Heads Up! SAS Now Included in Oct/Nov EChoices App!

Heads Up Everyone.

If you are considering applying to an SAS or Schools For Advanced Studies (gifted) program for next year, LAUSD has moved the application deadline from March (when it had previously been due), to the newly revamped Oct/Nov eChoices application.

That means SAS apps are DUE by Friday, November 9, 2018 by 5p. 

FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS EARLIER THAN LAST YEAR!

Yep.

This is causing a slight last-minute panic, both for SAS schools AND parents, however I have gathered everything you will need to get this done on time.

Here are the bullet points:

• You will have up to 3 choices for SAS on the eChoices application, so choose and sequence them wisely. You will have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice, so think about which SAS school you want the most, and also consider which one is most likely to have space as residents will have priority enrollment in the school before SAS applicants.

• You only have the potential to draw one SAS offer from the eChoices lottery, however you could also apply and get drawn for a Magnet AND a Dual Language Program AND an Admissions Criteria School (new category) as well. In fact, you could ostensibly win all 5 program categories on the eChoices application. Then you will have to make a choice between programs.

• So to recap, if you want to apply to some SAS programs, you will do it in Oct/Nov on the online eChoices application while you’re also applying for Magnets, Dual Language Programs, an Admission Criteria School, and also Permits With Transportation (if your school is a sending school.)

• If the SAS program you are interested in is also an Affiliated Converted Charter School, you cannot use this process. You must apply directly through the school’s onsite non-resident lottery. At a later date. Set by each school. (Valley, Palisades peeps, we’re mainly talking about you here!)

• There are NO POINTS for any program EXCEPT the Magnet program. (That’s a relief!)

• Additionally, in order to apply to an SAS program, your child must meet the GIFTED eligibility threshold and submit the necessary paperwork by the Nov 9th deadline. 

• There are multiple ways to meet eligibility, however probably the easiest method is to have your child’s Teacher and Principal or Director fill out the Verification of Eligibility Form, especially if your child is coming from preschool, private school, a charter, or another non-LAUSD program.

• In addition, for incoming Kindergarten SAS applicants, you will also need your child’s current Teacher and/or Director to fill out and sign the SAS Kindergarten Readiness Checklist Form.

To repeat, you’ll need BOTH these forms (linked below) filled out and signed:

The Verification of Eligibility Form
The SAS Kindergarten Readiness Checklist Form

Send the signed completed forms either by mail or deliver in person BEFORE the Friday, November 9, 2018 5p deadline:

U.S. Mail:
Unified Enrollment
P.O. Box 513307
Los Angeles,  CA  90051

or Hand Deliver:
L.A. Unified Headquarters/Unified Enrollment
25th Floor Reception Desk
333 South Beaudry Ave
Los Angeles, CA  90017

Don’t you love a good paperwork scramble? Yeah. I thought so.

• If your child is already enrolled in an LAUSD school and has already been identified as GATE, the District will automatically check the student’s eligibility through the school’s records so in that case you won’t need to submit these forms.

SAS Schools Alphabetical List
SAS Schools FAQ
SAS Schools List by Grade Level

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SAS-eChoices Commentary:
(Warning! Tanya’s getting on her soapbox. Hey, my blog, my soapbox!)

I’ve been calling around to various SAS schools for the past week to gather as much intel as possible ahead of this October 1st eChoices/SAS launch, and I can tell you after speaking with more than half a dozen SAS school office personnel, they are just as “in the dark” about these new application changes as “we the people” are. One Office Manager from a prominent SAS program asked me to call her back once I found out what the new policy was! Really? So instead of the SAS School being the source of intel, the parent has to be? Really? Another SLC Coordinator from an equally high profile SAS school in another part of town echoed similar sentiments. She just kind of sighed and resolved herself that this year “we’ll just figure it out as we go.”

Oh great. Tell that to the parents who were not informed of the changes, who will show up in March and have completely missed the SAS deadline.

Well yes, there’s a late application starting in February, but your child will then be placed at the bottom of the already sequenced waitlist. Result? Well…you do the math.

True to LAUSD form, this notion of consolidating a number of program applications onto a “common app” and moving the deadline a good 4.5 months earlier than usual should have been rolled out and announced widely months before we all found ourselves at the start of the application cycle. However that simply was not the case. It appears that some SAS schools are literally just now finding out about these new changes right at the same time you are, creating unnecessary stress and confusion in what could have been a smoother, more inclusive rollout. Or maybe the Principal or Magnet Coordinator knew about it, but the office staff fielding parent phone calls had no idea at all. I guarantee there will be disappointed parents who “didn’t get the memo” (since as far as I can tell there wasn’t one) who will bring their paper SAS apps to the schools in March just like in previous years, only to find they will now be placed hopelessly far down the waitlist and have little chance of enrollment. Because. No. Notice.

