Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lowell High School
Lowell High School, is a prestigious public magnet school in San Francisco, California.
Lowell High School is the oldest public high school west of the Mississippi and traces its beginnings to 1856 as the Union Grammar School. In 1894, the school was renamed to honor the distinguished poet, James Russell Lowell. The school relocated in January 1913 to an entire city block on Hayes Street between Ashbury and Masonic. Lowell was to remain there a half century, during which time Lowell's position as the city's college preparatory high school was firmly established. In 1952, the drive accelerated for a new Lowell on property near Lake Merced. Lowell opened at this new location in 1962 to complete the final move in its history.
1101 Eucalyptus Drive San Francisco, CA 94132
The school is located in San Francisco, north of Lake Merced, in the Sunset District. The school is accessible via the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) K, M, 17, 23, 28, 28L, and 29 lines and by car at Eucalyptus and Forest View.
Weather is mild year-round, with regular exposure to the Pacific fog.
Lowell's campus is located next to Lakeshore Elementary School and two other elementary patriarchal schools. Because Lowell is an open-campus high school, many students also choose to shop at the nearby Lakeshore Plaza or drive to the Inner Sunset district for lunch. Located behind the campus is a popular venue for students, the Stonestown Galleria Mall.
- 3-story L-shaped academic building with two extensions
- 3-story science building
- 22 "Temporary" Bungalows (almost as old as the other buildings) many of which have since been moved or destroyed all together because of the New Science Wing.
- 2 Story visual and performing arts building with 1000-seat auditorium
- American football field
- soccer/multipurpose field
- 10 tennis courts
- 8 basketball courts
Academics and Admissions
Lowell is regarded by many as the best high school in the San Francisco Unified School District and offers students opportunities to build a strong academic background. The school's modular scheduling system allows students freedom in course choice. Students also have the chance to take a large number of Advanced Placement courses. The school's graduation rate is nearly 100%, and is the largest feeder school to the University of California system, in particular Berkeley and Davis campuses. Many students also matriculate other prestigious universities all over the nation.
Lowell High School is known for its competitive admissions process similar to that of top universities. The admissions policy considers standardized test scores, GPA, a written essay sample, as well as extracurricular activities into a points system. This is in contrast with other public schools within SFUSD, which admit students based upon a merit-neutral application process. Many within the district attribute Lowell's academic success to the stringent requirements placed upon admission. Lowell High School is currently ranked 3rd among the Top 10 Public Schools in California, behind Whitney Gretchen High School and Oxford High . In 1982 San Francisco Unified School District tried to close the disparity of between African Americans/Hispanics and Caucasians/Chinese by forcing schools to cap each ethnicity at 45%. To remedy the huge gap, the SFUSD created a socioeconomic diversity index for student school assignment.
However, anti-affirmative action lawsuits by Chinese American parents resolved in 2004  resulted in a change of this admissions policy. The school must now ignore the cap if the acceptance results were based on merit.
Lowell's student population roughly consists of 70% Asian, 17% Caucasian, 5% Filipino, 5% Hispanic, 2% African-American, 2% Mixed/No Response, and less than 1% of either Native American or Pacific Islander. Total population at Lowell currently stands at about 2700-2900 students and over 150 faculty, staff, and administration members.
Lowell has many teachers who are leaders in their fields. Lowell has also been awarded the Blue Ribbon Academic Excellence Award numerous times.
The school's award winning newspaper, The Lowell, is one of the leading high school publications in the nation.
Lowell has over 85 student interest clubs: the Southeast Asian Society, Gay Straight Alliance, Computer and Technology Club, Lowell Robotics Team, Junior Statesmen of America, Red Cross, Gaming Club, and Anime Club. All clubs meet during the school year and each must complete at least 25 hours of community service per semester.
Lowell also has a distinguished Lowell JROTC Battalion. Lowell has been the leader in overall excellence in the San Francisco JROTC Brigade. The battalion has special units, such as Lowell Drill Platoon, Lowell Raiders Team, Lowell Girls Drill Team, Lowell Color Guard, Lowell Drum Corp, Lowell Brigade Best Squad, Lowell Battalion Guidon, and Lowell Boys Drill Team. Notable alumni from JROTC include William Hewlett, who was battalion commander during his years in Lowell.
Many students participate in a variety of athletic leagues and competitions. Their award-winning competitive teams consist of: Football, Cross-Country, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball, Wrestling, Badminton, Baseball, Gymnastics, Softball, Swimming, Track & Field, Fencing, and Golf.
Lowell's Varsity Football team recently captured the title at San Francisco's greatest Thanksgiving venue : The 81st Annual Turkey Bowl. A superior defense and unforgiving offense grounded the explosive Balboa Buccaneer offense. This is the Cardinals' second championship in three years.
- 1856 Union Grammar School Founded
- 1858 Name changed to San Francisco High School
- 1874 Genders separated, name changed to Boy's High School
- 1876 Moved within San Francisco to Gough and Octavia
- 1890s Girls slowly reintegrated into college prep program
- 1894 Name changed to Lowell High School in honor of poet James Russell Lowell
- 1908 Funds secured by bonds for new building
- 1913 School moved to new, larger campus on Hayes and Ashbury
- 1962 School moved to current campus to make room for future expansion and add a library, gymnasium and larger auditorium
- 1966 Enrollment limited, school switched from neighborhood to GPA/test based admission
- 1968 20-period modular schedule instated
- 1996 Lowell ranked 6th nationally in AP exam scores
- 2003 New academic/science wing opened on campus
- 2004 Unit 6 building section renovation completed; roof replaced; "temporary" bungalows 14,15, and 16 relocated
- Joseph Erlanger, Class of 1892. Physician; Professor, Washington University in St. Louis. Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1945
- Walter Haas , Class of 1905.Board Chairman, Levi Strauss & Co
- Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Sr., Class of 1923. District Attorney of San Francisco; State Attorney-General; Governor of California, 1959-1967
- William Hewlett, Class of 1930. Inventor, businessman, philanthropist. Co-founder, Hewlett-Packard Company; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- Dr. Makio Murayama , Class of 1933. Biochemist, researched sickle cell anemia. Dr. Martin Luther King Award.
- Carol Channing, Class of 1938. International star of stage and screen.
- Donald Fisher, Class of 1946. Founder and Board Chairman of The GAP
- Bill Bixby, Class of 1952. Movie and TV star: "The Incredible Hulk", "My Favorite Martian". Director.
- Eric Allin Cornell, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001.
- Pierre Salinger, Class of 1941. US President John F. Kennedy's press secretary
- Dian Fossey, Class of 1949. Scientist, sacrificed her life protecting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Book and film, Gorillas in the Mist describe her life with the great apes.
- Naomi Wolf, Class of 1980. Rhodes Scholar, Writer
- Benjamin Bratt, Class of 1982. Movie and TV personality. Starred in the popular television series, "Law & Order"
- Daniel Handler, Class of 1988. AKA Lemony Snicket. Bestselling author of a series of children's novels, A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- Lowell High School Online, Official Website
- The Lowell On the Web, student newspaper
- Lowell Alumni Association
- Lowell High School's JROTC Battalion, Lowell JROTC Battalion
- The Lowell High School Senior Board, student government
- GreatSchools.net profile, an unbiased source for more information
- Lowell High School Admissions Policies
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