The Jazz Age, flappers, and the music of Duke Ellington ushered in the Roaring 20s along with the opening of Eagle Rock High School in September of 1927. The school's official dedication took place on January 13, 1928. Prior to that time, students attended either Franklin or Glendale High Schools, while seventh and eighth graders attended local elementary schools.
Composed of 750 expectant students, under Miss Helen Babson’s effective leadership, ERHS became a nationally designated “progressive education” model, where students designed their own course of study. By the end of the first year, students and staff had created a school paper (Eagle’s Scream), an orchestra, glee club, drama and stagecraft clubs, as well as a full complement of athletic teams.
In 1945 Babson retired and was replaced by Robert E. Kelly, later LA Superintendent of schools. The progressive education experiment didn’t suit the businesslike attitude favored by postwar Los Angeles. Men were coming back from war and starting new families. The student body grew with the baby boom. There were many student service clubs that structured student social life. These gradually disappeared with the more egalitarian attitudes of the sixties.
Sadly, it was discovered that the ERHS buildings did not meet earthquake building codes. Virtually all of the old buildings were demolished except for the auditorium. In 1970, Brutalist style buildings were built along the rear of the campus to allow transitional use of both sets of buildings. A continuously expanding student body, 3000 plus at its maximum, necessitated the erection of many “temporary” bungalows on planned open space. Overcrowded conditions have been somewhat alleviated by the construction of the new Sotomayor High School in the Glassell Park area. An additional building is now in the planning stage to replace the bungalows. It will front on Yosemite Drive and honor the old school’s buildings in its design.
Efforts continue to innovate and give our students the best possible education. One of sixty-one high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District; it is the only one with a 7-12 grade configuration, housing a comprehensive junior and senior high school as well as a magnet program serving gifted, high ability and highly gifted students.
Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School is now an International Baccalaureate World School offering a fully authorized IB Middle Years Programme to all students, grades 7-10, and the IB Diploma Programme in grades 11-12. These programmes offer certification to students who study a wide, real-world based curriculum, pursue independent research, and engage in community service.
ERHS’ Vision Statement
“The ERHS educational community is accountable for rigorous standards-based curricula in a safe, well-maintained learning environment, which provides a climate of respect for self and others. The school provides an environment, which promotes intercultural awareness, holistic learning, and effective communication.”
Alumni and visitors are consistently impressed by the manner in which they are greeted and welcomed by the entire school community. Students maintain our traditions of excellence in choral and instrumental music; community involvement; and championship athletic teams, both male and female. The senior class still selects a name that they feel best typifies their aspirations. This is incorporated in a student-designed artistic terrazzo plaque, installed next to over 125, others in front of the original auditorium, in a class plaque area named “Alumni Plaza”. Seniors continue to graduate in the Occidental College Hillside Theatre, less formally than in prior times, now in caps and gowns. The majority of graduates progress to college or technical institutions and on to promising careers.