Environmental Charter Middle School – Gardena (ECMS-I) is a free, public middle school in the South Bay region of Los Angeles that offers students a small, caring school environment supporting their transition from elementary school to a college preparatory high school.
Max Class Size
Our students are hard working, active, caring, creative, team players.
Our rigorous academic program prepares students for a college-prep high school, places an emphasis on social responsibility, and incorporates field trips and interdisciplinary projects. We connect academics to real-world tasks and integrate social-emotional learning and the arts.
Student Learning Outcomes
Our academic approach results in students who are:
The ECMS approach creates strong relationships between students, teachers, and families. Two core teachers—one for Math & Science and another for English & History—follow students from 6th to 7th grade, affording an opportunity for teachers to deeply understand students’ strengths and challenges as they move through the transition between elementary and high school. In 8th grade, students transition to four single-subject teachers, preparing them for success in a traditional high school.
Interdisciplinary Benchmark Projects
Interdisciplinary Benchmark Projects are fun, challenging tasks that ask students to connect what they’ve learned in English, Math, Social Studies, and Science and use their new knowledge and skills in a real-world way. Individually and in groups, students might persuade pharaohs, write business plans for investors, investigate an Aztec murder mystery, present their research findings to an Ancient Greek symposium or engineer a railroad. These projects culminate in imaginative performances and presentations that include parents and community members.
The following specialty courses supplement our core curriculum:
Arts & Handwork
Students explore various art, craft, and technological genres that increase their appreciation for human ingenuity as they connect to the cultures and concepts they are studying in their core content courses. For example, students create ropes from plant fibers as they study early human development.
This course connects core content to sustainability and the community through service-learning projects. For example, when studying ancient civilization and agriculture, students build raised beds to grow food on campus, install rainwater catchment systems, and build worm stations to compost waste on campus.
Current Charter Petition
See the current ECMS-Gardena Charter Petition for the 5-year term July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2024. ECMS-Gardena is authorized by the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
Los Angeles County Office of Education
Charter School Office
9300 Imperial Highway
Downey, CA 90242
Office Phone Line: (562) 922-6349
Office Fax: (562) 922-8805