Hamilton High School
Established in 1931, Hamilton High School's mission has always been to prepare young adults and mold them into responsible citizens of the community.
Hamilton has been a district leader in the SLC (Small Learning Communities) movement, and with the District formalized guidelines for attributes of the SLCs, Because Hamilton High created the SLCs structures before the formal guidelines, Hamilton's plans include the current state of the school as well as the recommendations based on research to improve student achievement and the various school wide plans such as the WASC action plan and the Single plan that identify areas of need.
All students are enrolled in one of seven specialty programs through the school's commitment to Small Learning Communities (SLC) and the magnet programs. Hamilton developed its first SLC in 1993, and in the last few years has made a commitment to create SLCs school-wide.
Two Magnets exist:
- Music Academy and Humanities Magnet.
Four SLCs exist:
- Business and Interactive Technology
- Communication Arts Academy (a California Partnership Academy)
- Global Studies (Implemented with a Specialized Secondary Program grant)
- Math, Science and Medicine
Aligning all the needs and the actions plans within this proposal, Hamilton High School is committed to organizing more effectively the structures of the SLCs, while simultaneously improving the quality of instructional delivery and academic rigor aligned with State Content standards.
Present State: Hamilton High School is a large urban comprehensive school in West Los Angeles with an enrollment of approximately 3400 students. Hamilton's student body is comprised of approximately 2200 students from the local attendance area, and another 1200 in two magnet programs that are part of the Los Angeles Unified School District's desegregation program. The magnet programs are the Music Academy (893 enrollment) and the Humanities Magnet (320 enrollment). Approximately 41% of all Hamilton students are Hispanic, 34% African American, 19% Caucasian, and 4% Asian. Over 50% of the student body qualifies for the free and reduced lunch program, 16% are identified as gifted, and 20% are English Language Learners.
Alexander Hamilton High School
2008 - 2009
Alexander Hamilton High School is a large urban comprehensive school in West Los Angeles with an enrollment of approximately 3100 students. The school is comprised of approximately 1900 students from the local attendance area and another 1200 in two magnet programs that are part of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s desegregation program. The two magnet programs are the Academy of Music with 853 students and the Hamilton Humanities Magnet with 349 students. Approximately 47% of the student population is Hispanic, 30% Black; 17% White; 4% Asian; and 2% other. About 45% of the student population qualifies for the reduced and free lunch program. Twelve percent of students are classified as English Language Learners; 12 % are classified as Special Education students; and, about 20% are designated as Gifted/Talented.
All students and all professional staff members are in one of the seven specialty programs through the school’s commitment to Small Learning Communities and the two magnet programs. Besides the two magnet programs mentioned above, the four SLCs are:
Business and Interactive Technologies
Communication Arts Academy
Math, Science, and Medicine
All of the SLCs have had their plans (LAUSD Bulletin 1600) approved by the District and have now had their physical space reconfigured so that staff and students share contiguous space. One unique feature of school-wide plan (School Impact Plan) is that the school now has a Campus Council that includes teacher and parent representatives from each SLC and magnet program and the principal and union chair. The council meets monthly to address school wide issues/challenges. The District funds a planning period for each of our SLC Directors (lead teachers). We have scheduled their planning period at the same time so we can conduct joint meetings with counselors, administrators, etc.
Each of the school’s administrators (principal and four assistant principals) has school-wide responsibilities and is assigned to a SLC. The administrator and SLC Director share responsibility for managing the SLC. In addition, the District funds a full-time coordinator to run the Humanities Magnet and an assistant principal to oversee the Music Academy Magnet. Each magnet program and SLC has a full-time counselor.
An Instructional Cabinet (IC) also is established and is comprised of SLC Directors, Department Chairs, full time coordinators and the administration. The IC’s responsibilities include working with the administration to build a master schedule of classes, advising the principal on school policy, etc. For example in the spring semester of 2008, the IC developed a new Classroom Observation form to be used primarily by administrators when conducting classroom visits. The IC will have an important role in implementing the revised accreditation Action Plan.
Another unique feature of Hamilton High School is the block schedule. Three years ago, the block schedule was reconfigured into an alternating day block schedule of four 90 minute classes (and one class, period 7, required for Academy of Music students that meets one hour a day, four days a week).
Hamilton High School has a good record of increasing student success. In 2008, Hamilton students showed improvement on both math and English state standardized tests, student attendance rates, and the progress of English Language Learners. However, due to just missing the required percentage (by 2%) of students taking the tests, Hamilton did not meet its AYP. According to the recently released District report card, Hamilton showed a slight increase of 2% in students completing A-G requirements, from 31% to 33%. The percentage of 10th grade students passing the CAHSEE exam showed a 9% increase from 60% in the school year 2006-7 to 69% in 2007-8. An increase of 14% was seen in the percentage of 9th graders who were on track to graduate, from 47% to 61%. However, the four year graduation rate remained at 57%. To counteract that, Hamilton High School obtained the services of a Diploma Project Advisor who counsels and supports students who are behind in their credits.