LAUSD 2017-18 School Calendar

lausd-2017-18-calendarWhen there’s so many pressing issues facing the Los Angeles Unified School District, it’s always good to trot out the calendar dilemma and go for a re-vote. So when, exactly, does school start next year? Here’s the low down for LAUSD students (including neighborhood schools, magnets, affiliated converted charters, language immersions and SAS programs):

First Day of School: August 15, 2017
Thanksgiving Break: November 23-24, 2017
Winter Break: Dec 18, 2017-Jan 5, 2018
Spring Break: Mar 26-30, 2018
Last Day of School: June 7, 2018

Calendar good for one year only. Look for a future vote on this never-ending debate.

*Independent charters can set their own calendars so dates will likely be different.

2017-18 Calendar

Oh, and for those already looking ahead to summer break, the last day of school this year will be Friday, June 9, 2017. You’re welcome. 😉

LAUSD logo

Charter Schools: What You Need to Know

by Tanya Anton | GoMamaGuide.com [Updated from a previous version.]

Now that it’s Charter Season, we want you to be prepared. In this article we’ll cover some basics and a few specifics you should know about charter schools.Charter Draft

First, it bears repeating that California is at the forefront of the charter movement with more students enrolled in charter schools here than anywhere else in the country. There are 23,000 101,060* 199,863* students enrolled in charter schools in Los Angeles County alone, and 49,840* on waitlists. Nearly 1 in every 4 students within LAUSD attend charters, and that number is growing every year.

*updated for the 2016 school year according to CCSA.org  

Charters are tuition-free semi-independent, somewhat autonomous schools operating with public funds, authorized by either the local school district, the county, or the state board of ed. Charters get their name from the lengthy legal document that outlines the many facets of the operation of their charter school – from the vision to curriculum to staffing to governance to fiscal, academic and campus procedures.

Some charters are chains of schools replicated on multiple sites run by large charter management organizations (CMOs), and others are small individual school start-ups launched by an ad-hoc group of parents, educators, visionaries and entrepreneurs with a shared vision of providing an alternative model of education.

All charters in California have to follow federal law, state ed codes, teach grade level content standards, and participate in standardized testing.

In Los Angeles There Are Two Types of Charters

Independent charters have the most autonomy to operate with full flexibility on staff hiring and firing (they don’t typically use the UTLA teachers contract so they are non-union), can make their own decisions in terms of budget, governance, overall school direction and operation, and are unaffected by district budget cuts or policy changes. Unless they are extremely well-endowed and can afford their own building, most independent charters apply for classroom space via Prop 39 and are given a minimum number of classrooms co-located on the side of another LAUSD neighborhood school campus. In recent years this process has been fraught with political infighting and less than transparent negotiations when it comes to which campuses have space, which do not, and which programs get offered which space. The current school board climate has been at times downright hostile to charters, thus severely limiting their ability to operate and serve students, let alone grow to accommodate their waitlists. Highly sought-after charters can sometimes have wait lists in the hundreds each year. 

The other type of charter is the affiliated conversion charter – schools that were a traditional neighborhood school that “went charter” after 51% or more of the staff voted to convert to charter status. More of a hybrid, these charters have some autonomy on teaching, curriculum and textbooks, some budgetary flexibility with monies they get directly from the state, but are bound by UTLA/LAUSD policy on things like teacher contracts (must hire UTLA teachers therefore subject to seniority and bumping rights), and are affected by district decisions such as class size increases, calendar changes, or lateral reductions in specific staff positions and programs. Think of them as a neighborhood school with some autonomy perks. Affiliated charters may have less autonomy than the independent charter, but more importantly they get to keep their facility (building), and must give enrollment priority to those who reside within the neighborhood attendance area. So the only way to assure enrollment, is to reside within the footprint. Many conversion charters are so full of neighborhood kids that few remaining seats ever go up for lottery, and if they do, hundreds of students may apply for them and be waitlisted.

In terms of applying to charters, anyone from any district may apply, and you may apply to as many charters as you like. Enrollment for independent charters is drawn by public lottery, which you can be present for or not. Independent charters give priority enrollment to founding families if it’s a start-up, staff members, and usually siblings of current students. Some charters will also give priority to those who reside within the local school district (LAUSD), a specific nearby school attendance zone, or to those who qualify for the Free/Reduced Lunch program. Affiliated charters must give priority to residents first, then non-residents. Each charter application process and lottery is overseen and run independently by each school site.

Built-in Academic Accountability

Unlike a neighborhood school that can fail year after year and nothing is done about it, charter schools face a renewal process every 4-5 years where in order to continue to stay open they are reviewed and voted on by their authorizing board. They MUST meet state requirements or they can be in jeopardy of being shut down. This can, and has happened to some charter schools.

Many charters (but not all) have had excellent academic results. Some are able to offer smaller class sizes, and a smaller overall student body size which can lead to greater individual attention and student success. Some offer alternative models of education that might fit better for some children than the traditional district model. However, sometimes due to space constraints this is at the expense of other “peripheral programs” or enrichments, such as visual or performing arts, an instrumental music program, PE or sports or outdoor green space, or a dedicated lunchroom or cafeteria, or even a library.

