Teachers knew the change would be challenging. "But we saw this calendar as [a way of] raising scores," he said. "I think there are many of us who, if we could, would go back to a three-track schedule in a heartbeat now."
I've followed Manual Arts' ups and downs for years. It's an institution in Los Angeles, with 100 years of history. And it's a reflection of the challenges of educating this city's least advantaged kids.
The school was handed off two years ago to LA's Promise, which has built a culture of success at the nearby, newly built West Adams Prep.
But Manual Arts is a bigger project. The school has had 10 principals in 10 years. Its faculty long has been considered a combustible mix of firebrand activists and holding-out-for-retirement deadwood.