Young Oak Kim Academy

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Young Oak Kim Academy (YOKA) is a middle school within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Local District 4. It was established in 2009 as the only middle school in the LAUSD to practice single-sex education.[1][2] The school is named in honor of Colonel Young-Oak Kim, the first Asian-American colonel to lead a U.S. battalion in war. It is L.A.'s first middle school, and the third school overall, named for a Korean American.[1][3] The building was designed by the architectural firm Arquitectonica[4] adjacent to its Wilshire Vermont Station mixed use transit village development.[5][6]


YOKA is a public middle school serving the communities of Pico Union and Koreatown, at 615 S. Shatto Place near the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. It is part of a multi-use site that includes an apartment building, retail space, and eating establishments. The school was designed to alleviate overcrowding at Berendo and Virgil middle schools. It opened on September 9, 2009 with an enrollment capacity of 810 students in grades 6 through 8. YOKA's principal is Edward Colacion. The school's mascot is the dragon.

The school is devoted to instructing boys and girls in a single-gender environment for core subjects.[1][2] YOKA also focuses on STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education as a core component of their curriculum in all content. Accordingly, the school has a STEM Lab and a STEM Library on campus. Students enhance their skills and knowledge in these areas, leading to greater college and career opportunities. Teachers incorporate interdisciplinary units and project-based learning (PBL) into their instruction to support STEM single-gender education.


  1. ^ a b c Connie Llanos, "LAUSD school relies on treating boys and girls differently", Los Angeles Daily News, October 5, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Amina Khan, "Single-sex middle school aims to divide and conquer", Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2009.
  3. ^ "L.A. Names School for Korean-American War Hero". The Chosun Ilbo. July 16, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2010. 
  4. ^ Project Details at LAUSD Facilities Services Division website (accessed February 23, 2010).
  5. ^ "People and Places: Los Angeles 2007.1016", Architecture Week, October 16, 2007 (accessed February 23, 2010).
  6. ^ Christopher Hawthorne, " Just keep your distance: The Wilshire Vermont Station is dramatic from far away. A walk in its courtyard exposes its flaws.", Los Angeles Times, October 3, 2007.

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Coordinates: 34°03′47″N 118°17′25″W / 34.063191°N 118.290145°W / 34.063191; -118.290145