Downtown Magnets High School (also known as Downtown Business Magnet, DBM, or DMHS) is a magnet high school located in the downtown area of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The school is adjacent to many regional transit lines including the Los Angeles County Metro (Red and Purple line Civic Centre/Grand Park Station, and the terminal for the Metro Blue and Expo line 7th Street Metro Centre). Being adjacent to the many transit lines and cuts in LAUSD spending have led to many students using the Metro system to commute to school and home; however there are still remain plenty of school bus routes that feed the school for as nearly 70% of students do not live in the area.
The school houses three magnets: Business (DBM), Fashion (FCC), and Electronic Information (EIM). The three magnets combined hold a total student population of approximately 1,000 students, an almost unheard of, small population size in LAUSD. Since opening in the fall of 1981, close student-faculty bonds have often formed, playing an important factor in the school's very high graduation and college-attendance rates, in addition to high test scores.
The school is located less than a ten-minute walk from the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, which holds: The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, The Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Los Angeles Central Library, and many other educational landmarks. Due to this proximity, various partnerships have formed with nearby institutions, to the great benefit of students. For instance, students in the Business Magnet are able to take full advantage of local internship opportunities with companies such as Smith Barney, AIG, Wells Fargo and KPMG.
The school was founded in 1981, when a visionary established a school that focused on academic excellence with a specialization in business training. The school was named Downtown Business Magnet High School. The school's first class consisted of 55 sophomores from different neighborhoods around LAUSD. By 1994, FCC & EIM were formed.
Downtown Business Magnet (DBM)
The Downtown Business Magnet (DBM) was the first magnet at Downtown and is the largest, with approximately 45% of the school's population. The magnet emphasizes everything to do with business, including: Accounting, Business Organization, Corporate Management, Sales, Entrepreneurship, careers, international relations, and the use of technology in business.
For those desiring to further delve into the business world, the Academy of Finance (AF) provides an excellent way to explore careers through summer internships with the world's top accounting firms, including Deloitte & Touche and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Business students, as well as those in the other magnets, are encouraged to apply to the academy in the 10th grade, as the two-year program begins in the 11th grade. Here, students are taught proper business etiquette, how to do well in job interviews, and are frequently taken to business luncheons with partner accounting firm Deloitte & Touche, where the students learn how to network. They also take College Accounting, business economics, and other special Academy classes, including an accounting class for credit at the University of Southern California their senior year.
The Business Magnet has been adopted by Citibank, CIT Group, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Fashion Careers Center (FCC)
The FCC magnet was established in 1991 to educate students on the design and fabrication of general clothing apparel. The students' journey begins with sewing class in their freshman year and culminates with the annual Fashion Show, where the graduating class presents their collections in a professional manner. At the end of their four-year tenure in FCC, students graduate as young designers experts in their field.
An example of the culminating show was the Class of 2008's Fashion Show, held at the California Market Center (home to several professional fashion shows during Los Angeles Fashion Week). This event showcased the collections, made from scratch, of over 17 student designers, each of whom was responsible for coordinating every aspect of their presentation: from choosing the runway song and choreographing the catwalk, to making the final adjustments to a student model's outfit. The models are DMHS students, irrespective of grade or magnet. Students wishing to model must first audition for and be chosen by the coordinator of the fashion show; those selected may then be chosen by the designers to walk for their collection, though there is no guarantee that everyone who makes the first cut will walk the runway.
Overtime, the FCC Magnet has established partnerships with the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (home to Lifetime's Emmy-winning show Project Runway), Woodbury University, L.A. Trade Tech, and the California Market Center.
Electronic Information Magnet (EIM)
EIM (est. 1994) has the second largest student population out of the three magnets and is composed of students who generally wish to expand their abilities in Computer Science, Computer Programming, Web Design, or who wish to grasp the concepts in computer-based technology. This most recent addition to DMHS began in collaboration with several local business leaders, LAUSD Board Members, and the Los Angeles Central Library.
EIM is home to the Academy of Information Technology (AOIT), (similar to Business' Academy of Finance), which is also a part of the National Academy Organization. Students in AOIT are able to enroll in honors and advanced courses in order to gain skills necessary for the technology of the 21st century.
Currently, EIM holds a constant collaboration with the Los Angeles Central Library, being the only high school in the nation to hold this type of partnership. Both DMHS and the Central Library are used as instruction sites, allowing students and teachers to access the latest technology and information. In addition to the Central Library, EIM shares a partnership with Los Angeles City College (LACC).
Grings College Center
For over 23 years, Carol Grings devoted her efforts to the Downtown Magnets College Center and other school programs. When she died in 2005, the College Center was renamed the Grings College Center in her honor.
Today, the Grings College Center is led by college counselor Lynda McGee, (Lynda has recognised as one of the best college counsellors in LAUSD) who has offered a candid devotion to the school, and has guided students to produce a successful college attendance rate. Downtown Magnets graduates have proceeded to attend prestigious universities, including:
- Yale University
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- University of Pennsylvania
- UC Los Angeles
- UC Berkeley
- UC Santa Barbara
- UC Irvine
- UC Davis
- UC San Diego
- University of Southern California
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Grinnell College
- Morehouse College
- New York University
- Smith College
- Syracuse University
- Princeton University
- United States Air Force Academy
- Hampshire College
Academic Performance Index (API)
The Academic Performance Index (API) measures the academic progress of schools across the state of California. Since the 2007-2008 school year, Downtown Magnets has placed number one in Local District 4 thanks to the continual growth of its API. Its scores are as follows:
The forementioned data is provided by the California Department of Education.
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
Downtown Magnets offers a variety of Advanced Placement (AP) courses. For the 2010-2011 school year, they include:
- Art History
- AP Biology
- Calculus AB/BC
- Computer Science
- Environmental Science
- English Literature & Composition
- English Language & Composition
- Human Geography
- Spanish Language
- Spanish Literature
- U.S. Government & Politics
- U.S. History
- Hayley Hoverter- Class of 2013; winner of the 2011 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge by NFTE.
- Hong Jisoo, member of Korean boy band 17 under Pledis Entertainment
- DMHS has one of the highest college acceptance rates in LAUSD (Approx. 97%)
- The school facility was a former warehouse and for this reason there are no outwards windows in the entire school, though there are doors.
- DMHS is commended for its acceptance of different ethnicities, however, the school majorly lacks in school spirit.
- The land on which the school sits was originally Custer Middle School, one of LAUSD's first middle schools
- DMHS shares its campus with LAUSD's broadcasting channel KLCS TV
- Instead of having a Homecoming Dance in the fall semester (because the school possesses no football team) the school has a MORP dance (PROM spelled backwards). In 2014, DMHS ASB created the Block Party (MORP II),which would take place in the school's basketball courts.
- DMHS uses nearby parks, schools and other recreation facilities for athletic purposes and Physical Education courses, including but not limited to:Edward R. Roybal Learning Center (directly adjacent to the campus), Elysian Park, the Echo Park Lake, and Griffith Park amongst others.
- The 2010 Senior Prom was held at The Cast Away Restaurant in Burbank, CA.
- The 2009 Senior Prom was held at The Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills, CA.
- The 2008 Senior Prom was held at the historic RMS Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach, CA.
- DMHS is one of five high schools within a mile radius. They include: Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, Belmont Senior High School, and the High School for the Visual and Performing Arts.
- Downtown Magnets High School website
- LAUSD Main Web page
- LAUSD DBM INFO
- Detailed School Information
- School Demographics
- Los Angeles Central Library
- DMHS ASB Myspace Page