Beverly Hills Unified School District

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Beverly Hills Unified School District building in 2015.

The Beverly Hills Unified School District, abbreviated BHUSD, is a school district based in Beverly Hills, California. It was unified into an elementary and high school district in 1936. Serving the city of Beverly Hills, it consists of one middle school, two elementary schools, and one high school - Beverly Hills High School. The current superintendent is Dr. Michael Bregy.

History[edit]

The Los Angeles City High School District annexed the Beverly Hills elementary school district on August 18, 1921. The elementary school district unified on March 23, 1936 as it established high school operations, therefore separating it from the Los Angeles high school district.[1]

In June 2010 the BHUSD began to deny permits to allow out of district students at BHUSD schools to continue attending BHUSD, stirring local controversy.[2]

The district superintendent was Kari McVeigh, who was replaced upon her resignation by Dr. Jerry Gross. The current superintendent is Dr. Michael Bregy.[3]

Board of Education[edit]

The BHUSD Board of Education consists of five members elected by the residents of Beverly Hills. Howard Goldstein, Lisa Korbatov, Mel Spitz, Isabel Hacker, and Noah Margo are the current members of the school board. On December 11, 2018, Korbatov and Goldstein will retire from the Board and Rachelle Marcus and Tristen Walker-Shuman will assume their seats. The student board member for 2018-19 is Sean Toobi. Meetings are held bimonthly. Meetings are streamed live by KBEV on KBRV6.com.

Demographics[edit]

The reputation of Beverly Hills Unified was one of the factors that attracted large numbers of Iranian Jews to the Beverly Hills area beginning in the 1970s.[4] By 1990 about 20% of the students of the BHUSD were Iranian, prompting the district to hire a counselor for Iranians and to write announcements in Persian. The Iranian Education Foundation donated money to the district.[5] In the BHUSD Nowruz is a school holiday.[6]

Schools[edit]

The District supports three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

Elementary schools[edit]

El Rodeo School[edit]

El Rodeo School used to serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade in Beverly Hills. Beginning Fall 2019, El Rodeo serves students only in grades Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. El Rodeo Established in 1927, the school enrolls 743 students in its campus at 605 Whittier Drive. The Principal is Kevin Allen[7] and the Vice Principal is Kevin Painter.

Kevin Painter was a fifth grade teacher at Beverly Vista School before becoming Vice Principal.

Hawthorne School[edit]

Hawthorne School used to serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade in Beverly Hills. Beginning Fall 2019, Hawthorne serves students only in grades Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. Established in 1914, the school enrolls approximately 600 pupils and occupies most of the 600 block of North Rexford Drive in Beverly Hills. It is the oldest elementary school in BHUSD. Among its alumni are Jack Abramoff and Monica Lewinsky.

In 2014, Hawthorne received the California Distinguished School Award. Additionally, it was awarded with the National Schools to Watch Award in 2015.

Hawthorne had the highest Academic Performance Index score in the district for the 2007-2008 year, based on the California STAR tests.

Horace Mann School[edit]

Horace Mann School (named after Horace Mann, American education reformer, abolitionist, and congressman) used to serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade in Beverly Hills. Beginning Fall 2019, Horace Mann serves students in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. Established in 1929, the school enrolls 723 students in its campus at 8701 Charleville Blvd. The Principal is Dana Findley and the Vice Principal is David Foldvary. On April 14, 2010, the School Board voted Steve Kessler, a middle school math and P.E. teacher at the school, as the new principal of Horace Mann. He took over as Principal on Thursday, July 1, 2010, in time for the 2010–2011 school year, and the previous principal, Dawnalyn Murakawa-Leopard, left to take on a higher position within BHUSD. Principal Steve Kessler was named the superintendent of BHUSD effective June 1, 2015, and a new principal for Horace Mann School, Francisco "Harvey" Oaxaca, was selected. Oaxaca served one year, electing to take on a new position in Florida and was replaced by former Vice Principal Dana Findley ahead of the 2016–17 school year. Findley also served one year, but returned to teaching at the high school.

