By Shirley Hawkins
SOUTH LOS ANGELES — A boarding school that will open at the intersection of Manchester Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in August is actively looking for ninth-grade students to make up its first group of students.
“We’re looking for 125 students who are planning to enter the ninth grade to enroll in our school,” said Jillian Juman, head of the Seed School of Los Angeles County, who added that the school is tuition free.
She said the school would offer mentors, wrap-around services and unconditional support to students who are eager to prepare for college.
The school, which will run on a five-day-a-week schedule, will give priority to students who are in foster care, at-risk teens and the underserved who have parents in the justice system.
Weekly transportation to the school will be offered.
“We will pick up selected students around the county during late afternoon every Sunday at community centers and YMCAs,” Juman said. “Upon arrival at the school, the students will have dinner Sunday night with their student life counselors.”
Students will live on campus Monday through Friday where they will experience an intense, immersive learning environment before returning home on weekends.
The school’s varied curriculum will offer computer science, engineering and transportation infrastructure, science, technology, enginering and math, and the humanities as well as dance, robotics and gardening.
Boys and girls basketball and soccer will be offered as part of the school’s athletic program. Students also will receive the chance to experience international trips, participate in internships and immerse themselves in community service projects.
Juman said that the college-prep school will supply three meals a day. Students will dress in uniforms and live in same-sex, dorm-like accommodations.
Teachers, counselors and advisory staff also will offer support and guidance.
“We’re partners with the SEED Foundation, which has similar schools in Washington D.C., Maryland and Miami,” said Juman, who added that the school is the fourth school of its kind to exist in the nation. “It’s the only school of its kind on the West Coast and students can apply to the school no matter where they live in Los Angeles County.”
The school has been developed through a public-private partnership involving the SEED Foundation, Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Los Angeles-based ExED.
“We are not a traditional boarding school,” Juman said. “We are an all-inclusive five days a week preparatory school for kids that plan to go to college. We will have a real concentration on their learning where they will do their school work on campus versus the regular 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. routine school hours.
“This school will have a real concentration on their learning and they will build relationships with the school staff. We will also offer counseling as part of the program.”
Juman added that parents also will be an essential part of the school as their children pursue their education.
”We will partner with you to not only get your young person in college but through college as well,” she said.
“We’re here to partner with the community,” she said. “The goal is to build a lot of pride and ownership in South Los Angeles. That is something that we should feel very proud about.”
To apply to the school, visit its website at www.seedschoolla.org.
Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.