EASTSIDE COLLEGE PREPARATORY SCHOOL
EAST PALO ALTO, CA
After the closing of East Palo Alto's only high school in 1976, students from East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park were then bused to high schools in other communities as far away as Belmont. Placement in lower academic tracks, negative peer pressure and the difficulties inherent in being bused to unfamiliar schools combined to create a dramatic breakdown in these students' education. By the mid 1990's, up to 65% of East Palo Alto high school students were dropping out. In the Fall of 1996, Eastside College Preparatory School was founded to bring a high school back to East Palo Alto. Eastside began without any facilities and just a handful of students. Over the past eight years the school has acquired its own campus and grown bit by bit to better accommodate a student body now approaching 200. The year Eastside College Preparatory School was founded it had eight students enrolled in a school without a location. For the first few days, the students learned in a local park. After that, they borrowed space from different companies and nonprofits in the area, including Plugged In and Families in Transition.
The second year, Eastside moved to its current location: 2101 Pulgas Avenue in East Palo Alto, CA. The campus extends behind the grey house on the corner of Pulgas and Myrtle halfway down the block toward Clarke Ave. The original Eastside campus consisted of the gray house on the corner and two, temporary modular buildings. A few years later, a permanent gymnasium – dubbed The Panther Dome – and a multipurpose room were built. Since then, the student body has increased each year; there are currently 195 students enrolled at the school. To accommodate this growth, additional modular buildings have been added to the campus. Most of these temporary classrooms have been used beyond their expected "life spans". Eastside sought a more permanent solution. We began our master planning of their campus in 1999, and by October of 2002, Eastside obtained permission from the city council to increase enrollment and build a permanent campus for its students. This space will not only allow Eastside to admit more students, but it also permitted the school to offer enhanced learning opportunities to all students. The first new addition to campus was a soccer field, which was generously donated by Ronnie Lott's All Stars Helping Kids Foundation. Although the field is not regulation size, the new soccer teams are able to practice at home, and the students in the physical education classes can also take advantage of the playing field.
In October of 2004, the Eastside Center for the Arts was opened after design and documents were completed by a separate architect. This building houses a theater that seats 200, an art room, a dark room, and a dance studio. This new addition has allowed the students an opportunity to participate in new drama and music classes.
The new administration and student services building, a new cafeteria - study hall and new classroom buildings with science labs and faculty offices for both middle and high school students have been built. The two dormitory buildings with rooms for students and resident faculty frame a secure courtyard and now the "bricks and mortar" of the Eastside campus is finally in placeThere is so much growth and change occurring at Eastside. Yet, one thing remains the constant: students enroll in Eastside to prepare for success in college and a productive life in the future. And that's just what these students are doing: To date, 100% of Eastside's graduates have enrolled in four year colleges, and we are proud to have assisted in the growth of this strong community.
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