Our State Spotlight this week hits the Golden State — California!
This week, we spotlight Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) , a growing network of free public schools in underserved communities of South Los Angeles.
“We want to provide a rigorous and relevant curriculum to a student population that too often is overlooked and underserved. We’ll teach the skills and knowledge that are essential to solving the global challenges our young people face. We aim to inspire students to rise above their preconceived notions of their future and prepare them to lead their communities in bringing about a brighter tomorrow,” says Alison Suffet Diaz, ECS founder and executive director.
A current project of this award-winning Green Ribbon organization is completion of its new Environmental Charter Middle School – Gardena.
Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) has been working diligently for the past year to transform an abandoned, run-down property in Gardena into a healthy and vibrant learning environment to serve middle school students and the greater Gardena/Harbor Gateway/Los Angeles community.
Work to convert the former church at 812 W. 165th Place in Gardena into a new LEED-certified* home for ECMS-G is in full swing. The end result will be a “crown jewel” (in a green hue!) learning center in the heart of the high-need Gardena/Harbor Gateway community. With 360 new classroom seats for middle school students, the stunning campus will have 12 classrooms, plus indoor/outdoor classroom spaces; two greenhouse learning labs; outdoor art space, amphitheatre and playground; multi-purpose art space/performance/event room; and shared office space currently dubbed the “Community Village” for select community partners.
A large Community Village Learning Center on the ECMS-G campus will serve 1,200 youth and the community annually. The multi-use space will facilitate a variety of learning experiences and services, including: environmental service learning, on-site internships, sustainability workshops, art programs, after-school and summer programs, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, job training, counseling services and drop-out prevention/intervention programs.