Choices Accept/Decline Deadline Extended One Week; Waitlisted Webinar Weds April 7

Heads up! LAUSD has extended the Choices Accept/Decline Deadline by one week to Friday, April 16th. That means that those lucky winners have more time to mull over their offers, head over to their dashboard, and make their decisions. It also means that you waitlisted folks will be hanging on a week longer, because those lists won’t start to move now until AFTER April 16th. Waitlists will continue to move through the spring, summer, and up through the 4th week of school.

(LAUSD “Fall” start date still tbd…Aug 3, Aug 10, Aug 17??? Stay tuned. Or read THIS.)

In the interim, I have rescheduled my WAITLISTED? Now What! webinar for Wednesday, April 7th at 12p. In this 60 minute webinar, I’ll walk you through how to navigate multiple offers in multiple categories, how certain offers impact other offers, what happens when you’re waitlisted everywhere, late offers, creating a back-up plan, and basically how to mentally prep for and survive LA’s public school Lotterypalooza. This is a live event and I will be taking your questions. *Recommended for all lottery-playing parents.

Waitlisted! Now What?
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 12p

$35

Grab your seat HERE.

Middle School Webinar This Thurs 12p

Thought Choosing a Kinder was hard? Yikes, Middle School!
Seats still available for this Thursday’s Middle School Madness webinar.

In this 60 minute live webinar we’ll break it all down. When to begin the process, Magnets and “That Point Strategy” demystified, Charters and other specialized programs, and we’ll talk about ‘tween fit. Live Q&A. *Strongly Recommended for 2nd-5th grade parents! 

Grab your seat HERE.

Can’t make the live event? Need to go over it again? No worries.
A pre-paid ticket* gets you the replay for a full 7 days afterward. 

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. ❤

eChoices Update

Hi Guys,

Please watch my latest update on the eChoices lottery results, including how and where to check, what happens if you win something, and when you need to respond by. I’ve been asked the same questions by a lot of you guys, so I thought I’d answer them for everyone in this video. Take a look.

Best of luck to everyone. Please stay safe. Be well.  -Tanya

 

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

 

 

SUPERSTAR! Endorsement

Quote

 

Tanya is brilliant. She made Los Angeles feel so wide open to me in a way I’ve never experienced. Run don’t walk to have her help you.  — Molly Shannon

I haven’t updated my testimonials page in years and frankly, I don’t put much thought into it anymore. But sometimes you meet with a client, and they are so exceedingly relieved and happy after we curate a list of potential schools together and work out a school plan, that they literally write up the quote and send it to you, insisting you have it. That happened this week, so I am sharing it with you. Thank you Molly. The pleasure was all mine!

I can honestly say that, first of all, I love what I do. I love working with you guys and showing you a way through a potentially stressful process.

And I also stand by my quote in The Hollywood Reporter, below. From my vantage point, the Varsity Blues scandal has absolutely impacted the school landscape, as some private school families quite literally are exploring their public school options for the very first time. Interesting times, indeed.

Hmm. Imagine if Mary Katherine Gallagher ditched her Catholic schoolgirl uniform for pajama bottoms and a hoodie and went to a local LA high school… There’s a whole world of sketch comedy in there for sure!

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!

 

Is It Luck or Just Good Strategic Guidance?

I don’t normally post about my client sessions because, well, they’re private. What happens in a one-on-one consultation stays in a one-on-one consultation. It’s not Vegas but we do create a safe container together.

But I want to share this story today (anonymously of course), because so many people come to me thinking they’ll never get into any good schools, it’s too competitive, too complicated, too this or too that, or they don’t have any points, and what’s even the point?

The point is, you can’t get in if you don’t apply!

And with good strategic advice, you can still do quite nicely if you have an open mind, do your due diligence, and follow through with good school guidance.

This particular client came to me in March. Well after all the school lottery deadlines had passed.

Magnets? Passed.
Dual Language Programs? Passed.
Charter lotteries? All passed.
Gifted/SAS programs? Also passed.

She was nervous. She thought she had messed up.

Undeterred, I worked with her based on her general area (Central/East) and created a strategic plan for her son. Based on my recommendations she submitted late applications in every category. Today on our third call together, she lets me know that she has received FIVE OFFERS! All tuition-free public school options. Five schools to mull over and make decisions about.

