How Good is Eagle Rock High’s International Baccalaureate Program?

A NELA mom queries Eagle Rockers.

From a Northeast LA mom:

We live a few miles away from Eagle Rock but have seriously been thinking about applying to Eagle Rock High School's International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme for my two middle-school children. We love the feel of the school, the diversity and the neighborhood. Wondering if you Eagle Rock residents whose kids have gone through the program can offer some advice: 

1) The program’s mission is to prepare students for international, culturally rich lives, through foreign language study, intercultural awareness and public speaking. Based on these principles, how successful would you say the program is?

2) How nurturing and effective are the educators? 

3) How bright and committed are the other students? 

4) Are there any drug, gang or bullying problems we should know about? 

OmarA. G October 30, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Let me just say this, after attending Parent conferences last week at Eagle Rock Jr. high for my Daughter, my wife & I were really taken by surprise not just by one Teacher but a few, as to how unaware they were to what period class she was in, every teacher seemed a little flustered. Another thing that bothered us about the school was the way they break up their classes, like Math on Tues. & Thurs. and not everyday. Also It seems that all of our Daughters Teachers also taught High school classes another reason why they probably have trouble remembering their students. All this bring me to Prop 30, it was on the top of our list of important propositions this year but this eye opening experience has really magnified LAUSD's problems. I attended public School as a kid in Pasadena & Monrovia and never felt that my teachers workload was too heavy. We are really taking a hard look at what other option are available for our kids locally outside of LAUSD.
AFG October 30, 2012 at 07:07 PM
...child is not good at art adds a lower score to be factored into the GPA every year. I have been told that math, foreign language and AP teachers, in particular, notice that their subjects benefit more from daily exposure. I was told that if they did IB without the schedule change that EACH teacher would have had to work design/technology (don't ask what that is because NOBODY can explain it to you) into 25% of their class. Isn't 25% times 6 150%? That never made sense to me. Other people from other ares or private schools have seemed to make this work, but I don't believe it is working at ERHS. Teachers were told that if the schedule change didn't work they could re-vote the next year, but that didn't happen either. They will tell you the API scores went up, but they don't tell you that they got rid of a large population of kids that brought that down. They will tell you they had to shake things up and get innovative because their scores were the same one year, but they don't tell you that your child is now the guinea pig in the interim where they decid if this is working or not. Go there and ask the teachers what they think - the vast majority is NOT for IB. It somehow benefits the administration - makes them look good to downtown - but it is most definitely not being done for the benefit of the students. The years my kids were there before IB were SO MUCH better than they are now. Also, you should know that the principal of ERHS is awful!
ERHS Moms October 30, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The great teachers at ERHS are still doing as great of a job as they can do, but there are some classes there with 40-50 students in them. The every other day schedule (green/grey day) is a NIGHTMARE for students! This IB/block schedule has seriously impacted core academic subjects which are on SAT tests, etc. Their departments have been decimated and their administration is not looking out for them. They were allegedly not going to lose personnel if they chose IB, were going to have more resources, etc. none of which actually happened. ERHS has the least parent/student/teacher friendly administration possible, these being the principal and those in his pocket. ERHS, through the years, has been a fantastic school for so many students, but when you add up ridiculous IB, the student/subject unfriendly class schedule, the unsupportive, unfair principal it is only a shadow of its former self. But if the parents were to succeed in getting rid of the principal that could be a real game changer.
James P. October 30, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I have an idea: rather than listen to unfounded gossip from a malcontent who posts using multiple pseudonyms on Patch, why not go by the school and visit? Then you can see for yourself.
person October 31, 2012 at 03:23 AM
IB is going to fail at ERHS because of several factors that every parent needs to know. 1) Very few teachers believe in IB anymore because everything that was promised to them and the school did not happen. The principal promised more teachers, smaller classrooms, and creation of electives. Instead, several teachers lost their jobs, class sizes have ballooned to 50 plus in many cases, and very few electives were created. 2) No teacher wants to teacher the study tech class and no student wants to take it. No teacher wants to teach a full line of study tech classes but the administration foolishly made several teachers give up teaching their certified subject to exclusively teach study tech. The staff asked for a compromise that allowed to them to teach a combination of their subject and study tech but administration refused to listen to the compromise. These study tech classes are also preventing freshman and sophomores from taking band, yearbook, leadership, journalism, and the few electives that still exist at ERHS because administration felt the core concept of study tech, which is to teach students the concept of planning, designing, and executing projects, did not somehow fit the criteria of those electives. 3) The IB project is something most of the students do not take seriously. They know they don't have to pass study tech to graduate so many of them blow it off. to be cont'd
person October 31, 2012 at 03:35 AM
4) ERHS is staffed by incompetent administration. 5) The IB creates an apathetic, lethargic attitude amongst many of the juniors and seniors because by junior year, they are done most of there electives which leaves the majority of students one or two classes a day...sometimes no classes on certain days. Instead of taking an elective, they choose to take nothing. This is such a waste. While ERHS isn't to blame for district graduation requirements, something has to be done who are wasting their final year or two of high school by being at home more than they are at school. 6) ERHS is currently experiencing an exodus of their best teachers and staff primarily because they can not take working for such an incompetent administration. Within a couple of years, the core that has driven this school to its level of excellence is going to be leaving. There are several teachers at ERHS who are trying their best to make IB work. Ms. Bollman-Little is doing her best but she and anyone else fighting for this cause is fighting an impossible cause. Unfortunately, the administration is the problem.
person October 31, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Correction for my 5th point. Most juniors and seniors are finished their graduation requirements which leaves them with just one or two classes a day...
OmarA. G October 31, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Thanks for the heads up, I deffinetly will be looking for an alternative now because it sounds as bad as the sapposed Jr. High Felt last week. I knew this Jr/Sr High combo thing was a bad thing going in, "I told you so" ringing in my head. Charter school, out of the district school ? Great, another reason to have to drive out of our neighborhood. Frustration.
AFG October 31, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Unfounded gossip? No well documented fact! Listen to the teachers regarding the success of this program and talk to the students. I was super disappointed that my kids couldn't take journalism this year. Last year journalism was considered study/ tech - this year no.
OmarA. G October 31, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Btw to answer your questions NELAMOM, 1) no I don't think the program is successful, my Daughter was switched back and fourth out of 2 classes. How can this program work if they system is already corrupt? 2) I would say the ones that I have dealt with at the Jr. Level seem overloaded with work, and how could they be nurturing if they have no extra time, I really feel they have been set up to fail. 3) yes the students are bright and ready to be lead but they really seem to be getting a bad deal here and we as parents should make our unhappiness heard and visible with access to great sites like this. 4) and Yes there are gangs, yes there are taggers, yes drugs. ( one morning saw a kids walking into school with a "I <3 kush" logo) I hope he was sent home. And NO traffic control! LA department of transportation! I can get a ticket at 9:30 at night on a private residential street for no front plate but can't have someone direct traffic for 30 min. At a public school, Awful!
ERHS Moms October 31, 2012 at 05:10 AM
It would be so beneficial for the parents concerned with ERHS to meet and decide what they want to fight for. If we stood together we'd have a better chance of being heard and listened to by downtown. So much time has already been lost waiting for it to get better or for the administration to care. Everything said above by "person" is absolutely correct!
Jennifer N October 31, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Scheduling is one of the contractually negotiated items the big bad teachers union went on strike to provide teachers and parents a say in. Parents, get on your calendar committee, and attend your local school leadership council and change the schedule if you don't like it. These meetings are required to take place once a month.
ERHS Moms October 31, 2012 at 02:38 PM
The parents had no say when they changed it at the inception of IB and we thought the teachers were allowed a revote at the semester (or years end) to determine if it worked or not. However, later the admin/IB powers said the teachers were never told that they could reevaluate. They appeared so entrenched in their ideology that it seemed doubtful they'd listen to us, but we should try again.
James P. October 31, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Just because a very small group (or maybe a group of one or two persons posting under different anonymities) says something is fact doesn't make it so... especially not from ERHS Moms or AFG or especially Person. Go see for yourself and make up your own mind.
James P. October 31, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Go see for yourself. Visit the school. Talk to the students, teachers and administrators. Go to the PTA meeting and talk with real parents (with real names) about the school, then decide if it's right for your kid(s). Anyone considering any school should do the same. Don't forget to check out the graduation rates, API and test scores. Oh, look at your other choices, too.
Jinx October 31, 2012 at 09:27 PM
As a third generation alumni of the school in question, I have two words - ha ha. The school has become a shadow of what it once was. Yes, the teachers are good people, good intent and ethics. Still, most of those teachers are broken educators. Continuously, they are cut off at the knees by politics, staff dramatics, lack of resources, and honestly the list goes on. It breaks my heart, but I will not send my children there as a 4th generation.
ERHS Moms October 31, 2012 at 09:51 PM
@James: you can't exactly see a lack of something like instructional minutes. Yes parents should go and speak with several teachers and several parents, but steer clear of the administration because they are preprogrammed to spout the party line. They will tell you that the API score went up by 27 and lead you to believe that the principal is personally responsible. They will not tell you how many parents they do not listen to or kids they do not care about or treat fairly. Also, you'd be wise to also steer clear of any teacher that the principal tells you to speak with, because there are a dishonest few who also spout the principal's line, ruining it for their fellow colleagues. They will tell you not one thing not positive regarding IB because they garner downtown brownie points for having tried it. And James you saying that what we say doesn't make it a fact is true, but likewise you inferring that we know not of which we speak is also not a fact. Your picking out of three particular persons makes you sound like an administration flunky or plant which we have seen on this board before. And if you are their plant or their friend NOT ONE SINGLE thing you say is the truth.
OmarA. G October 31, 2012 at 10:45 PM
That's right!
Sal G. Sanchez November 01, 2012 at 01:07 AM
The problem isn't IB- the problem is the way it is being run. My children have graduated but I still have a neice and 2 nephews there at the school. I hear from their parents what is going on. I was at a meeting years ago when there was a situation with the football coach. At that meeting the Principal said that if the school didn't want him there he would leave- guess what it is time to go! Mr. Veleaco you said if the teachers and community didn't want you you would go. I challenge you to take a vote at your own school. You would find out that it is you they want to get rid of. It is not about IB or the bell schedule- it is about not having the ability t lead a school like Eagle Rock. I bet you money if you got a good Principal in there your teachers would be happier, your kids would learn better. It is so sad that one man can ruin a whole school! My sis ter went to an IB meeting and shesays that the person in charge of IB is the one who should be running things over there. Does anyone know what it takes to get rid of a Principal in LAUSD?
ERHS Moms November 01, 2012 at 02:04 AM
It takes a large group of parents who are willing to fight, willing to persist, and willing to stick together. The district office (now we're 5 east) listens to one or two parents, but they move at a snail's pace and then, I believe, convince themselves that it's an isolated incident, then ultimately blow them off. It is my feeling that they are not concerned with a lawsuit because they think that most people wouldn't do that. Also, if there was a lawsuit it's not their money so they don't care. We need to find a way to meet and band together if we really want to be rid of him. It would also be nice if as many people who heard him say he'd leave if we wanted him to could remember and restate that. In the meeting over the debacle with the last JV coach he screwed, someone at the meeting brought that up and he basically laughed it off. He excels at NOT keeping his word! You're right that IB could probably work IF they had an administration that backed them, who were willing to fight for what they were promised IF the went IB. Not one promise was kept! No keeping of teachers, no GREAT electives - add that to the loss of several GREAT teachers and you have disaster. Velasco is in direct violation of LAUSD's code of ethics, there is proof, and still NOTHING!!!! They're not looking out for our kids so we NEED to do it before their entire high school experience is a joke.
Terri Hopper November 01, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I agree with James. People are always wary of change...but this is a good one. Students are exposed to 8 different subjects (and my daughter loves study tech where they are currently designing a logo). Go to a IB parent steering committee meeting. Go to a magnet meeting. Go to a PTSA meeting. The IB program teaches kids to think critically...look at the world thru a different lens. And,unless you are a teacher with over 150 students, you have NO right to criticize the fact that they don't remember which period (of the 8 they teach) your kid is in. Give them a break. Don't fall prey to the propoganda.
AFG November 01, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Terri: I don't feel that I am wary of change, we honestly gave it a good shot, but to me it has most definitely not lived up to what was proposed. While Study tech and art may be enjoyable they are not going to get you into college and art should not be forced on kids who hate art. There should be that plethora of electives they promised, but have no money for. I can't say I agree that this is teaching critical thinking any more than the program my other children went through. Most importantly the administration did not live up to what it promised its teachers so they would vote for IB and that is critical. Math and foreign teachers in particular speak of how that every other day schedule is not conducive to their subject. AP also say the same thing. All three of those things are of paramount importance to get into college. 8 classes, with a lot of choices, would be great IF the school day had been extended rather than having instructional diminished for core academic subjects. When your elective becomes mandatory study tech it is ridiculous! All kids should be able to take journalism. For 2 years it hardly seemed like anybody even knew what it was supposed to be. They should have researched this, designed its implementation, so our kids would not be their guinea pigs. They only get to go to high school once and that's their shot at college. I didn't feel those meetings went anywhere - they seemed very disinterested in any problem that arose from IB/schedule change.
OmarA. G November 01, 2012 at 05:22 AM
@Terri Hopper I may not be a teacher with a 150 kids but at the same time I didn't decide this is the career I want, to teach and guide our next generation. You act like we need to be so understanding to their situation, yeah it sucks and it's not fair, so go! Go find another job in a different district. We all work job that are not fair in many different ways, but asking for sympathy from a customer or a client would not be the way to resolve a problem. Btw your damn right I have a reason to complain, that my child's future, an if it means pulling them out of LAUSD it will be done. You may be ok with mediocre or maybe your used to this but I'm not. Coming from 2 different local school districts I know what differences there are, and there are way better public school districts than this. Smaller class size, teacher that recognize their students that are on top of their game, that are at school an hour before the kids arrive, unlike the ones over at dahlia that are walking up as the school bell is ringing, so unprofessional, no shame and no class. Btw 8 subjects is nothing to brag about Terri, this is te norm outside of LAUSD, not just now but it always has been. LAUSD needs to hire better character staff from the top to the bottom plain and simple. Let me know what parents want to get together I'm all in for attending any of these meetings.
ERHS Moms November 01, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Okay we'll try to arrange a meeting and get back to you.
Terri Hopper November 01, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Omar, I completely relate to what you are saying, and I agree with you. I AM a teacher. I AM a parent of a 7th grader at ERHS and the most important thing to me is her education. All of us need to band together and be involved in our children's education. There are two sides to every story. Even with the most well-intentioned teachers, if your administration does not support you, you cannot do much - your hands are tied. 50 kids in a class is ridiculous. I have, and will continue, to complain about this. I support public education and it will only thrive it parents like all of us continue to support our kids - we definitely CAN make a difference. Parents are their kids first teachers....We need to all work together to solve this issue - we are all on the same team.
erxicana November 02, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I have been at ERHS since the inception of IB and other changes. I have been to most or all meetings where we have input into this process to make it work and tweek what is not working. My kid loves school. Although there are many funding challenges to make the various programs perfect, I would love to invite many on this blog including teachers to come to meetings, ask questions and give input. The reality is that we need to pass Proposition 30!
AFG November 02, 2012 at 05:44 PM
While loving school is very important, it is not the determining factor of a good education.When I met to discuss IB and ask questions they did not appear interested at all in my observations - and there were no answers to my questions. Like which colleges care about an IB diploma and a design project more than SAT scores, AP scores, and GPA's? It does not appear that they are interested in listening to the teachers, either. The scope of the "project" is so broad that it is immensely vague and I still fail to see the point. How could that be better than more math, english, science, foreign language, etc? How could ANY good academic program give equal importance to art and study/tech? How can they let the art teachers grade on ability if art is mandatory? How could it possibly succeed with no resources and limited & lousy electives. One year journalism is study/tech and now it's not. They couldn't answer why IB insists the student take art EACH year, let alone explain how utterly boring it is when the choices are so limited. One of them said they expected their test scores to go down the 1st year but they didn't - but then the administrator said that that wasn't true, that they did NOT go up in math and science. That discussion made me feel like we are not hearing the real reason they did this. When you couple the loss of instructional days with the loss of instructional minutes per day it is a real travesty of education that they have proposed!
erxicana November 02, 2012 at 06:02 PM
In my house loving school, performance in the classroom, high api scores, the ability to choose to have college prep classes, a-g requirements starting in 7th grade for all students is a sign my kid is in the right school for her. There are many options at Eagle Rock that you won't find in charters or private school. We toured every one of them. None of them were a great fit for my kid. Maybe if your kids are not happy you should consider another choice. Friends of mine whose children went to Eagle Rock moved their kids....they love their new school and are performing better. Hope things work out for you.
AFG November 02, 2012 at 06:57 PM
You can't see the difference in these last years with IB and block schedule? API scores are such a deceptive thing which has really nothing to do with the administration that takes sole credit for them. The quality of college prep classes diminish as the staff is decimated. Who can teach science, math to 50 students let alone offer them help? There is no one who will ever be as good at AP History as the teacher who left for another district. You have teachers who are not equal teaching the same class and kids are not allowed to move from the inferior teacher b/c they don't want mass exodus. Not wanting mass exodus means they know the classes are not equal. That is not fair or equal for 40+ kids. Regarding certain APs one teacher is far advanced of the other, again no choice for the kid. While I would have agreed that there were choices there not found in private school a few years ago, I have to disagree now. If you play sports you can't take journalism, stuff like that along with the time wasted on yearly art and study tech. I don't feel college bound students need to be doing homework at school when the time could be spent on academics. Then there's the unsupportive administration which only serves to detract from the quality of the education. My friend has been asked for the 3rd time to reprint absence notes from LAST year due to office incompetence. Also they presented IB as a "wonderful opportunity with a plethora of electives" which wasn't true at all. So sad!
AFG November 02, 2012 at 07:03 PM
continued: Also the principal continues to harass good teachers either getting rid of them unjustly or making their lives miserable so they leave. If the principal's number one priority is control and petty revenge he is never going to be the leader of the best school because his choices are not for the best education, they are for the most control. Is there another LAUSD school that has only 2 counselors for the entire high school? That was principal's choice - another bad one for the staff and students.


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