June 16, 2000
From the school district known for innovative reforms comes another innovation: a classical middle school to prepare students for the high standards of the demanding Wilson Classical High School.
Hill Middle School officially became Hill Classical Middle School on June 9, celebrating its new beginning with a barbecue and picnic. The event included performances by the Wilson Classical High School cheer team, jazz band and dance team. The celebration culminated a year of planning by teachers, parents, administrators and community members.
Classes at the Long Beach Unified School District's first classical middle school will begin this fall for 1,050 students in grades six through eight.
The school will operate as a district magnet, with neighborhood children receiving priority for enrollment. Already, the new school has a waiting list of more than 140 students, about 80 of whom hope to be among this fall's sixth graders--the first who will complete all three years at Hill Classical.
To meet the school's new, stiffer requirements, students will take classes on an alternating block schedule. Students will have a total of eight classes but take four of them each day.
Students and parents must sign a contract. It requires compliance with higher academic standards, and adherence to higher expectations of behavior and dress. All Hill students will wear school uniforms.
Academic requirements for Hill include:
• 3 years of English
• 3 years of science (up from 2.5 years)
• 3 years of math (to include algebra)
• 3 years of social science
• 3 years of physical education
• 1 year of foreign language and/or one year of fine arts (previously electives)
• 1 semester of technology (new)
• 1 semester of health
Students will be required to maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average. Students who fall below C level must attend summer school, tutoring, counseling or the homework center.
Many of the requirements are modeled after those of nearby Wilson Classical High School, which recently has attracted hundreds of students who previously attended private schools. Parents in the Hill community wanted a similar exemplary program at the middle school level.