Echo Park school to become part of L.A. Unified magnet program

Echo Park, schools

Photo from Clifford Street School website

ECHO PARK – The school board has approved a staff plan to convert Clifford Street Elementary into a math and technology magnet in the 2015-16 school year. Meanwhile, the small school in the far north end of Echo Park has been honored as a California Distinguished School. Clifford Street teacher Rick Powels has details about the two milestones:

Clifford Street Elementary has been named a 2014 California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. This honor recognizes schools that have demonstrated educational excellence for all students and have made progress in narrowing the achievement gap.

It occurs at a special time for the school because it also just gained unanimous approval from the Los Angeles Board of Education to convert to a Magnet. The school will reopen as Clifford Math and Technology Magnet in 2015. The conversion to a magnet will be huge since it will draw students from all over the district.

The staff’s magnet school application was approved during the May 13 meeting of the L.A. Board of Education. The Clifford magnet program, according to district documents, could accommodate 120 students in grades 1-6 in its first year and will eventually expand to the 162 students.


  1. Congratulations Clifford!

  2. Fantastic! This is a huge gain for Echo Park and the surrounding community.

    Word to Eastside parents: forget about “citizens” charter– it’s a mess! Leave the teaching/administrating to the experts who know how to run schools and serve all children. Clifford isn’t going to ask you to pony up at least $4,000 a year in donations (unless you want the stink-eye) and it’s right here in the ‘hood. You *can* get a quality education from a public school.

    Don’t forget to also check out other great local public schools who are accepting transfers in for next year. Take a tour now before the year is over:
    Elysian Heights
    Dorris Place

  3. They keep reclassifying these schools with distinguished-sounding names, which only reinforces the insular complacency of “experts” who passively allowed our schools to lapse into mediocrity over the past few decades. The priority among these experts remains job security. A quality education invariably comes in second. The problem being that there are never enough incentives to meet their bar for job security. IMO, recognize progress but continue strict oversight and scrutiny that doesn’t allow the “experts” to once again lapse into selfish and unscrupulous complacency. After all education is not a job or profession but a cause. Dedication and sacrifice are required for sustained progress and success self-congratulatory back-slapping for isolated average or below-average achievement(?).

  4. Also, what is the incentive for outsiders to care or invest in the community where their kids attend schools? Does community end at the school gates? These “magnets” are shell-games that only hint at success that isn’t reinvested back into the local community. Sustained training and support of quality teachers with educational resources and professional development is the one and only way to ensure a quality education for the families who actually live in the school-community NOT fancy classifications based on progress that primarily bolsters the $tatu$ and credibility of so-called “experts”.

    • Proper Dos; The magnet plan for Clifford includes comprehensive training and support for teachers to assist in the transition to a Math and Technology Magnet. Intensive professional development is underway as well. Clifford has been consistent in finding cutting edge resources to further its aims to educate the youth of the community. I don’t agree that it is smoke and mirrors or an empty honor. The school was rightly recognized for the difference it is making in the lives of its students.

  5. Are you kidding me Clifford ? where do the kids come from ? not from this area , The school should be demolish & a small park be there , Has any one really checked if any of the kids live in this area ,

    • Many students at Clifford come from the neighborhood. Most on permit have a parent who works in the area. Some are here because their parents are trying to rescue them from a poor performing home school and are happy that Clifford has a place for them. The school hopes the recognition from the state for high achievement and transition to magnet will cause neighborhood parents to see Clifford as a strong and viable choice for their children.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *