Taft’s “Honor Lounge” turned into classroom


by BRIAN NADIG

A relaxation and game lounge for honor students has become a casualty of the enrollment increase at Taft High School.

The "Eagle Honor Lounge" was created in 2012. "It is now a classroom eight periods a day" Taft assistant principal Eric Flores said. "It was definitely something that we used as an incentive for kids to do well and to be on the honor roll."

Flores said that the school may consider creating a new program to replace the lounge.

The school also will hold classes two periods a day in a room that is usually reserved for meetings and tutoring. "Every room is being used all day, with very few exceptions," Flores said.

Enrollment at Taft on Aug. 26, the first day of classes for the fall semester, was 3,250, about 200 higher than last school year. Taft’s enrollment has more than doubled since the late 1990s, and further increases are expected as the school begins its full International Baccalaureate Program, which eventually will be part of every class.

"In terms of IB, it’s a very slow, gradual roll-out," Flores said.

The program, which stresses independent projects and inquiry-based learning, will be fully integrated in the seventh and ninth grades this year, with portions of the program being "sprinkled" in the other grades, Flores said. About 75 Taft teachers recently underwent training for the program.

Also at Taft, two science labs, which had received no major improvements in about 40 years ago, recently were renovated, and nine more labs will be renovated as part of a separate $17 million improvement project. The school has not be given a start date for the project, which also will include windows, student lockers and tuckpointing, Flores said.


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