study nature and go camping on overnight field trips. The Boarders Club may take members on day trips to practice snowboarding and skateboarding. The animal lovers club, Roots and Shoots, allows members to volunteer at local animal shelters.
The Academy also offers unusual and exciting electives such as cosmetology, Aztec dance, green construction, computer repair, marine biology, art, Latin American studies, journalism and more.
Math, Science, and Technology Magnet Academy (MAGNET)
Roosevelt’s existing Math, Science and Technology Magnet Academy will continue to operate much as it has in the past, but will join the Small Schools network. This school is a prime example of how going smaller creates bigger benefits. Nearly 90% of magnet students pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), which is required to earn a high school diploma.
As a magnet program, students must apply to the program through the Choices brochure that is sent annually to student households. With about 400 students, the magnet’s enrollment will make it the smallest of the small schools.
The school’s compact size has demonstrated many different kinds of benefits, according to Brendan Schallert, a magnet English teacher. “There is a real sense of family in our program,” he said. “Students are used to dealing one-on-one with teachers and getting the support they need.”
At the magnet, the teachers agree on four basic principles: Instruction is inquiry-based; discussion-based; includes exhibitions and projects; and incorporates partnerships with businesses and colleges that can expose students to real-world uses of their studies. For example, the University of Southern California School of Dentistry offers a summer program that shows students what it’s like to work in dentistry.
“Our goal is to broaden their field of vision to that they can see career and study avenues that they may not know existed,” said Schallert.
The magnet has shown that a coordinated, consistent approach to teaching helps students identify and meet their educational goals more easily, even while they’re having fun.
- Is the Rough Rider pride and tradition still held after the transition into small schools?
- Absolutely. Athletics, performing arts, music, prom, homecoming and many activities and traditions have continued as always. Small schools did not replace Roosevelt, they simply enhanced Roosevelt’s learning environments.
- Is there as many elective class choices as before?
- After the transition, some electives such as AP, Art/Animation, and Music are still available to students from all 7 small schools. ROP courses have began to transition into small school based courses as schools are beginning to develop their specific multiple pathways given the career focus of the school.
- How do students choose a small school?
- Incoming 9th grade students select their top three preferences. Current students will continue in their existing small schools.
- Can students transfer from one small school to another?
- Yes. Students can transfer once during their high school career.
- What happened to Advanced Placement Courses?
- The small schools have worked collaboratively to define ongoing AP course offerings and cross-school registration policy, AP courses are offered by the career focus of the school.
- What happened to English as a Second Language (ESL) students?
- ESL students have continued to receive the same specialized instruction they received before the transition.
- Do students wear uniforms?
- Yes, uniforms are required each academic year. Each small school has determined what constitutes the uniform.
- What happened to the school clubs?
- The various small schools and students determined the evolution and nature of clubs, but any student can be a member of them.
- How do students interact with fellow students in other small schools?
- Above all, Roosevelt has remained one community. Students interact with students in other schools during any non-class time, and there is still be a common lunch period.
- Does Roosevelt have a complex-wide principal or does each school have a different principal?
- Each seven schools has its own principal.
- How does small schools support students completing A-G requirements?
- The increased personalization of student education combined with higher academic expectations has lead to increased numbers of students graduating having completed their A-G requirements
- What happened to school governance?
- Each small school manages itself through individual school site councils. However, each small school also participates in a campus governance council to address school-wide issues.
- Who is responsible for budgeting?
- Each small school manages their own budgetary resources.
- How many students are in each school?
- The seven Roosevelt small schools have about 500 students each.
- Do the small schools share the same bell schedule?
- No, every school has its own bell schedule, whether it is an eight period block schedule or regular six period schedule.