Algebra I students without a permanent teacher last week before classes were consolidated
Crimson Chronicle Reporter
Hollywood High School now faces the loss of math teachers Guido Preparata and Hakob Antonyan, as well as SAS counselor Helen Albanez. This coincides with the Oct. 15 teacher vaccine mandate drawing to a close alongside an ongoing teacher shortage in the mathematics department.
Preparata, who taught pre-calculus and algebra II in the School for Advanced Studies, left Oct. 8 citing “personal reasons” and is now teaching for LAUSD’s online City of Angels program, according to his former students.
Antonyan, who taught in the New Media Academy Magnet, did not return to school on Monday as well and left a school message that he would be “at City of Angels until the end of this academic year.”
Albanez announced her unexpected departure last Monday on Schoology leaving SAS students without a counselor following Raul Grijalva’s retirement. She wrote that she plans to “be moving on to another chapter in this journey called life outside of Hollywood HS and will be focusing on [her] family.”
This comes after the COVID-19 pandemic that had LAUSD close down all of its schools from the 2019-2021 school years, which left students approximately 17 weeks behind in terms of teaching days, according to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Such effects are represented by the worrying data collected in the 2020-2021 11th grade CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) that lists Hollywood High’s mathematics average being below the state average, almost falling into the area of “standards not met.”
As five mathematics and two English positions remain unfilled, what the future of HHS’s academia will entail is “a very good question, we’ll have to figure something out,” said Salvador Hermosillo, an assistant principal who supervises the mathematics department.
And figure something out they did as Assistant Principal Catrisa Booker decreased the unfilled positions to two “through consolidation” to give every student a permanent teacher. It is her belief that “if you have someone who is highly trained in [mathematics], it’s beneficial to students” and as such “students will be well prepared.”
Although now an issue arises through this class consolidation, class sizes. Booker said “all the students and classes that they’re enrolled in meet our district standards for class size and actually in many cases, they are not at the max” but would not comment on what constituted the maximum. Teachers from the math and English departments said the cap for classroom sizes is 39 students for required math and English classes and 42 for elective classes.
This comes as SAS math teacher Stephen Lange expressed the need for permanent math teachers as, “we have kids that struggle as ninth-graders and are way behind, but by the time the caring teacher has helped them through 10th and 11th, [as] 12th graders they at least have a fighting chance to have success in calculus and higher-level classes.”