MLA Partner Schools has taken over the historic campus just south of USC with a team of idealistic former teachers, big-name Hollywood backers and a $4-million grant from Amgen Inc.

At the 100-year-old Manual Arts, MLA can spend $400 extra per student, offer a 12-hour school day with clubs and classes until 7 p.m., a drop-in center for 9th-graders to talk to counselors about problems at home or in their classes.
"Manual Arts has other advantages," Sandy Banks writes at LA Times.com "One-third of its teaching staff are alumni, who grew up in the neighborhood," an entry point for immigrants from Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Five MLA staffers work in the community and on campus.

LAUSD Supt. Ray Cortines will cede control of its 200 lowest-performing schools.

MLA took over last summer, after spending two years running nearby West Adams Prep, a 2,200-student high school built just north of the 10 freeway.

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