On March 18, 1929, construction began on a two-story, 30-room Spanish style school building. In July, the school was named Horace Mann School, and 307 students and 11 teachers entered its doors in Kindergarten through sixth grade on December 9, 1929. The school was officially dedicated on March 21, 1930.[8] The first seventh grade students began attending in February 1930, and the first eighth graders arrived in the fall of 1930. The first graduating class of 30 students was in June 1930.[8] In 1932 and 1933, the school was expanded, closing off most of Arnaz Drive for playground space and to ensure safe passage for the students between the buildings. In 1962-63, the music, art and industrial arts wing were remodeled. In 1966, the auditorium was reconstructed, and in 1968, the school's tower building was opened. A faculty parking structure, with middle school classrooms above, was built in 1975. Additional property on Robertson Boulevard was acquired in the 1980s.[8]

Horace Mann has had ten principals.[8]

  • Thomas Mock (1929–1958)
  • David Haserot (1958–1972)
  • Dr. Helene West Feldman (1972–1976)
  • Dr. Arthur Fields (1976–2001)
  • Dr. Mark Jones (2001–2003)
  • Dr. Dawnalyn Murakawa-Leopard (2003 – June 30, 2010)
  • Steve Kessler (July 1, 2010 – May 31, 2015)
  • Francisco "Harvey" Oaxaca (June 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016)
  • Dana Berk Findley (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017)
  • Dr. Juliet Fine (July 1, 2017 to present)

Horace Mann School was awarded the California Distinguished School Award in 1987, 1997, 2004 and 2008.[8] The school is ranked 639 of 5365 elementary schools in California[9] and is rated 93 on a 100-point scale.[10]

The Horace Mann PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is an all-volunteer, parent/teacher partnership organization. Teachers and administrators rely on PTA support to enhance and enable the academic and social experience for students at Horace Mann. Horace Mann PTA Presidents have a storied history of community involvement.

Horace Mann PTA Presidents:

  • 2014-15: Tina Wiener (Daughter-in-law to former PTA President Myrna Wiener)
  • 2012-14: Jeffrey Grijalva (Pre-school teacher and director BHBL)
  • 2010-12: Howard Goldstein (BHUSD School Board Member 2013-18)
  • 2008-10: Monique Maas Gibbons (Daughter of former School Board President Virginia Maas)
  • 2006-08: Amy Phillips
  • 2004-06: Martha Galvan & Debby Fogelman
  • 2002-04: Ellen Horwitz & Eileen Kahn (Kahn is the daughter of former Beverly Hills Mayor Ed Brown)
  • 2000-02: Stacy van Petten
  • 1998-00: Kyle Katz Blumberg
  • 1996-98: Suzanne Nemiroff
  • 1994-96: Barbara Linder
  • 1992-94: Pam Kraushaar (Secretary to various BHUSD Superintendents)
  • 1991-92: Deborah Mehrez (BHHS Grad 1978)
  • 1989-91: Laura Adler
  • 1988-89: Marjorie Rennett
  • 1987-88: Shelley Kravit
  • 1986-87: Jacqueline Elipoulous
  • 1985-86: Lucy Rose
  • 1984-85: Juanita Jepson
  • 1982-84: Phyllis Hellman
  • 1980-82: Carole Golant
  • 1978-80: Nina Kresshek (5th Grade teacher at Horace Mann)
  • 1976-78: Judie Fenton (Mother to former School Board President Steven Fenton, and wife to former Beverly Hills Mayor Frank Fenton)
  • 1975-76: Sydell Aronson
  • 1974-75: Carol Krasne
  • 1973-74: Gloria Bronow
  • 1972-73: Myrna Wiener (Son Laurence Wiener is the Beverly Hills City Attorney)
  • 1971-72: Linda Roberts (Mother-in-law to former PTA Council President Susie Roberts)
  • 1970-71: Kay Fein

Middle school[edit]

Beverly Vista School[edit]

Beverly Vista School used to serve students in preschool through eighth grade in Beverly Hills. In Fall 2019, Beverly Vista School began serving students in grades six to eight. Established in 1924, the school enrolls 723 students in the 200 block of South Elm Drive. A new building B was dedicated on October 3, 2007.

Beverly Vista School was awarded the California Distinguished School Award in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2004.[11] Beverly Vista School also received the No Child Left Behind - National Blue Ribbon Award in 2005.

Beverly Vista's B building includes a bell tower, an auditorium with a balcony, and classrooms for band, choir, kindergarten and preschool.

