It’s a rite of passage that comes with the territory.
It’s what comes with getting a high school diploma and getting a scholarship.
It also comes with a new life that will only come with a more diverse group of classmates.
You’ve been a part of a small but growing community of like-minded students who have made it to the next level, a world where you’re the only kid from the neighborhood with a diploma.
It can be a lonely existence, but the best part of it all is that it’s been a dream come true.
But as you get older, the community starts to look a lot more different.
“The more diverse the student body, the more they want to be a part, they want more resources, and that’s where we come in,” says Mary-Ann Johnson, vice president of student affairs at Lakewood High School.
The district started to consider whether the school could help students with academic struggles by hiring more faculty and giving them a bigger pool of students.
That meant adding more programs and resources for the students who already attended Lakewood, which is about half the size of the neighboring El Segundo school district.
“It’s a big deal for Lakewood,” Johnson says.
“There are a lot of other schools that have this in the city.”
Lakewood’s student body is now the largest in California.
But that growth isn’t sustainable.
The school district’s budget is down by $20 million.
That leaves $100 million to invest in academic resources, such as a new curriculum, additional classrooms, and more.
It was a huge decision, and it came with a lot at stake.
“I have to make decisions that I feel good about,” Johnson said.
“When I’m in this position, it’s not easy.”
Lake Wood High is a small district in the San Fernando Valley.
It has about 8,400 students.
The average student is about 10 years old.
Lakewood sits on the southern tip of Los Angeles County, just across the ocean from the epicenter of the Hollywood Hills.
For most of its history, Lakewood has been a relatively quiet community of mostly white middle-class families, but it’s slowly changing.
“Lakewood is changing, but we have to adapt to that,” says Lakewood Superintendent Mike Teller.
“As we go forward, we’ll need to look at how we can do that.”
Lake Shore has a large Asian community that’s been here for generations.
It doesn’t have a huge Asian population, but a lot has changed over the last 50 years.
In 1970, Lake Shore was about 30 percent Asian.
By 2012, the school district had about 40 percent of its students, and this year it’s close to 40 percent.
But Lake Shore still has a lot to do.
It now has a diversity coordinator, and Johnson says the district has a plan for what it’ll do with the students.
“We want to have a high percentage of students of different backgrounds and different ethnicities,” Johnson told Ars.
“And if we’re not having a high degree of diversity, we need to have something in place for them to be able to learn together.”
The diversity coordinator will be a student who’s been at Lake Shore for a while, and she’ll be working on what’s called the Asian Student Achievement Program, or ASAP.
It aims to give students the chance to work on their academic skills and get more exposure to other students from the community.
Johnson says she’s already seen some of the positive changes.
“In the classroom, the ASAP students have been able to get more in-depth into their academic backgrounds, they’ve been able take advantage of some of their social skills,” she said.
And when students have a chance to play together, they’re able to build stronger bonds, she says.
Johnson expects that kind of growth to continue in the future.
“That’s where Lakewood can really really benefit,” she says, “because we’re in the middle of this transformation and we’re still a small community, so we can really see a big impact.”
The district has started recruiting more students, but Johnson says that’s a gradual process.
For now, the district is offering some of its most popular programs to the students they already have.
The program offers an academic and social experience that helps students become better students.
There’s a special club that allows students to go out and do activities with their peers that they wouldn’t normally do.
“Students can do activities that they never thought they could do before,” Johnson explains.
“You can’t get into that type of community.”
But the school districts budget has been cut by about $10 million.
For many, it feels like a loss.
“At least I know my peers,” said one student in the program.
“They’ve got to be better than me.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get there.”
Lake View has a different view.
The community is still struggling