Smaller might be better for Marshall High

Photo from Marshall High website

By Becky Koppenhaver

John Marshall High School, which serves students from Echo Park, Silver Lake and Atwater Village, will return to a traditional calendar school year for the first time in 16 years. The Los Feliz high school, which has seen its student population grow to more than 4,500 students in the past decade, has been on a year-round, multi-track calendar in order to accommodate its burgeoning student population. But thanks to the opening of a new high school, Marshall High’s student population will drop by about half when classes resume Sept. 7 for the entire student body.

“This will make us one big family again, as opposed to a fragmented one,” said Assistant Principal of Counseling Gerald Devries. “It will also make communication on campus as a whole, much easier.”

The return to the traditional calendar will give students 10 consecutive weeks off during between June and  August. In comparison, the multi-track system includes two separate, four-week breaks between semesters.

The newly built Sonia Sotomayor High School on San Fernando Road in Glassell Park will alleviate over-crowding at Marshall High School and other nearby campuses by redistricting approximately 2,700 students to the new school, allowing the return to the traditional calendar year at Marshall.

The Marshall High School campus, built in 1931, consists of eight small learning communities, a magnet school, a gifted magnet school, and an advanced studies program. The school has added numerous temporary bungalows to accommodate the growing student population.

Assistant Principal Devries, who has been at Marshall High for over 30 years, says that he believes the switch back to the traditional schedule will overall benefit students and parents because Marshall is the only school in the area that is on a multi-track schedule. The high school’s feeder middle and elementary schools are on traditional calendars, meaning parents with kids in different schools have different schedules to juggle throughout the year.

Devries also believes that the staff and administration are generally excited about having summer months off.

The only possible negative impact Devries can foresee with the switch is the lessened opportunity for students to make up needed credits. Summer school will now be offered during the break. But on the multi-track schedule, students had not just one but two opportunities to make up credits in what is referred to as Intersession.

As for the students, Devries believes they will all react positively to the new 8:00 a.m. class start time – instead of 7:15 a.m. – that the switch will bring in the next school year. The school day will still end at 3:15 p.m.

Maria M., who will be a sophomore at Marshall  next year, says she doesn’t really care one way or another about the school’s calendar change, but she smiles when asked about a later class start time:  “At least now I can be awake for my first class.”

Becky Koppenhaver is a freelance writer covering schools. You can send Becky story tips and ideas at becky@theEastsiderLA.com

No comments

  1. YEA!!!!!!!!
    (Thanks The eastsider for being the only blogg to cover school issues)

  2. @ doreet. Thanks but Echo Park Patch & Echo Park Now also cover schools. Eastsider contributor Becky Koppenhaver is hard at work on other school stories.

  3. Eastsider- the EP blogs cover EP, YOU cover Silver Lake and other commities as well.

  4. thanks to this change, my son can no longer attend, this sucks!

  5. Well now, with the reductoin in overcrowding and the movement of student to a scholl closer to their residences, maybe the test scores will increase and I can stop sending my kids to provate school while still supporting underperforming campuses with my tax money.

  6. I am so glad Marshall High is going to traditional calendar. My daughter did year round and we never liked it. I am looking forward to my son being able to go

  7. The date on the new high school link is January, 2011, and it doesn’t look like construction had started. Will the new high school be finished by fall?

  8. Yes, the new high school will be open by fall 2011.

  9. It also gives the surrounding residents a break! Especially from the kids who hang out around and sometimes break into the homes, tagging, drinking and doing drugs and general annoyance. I understand that teenage kids do this, but the school really takes no responsibility for it and the cops are slow to respond. Unfortunately, we don’t reap the positive sides of the school.

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