IPoly is a specialized college preparatory public high school. Its curriculum centers on Project-Based Learning and concurrent college enrollment is encouraged. It is run by Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), in partnership with Cal Poly Pomona, and is located on the university campus.
IPoly High School opened its doors in 1993 with 12 students, and has since grown to 500 students representing over 40 cities from the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Students represent the multicultural profile of Southern California, and possess a broad range of talents and abilities.
Due to its innovative teaching methods, IPoly won the California School Boards Association's 2006 “Golden Bell Award” in the category of “Innovation in High School”, and was named a 2009 and 2013 California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education (award is valid for a four-year term). IPoly is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Today IPoly is evolving into a teacher training and demonstration site by hosting Project-Based Learning workshops to educators. The goal is for IPoly to serve as a staff development hub for the surrounding school districts.
The origin of IPoly began in 1991 when Cal Poly Pomona made a decision to accept the invitation of LACOE to enter into a collaborative relationship for the purpose of joining the K-12 education reform movement initiated by A Nation At Risk (1983).
The goal of the partnership was to:
(1) create a model of curriculum reform by designing and implementing an entire high school course of study using an interdisciplinary and international curriculum approach.
(2) better prepare students to enter either higher education or the world of work. The planning team consisted of forty-seven professionals representing LACOE, Cal Poly Pomona, and the local business community.
The original concept was to create a project-based school that was experiential in nature. It is essentially student-centered and driven, and incorporates new technologies, as well as a new understanding of the kind of journey students and educators will take through a dynamic, global, 21st century landscape. The basic components consist of progressive educational principles, global perspectives and analyses, and interdisciplinary study.
Since 1993, the school had been located in portable buildings on the university campus. However, in fall 2012, thanks to a hardship grant, a new $20 million dollar school opened. The new two-level building features numerous green innovations including photovoltaic panels, abundant natural light, and recycling stations. It is situated on 44,579 gross square feet on 1.5 acres of land on the Cal Poly Pomona campus, at the corner of Temple Avenue and University Drive.