FIVE!

Magnet? – check!
Another even later Magnet? – check!
Dual Language? – check!
Charter? – check!
SAS? – check!
Open Enrollment? – pretty sure that’s going to become a check too!

Probably SIX by the time it’s all over and done with.

She says, “you saved my son’s life.”

And I say, ” Aw, I’m so happy to be able to help you.”

I’m sharing this with you to give you hope. There is always a way, no matter what the situation is, no matter what time of year it is, or what part of town. And while I can’t guarantee you’ll get into “that” school, or even more than two schools, I do know that together we can work to make a plan, go over your options, and figure it out.

And if you’re still out there hung on a couple of waitlists, don’t panic. It’s still early. There’s at least 4 schools on this client’s list alone that will have another opening very soon, as her son can only attend one of these schools. Multiply that by all the parents making school decisions. So stay strong. Those waitlists are moving. And there’s always a way through…

And another thing. If you’re lucky enough to get multiple school offers, don’t be that parent. Once you’ve made your decision, please, pah-leeez make sure you go back to the rejected school(s) to let them know you will not be attending, so they can release that empty seat to someone else. Trust me, someone you don’t even know will be silently thanking you.

[I wrote more about that HERE]

Thanks everyone. Stay strong. I’m so glad we had this little chat.

For further assistance:
In-Home Consultations
Phone Consultations

 

 

 

 

 

Get Savvy on College Funding with SmartTrack!

Are you freaking out about college tuition? 

Wondering how to pay for college without losing your home or your retirement?

For many of us just thinking about it brings up feelings of dread and inadequacy. Perhaps downright denial as the cost of college tuition keeps spiraling upward at an ever increasing rate.

Folks, rather than bury your head in the sand, it’s time to get pro-active and take a look at where you stand and how to optimize your financial situation – whatever it is – to get the most out of the college financial application process.

And while I’m an expert on navigating K-12 public school options, I’m still learning when it comes to financial planning towards college. That’s why I went to SmartTrack College Funding to work with the experts, who reviewed my financial picture and set me straight.

For instance, here’s a little shocker I learned.

Did you know that the generous savings account your grandparents set up for your kids and fund every year will actually be factored into your Expected Family Contribution (EFC – the amount you will be asked to pay for tuition based on your entire financial picture) at 20%, but if it was held in YOUR name it will only be factored at 5%?*

(Oops, sorry kids. Your account is MINE now!)

That’s just one of the many things I learned after working with my SmartTrack College Funding Coach, who helped me know which assets to move around and where, in order to minimize the sting of what colleges will expect me to hand over to them for tuition.

*Caveat: Before you start moving money around, you really need to check in with your SmartTrack College Funding Coach for the best strategies that work for your particular financial situation. To get started with your FREE assessment, use this special link.

I can hear you now, “But it’s WAAAAYYYYY too early to be thinking about that stuff, I mean, I just got my kid into middle school. We don’t even know where he’s going to high school, let alone college!!”

Folks, the prep time comes earlier than you think. (Are you listening my middle school families?)

So I sat down with Cyndi Menegaz of SmartTrack and had a little chat about all of this college financial planning intel. She’s got a lot of great info and a special deal for my GoMamaGuide families. Take a look:


Video Link: https://youtu.be/6-iK2GAmetM

Don’t despair, get prepared. Get SmartTrack.

They’ll help you figure out:

• How to pay for college
• How to pay LESS for college (yes!)
• How to maximize merit and financial aid

Don’t pay “retail” tuition. Learn how to mitigate red flags in your financial profile and lower your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) tuition calculation. Get help with your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Utilize SmartTrack’s online suite of college funding tools and handy resources, and work with a personalized SmartTrack College Funding Coach who will walk you through the financial process to save you money.

Schedule your FREE 15 min call! 818-552-0800 and mention GoMamaGuide.

To get started, sign in to your FREE SmartTrack account at:

https://collegefundingkit.com/gomama

**Specifically targeted for my 8th-10th grade families, but it’s never too early to prepare. Call for your FREE assessment today. 

Guys, your kids will be doing SAT/ACT test prep, they’ll be doing college essay prep, and parents if you’re smart, you’ll be going to SmartTrack to do financial prep.

Or, you could skip this step and just hand over all your hard-earned $$$$ to tuition!