Campus: CSU Northridge -- October 25, 2002
CSUN and LAUSD Break Ground on New Academy High
Joint Project Will be the San Fernando Valley's First New LAUSD
High School in 30 Years
Cal State Northridge and Los Angeles school district officials celebrated
the groundbreaking today for a new academy high school on the university’s
campus, a unique joint venture that will help prepare San Fernando Valley
students for college and future teaching careers.
The $25 million project, due to start construction in early November,
will be the Los Angeles Unified School District’s first new regular
high school in the Valley in more than 30 years. In addition, the future
school will be the first LAUSD high school located on a university campus,
making possible what officials called a unique opportunity for educational
“The important partnership being forged here today between the
LAUSD and CSUN—where we are bringing together K-12 and higher
education—is the kind of cooperation that can truly reshape public
education. We are very excited to be part of this process,” said
CSUN Provost Louanne Kennedy, who represented the university.
“This school is going to be nationally renowned, if not internationally
renowned,” added LAUSD board member Julie Korenstein, who worked
with CSUN the past three years to achieve her longtime goal of developing
a high school focused on encouraging future teachers. “This is
absolutely a dream of mine come true,” Korenstein added.
During the festive groundbreaking ceremony on the Northridge campus,
Kennedy and Korenstein were joined by CSUN Faculty President Michael
Neubauer, Board of Education President Caprice Young, LAUSD Superintendent
Roy Romer, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman and Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Barbara
Sandoval, along with many local parents and students.
The high school, known as Valley New High School #1 until a permanent
name is chosen, will accommodate about 800 ninth through twelfth graders
at any one time, with a total year-round enrollment of about 1,130.
The school will serve students who live nearby, helping reduce overcrowding
at Monroe, Granada Hills and Cleveland high schools.
Under a CSUN-LAUSD cooperation agreement, the school’s students
will gain access to CSUN facilities such as the campus library, certain
laboratories and physical education areas. CSUN administrators and faculty
members also will work with their LAUSD counterparts to help shape the
school’s instructional program. Funding for the school is coming
Located on a five-acre site on the east side of the university, the
new high school is scheduled for completion in summer 2004. In exchange
for receiving the CSUN site and the university’s other contributions,
LAUSD gave the university a nearby parcel that already has been used
to expand CSUN campus parking by hundreds of much-needed spaces.
Calling the future high school a natural fit, CSUN President Jolene
Koester noted that Northridge already prepares more university students
to obtain regular state teaching credentials than any other public university
in California. Koester also said CSUN is committed to helping improve
the public schools and strengthening the university’s community
Noting California’s major shortage of schoolteachers, CSUN Faculty
President Neubauer called the project “an example of true leadership
in the public interest.” “I represent the commitment the
faculty members at CSUN have to this wonderful and exciting collaboration,”
he added. “We have great hopes for this project and are confident
it will be a great success.”
Although Korenstein, a CSUN alumna, helped launch the project during
her time representing Northridge on the Los Angeles school board, the
area recently shifted to school board President Caprice Young, who called
the groundbreaking momentous. “We don’t just hire teachers.
Now we are in the business of growing our own,” Young joked with
LAUSD Local District A Superintendent Deborah Leidner, whose Valley
unit will oversee the new school, predicted the joint project will become
“the envy of the nation.” “We will break the mold.
We will create an academy high school that will have the whole world
watching, and it will begin today,” Leidner said, pledging cooperation
with the university.
Located on the west side of Zelzah Avenue near Halsted Street, the future
LAUSD school will include 39 classrooms, a library, auditorium, gymnasium
and recreation areas. The school’s campus will be fenced to enhance
security and will include on-site, underground parking to accommodate
school staff and those high school students who drive cars.
As an academy campus, the new school will have a major focus on preparing
students for teaching careers. But the school also will offer academic
tracks such as media and performing arts, and health and human services
in coordination with the university. LAUSD and CSUN officials envision
permitting eligible students at the school to enroll in some college
classes at CSUN.
The school is part of LAUSD’s district-wide effort to build 80
new schools and expand 79 existing campuses to reduce overcrowding.
Twenty-five projects are planned in the San Fernando Valley in the first
phase of the district’s construction program. The last LAUSD regular
high school built in the San Fernando Valley was John F. Kennedy High
School in 1971.
John Chandler, CSUN, (818) 677-5674
Hilda Ramirez, LAUSD, (213) 241-6766