Hip-Hop High Comes to Los Angeles

The High School For Recording Arts a Minnesota-based charter school will open its second campus in Hawthorne, California, becoming the first charter school to incorporate pop-culture into its curriculum.

Hawthorne, CA, August 31, 2007 --(PR.com)-- High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), a Minnesota-founded charter school, will open its Los Angeles campus in Hawthorne on September 6, 2007. Dr. Jennifer Murphy, Program Director for Centinela Media Arts Academy in Hawthorne, announced today that HSRA/Studio 4 will blend their curriculum, faculty and unique recording arts program with the Centinela Media Arts Academy, which is a part of the Centinela Valley Union School District, to form the High School for Recording Arts, Los Angeles.

Why is this so significant, you ask? Well, in the words of HSRA’s founder, David “T.C.” Ellis, “High School For Recording Arts is the first school in the U.S. to incorporate pop-culture –specifically hip-hop -- into its curriculum. We use experiential learning to connect core subjects like English, science, social studies and math, by relating them to the music business. With the benefit of the small class format, students of HSRA LA will get individualized instruction, while they gain mastery in all areas of the music business, including engineering and production, graphic design, copy writing, marketing, artistic performance, contract negotiation, manufacturing, publishing, licensing, and more.”

The “new” school will house Studio 4, the school’s in-house state-of-the-art 48-track recording studio, a professional music production faculty to train and mentor students, a pre-production area, rehearsal space and performance stage. Phil Winden, studio director for Studio 4, recently relocated to California from Minnesota to jump start this exciting program. According to Phil, “It is our educational philosophy that all students, irrespective of their economic or social background, have access to state of the art equipment to learn from that will best prepare them for an increasingly competitive global work environment.” HSRA L.A. will serve as headquarters for the west coast division of the student-operated record label, Another Level Records, which also produces The Fo-Show, a 30-minute radio show that currently airs weekly on top rated Twin Cities radio station, B-96 FM. Like their MN counterpart, the students at HSRA L.A. can look forward to producing their own radio show; guest lectures from music industry execs and celebrities; trips abroad and exciting fund-raising and marketing projects.

While the Hip-Hop community has been confronting the controversy concerning its part in proliferating some negative words and imagery in music and videos, High School for Recording Arts Los Angeles is poised to offer an alternative message. “Our students are super talented and committed to the production of high quality, relevant music minus profanity and misogyny. Our values are based around what the “4” in Studio 4 stands for and that’s Family, Community, Education and Respect,” said HSRA/Studio 4 Director of Development Tony Simmons.

HSRA’s flagship school located in St. Paul, Minnesota was founded 10 years ago by former Warner Bros. /Paisley Park recording artist, David “T.C.” Ellis. In 1998, Ellis took several young men who had dropped out of school and were hanging out at his studio and who wanted to record their music and learn more about the recording industry and opened the High School for Recording Arts to 9-12 grade at-risk teens.

“As a troubled teen in the Twin Cities, it was the love and intervention from my family and other adults that saved me from a life of crime.” Ellis is truly on his God mission, he says. “I had to give these kids another chance like I was given… I knew I could get through to them if I could demonstrate that education and hard work would be imperative in achieving their music industry aspirations. The bonus is that these kids are so talented! I know I have found my life’s work, and I feel truly blessed”.

“Our goal for HSRA, L.A. is to offer a high quality educational option to the young people of this community, bring local and national awareness to the program and aggressively pursue funding for our educational trips, teachers’ salaries, facility upgrades, school supplies, text books, CD projects, etc.”, says Dr. Murphy. “We will need the support of L.A.’s business and private sectors, local government agencies and officials. For the authenticity of the school, we want to develop a reciprocal relationship with the entertainment community.”

HSRA L.A. will host a Press Conference on September 6, 2007 at 2pm on the school’s campus at 14115 Chadron Avenue, Hawthorne, CA 90250. “We’re inviting the media, city officials and local businesses to attend,” according to Dr. Murphy. Dr. Murphy also confirmed that the mayor’s office and various local businesses will be in attendance.

What’s on the Horizon for Hip-Hop High?

“We have been awarded a grant from Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO)/ Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Small Schools Project and the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence to replicate HSRA in New York City, which is scheduled for a 2009 opening. Our long term goal is to replicate HSRA schools worldwide,” according to Director of Development Tony Simmons.
HSRA currently has 6 CD projects, available at http://www.anotherlevelrecords.com

HSRA Facts:
• Over 70% of students who have attended HSRA have graduated from its program.
• HSRA is a grant recipient of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation,
• HSRA is one of 22 secondary schools across the US designated as a Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) Mentor High School.
• HSRA is accredited by the North Central Accreditation Association
• Founder David Ellis was honored as an Oxford University Roundtable Fellow for his work with HSRA/Studio 4 and in 2005 was invited to present his work before leading educators from around the world.
• HSRA has been around the world to promote the success of the program. HSRA students are goodwill ambassadors for Hip-Hop High, having traveled to Accra, Ghana and Guatemala City, as well as throughout the United States.

For information: hhtp://www.hsra.org and http://www.studio-4.com
For sponsorship inquiries contact: tara@hsra.org
Phone: (310) 591-0530
Fax: (310) 263-1662

High School for Recording Arts
Tara Germaine