Help! Which (Confusing) Magnet Selector Do I Choose?

Hey guys, I’ve been getting this Magnet question A LOT so let me share this loud and wide:

When you log into your parent account to submit your eChoices application, next to each child there is a pull-down menu.

Select “Magnet/PWT” Magnet:PWT Selectorand “Apply” and it will take you to the actual application.

If, however, you select “Magnet Space Available” – you will be applying for programs that are currently under-enrolled and have space THIS YEAR RIGHT NOW, so don’t select that option unless that’s your end goal, or you could be accepted like, immediately.

Once you are on the actual 2016-17 Magnet application you can finish filling out your choices.

MagnetchoicesRemember, you can submit your Magnet application and then go back and amend it as often as you like up until the Friday, November 13th 5pm deadline.

Um, does LAUSD deliberately make this process more difficult than it needs to be?
I mean, aren’t there like 500-gazillion parents putting in a Magnet app and only a small percentage who even qualify for, let alone know what PWT is? And BTW that Core Waiver/PSMCP has also been phased out unless you’re already on one. But I digress…

Ok, glad we cleared that up.

PS Smart Tip: Get Informed and Participate

ItsYourSchlDon’t be one of those 90-some % of the population who don’t take the time to find out who their school board leaders are, then complain when they vote to cut your school’s budget, beloved teachers, or music and art programs. Or co-locate your school. Or relocate your school. Or close you down. Or convert your school to another kind of school altogether, without your input.

We sometimes tend to think THEY did this to US, not realizing that WE-the-people put THEM in the seat of power to begin with. And there are WAY more parents of school-aged children than unions or special interests in this town. It’s just that the majority of school parents have typically been mute when it comes to local voter turnout.
These are OUR schools, and our local school board reps are OUR elected officials. Don’t let someone else decide it. Know who you’re putting in the driver’s seat of your child’s school experience. Ask questions. Participate. Learn. Vote.
Did you know that school board reps have discretionary funds for school improvements, upgrades or pet projects? Did you also know that as an ally, your school board rep can look out for your school in a myriad of ways? Take the time to get to know the candidates and make the smart choice for your child’s education. Regardless who you vote for, the main thing is to actually vote.

PS Smart Tip: Be Your Own Best Advocate

This is from a dad I met at a recent talk:

“I went to the prospective parent meeting last month at our elementary school and the misinformation and confusion (about enrollment info) was unsettling to say the least. I’m quickly learning that, as in healthcare, if you are not your own advocate, you (and your kids) are completely screwed.”

I personally refuse to take a fatalistic approach about it all, although yes, I also have plenty of dark thoughts towards the LAUSD machine. However, I personally feel empowered to gather information, speak out, and stay on top of things. We tend to forget that these are OUR schools, OUR kids, OUR tax money. When parents make noise, and are aware of what’s going on, they can’t be so misguided or pushed around. It’s when we stay blind, deaf, immobilized with fear and passivity, that’s when we are controlled and pushed around, thus, as you put it, screwed.

Believe me, with our kids’ education at stake, this IS personal and WE ARE the best advocates they have. Count on it!

Stay strong and carry on! Be vigilant and it will all work out.

I find that a cocktail here or there tends to help.

PS Smart Tip: Transformation Begins With Visualization

Exhale Stress and Worry… Inhale Joy, Inspiration and a Vision of The Highest

Take in a deep cleansing breath and visualize your children among other children, in happy nurturing environments, excited to be amongst good-hearted caring people, with inspired lessons and wonderful opportunities for learning. Hold this vision for your children, your school, your community.

Collectively these are our schools. And we are creating them, shaping them, as we lean into and visualize the need. And as we fill them with our collective love and care and nurturing, they will soar. And despite the economic downturn, despite all you might hear in the press, many already are. And many more are opening, transforming, filling the need for something new. Because of all of us, together, holding the vision, asking for and creating change. For our collective children. For our future. Because we love them. Because we care.

Because we are all inter-related; not one apart from the other.

So let’s hold the highest vision of possible school, and in joy, bring it into fulfillment.

And trust with all this school stuff, it’s gonna be alright!

Because it is.

PS Smart Tip: What If We Don’t Like The Teacher We Got?

(I received this question at the start of the school year but it bears repeating.) 


Unfortunately, many schools adopt a hands-off policy when it comes to teacher-student assignments, and frown upon parents campaigning and angling for a specific teacher. When the teacher assignment list goes out, it is usually final. You really are at the mercy of the classroom your child gets, or talking to the principal to see if there is any way you could make a change, but only if it’s based on some tangible, specific circumstance or need.
If school hasn’t started yet and you don’t really know what the teacher is like, (ie. your fears are based on rumors or gossip), perhaps take a wait-and-see approach to find out if your child does OK with the teacher. Sometimes the situation will surprise you and your child actually ends up adjusting to and liking the teacher after things settle down into the routine of school life.
If things still don’t feel comfortable, maybe you could volunteer in the classroom to offer support where needed and keep an eye on the situation. If you do happen to hear something disturbing coming from your child or witness an egregious incident, start taking notes and log what is happening with dates and times. Then go with your notes to the principal to discuss a solution. If need be, go to your local district superiors and file a report.
In any case, this might be a first in a long line of potential life lessons you can help guide your child through. We’ve all had to deal with a boss or co-worker who doesn’t communicate well or has a tricky personality. Learning to be adaptable, learning how to get a long, managing differing expectations with different personalities are all life skills worth learning.

