Manual Arts, which spans grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Manual Arts falls into Local District 7 of the LAUSD. The school is located at 4131 South Vermont Avenue, between 41st Street and 42nd Street. The school's mascot is the Toiler and the school newspaper is called the Toiler Times. When it was founded, Manual Arts was a vocational high school. As of 2006, it teaches a traditional curriculum.
After the 1933 earthquake the entire campus was rebuilt, constituting the present Manual Arts High School campus. Pictured below is the main building, recently renamed Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke Hall. Behind left is the current Science Building.
In 1995 "The Arts" became a Pacific Bell Education First Demonstration Site joining thirteen other demonstration sites in California, and in 1996 the school was named a California Distinguished School. In 1998 Manual Arts was officially granted Digital High School status.
The 2005-2006 school year opened with wall-to-wall small learning communities (SLCs), three on each track totaling nine SLCs. Manual Arts was relieved by the opening of Santee Education Complex in 2005.
In July of 2008, the school became an MLA Partner School through LAUSD's newly created iDesign Schools Division. Within this new structure, Manual Arts will gain increased autonomy and localized decision making, along with greater accountability for student achievement. MLA Partner Schools (in collaboration with West Ed) will operate Manual Arts on a 5-year performance contract approved by the LAUSD School Board.
The school will be relieved by Central Region High School 16 when that school opens in 2011..
The school will be relieved by South Los Angeles High School 3 when that school opens in 2012.
Manual Arts has reflected the changes in the city of Los Angeles over the past eighty-nine years. Three major earthquakes, in 1933, which destroyed the original site, 1971, and 1994, and two civil disturbances, in 1965 and 1992, were probably the school's most difficult times. The school was recognized in the thirties for its excellence, supported the effort of its own Jimmy Doolittle during World War II, adopted an orphanage in Korea during the Korean War, participated in the many social changes in the sixties and was named the Ambassador High School for the 1984 Summer Olympics. Manual Arts now reflects current immigration trends and the fact that Los Angeles is the center of immigration in the United States.
In 1994 the school reconfigured to a four-year, grade nine to twelve, three track, year round, "Concept 6" school that was in the midst of restructuring and the last stages of renovation. In 1995 WASC accredited the school for six years.Most of the almost 4000 students come from two middle schools, Foshay Learning Center and John Muir, although, with the addition of the Magnet school and other programs and open enrollment, students come from other parts of the city. Currently the school boasts eight successful Academies, each with its own curricular specialty.
The area around Manual Arts is one characterized by high unemployment, single parent families, a majority of families receiving AFDC, illegal immigrants, and multi-family rental housing.
The school was over 90% African-American in the 1980s and is now over 80% Hispanic, with much of that group coming from Central America. This transition has been relatively peaceful. More than half of the students list Spanish as their first language, and the school serves the third largest LEP population in the District.
During the 2004-2005 school year, MAHS had 3,766 students , including: