California Academy of Mathematics and Science
|California Academy of Math and Science|
|1000 East Victoria Street
Carson, California, 90747
|Type||Public, Secondary School|
|Motto||Educating Tomorrow's Leaders|
|Number of students||657 (approx.)|
|Average class size||35|
|Hours in school day||7|
|Campus||Cal State Dominguez Hills (CSUDH)|
|Color(s)||Royal Blue, Black|
The California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS) is a public magnet high school in Carson, California, United States focusing on science and mathematics. Its California API scores are fourth-highest in the state.
Located on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills, CAMS shares many facilities with the university, including the gymnasium, the student union, the tennis courts, the pool, the library and many of the parking lots. It is a National "No Child Left Behind" Blue Ribbon (2011) and California Distinguished school. The No Child Left Behind blue ribbon was only presented to 32 public schools nationwide. Newsweek states in its top 1200 High Schools in the USA, CAMS is in the top 4% taking number 281 in 2006.
In the December 2007, Newsweek released the results of a two year study to determine the 100 best High Schools in the United States of America. Out of the 18,000+ schools reviewed, CAMS made it into the top 100 as number 21. As of January 2008, CAMS moved up in ranking to the 114th best high school in the nation. In California is rank 18th in the state.
Unlike similar schools such as the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, CAMS is non-residential, drawing its students solely from most of Long Beach, portions of Los Angeles, and some cities of the South Bay region. Students are admitted only as freshmen, after applications and interview processes. In the past, applicants from different grade levels were allowed to apply and be accepted, but due to the strict, demanding curriculum at CAMS, the school felt incomers from other grade levels would be unable to keep up with the rest of the students, as they would be unaccustomed to such a curriculum.
The California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS) opened on the California State University at Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) campus in 1990, the product of partnerships among CSUDH, the California State University’s Chancellor’s Office, a consortium of eleven local school districts, and high tech and aerospace industries. Long Beach Unified School District serves as the managing school district fiscal agent. Today CAMS ranks in the top ten schools in California on the NCLB Academic Performance Index; its students score well above state and national averages on the math and verbal SATs. Average student daily attendance in 2003-04 was 98%. Attrition is less than 5% for all reasons, as opposed to a 50% drop-out rate in some local high schools, and 95% of CAMS students go on to four-year colleges and universities, including the most selective and prestigious in the nation. (Approximately 5% attend community colleges.)
Entrance to the school is by application. CAMS faculty and students canvass all area middle schools, talk to students and parents, and invite qualified candidates and families to the school for Saturday interviews. Applicants must have scored above the 65th percentile in math and science, although English scores may be lower. Successful applicants have shown a keen interest in math and science, as evidenced in teacher recommendations and student projects.
Although CAMS winnows about 165 students from about a thousand of 9th grade applicants each year, CAMS does not rank its applicants for acceptance, but accepts students from each of its 75 feeder schools including predominately inner-city middle schools. Its mission is to “defy the odds” and prove that students, especially those from academically deprived environments, can excel in math and science, given a setting that features integrated curriculum, teamwork, and real world applications of learning. Faculty refer to CAMS as a “talent development program.”
Class size is relatively large, between 30-40 students. The school receives about $5,500 per student annually, placing CAMS is on par with the state average for high schools. (CAMS’s base funding is $4,400 per student; private donations and special legislative funding make up the rest.)
Students and Teachers Access the University
Because CAMS is on the CSUDH campus, juniors and seniors may enroll in university courses (and some CAMS teachers teach at CSUDH). CAMS students may graduate with as many as 20 college credits—an advantage for students applying to selective colleges and/or advancing to early college graduation. Many of these students receive generous scholarship awards to help them afford higher education costs.
The school oversees numerous internship and summer programs with business partners, matching students with professionals from an industry of the student’s choice. Mentors from local industry help bridge the gap between the classroom and the “real world,” inspiring students to think beyond high school. One mentor who is still in contact with students he mentored over the years said, “I am most tough on time management, which I think helped them be successful in their studies.”
Created in 1990 by Dr. Clark, CAMS was originally composed of the Southern Academic Complex (SAC) and was relatively small in comparison to now. About six years ago new buildings were constructed to help accommodate the students better. Now phase II is complete. The last building was finished midway through the 2007-2008 school year. Only CAMS seniors are currently granted access to CSUDH's newly completed student union during lunch hours. Dr. Clark retired at the end of the 2006-2007 school year after having been principal for as long as the graduating class of 2007 had been alive. Dr. Filer, previously vice-principal, became the new principal beginning with the 2007-2008 school year. Dr. Filer retired at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, and Mr. Brown became the principal.
CAMS also has a lot of social activities and clubs to participate in. A few include Robotics, Key Club, Engineering, Filmmakers Club, Photography Club, Biomed Club, the Tennis team, etc.
- Chester Pitts - Seattle Seahawks left guard
- Leila Chirayath Janah - Social Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Samasource
- Ali Torkamani - Director of Genome Informatics, Scripps Translational Science Institute 
- Ziad Ganim - Assistant Professor, Yale Department of Chemistry 
Students at CAMS enjoy a variety of extra-curricular activities including: Dance Team, Sports,Key Club, PI (Pacific Islander) Club, Chess Club, Math Club, M.E.Ch.A., CHEER Club, Pinoy Club, Black Student Alliance (BSA), Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), National Honor Society (NHS), Future Business Leaders of America, Associated Student Body (ASB), Muevete, Fashion Club, Rocket Team, Remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) Team, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement), FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team, VEX Robotics Team, and HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America.
FRC, Vex Robotics, ROV, NSBE, and Rocket Team allow students to apply what they have learned in math, science, and engineering to create a product worthy of competition. MESA and the Robotics Program (VEX, ROV and FRC) are the largest organizations at CAMS whose main focus is math and science. As freshmen, students must all sign up to participate in the MESA program. Even though majority of the students are not active participants, there are many freshmen who continue MESA from middle school. After freshmen year, students choose whether they would like to remain in the program. Those who actively participate in the program during all of their four years at CAMS, are truly dedicated to the program. Most students do not choose to continue with the MESA program after freshmen year. Students may also join HOSA, which has recently started in conjunction with the new Biotechnology pathway at CAMS. Students in the CAMS HOSA team may compete in multiple medical science categories such as medical terminology, medical math, biomedical debates, etc. at the State and National level. Since students are allowed membership in the VEX Robotics program beginning their sophomore year, most tend to join the robotics team that year. It is very challenging to actively participate in all three programs.
The school accepts residents from the following school districts:
- Compton Unified School District
- Hawthorne School District
- Inglewood Unified School District
- Lawndale Elementary School District
- Lennox School District
- Long Beach Unified School District
- Lynwood Unified School District
- Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District
- Torrance Unified School District
- Wiseburn School District
- Some areas of the Los Angeles Unified School District - The following middle school zones are eligible for application to CAMS:
- South Gate
In addition, any private school student zoned to any of the school districts or LAUSD middle schools above is also eligible to apply to and attend CAMS.
A Model School
Because of CAMS success, the district decided to replicate the school in the East side of Long Beach. In 2015, LBUSD will open the Sato Academy of Math and Science. The school is located on the campus of Hill Middle School and is near CSULB. They plan to follow CAMS schedule, classes, conduct etc.
- Blume, Howard (15 September 2011). "Local campuses named national 'blue ribbon' schools". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
- NEWSWEEK COVER: America's Best High Schools, 2006
- "California High Schools". U.S. News.
- ""Scripps Translational Science Institute Faculty". Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- ""Yale Department of Chemistry". Retrieved March 23, 2015.
- California Academy Of Math and Science (CAMS)