And shall I continue?

You know what’s great about producing a list of all 288 SAS programs all cutely colored and listed in alphabetical order?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing is great about that. Except for, um, at least there’s a list. 

You’ve got elementaries along with middles and high schools, all mashed together in one long alphabetical list of schools that span over 720 square miles across this vast behemoth of a city. Clearly no one on the “eChoices Common App Graphics and Strategic Planning Team” has ever ACTUALLY had to find a school for their kid within a reasonable commuting distance from where they live.

Ok LAUSD. Let me break it down for you.

For a parent seeking a school for their children, this is absolutely not helpful. I mean, if my 2nd grader needs an SAS program and I live in Van Nuys, why the heck do I want to wade through a 3-column multi-page list of hundreds of schools I’ve never heard of, mixing San Pedro schools with Silver Lake schools with schools in Cheviot Hills and KTown? And how the heck am I going to know the difference if I’ve never even heard of these schools to begin with? It doesn’t work, folks.

I feel like that scene in Spinal Tap, where Nigels’s backstage playing with his “mini” baloney sandwich….

“I’ve been working with this now for about half an hour… I can’t figure out….”

 

 

So in conclusion, parents, here is your memo.

The SAS application is now going to be part of the eChoices application which means it, and all the necessary supporting eligibility documentation, will be due by Friday, November 9th before 5p. Do this at the same time you are applying for Magnets, and Dual Language Immersions, and that other new category, ACS, and Permits with Transportation if you qualify for those.

Should you find you need assistance with this or any of your K-12 Los Angeles public school choices, please know I am available for phone and in-home consultations, and I would be more than happy to work with you to come up with your very own personalized public school plan based on your specific needs and what makes sense for your family.

Best of luck to all of you.

xo

(exit soapbox.)

 

 

GoMamaGuide Launches New “LUNCH & LEARN” WEBINAR Series!

Just in time for LAUSD’s new 2019 eChoices application period (which opens Monday, October 1st – due Friday, November 9th), I’m launching my new GoMamaGuide “Lunch & Learn” Webinar Series featuring live interactive online classes to help you get schooled in the essentials of public school choice. These are the classes I’ve been teaching to stressed out parents all over Los Angeles for over a decade!

Many of you have been asking for more seminars and rather than try to hit every neighborhood in LA, with these online webinars no one has to deal with traffic, or find parking, or book a sitter, or even agree on a date. I will be running them at noon so we can still schedule in-home visits in the evenings. So join us from the comfort of your computer, get savvy while you lunch, and if you can’t make it, or want to review it, you can catch the replay for another 7 days afterward.

Here are the first three webinars in the lineup. More will be announced soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanya Anton is the creator of GoMamaGuide and author of a series of guidebooks helping parents navigate the daunting array of K-12 public school choices throughout greater Los Angeles. A frequent guest speaker and public education consultant, Tanya has appeared on NPR’s “Which Way LA” seven times, presented on motherhood and social activism in NYC, lobbied against school budget cuts up in Sacramento, and also appeared before the LAUSD School Board on several issues. Having spoken to literally thousands of stressed-out parents about to enter the LA school system, Tanya has inspired many to not only reconsider their public school options but also become a vital yet interconnected agent of change within them. Visit GoMamaGuide.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Last Chance for eChoices/Magnets TODAY!

echoices18

Last chance to get that eChoices app in is TODAY! Thursday, November 9th before 5p. You can go back in and review, reprioritize, or change your Magnet and Dual Language Program choices, but whatever is on your application by 5p today is what gets submitted.

To those of you who are applying, whether you are trying to get in, or to NOT get in and collect those points, or you don’t even care about magnets and just want one of those Language Immersions, I wish you all good luck!

Initial results will be emailed to you in late March.

 

 

Mayday, Mayday, The LAUSD School Finder Is Lost!

Tues, 10/31 UPDATE: The School Identifier is back up, thankfully!

