Orientation begins for new high school aimed at students at risk of dropping out

June 5, 2012, 11:03 a.m.

A conceptualized street view of the school done by Rodolfo Ramirez.

A new USC charter school aimed at students who are a higher risk of dropping out of high school, is holding orientation sessions for the next two months for prospective students.

Hybrid High is set to open on September 4 in downtown L.A and is recruiting ninth-graders at informational meetings held every few weeks until the end of July. The high school will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, in order to better accommodate students who are also working and taking care of family members, according to a statement from the school. The year-round academic schedule provides students with the additional time they need to complete coursework and graduate.

The average high school dropout rate in urban centers across the nation is nearly 50 percent, says Hybrid High, and one third of the students who drop out reportedly do so because they have jobs or family responsibilities.

“The notions of the square box classroom and school don’t necessarily work for everyone; it’s an artifact,” Melora A. Sundt, associate dean for academic programs and professor of clinical education at the USC Rossier School, told Oncentral.

The school will combine online coursework, face-to-face interactions and repeated meetings with academic advisers to shape scheduling to individual need. Hybrid High aims to have 150 ninth graders enrolled this first year, and eventually increase the student body to 650 students in ninth to 12th grade over the next four years, a statement from the school says.

The high school's executive director, David Dwyer, told OnCentral last year that the school's scheduling structure would be somewhat like an emergency room, where there are no set hours and shifts change every week. In an ER, the expert doctor is not always needed -- and the same goes for the classroom.

The 19,000-square-foot school site is still being developed, with plans for the construction of four large 'learning labs," a courtyard and "huddle rooms" for small student groups to gather.

USC's Rossier School of Education established the non-profit Ednovate to be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the high school and USC's school of architecture is helping design the concepts for Hybrid's construction.

Orientation sessions for the new high school are held in room 403 of Waite Phillips Hall at USC's University Park Campus. They begin at 5:30 p.m. on June 12, June 26, July 10 and July 24.

"Hybrid High School will fill a vital need for a quality, rigorous educational program that is tailored to students' needs and ensures that more of our students are finishing high school," said Principal Stephanie McClay. "I'm really excited to open in the fall and begin to work with our students and families."

Hybrid High will be located at 350 South Figueroa Avenue in Downtown L.A.

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