March Update: Hello my friends!

Hello my friends,

Long time no connect, right? 

I’ve been thinking about how to re-enter the digital domain after such a spell away in one of the weirdest years to date. No, I haven’t gone anywhere. I’m still here, quietly working away assisting many fine young families with their school admissions in an equally weird and disrupted school landscape. It’s been the craziest fall admissions season I have ever seen, and even though it’s nearly spring it’s still crazy out there. Schools may be closed, start dates may be pending, but God Bless them, school admissions keep marching onward despite the blackout of tangible info, most importantly, will schools ever re-open, and what will they look like when they do? 

For months I had been imagining how I might announce some upcoming milestones…my daughter’s senior year accomplishments, her graduation, leaving for college, becoming an empty-nester… I started GoMamaGuide while she was still in preschool after all. Wow, feeling OLD much? Yet even those big moments as they approached us and as we navigated them, were some combination of disrupted, postponed, or thrown into a last-minute tailspin. I was hardly about to make beaming announcements when so much of our world was hinging on survival mode.

That being said, in hindsight can I just say I am mesmerized by my daughter’s resilience, her tenacity, and academic accomplishments, and am extremely pleased to announce that having traveled a combination of an LAUSD neighborhood school, Magnet, SAS, and small independent Charter school all tuition-free, (playing those lotteries as I teach you all to do), my daughter is now attending an IVY on the East Coast. 

I can hardly believe it.

She is a Poli-Sci major at UPenn, living in Philly, studying Constitutional Law in the very spot where our founders congregated to define our country’s unalienable rights some 245 years ago, a significant echo certainly not lost on me, and due to her incomparable high school training in Speech & Debate and Mock Trial, she has made the A team (Varsity level) Mock Trial team at Penn as a freshman, heading into AMTA’s ORCS as a Closing Attorney, which is virtually unheard of. I promise, you don’t want to get into an argument with that one! 

Despite all the year’s challenges, and there have been many, she has hit her stride and is thriving, paving her way forward, which is all one can ask for, as a parent. So, on a big level, my work here is done, nurturing her development so she can fly.

As I scan the horizon with so much unsettled and unclear with regards to public education in general, and Los Angeles schools in particular, I can honestly say, I have never seen anything like what is going on out there now. But I’m here to share knowledge and support you through this journey, whatever it becomes, and as such, I will continue to offer a combination of Zoom and Phone and Relocation Consultations to you, guiding you forward with your public school questions and decisions. 

I have laid out a number of events in the comings days that I invite you to participate in, including a fresh new webinar lineup, which many have been asking for. These are all live events but can be watched from the comfort of your own homes with a glass of something festive in your comfy clothes. I won’t judge. But do join us:

Weds, Mar 10 at 7p – SmartTrack College Funding is holding a free webinar
What You Need To Know NOW About Paying Less For College 
*Recommended for parents of 8-12th graders.
You NEED this info folks. I’ve taken this seminar twice and it is SO informative. Just like Magnet points, you want to learn this info early. Ideally before 10th grade in order to maximize your financial positioning and pay less for college.

Thurs, Mar 11 at 12p – Kindergarten 101: Know Your Public Options webinar
*Recommended for parents of 2-5 year olds.
This is the talk I’ve been giving to stressed-out parents all over Los Angeles for over a decade, updated with the most current school info.

Mon, Mar 15 LAUSD Choices initial lottery results are announced. This is not a death sentence, this is just the beginning of a long road ahead.

Tues, Mar 16 at 8p – If you’re on Clubhouse, Join MotherbirdLA’s Mia and I for a live “Wine and Whine” Chat dicing it up on LA schools after the LAUSD Choices lottery results come out. 

Thurs, Mar 25 at 12p – Middle School Madness webinar
*Recommended for 2nd-5th grade parents.
You thought choosing a Kinder was tough? Yikes! Middle School!


And, coming in April…I’ll be bringing a new webinar sharing all I have learned:
Date tbd  – Maximizing High School With An Eye Towards College
Learn how to maximize your high school experience in order to optimize college opportunities. Just like everything else I teach, there is a strategy, and it starts early.

