LOS ANGELES ACADEMY OF MEDICAL AND PUBLIC SERVICE VISION AND IDENTITY
Belmont High School is one of the many comprehensive high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Its student population consists of residents from the Westlake and Pico-Union districts, two well- known immigrant communities undergoing the process of gentrification. The Pico-Union district is a densely populated urban area in California with a total of 18,562 people occupying every square mile in the area, compared to the state average of 2,093 people per square mile. The Westlake district, however, is now the most densely populated neighborhood in Los Angeles with 36,095 persons per square mile. According to the latest census reports, the racial make-up of these districts is as follows: 62% Latino, 36% white, 18% Asian and 2.6% Black or African-American.
Also, the two main districts that Belmont High School serves are composed of low wage, working class families. According to the latest census, 63% of the population 16 years of age or older comprise part of the labor force, 80% of which work in private wage or salary type jobs such as manufacturing or retail trade. Additionally, in 1999, 35% of families with children under the age of 18 lived below poverty, earning less than $24,999 annually.
The high school offers a total of 180 instructional days and 68,134 instructional minutes. According to the current enrollment statistics, there are a total of 4326 students enrolled at Belmont, including those within the Newcomer Center. Nevertheless, the ethnic make up of the school does not represent that of the community, since out of the total number of students, 90% of them are Latinos, almost 4% Asian, 3% Filipino, almost 2% African American, and less than 1% white. Moreover, out of the total number of students in the school, 12% met or exceeded state standards for language arts according to California Standardized Test results. The number is significantly lower than that of the rest of the students in California, 40% of whom are meeting state standards. In addition, the school’s Academic Performance Index score was 537, which means that the school did not meet the state determined score of 800.
One of the ways in which Belmont is correcting these issues is by making a transition into wall-to-wall small learning communities. Furthermore, there are already several small learning communities (SLC) at Belmont that students can choose to be a part of which deal with various themes. At the same time, there is still a number of students who have not yet joined a small learning community because of either lack of space or interest. These students are normally seen as the underachievers, and that is why the Los Angeles Academy of Medical and Public Services (LAAMPS) is determined to serve them. Our SLC will focus on guiding students into careers that will directly serve their communities. Our emphasis will be on careers in the medical and public services field. Our LAAMPS plan includes partnerships with local hospitals, clinics, elementary and middle schools, community organizations, postsecondary institutions and other external providers in order to facilitate our goals for our students.