Dear LAUSD,

You couldn’t have picked a worse time to have your Resident School Identifier go down. It’s been 4 days now. We are at the height of school admission frenzy as we make our final sprint towards that November 9th eChoices deadline. People are trying to look up their “zoned schools” to determine their options, or if they have suddenly become zoned into one of your 35 new (!) magnet schools, or a dual language program, or your newly created “zone of choice” areas, and/or if they will have residential priority (aka “Continuous Enrollment”) at one of these new magnet schools or other programs, and right now your link is completely dead. DEAD. Nada. And has been since Friday. And this other page you send us to, to “find a school” in the above matters, is frankly, USELESS.

Leader in technology?  Not so much. This is basic stuff here LAUSD. C’mon. Folks need to find their zoned schools right now. It’s rather critical. And time sensitive. If you refuse to  publish the actual maps mapping out school boundary lines, and insist we use your digital Resident School Identifier, but then even that doesn’t work, parents got nuthin’!

Hope you get on it and fix it, like, stat!

Thanks so much for letting me vent…

…on behalf of all of your dear parents who are feeling the squeeze!

xo

UPDATE: Monday afternoon: I called LAUSD and was told they are aware of the situation and are “working on it.”

GoMamaGuide to LAUSD: Elementary Edition has arrived!

Hey folks,

I’ve been promising to write this guidebook literally for years, and now, HERE IT IS!

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!

.
**Just Released! Biggest Guide Yet!

GoMamaGuide to LAUSD – Elementary Edition
LA Public Schools Demystified
By Tanya Anton

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* Offers a thorough understanding of ALL your LAUSD public school options
* Outlines how (and when) to tackle each type of application process
* Magnets and “The Point System” demystified
* How Charters work and who is eligible
* Dual Language Immersions, GATE, 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!
.* Covers how to navigate all of LAUSD!
Includes:
* Complete List of all LAUSD Public Elementary Schools (broken down by category and region)
* Handy month-by-month Application Timeline
* Evaluating Your Priorities Exercise
* Bonus Materials, Charts and Resources
* Nearly 70 pages!
* All this for only $30 –about what you’d spend on a pilates class!
* 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.
.

 

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.

Get Your Magnet App In By Tomorrow!

echoices17-banner

Hey Guys,

Don’t forget to get that Magnet application in by tomorrow, Thursday, November 8th BEFORE 5p!*

For a list of new Magnet options for 2017, click HERE.

To get straight to the application, click HERE.

Need help? Let’s talk. click HERE.

echoices-click2apply

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Must be a resident of LAUSD. Child must turn 5 by September 1st in order to apply to Kindergarten. There are no TK magnet programs. This is the app with the (weighted) “point system.” Good luck in the lottery!

Introducing Speak UP!

My work over the last decade with GoMamaGuide has been mainly to educate and assist parents in navigating the array of public school choices in Los Angeles. But choosing a school is only the first step. I’ve also encouraged you to stay active and involved no matter what kind of school you end up in, to speak up if something doesn’t feel right, and to work together to come up with solutions.

Speak Up logoBuilding on those ideals, I am excited to announce a new collaboration with Speak UP, a grassroots movement of parents and families who want a more powerful voice in shaping education policy in California.

Despite having the greatest numbers AND the greatest vested interest in our kids’ education, parents in California have historically NOT had a meaningful role in education policy decisions and have NOT engaged in the electoral process – even when the results have a direct impact on our children.

*In 2013 barely 1 in 5 registered voters cast ballots in the school board election, and fewer than 4 out of 10 voters were under age 55.

Parents, we’ve basically been ABSENT from the vote. We intend to change that!

We believe parents can be a powerful force for change if we unite and use our collective voice in our schools, communities and at the ballot box. We invite all parents from all types of schools. Our only “special interest” is our collective children.

If you believe that parent voices matter, please become a Speak UP member
(it’s FREE to join) and take our survey so you can help drive our agenda. We’re also looking for parent leaders and ambassadors to work closely with us in your communities.

Let’s spread this movement. Join us today!
http://www.speakupparents.org

Facebook page: /SpeakUpUnitedParents
Twitter: @SpeakUpParents

And no, I’m not abandoning you, I’ll still be offering all things GoMamaGuide. 😉

LAUSD 2016-17 Calendar Is Set!

LAUSD logo

After a prolonged study weighing costs and data results, the proposal of 6 different options, much deliberating, negotiating, as well as the failed “telephonic survey” which attempted to capture parent input, the LAUSD School Board has decided the instructional calendar NOT for the next 3 years as anticipated, but for the 2016-17 school year only. And just what is their decision, you ask with baited breath?

Well, basically, it’s the same Early Start calendar as this year.

Because if after all the data drilling, surveying, bargaining, and deliberating you can’t make a decision, just delay it (again) and keep the status quo. (Insert emoji of your choice here.)