View the whole GoMamaGuide webinar series

Hang in there folks. Go easy on yourselves and your children.  I’m sending all of you, from the littles to the grown-ups, a giant virtual hug for making it this far. ❤

SMARTTRACK College Funding Webinar Weds Mar 10

Introducing SMARTTRACK College Funding Webinar

What You Need To Know NOW About Paying Less For College
(You NEED This Info Folks)

with Cyndi Menegaz, National Program Director at SMARTTRACK® College Funding

March 10, 2021
7p
FREE
*Recommended for parents of 8-12th graders.


You guys, I’ve personally taken this seminar twice, and found it extremely helpful as we planned financially for my daughter’s dreaded college tuition bill. I learned so much and it helped me plan way in advance so we didn’t have to limit our college options or pay retail tuition prices. I am convinced that
SMARTTRACK saved me a huge percentage of tuition by looking at my assets and suggesting adjustments I could make when my daughter was a sophomore in high school. If you are savvy about planning ahead, and I hope you are, please jump on this opportunity to learn more. Like everything else, the earlier you start planning, the better off you’ll be. And as public school families, we need all the option$ we can get.

Also, as a special bonus, GoMamaGuide is partnering with SMARTTRACK where you’ll have an opportunity to schedule a free call with them just like I did to review your financial picture and see if there are any strategic things you can do well before filling out those financial aid forms senior year. (The dreaded FAFSA and CSS. Yay, more acronyms to learn!) If you do decide to work with them, you’ll get the GoMamaGuide discount.

At a minimum, do take advantage of your free call.

Last Day for LAUSD eChoices App!

Hey my LAUSD folks,

Just a friendly reminder that today is the LAST DAY to get your eChoices application in before tonight’s 11:59p deadline. If you haven’t gotten your application in yet, take a moment, go up there, and DO IT NOW. Don’t be late.

The eChoices application includes lottery selections for Magnets, Dual Language programs, Schools for Advanced Studies, and (new for 2020), Affiliated Charter Schools for elementary students, and for secondary students, all those categories plus Permits With Transportation, and Admission Criteria Schools. Six categories all from one app!

If you have already submitted your application, you might want to log onto your parent dashboard and review your selections today, making sure all the schools you wanted are listed and prioritized exactly how you want them to be. This is the last day you can make any edits to your application, such as reorder the priority (1st-2nd-3rd) of your choices, or drop/add some choices. Whatever is on your application at 11:59p this evening, is what is being submitted, but you can still make changes up until tonight’s deadline.

***Heads up, the SAS Verification of Eligibility Form is due by 5p tonight, not 11:59p.

How Do I Check My eChoices App and/or Make Changes?

Log onto your dashboard with your email and password at eChoices.lausd.net or apply.lausd.net. (They both will arrive at the same place.)

Once you are logged in with your password, you will be at your dashboard. (If you are just getting started for the first time, you will “Apply to Programs” and follow the prompts to select your choices in each category.) If you have already put in an application and want to give it a final once over before tonight’s deadline, click on “Track/Edit Applications” to review what you have previously submitted.

 

 

 

 

Then you will see each of your children’s current applications, and you can click on one to open it up and view it. Make sure it is exactly how you want it.

 

 

 

 

If you want to add/drop/reorder anything, this is your chance. Do it here. Remember to hit SAVE at the bottom when you are done.

 

 

 

 

Once you submit your app again, you should see your confirmation number and get an auto-email alert from “applyforschools@lausd.net” with your submission confirmation. Review everything again to make sure it caught all your changes.

Repeat for each sibling.

This is it. Only on-time applications are eligible for waitlist points in the magnet category, and have the best odds overall in the lotteries. Don’t be late.

Also, don’t wait until 11:57p tonight to try to cram your app in. You know the LAUSD server will be busy!

Also, you’ve had 6 1/2 weeks to get this done.

Wishing everyone the best possible outcome in the lotteries!

Thank you for participating.

I will be offline for the weekend and will be back at my desk on Monday.

Cheers y’all!

xo

 

 

Just released! GoMamaGuide to LAUSD: Biggest Guide Yet!

It’s HERE!

New for the 2020-2021 School Year!

Just in time for the lotteries!

