Belmont High School (Los Angeles, California)
|Belmont Senior High School|
|1575 West Second Street
Los Angeles, California 90026
|Established||September 11, 1923|
|School district||Los Angeles Unified School District|
|Number of students||5250|
|Athletics conference||Northern League/Central League, Los Angeles City Section CIF|
|Rivals||John Marshall High School|
Belmont Senior High School is a public high school located at 1575 West 2nd Street in the Westlake community of Los Angeles, California. The school, which serves grades 9 through 12, is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Belmont High School opened in 1923.
The Hotel Belmont was the first noteworthy building to stand atop Crown Hill, the present site of Belmont High School. Eventually, the hotel was abandoned, and later it was transformed into the private Belmont School for Girls. After the school was destroyed by fire, the grounds were left vacant, except for five oil wells and a pumping plant for the Los Angeles City Oil Field. On February 28, 1921, the Los Angeles Board of Education purchased the site for $100,000, for the purpose of constructing Belmont High School.
Belmont opened its doors on September 11, 1923, to about 500 students, all sophomores, and 28 faculty members. Most of the school's traditions were created by those pioneer students during the first months of the school's existence. The school newspaper conducted an election to select its name, with "Sentinel" easily winning over "Progress." To this day, Belmont's students are known as Sentinels. Those first students favored “Sentinels" because they were able to oversee the entire city from their "lookout" on Crown Hill. In another election, the school's colors, green and black, were selected over brown and white. A Joseph Young-created mosaics mural is located on the main building wall.
Belmont High School was once the largest school in California, due to the density of the Westlake district, which it served. It was also considered the largest school in the United States, with 6,342 students. What was formally the attendance area for Belmont High School has now become the Belmont Zone of Choice, where students living in this area have the option of attending one of nineteen small learning communities or pilot schools located on four different campuses within the zone: Belmont High School, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, Edward Roybal Learning Center, and Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts.
By 2000, LAUSD devised plans to relieve Belmont of many of its students, and in 2006, the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, which began sharing its attendance zone with Belmont, opened and relieved Belmont.
Beginning around 2005, Belmont began a major modernization. The school was renovated, and new paint, bathrooms, doors, walls, and ceiling tiles were added. Facilities were also updated throughout the school campus to accommodate those with special needs (e.g. wheelchair ramps).
In 2006, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex opened its doors and relieved Belmont High School of overcrowding.
Furthermore, High School for the Visual and Performing Arts (formerly known as Central Los Angeles Area High School 9) opened in 2008 to relieve Belmont. Central Los Angeles High School 11 (Edward R. Roybal (formerly Belmont) Learning Center) and Central Los Angeles High School 12 opened in fall 2009.
Beginning with the 2010 school year, it will serve students from 6th grade to 12th grade, with the middle school named Sal Castro Middle School on the campus. The Belmont football stadium was named for Dentler Erdmann, its long-time faculty member.
Belmont High School Small Learning Communities
Belmont High School hosts three Small Learning Communities (SLC's; also called academies) which specialize in a career pathway:
- LAAMPS (Los Angeles Academy of Medical and Public Service), with courses in first responders and medical terminology
- SAGE (Science, Art and Green Engineering), with courses in automotive technology, drafting, and computer assisted design
- Belmont Multimedia Academy, with courses in filmmaking, cartooning & animation, digital photography, digital imaging, and web page design
As of December 2013 the school had fewer than 1,000 students.
The school was built for a capacity of 2,500 students, and when it opened in 1923 it had about 500 students. Due to an enrollment decline in the 1950s the Los Angeles City High School District considered closing Belmont. By the 1990s the school had its peak enrollment, 5,500 students, making it California's largest high school and one of the largest in the United States. During that period many students were reassigned to and sent on buses to schools in the San Fernando Valley because there were too many students in Belmont. In the 1997-1998 school year the school had 5,160 students. At the time, the school's dropout rate was 65% and in terms of its four-year graduation rate it ranked lower than 96% of Los Angeles County high schools. 72% of the enrolled students took free lunches.
The enrollment declined in the 2000s due to the opening of charter schools and LAUSD opening schools to relieve capacity. In 2001 the LAUSD began a building campaign to relieve the capacity of the school.
Due to overcrowding, Belmont had a year-round schedule for 26 years, until the 2008 opening of the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center. After the opening Belmont resumed having a traditional two year school schedule.
In 2011 the school had an Academic Performance Index (API) of 639, an improvement of almost 100 points in a two year period. Jason Song of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the score was "still poor". In 2013 its API was 668, an increase of over 175 points from the 2002 figure. The State of California API goal is 800.