At least we have a decision and everyone can make plans.

Announcing the LAUSD 2016-17 Calendar:

First day of school Tuesday, Aug 16, 2016
1 week Thanksgiving Break Nov 21-15, 2016
Semester ends Fri, Dec 16, 2016
3 week Winter Break Dec 17, 2016- Jan 8, 2017
2nd semester begins Mon, Jan 9, 2017
1 week Spring Break- April 10-14, 2017
Last day of school Friday, June 9, 2017

(2017-18 and 2018-19 to be determined later.)

If you’re interested in learning the results of the District Survey from September, 2015, click HERE.

More than 58,000 parents and employees responded to the (glitchy) phone survey in September. Total responses from parents and employees (54,236) reflect elimination of duplicates and unverified responses.

On the first spreadsheet, according to the data listed LAUSD received 41,345 Survey Responses from Parents.

542,433 students are currently enrolled in LAUSD, according to its own Fingertip Facts. That’s not a high turnout by anyone’s standards.

By comparison, 7,684 Employees responded of 59,823 District Employees. (12.8% participation)

*Remember, the 101,060 students currently enrolled in Indie Charters are not impacted by LAUSD calendar decisions as those schools have the autonomy to create their own calendars.

Well the show is over folks, you can get on with it. At least for now. Stay tuned for the repeat engagement next year.

Click for more info:
Calendar Press Release
Calendar Survey Results
LAUSD Fingertip Facts

Michelle King Selected As New LAUSD Superintendent

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.40.05 PMAfter an exhaustive and arduous search, the LAUSD School Board has voted in our new leader, former Deputy Superintendent, former Local District Supe, former admin, principal, teacher and LAUSD graduate, Michelle King.

One of the questions that continues to swirl around her is will she be a visionary leader who boldly goes after solving any of the many problems that plague the district, or will she be a placater spouting platitudes about “building pathways” and “educational outcomes” that lead to “student success.” Only time will tell.

So I’ll leave you with this Hillel Aron LA Weekly piece, and re-quote from it with what I feel are spot-on observations:

“Either we keep doing what we’re doing, which is blaming charter schools as the reason for declining enrollment, or we really roll up our sleeves and figure it out,” Rodriguez concedes. Which is why some are wondering if maybe the board should have chosen more of a visionary than Michelle King.

“The exodus to charter schools is the biggest indicator that parents have lost faith in the district,” says Nicholas Melvoin, a former LAUSD teacher, who’s now a lawyer and school reform advocate. For the school board to value unanimity in making decisions, he says, “doesn’t mean anything. I’d rather have 4-to-3 board votes — and know that the district is innovating.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Take the LAUSD Calendar Survey Today!

CalSurvey

Hey LAUSD Parents,

It’s bigger than a pop quiz! This survey will help decide the fate of our school calendar (First Day of School, Last Day of School, Holiday Breaks) for next fall and through 2019!

Your voice counts – please participate in the survey.

Online survey available NOW through Dec 6th.

Five little questions with big implications.

Click HERE to Do It Now!

Here’s your test prep:

2016-19 LAUSD Instructional Calendar Survey Questions

Question 1: In your opinion, the school year should start:

  1. Early August
  2. Mid-August
  3. Late August
  4. After Labor Day
  5. It does not matter to me.

Question 2: The winter break should be:

  1. Two weeks
  2. Three weeks
  3. It does not matter to me.

Question 3: The District should explore a different, “modified early August” calendar. This option provides a four-week intervention during a shortened summer break. In addition, the winter break would be extended by four weeks to provide interventions. The winter break would last about seven weeks.

  1. I strongly agree
  2. I somewhat agree
  3. I neither agree or disagree
  4. I somewhat disagree
  5. I strongly disagree

Question 4: It is important that both elementary and secondary schools follow the same calendar.

  1.  I strongly agree
  2.  I somewhat agree
  3.  I neither agree or disagree
  4.  I somewhat disagree
  5.  I strongly disagree

Question 5: The first semester should end before the winter break.

  1. I strongly agree
  2. I somewhat agree
  3. I neither agree or disagree
  4. I somewhat disagree
  5. I strongly disagree

Ok, now you know what the questions are. Get to the SURVEY and get it done!

Splash page with links to a deep dive of additional info HERE

SITE: http://achieve.lausd.net/schoolcalendars

Please note: “Survey opinions will inform Los Angeles Board of Education members when voting to approve the calendar. Their decision will cover the next three years.” It will still come down to the School Board vote.