Packed with information yet delivered in easily understood bite-sized pieces. Get the Big Guide to LAUSD. Covers every region within LAUSD: North, South, East and West!

.
The Latest Elementary School Edition
GoMamaGuide to LAUSD 

LA Public Schools Demystified

by Tanya Anton

* Offers a thorough understanding of ALL your LAUSD public school options
* Outlines how (and when) to tackle each type of application process
* The latest changes to the eChoices lotteries for 2020-2021!
* Magnets and “The Point System” demystified
* The difference between Affiliated and Independent Charter schools
* Dual Language Immersions, Gifted, SAS, Open Enrollment, and other options
* Permitting in and out of District
* How to tour: what to look for in a school and more
* Learn how to expertly navigate schools in LAUSD!

Includes:
* Complete List of All LAUSD Public Elementary Schools (sorted by category and local district) 
* Handy month-by-month Application Timeline
* Evaluating Your Priorities Exercise
* Bonus Materials, Charts, and Resources
* Nearly 75 pages!
* All this for only $30 – less than what you’d spend at a Happy Hour!
* No need to leave home — Guidebook shipped to your door!

Note: Individual schools are not ranked or profiled. For individual assistance, and to find the best fit schools for your child, please consider booking a consultation with me.

View Table of Contents

GoMamaGuides have already helped thousands of LA parents.
About the GoMamaGuidebooks:
“Best $$ I’ve spent in a long time!”

“I purchased your guide last year. It was the single most helpful resource I found
to assist with our search.”

To order, click Buy Now! 
Only $30 plus $3.99 s&h via Paypal.

Please verify your shipping address with Paypal before finalizing purchase.
All sales are final.

Last Webinar for 2019! (Those Points!)

For those of you who missed my September GoMamaGuide Webinar series, I will be offering my most requested webinar, Mastering Magnets: (Those Points!) one more time, just in time for the LAUSD eChoices deadline, where we go through that weighted magnet points system step-by-step and break it all down, so even YOU can understand how to do it. *Strongly recommended for parents with 2nd-8th graders

The Mastering Magnets webinar will be held this Tuesday, October 29th at noon. But if you can’t make the live date, no worries, a pre-paid ticket will get you the replay for a full 10 days afterward, so you can watch or review it again at your leisure.

[Click on image to register.]

This is a live event. I will be taking your questions in real time, or you can email me your related questions in advance.

To register for the webinar, just click on the image.
A pre-paid ticket* gets you the replay for a full 10 days afterward.
*Tickets MUST be purchased in advance of the start time in order to participate and get the replay. (Sorry, the replay will not be available for purchase at a later date.)

As always, if you find you need immediate assistance, we can always set up a phone or in-home consultation.

Latest eChoices Updates! New Category Added!

 

The eChoices application period is now open. Visit echoices.lausd.net.

Application period: Oct 1 – Nov 15, 2019 before 11:59p.

Now with SIX different programs, from ONE common app!  Yes, you could ostensibly win a school in each category. Apply NOW for next fall!

Heads up my Valley and Westside families, Affiliated Charter Schools (Canyon, Palisades, Carpenter, Colfax, Dixie, etc) – and their non-resident waitlist lotteries – are now moved onto the eChoices Oct/Nov app!!

New! Verification of Eligibility for SAS Kindergarten form.
New! Verification of Eligibility for Grades 1-12 form.
(Incoming Kinders, you no longer need both forms.)

If you need help curating a list of potential schools or with your strategy, or are confused by all of this, we can always set up a phone or in-home consultation. Happy to help!

Best of luck in the lotteries!

 

Fresh Webinars Just Added!

You’ve been asking, and I heard you. Introducing a fresh new GoMamaGuide Webinar series just in time for fall admissions season.

I’d like to think I’ve got you covered with all of these. There are TWO dates coming right up THIS WEEK for my most popular topic, Kinder 101: Know Your Public School Options. This is the talk I’ve been giving to LA parents for over a decade. I’ve scheduled one for this Wednesday at noon, and the other one for this Thursday at 7p. But if you can’t make either date, no worries, a pre-paid ticket will get you the replay for a full 7 days afterward, so you can watch or review at your leisure.

