Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine high school opens in South L.A.

When it comes to machines that spin, a turntable — not a washing machine — seems a more appropriate association with rap artist Dr. to be Dre.

But for students at the Los Angeles School District’s new high school, Andre’s “Dr. Dre” Young and fellow music industry mogul Jimmy Iovine, the humble washing machine became the star of a water conservation lesson. The students designed and built a cardboard prototype with a tub that actually rotated and had the potential to recycle gray water for irrigation.

This type of thinking is at the core of the Iovine and Young Center Integrated Design, Technology, and Entrepreneurship Magnet, a high school based at Audubon Middle School in the Leimert Park neighborhood. The star power of the school’s namesakes has helped attract freshmen and sophomores, and educators hope the school will serve as a bright spot to reverse the decline in enrollment by engaging young minds in cool and innovative ways.

Sean Roberts, a ninth grader, said the opportunity to see Dr. Meeting Dre is a selling point. He wants to be a pharmacist.

He chose the school because “I felt like the things they teach and the school tries to do will help me in my career. And the more I researched about it, the funnier it sounded.”

“And,” he added, “it would be nice to see a celebrity like Dr. to meet Dre.”

dr Dre and Iovine didn’t disappoint and took the time to pose for photos with the students during the first week of school at an official grand opening ceremony on Thursday.

When the two started the project with school board approval, Dr. Dre said he wanted to engage “the younger me” and create a campus where students would be passionate about learning. The result is neither a music school nor even an art school. It’s not even a music industry apprenticeship — although some students might end up in that field.

It’s a place the founders hope can fill a gap they saw in the business world – when they ran a record label and later the company that made Beats headphones.

“We found that when people hire, people come from either one of three or four different disciplines,” Iovine said, either as engineers, designers, creative talents or business people. “They didn’t know how to work together. They didn’t know how to talk to each other. … And it’s very, very important that people in today’s working world understand the other disciplines and are familiar with the other disciplines.”

In high school, students are presented with problems that require the joint use of skills that are taught separately in a traditional education.

Principal Akilah Calhoun deliberately chose teachers with multiple skills: “My art teacher has a degree in English. And she also has a professional degree as Technical Education in Arts, Media and Entertainment.

“We’re talking about opportunities for students to experience computer science alongside math; ethnic studies alongside entrepreneurship,” Calhoun said. “The students work in teams all day. We no longer isolate the content areas.”

Principal Akilah Calhoun, right, brings Andre "dr dr" Young in a classroom.

Principal Akilah Calhoun explains to Andre “Dr. Dre” Young on Thursday as students collaborate on projects at the new public school he helped found.

(Howard Blume/Los Angeles Times)

To develop the curriculum, faculty worked with coaches affiliated with USC Iovine and Young Academy, the already established college-level version of high school. Iovine and Dr. Dre hope to eventually take this approach to the elemental level.

while dr Dre did not speak during Thursday’s event, he made it clear in a previous interview that he would like the school to create the kind of excitement for students that he lacked in his experience at local public schools.

So far, so good, said ninth grader Kylie Bailey.

“We don’t just sit in class, take notes and go home to do homework,” Kylie said. “We’re now starting to think about real-world situations and how we can apply what we’ve learned to those situations. It’s only been four days and I’ve already learned how to improve my speaking skills. I also learned how stereotypes affect us and our diet and ethnic identity [studies] Class.”

These ideas are not all new. Much of this approach is reflected in a new wave of professional and technical education that is transforming middle and high schools — to make school more relevant. It doesn’t hurt to have two celebrities who say they’re willing to spend whatever it takes to develop a top-notch program that has included about $2.5 million in facility upgrades so far.

Zion Adams, another ninth grader, is a rapper, and Dr. Dre’s background was significant to him: “I felt like it would be a good opportunity.” He was impressed with the USC facilities he saw during the school’s summer program, although they have not yet been replicated on the Audubon campus .

Zion previously attended a privately run charter school before enrolling in an LA Unified program this fall.

Calhoun, the principal, estimates that 30% to 40% of students came off charters or studied online in response to the pandemic over the past year. The school nearly reached its goal of 60 ninth graders, but has had trouble recruiting tenth graders — getting high school students to change schools can be difficult. The program will gradually expand to a high school for grades 9 through 12.

Because the new school is a magnet program, the LA school system offers transportation, and students even come from as far away as the San Fernando Valley. Most are black.

Officials hope the school can help offset some of LA Unified’s rapidly declining enrollment, though it also benefits from other district-run schools in the area that are already struggling with low enrollments.

LA Schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho on Thursday characterized the school as an improving brand of innovative choices that will attract and serve students well.

USC Academy Dean Thanassis Rikakis said the goal is “to bring learning innovation to education” and “to create more inclusive, equitable and accessible educational experiences and environments.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-19/dr-dre-jimmy-iovine-high-school-opens-in-south-l-a Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine high school opens in South L.A.

Alley Einstein

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