During the summer of 2006, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and union officials announced that the Pico Union area of East Los Angeles would soon be home to the Belmont Zone of Choice (BZC). The BZC encompasses the Belmont High School attendance area and will include up to 10 Belmont Pilot Schools, each with a targeted enrollment of 400 students. The small schools will be open to all Pico Union students and represent the demographics of the local district. This groundbreaking agreement, formalized in February 2007, will create a network of high-caliber, theme-based public schools for families to select from based on students’ interests.
The story of how community members and educational leaders in the Belmont area of Los Angeles were able to reach agreement to create the Belmont Pilot School Network is filled with lessons for those working for educational equality and reform across the United States.