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School History

About Hawthorne Math & Science Academy (HMSA)

A Brief History

In 2003, the Hawthorne School District approved the creation of a new charter high school within their elementary school district. With students from the Hawthorne area, the school population at the school’s inception was 130 ninth-grade students. The original school site was Jefferson Elementary School, a school that was in the process of being remodeled. Under the tutelage of David Morrow, the principal, the first year focused on creating a new and rigorous college-preparatory school high school. In this first year, too, a student compact was established; the school theme—high expectations—emerged; a school newspaper, Aviator Update, was created; and the school colors, blue and white, were selected. These colors represent the sky and horizon, the endless possibilities for the future of our HMSA students.

In 2004, students and faculty saw the second phase of the HMSA school development – a second move for our school. The old Hawthorne Masonic Temple, located at Broadway and Grevillea, was revamped and refurbished into the beginnings of a permanent school site. In 2005, an additional building was placed on the space previously occupied by the parking lot to accommodate the ever-growing student population.

The diversity and number of students at HMSA has grown since its founding. The school today has a dozen or so different ethnicities and a population of over 450, with room to expand to 600. Students travel to HMSA from not only the city of Hawthorne, but from neighboring cities as well, with some using the metro train as transportation to and from school.


Each year, the administration at HMSA attends High School Nights hosted by the local middle schools in the South Bay region. At these meetings, several hundred students are motivated to apply for admission to our school. Students then take comprehensive skill exams in math and English. These exams are constantly updated and refined for great accuracy in assessment. Only 150 students are accepted every year for the incoming ninth grade class, after a rigorous interview process.


HMSA emphasizes the importance of well-rounded students. Each department is staffed by dedicated and outstanding faculty committed to teaching excellence in the classroom and in life skills. The faculty uses the California State Standards as the guidelines in establishing the class curriculum; but, they also they strive to develop in their students the innate ability to think and reason on a high order level and to develop original thoughts, ideas, and facts through their own research and development.