- Sal Castro (1933-2013), activist (faculty)
- Dentler Erdmann, educator (faculty), California Teacher of the Year 1975
- Veronica Porsche Ali, actress
- Patrick Arguello (1943–1970), US-Nicaraguan national killed in the attempted hijack of an El Al flight, as carried out by the PFLP.
- John Beradino (1917–1996), (born Giovanni Berardino), actor, major league baseball player
- Ron Botchan, NFL official
- James C. Corman (1920–2000), Congressman, Los Angeles City Councilman
- Richard Crenna (1926–2003), actor
- Craig Ellwood (1922–1992), architect
- Mike Frankovich (1909–1992), film producer
- Murray Fromson, CBS News correspondent and USC professor
- Luis (Lou) Gomez, MLB player
- Odetta Holmes (1930–2008), folk singer, activist
- Young-Oak Kim (1919–2005), highly decorated combat veteran; 1937 graduate
- Willa Kim (1917- ), 2007 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee, two time Tony and Emmy Award winning costume designer and 1935 graduate of Belmont; the older sister of Young-Oak Kim.
- Glenard P. Lipscomb (1915–1970), Congressman
- Robert Lyles, NFL player
- John McCarthy (1927–2011), computer technology 
- Loren Miller Jr., Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge
- Ricardo Montalbán (1920–2009), actor
- Anthony Quinn (1915–2001), actor
- Mort Sahl, humorist
- William Sidell (1915–1994), labor leader
- Jack Smith (1916–1996), columnist, journalist
- Mike Stoller, songwriter
- Coy Watson, Jr. (1912–2009), child actor, Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Watson Family
- Delmar Watson (1926–2008), actor, photo-journalist, Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Watson Family
- Harry R. Watson (1921–2001), actor, photo-journalist, Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Watson Family
- Jack Webb (1920–1982), producer, director, actor
- Belmont Senior High - Public School
- Mario Villegas, A 'Classic' for many reasons, ESPN Los Angeles, November 4, 2010
- Westlake, City of Los Angeles, department of City planning.
- Belmont High Alumni
- "Regular Meeting Order of Business." Los Angeles Unified School District. Tuesday June 27, 2000.
- "Central LA Area New HS #10, 55.98039." Los Angeles Unified School District. Accessed October 29, 2008.
- Proposed Changes to West Adams Preparatory High School Area Schools, School Year 2007-2008, Facilities and Services division, L.A. Schools.
- Central LA Area New HS #9, 55.98037, Facilities and Services division, L.A. Schools.
- Central L.A. Area New H.S. #9, Facilities and Services division, L.A. Schools.
- Central LA HS #11, 55.98107, Facilities and Services division, L.A. Schools.
- [broken citation]
- "2. Proposed Changes to Lincoln High School Area Schools, School Year 2009-2010[broken citation]." Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved on March 17, 2010.(registration required)
- Song, Jason. "Struggling Belmont High to be restructured." Los Angeles Times. January 27, 2011. Retrieved on March 29, 2014.
- Ceasar, Stephen. "Lower enrollment at once-crowded Belmont High brings mixed results." Los Angeles Times. December 25, 2013. p. 1. Retrieved on March 29, 2014.
- Chelton, Mary K. (Young Adult Library Services Association). Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults: The Nation's Top Programs. American Library Association, 2000. p. 73. ISBN 0838907865, 9780838907863.
- Blume, Howard. "New name, new life for Belmont school." Los Angeles Times. August 10, 2008. p. 1. Retrieved on March 29, 2014.
- XISPAS interview with Sal Castro, parts one and two
- 1975 State Teachers of the Year
- American Experience: Hijacked, PBS.org, Feb. 24, 2006
- Belmont Alumni
- Ron Botchan: "I'm Just Coachable", Referee, 2000
- Ramos, Lydia. "Melting Pot of Belmont High Brims With Hopes and Plans Series: OUR SCHOOLS: A Closeup View; One of an occasional series." Los Angeles Times. May 2, 1991. Nuestro Tiempo, Metro Desk. Page 4.
- California Modern, the Architecture of Craig Ellwood, by Neil Jackson
- The Baseball Cube Belmont alumni
- Los Angeles Times
- Biographical sketch: (15-Sep-1999)
- Los Angeles Times obituaries, January 10, 1996
- Andres, Holly J. "Famed news photographer Delmar Watson dies." Daily News. October 28, 2008.
- Pool, Bob. "Star Shines Brightly for Hollywood's First Family; Movies: The Watson clan of former child actors finally receives recognition for its pioneering contribution to films." The Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1999. Metro Part B Metro Desk Page 1
- Campanile 1938, Belmont High School, 1938
- Just the Facts, Ma'am; The Authorized Biography of Jack Webb, Creator of Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency by Daniel Moyer and Eugene Alvarez