Summer FREE Activities for Kids

Greetings Friends!

I thought I’d re-post this from the June GoMamaGuidance newsletter so all those links are fresh and handy… -T

With only 2 short days left of the LAUSD school year, we’re just about ready to exclaim “we made it!” Yeah. School’s (almost) out for summer! For some of you, it already is. Enjoy it while you can because this will be the shortest summer break ever. Just 8 weeks until that mid-August return. Time to dust off that barbecue, polish off some libations and celebrate the close of another school year.

Are you having a staycation rather than a vacation this summer? No worries, here’s some FREE activities for the kids to keep them busy.

Wondering what the best beaches are in LA?

Get your kids signed up for summer reading plans and win prizes at your public library:

Brush up on some math:

Or have fun with other subjects:

Or do some cool science experiments:

Or make your own word cloud:

As always, for a more timely stream of breaking and relevant public school news, connect up with us on the GoMamaGuide Facebook page where you’ll be updated in real time and where we can bandy about those questions, comments and concerns of yours as a group.

Thanks for being a part of this wonderful community of families!

Enjoy the summer while you have it!


PS Smart Tip: Being Pro-Active

No school is perfect, and no school can provide all things to all people. But many times we as parents are the first to see or hear things, either directly on campus or through our children, that could use a tweak, a solution, or an all-out revamping. Now is not the time to sit idly by and expect someone else to solve it.
Ask questions, talk to others, take a quick meeting with your teacher to find out their perspective and discuss possible solutions, and if you don’t get resolution, talk to the principal. Perhaps you’ve got ideas and some strategic planning or creative problem-solving will fix the issue. Sometimes just letting others know there is a problem that needs addressing is enough to get something adjusted or changed. Sometimes we can solve things in-house, and sometimes we have to take it all the way to our School Board Rep or Superintendent or even the press.
We tend to forget that these are our schools, our children, our tax dollars. Although others might be “in charge,” when all stakeholders work together collectively and collaboratively, that’s where real community can be built and positive change can take place.

PS Smart Tip: The Pink Slip

We interrupt this month’s PS Smart Tip to honor the thousands of teachers and staff (11,700 to be exact) who just received their pink slips.
In honor of these men and women who spend their days surrounded with our kids, whose futures look shaky in this time of uncertainty, we offer you this libation. I know it’s not a job, but it’s sweet, it’s tart, it’s bitter and packs a deadly punch…
Here’s to you and to all you do. Clink.
The Pink Slip
1 1/2 oz premium vodka
1 1/2 oz fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
3 shakes of bitters (Peychaud’s)
1/4 oz of simple syrup (or to taste)
lemon twist garnish
Shake with ice and strain into sugar-rimmed martini glass.

PS Smart Tip: Teen/Tween Netiquette

Between the iPods, iPads, laptops, mobile phones and reading devices there’s a plethora of digi-fun at our fingertips. Apps, games, digipix, videos, shopping, texting, web-browsing and social connecting…it’s a whole new world that’s sucking in more and more of our time and becoming a way of life. We love it, so why shouldn’t our kids get in on the fun?

I’m all for tech toys but when it comes to our children, we still need to exercise good judgement and set age-appropriate boundaries. Put limits on screen time, use the parent controls and timers, and monitor the sites your child is visiting. As for texting, it seems like a free-for-all especially with the free texting apps that don’t require a phone, but it’s important to teach good manners and remind your children that every text leaves a digital footprint that can come back and bite you if you’re not careful. Texts can sometimes be misinterpreted and over-texting, sending multiple texts in a row without waiting for a response, is annoying at best and invasive and downright rude at worst. There’s a time and place for our gadgets. Let’s teach our children to use them respectfully and judiciously.

PS Smart Tip: Tame Your Willful Child With Teamwork

 Is your child testing boundaries, talking back to you or showing signs of self-serving behavior at the expense of others? One way to temper these eruptions is to get them involved in team sports where they will have a safe space to channel and release their pent-up feelings and stresses through regular physical exercise. In addition to the obvious health benefits, children will also learn discipline, goal-setting, good sportsmanship, teamwork and respect for the coach, the game, and other players. Hopefully they will build new and lasting connections to their teammates, and gain a sense of confidence and accomplishment as they grow throughout the season.

While it’s important for each of us to feel empowered as an individual, it is equally important to learn to work collaboratively and see our unique contribution as it adds to the whole. Organized sports offer a great opportunity for our kids to get out of their own heads for a while, work towards specific goals, and practice teamwork.