[Each image links to its corresponding registration page, so click on the one you want.]

And if you’ve mastered elementary school admissions, but are already starting to panic about your Middle School options, this one’s for you. Middle School Madness. I’ll walk you through the process because it’s never too early to work on your long-range strategy.

Gearing up for the upcoming eChoices application in October, I’ll be leading my thoroughly informative Mastering Magnets webinar, where we go through that weighted points system step-by-step and break it all down, so even YOU can understand how to do it.

Rounding up the series this month is the webinar on Understanding Gifted Options, and how to navigate that world. Yes, even for Kindergarteners. We’ll break down those acronyms…LAUSD LOVES their acronyms!

As with all of these webinars, there’ll be a live Q&A during the event, or you can email me your related questions in advance. Watch from the comfort of your own home or office, and check out the replay* for a full 7 days afterwards at your convenience. I love the no driving, no parking, no need to coordinate childcare factor with these webinars. Makes it super easy for both of us!

To register for a webinar, just click on the corresponding image.
A pre-paid ticket* gets you the replay for a full 7 days afterward.
*(Replay only available to pre-paid ticket holders. Tickets not available once the webinar starts.)

Oh, and for those of you who are asking, I am currently working on the latest up-to-date edition of “The GoMamaGuide to LAUSD” guidebook. Stay tuned for a fall release date announced soon and thanks for your patience.

Hope to see you on one of these events! As always, if you find you need immediate assistance, we can always set up a phone or in-home consultation.

eChoices Deadline This Friday, Nov 9 at 5p!

5 LAUSD Programs, 1 Application.

Due by 5p this Friday, November 9, 2018.

New Deadline: Friday, November 16, 2018.

Go to: echoices.lausd.net or apply.lausd.net

If you are considering Magnets, Dual Language programs, SAS/Schools For Advanced Studies programs (no, it’s not due in March anymore), PWT/Permits With Transportation, and the newly coined programs called Admission Criteria Schools for next fall, then get those applications in NOW!

You can go up and edit your application as many times as you like between now and 5p on Friday, but whatever is listed on your application at the deadline is what will be submitted.

Your Verification of Eligibility Forms and Kindergarten Readiness Checklist Forms for Gifted/SAS Programs also need to be RECEIVED by 5p this next Friday.

Should you miss this deadline and submit a late application in February, Magnet folks will forfeit the opportunity to collect any waitlist points. You will also run the risk of not getting into the more competitive programs. Just get it in on time.

Got questions? If you need a last-minute consult to review your app or strategy, I have a block of 30 min phone consultations available between 9a and 4p through Friday afternoon. You can grab your call with me here: https://gomamaguide.com/store/phone-consultations/

I turn into a pumpkin Friday at 5:01p.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will There Be A Strike? What Happens Then?

If you haven’t heard, there’s been quite a bit of rumor swirling around about a potential teachers strike as LAUSD and UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles) hash out their labor negotiations. What does this mean? What will happen? When will it happen? What happens to my kids’ school if there’s a strike? What if I have to work when there’s a strike? Will schools shut down? Who’ll watch my kids???

I know. I know. So many questions, so many unknowns. These are good questions. All of them. For all of us.

I received the following additional questions from a working mom today, which made me decide to tackle these questions and share my response more widely with all of you parents in the hopes that it provide you with some understanding of where we are at currently with this pending situation.

Q: As you have heard, the LAUSD is possibly going on strike. We have been told by the principal that they will still have classes that will be combined and taught by administrators should there be a strike. Further, they are saying that if we do not attend these classes that our son would be marked as absent. This seems illegal to me. Do you know who I can contact that would know about whether or not some of these suggested strike actions are legal?
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Ok, let’s dive into this.
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In a perfect world, LAUSD and UTLA will be able to settle their differences, and come up with a workable solution through the mediation process they are currently going through, and avoid a strike altogether. However, UTLA’s members have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, and if they feel they need to use that tactic to get what they want, they have agreed to stand together should their leaders enact that option. Latest word I heard was that if it did happen, the strike wouldn’t be until December, but who knows. The negotiations are done privately. At any point if the mediation process breaks down, then yes, a strike is a definite possibility.

Meanwhile, LAUSD, and specifically LAUSD School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin, have assured me that should there be a strike, schools will NOT be shut down, they will bring in subs or whomever they can (administrators) to keep schools in session.

Also, understand that schools get paid by their ADA – Average Daily Attendance – money. This is just a fact of how schools are funded in our California public school system, which is why they are so adamant that attendance stay high, and if your child is not in school, why they insist you bring a doctor’s note or legitimate written excuse so they can still collect the daily attendance dollars. If a child is marked absent without an excuse, called an “unexcused absence,” schools are docked that child’s ADA amount for that day. So cumulatively, they are losing a lot of money due to absences. And this is why, at the end of the year if your child has more than 7 unexcused absences (you forgot to send the note!) they send you some threatening letter with a bunch of legalese under threat of prosecution that it is your parental responsibility to get your child to school or they will sue you. It’s all about money. And they are serious. [You can read all about excused and unexcused absences and attendance and Ed Code in this handy LAUSD tome, “School Attendance – A Parents Guide.” Or how chronically absent students cost a district millions of dollars here. And read the CA Legislative Analyst’s Office 2018 Update of K-12 Student Attendance and Funding.]

So, back to the labor issue. If there’s a strike and the majority of students walk out too – schools will not be getting paid their ADA funds multiplied by all the students who are absent during a strike. Meaning, the strike will not only affect teachers who will lose teacher pay for each day gone, but school budgets will also be impacted with lost ADA funds each day a strike wages on and students do not attend. It is NOT a win-win. It is quite a lose-lose for everyone, unless UTLA and LAUSD can end up cutting a deal they can live with and UTLA calls off the strike threat.

Complicating matters is that with the rising fiscal cliff of unpaid health and pension benefits careening towards LAUSD, taking up a significant portion of the annual operating budget and driving them towards near insolvency, if LAUSD doesn’t balance their budget, the State and County have already come knocking twice to warn LAUSD that they WILL take over if they cut a deal with UTLA that they cannot afford. So it is a dramatic time right now as both sides continue the mediation process. A process which is done between the negotiating partners, which we-the-people-the-stakeholders have no say or control over.

It’s worth mentioning that since Independent Charters have the flexibility to hire and fire and negotiate their own staff’s benefit packages directly, and have the autonomy to manage their own budgets and governance decisions, they will NOT be impacted at all should there be a strike.

But LAUSD neighborhood schools, Affiliated Converted Charter schools, Magnets, Dual Language Programs, Schools For Advanced Studies (SAS) Programs, Small Learning Communities (SLCs), Academic Criteria Schools (ACS), as well as other Specialized Academies within LAUSD, will ALL be impacted by these negotiations and potential strike.

I hope this explanation helps you understand the process and ramifications. I am holding hope that the strike is avoided and a settlement can be reached. For all our sakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Webinars Just Added!

The GoMamaGuide “Lunch & Learn” Webinar Series has officially launched and I want to thank everyone who has participated so far! I am loving the no-driving part, seriously. Brilliant.

Since it’s eChoices season and several of you weren’t able to jump on those first few webinars, I’ve added two more that will directly help you with your eChoices application.

An additional Mastering Magnets webinar is scheduled for this Thursday, October 11…

And since SAS joins Gifted Magnets as part of the eChoices app this year, you might want to also check out Understanding Gifted Options next Tuesday, October 16 where we cover all your GIFTED worries, and break down the goods on SAS, GATE, and that string of acronyms: GHA, HG, HGA, IHP.

All Webinars start at 12p and run 60 mins. But if you can’t make it live, don’t sweat it, as long as you sign up BEFORE the start of the webcast, you’ll get the replay for another 7 days afterward. To sign up, just CLICK ON THE PICTURE (above) of the event you’d like to attend. If you have related questions you’d like me to cover, you can email them to me in advance, or use the live interactive Q&A feature during the webinar. Learning has never been so easy, informative, and focused on just what you need to hear. It’s like we’re together, but without all the LA hassle.

So grab a snack and your burning school questions, and join me for a Lunch & Learn Webinar. Book your spot today!