Secondary schools[edit]

Political issues & controversies[edit]

Security and safety[edit]

The district attempted to utilize Evidence-Based Incorporated's (EBI) armed guards to protect the students after the Beverly Hills City council refused to continue their School Resource Officer (SRO) program, at the request of then Police Chief Dave Snowden.[12] EBI declared bankruptcy the very same year. Police Chief Snowden was a salaried consultant for EBI. The district was sued by Madison, the financier of EBI, for breach of contract.[13] In 2018, the district hired Nastec International, Inc. to provide armed guards, filling the vacancy left by Chief Snowden and EBI. [14]

The Beverly Hills Unified School District implemented another phase of their safety program in 2018, to begin in the fall of 2019. The school district could become "the most advanced public school district in the nation when it comes to safety."[15]

Subway extension[edit]

As the LA Metro system sought to expand its Purple Line with a tunnel beneath Beverly Hills High School, the BHUSD Board of Education, led by president Lisa Korbatov, opposed the move at every turn. Korbatov led a public campaign called "Stop the Purple Threat" to try and stop the extension of the Purple Line subway underneath the high school, garnering over 5,300 signed petitions and sending them to President Trump. Korbatov pressed the administration, even appealing directly to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, to cut off federal funding for the project.[16][17] Korbatov's main argument for opposing the extension of the subway beneath the high school was student safety.[16] Korbatov's other concerns about the extension included incineration by underground gases, poisoning from fumes, terrorist attacks, and a "subterranean construction accident."[17] The subway project ultimately won in court, but Korbatov and the school district sued in both state and federal court over environmental concerns for the project.[16][17]

Future Focused Schools Team (FFST)[edit]

In 2017, the Beverly Hills Unified School District superintendent, Dr. Michael Bregy, requested a group of parents, staff, and community adults to look into the feasibility of transitioning the K-8 model into a designated middle school model. The majority of the FFST members came to the conclusion that a designated 6-8 middle school was the best solution. There was only one member, Marvin Winans Jr., who dissented and wanted to maintain the K-8 system until a detailed plan on how to reconfigure to said designated middle school could be presented. Opponents of the FFST conclusion claimed the committee was rigged as the group was lead by the district's Principals who are accountable only to the Superintendent. Board President Noah Margo casted the deciding vote to implement their conclusion. The vote was 3-0, with Lisa Korbatov and Howard Goldstein abstaining.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LA City Schools Creation." Los Angeles Unified School District. February 7, 1998.
  2. ^ Rivera, Carla. "Families' hopes are dashed as new Beverly Hills Unified policy ousts nonresident children from district schools." Los Angeles Times. July 25, 2010. Retrieved on July 30, 2010.
  3. ^ "Superintendent's Office". Beverly Hills Unified School District. Retrieved 3 March 2017.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ West, Kevin. "The Persian Conquest." W Magazine. July 2009. Retrieved on March 11, 2015.
  5. ^ Mitchell, John L. "Iranian Jews Find a Beverly Hills Refuge : Immigrants: Khomeini's revolution drove 40,000 of them into exile. At least 30,000 may live in or near the city that symbolizes wealth." Los Angeles Times. February 13, 1990. Retrieved on March 11, 2015. p. 1.
  6. ^ Geis, Sonya. "Iran Native Becomes Mayor of Beverly Hills." The Washington Post. Sunday April 1, 2007. Retrieved on March 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-08-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b c d e Horace Mann School History Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Schooldigger profile Horace Mann School
  10. ^ City-Data profile Horace Mann School
  11. ^ Beverly Vista School Distinguished School
  12. ^ Talbot, Victoria. "BHUSD Parents Confused Over City Council Role in School Security". Beverly Hills Courier. Beverly Hills Courier.
  13. ^ Coleman, Laura. "EBI-Related Woes Not Over For BHUSD: District Sued For $457,000 By Madison". Beverly Hills Courier. Beverly Hills Courier.
  14. ^ "School Board Inks $1M Contract With Nastec For Armed Security At Beverly Hills Schools". Beverly Hills Courier. 2018-12-07. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  15. ^ "BHUSD Aims To Be Nation's Most Secure School District". Beverly Hills Courier. 2019-03-15. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  16. ^ a b c "Force behind campaign against Metro's Purple Line may have a Trump card". The Real Deal Los Angeles. 2018-07-09. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  17. ^ a b c "The ultimate test of Trump's local cronyism is playing out in Beverly Hills". Reveal. 2019-01-09. Retrieved 2019-04-09.

External links[edit]