Not all charters outperform neighborhood schools. In fact, most recent numbers show that charters, on average, aren’t performing that much better than district schools. Some are, some aren’t. It really depends on the school.

Charters Offer Alternatives to the Traditional District Model
One thing charter schools do offer is a panoply of educational options, ranging from strictly college-prep academic, to crunchy-granola progressive schools, to language immersions, to STEM-focused (science, tech, engineering, math), to developmental project-based co-constuctivist leanings, to pumped-up traditional schools whose only difference to the garden-variety district model is a nicer demeanor, more enrichments and curricular flexibility. But there are plenty of choices. If the traditional neighborhood school is not meeting the needs of your child, there’s a whole range of charter schools out there to explore.

Prop 39 Co-Locations
Charter schools apply for District space every year via Prop 39 which requires districts to provide classroom space to charter schools. Due to space limitations, many charters are co-located on the side of another district school campus, housed in a set of temporary bungalows, or a side wing of another campus. Sometimes they share facilities, and sometimes charter schools opt for private space and set up in a church, a business park, or even a strip mall. Accordingly, the space limitations can be less than ideal. There might not be a library, or sports field for PE and recess, or an auditorium for assemblies, performances, or graduation, or even a dedicated lunchroom or cafeteria. Sometimes having a (non-union/non-district) charter on the same campus as a traditional district-union school can cause friction and a literal turf war. Sometimes co-locations can work in a collaborative way, but many times (especially of late) the schools like siblings, fight and campaign against each other, politically-speaking, pitting families against one another.

Still, charters are not going away and they provide much-needed options where district schools have failed kids. And, many of them are extremely successful. And, despite allegations otherwise, most LA charters are not-for-profit.

What makes a charter great? Could be an innovative teaching model, collaborative learning, special partnerships, flexible learning environment, enthusiastic teachers, motivated students and a great community of like-minded families. No two charter schools are alike. One must really do one’s research, tour and apply directly at each school site you’re interested in, as there is no one-stop centralized application process that covers all your charter options.

Charter Highlights:
-Can apply to as many as you like
-Apply directly at each school site
-Each school site maintains its own lottery and timeline/deadlines
-Some make you attend a mandatory open house/tour before you can apply
-Some allow you to apply online site unseen
-Conversion charters give priority to residents within the attendance area
-Each charter has its own lottery priorities: founding families, staff, siblings (sometimes)
-Some also give a priority to LAUSD residents, if you qualify for Free/Reduced Lunch program (Title 1), or come from a certain feeder school
-Charters means commuting (no transportation provided)
-No accumulating wait list or points
-Must reapply yearly if you don’t get in

What are the charters in your area? Please consult my color-coded maps on the school finder page of my website. Charters are marked in green.

Or book a consultation with me and together we’ll go over all your charter options.
In-personPhone.

Or check out the California Charter Schools Assoc for more info.

Want to use this article? You can as long as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
 
Tanya Anton is the creator of GoMamaGuide.com helping parents demystify and navigate their public school options in Los Angeles. To read more articles by Tanya or to learn about her Guidebooks, House Chats, Consultations, and Seminars, visit GoMamaGuide.com or email us at GoMama@mac.com.
© 2017 by Tanya Anton, GoMamaGuide.com All Rights Reserved. 

2016 Charter Deadlines Are Happening!

Charter SchlsHey folks, it’s Charter Season, meaning if you’re looking for charter school options for the Fall of 2016-17, NOW is the time to get those applications in!

Each charter school is responsible for running their own admissions process and application timeline, so be sure to check with the charter schools you are interested in to get all the specific details. If you applied and were waitlisted last year, you need to apply again this year. (Luckily there are no points to worry about!)

To make things easy for you, I have compiled a list of some of the more asked about charters. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it’s a good place to start. Use my maps. And as I always recommend:

Tour.  Ask Questions.  Apply.  Repeat.

Most charters give preference to siblings of existing students*, and many charters offer other priorities such as to founding families or staff members, students residing within LAUSD or even a specific LAUSD school attendance area, or students who qualify for the Free/Reduced Meal Plan. To be sure, read the fine print on the application.

* LAUSD has recently removed the sibling preference from the boilerplate charter language that must be included in all Affiliated Conversion renewals.

To learn more about what a charter school is, go HERE.
To learn more about affiliated conversion charters, go HERE.
To peruse my color-coded school finder maps, go HERE. (Charters are in green.)

OK. OK already. Here are the Lists.
(Remember these are by no means exhaustive. Do your research!)

Charter Elementary Schools
Charter Middle Schools

2016 Charter Deadlines – Elementary Schools

2016 Charter Deadlines – Elementary Schools

Not an exhaustive list. Please view my school finder maps.
All schools grades K-5 unless otherwise noted.

West:
Citizens of the World Charter/Mar Vista (TK-5) – apps/apply online, deadline Feb 22 5p, lottery Mar 7 6p
MV tours: Feb 17 6:30p
www.cwcmarvista.org

Goethe — apps avail online, deadline Mar 25 4:30p, lottery Apr 5 6p
tours: Feb 11, 18, Mar 1, 10
www.goethecharterschool.org

Ocean Charter School (TK-8) — apps closed, deadline Jan 29, lottery Feb 24 10a @MV Campus
ongoing info tours
www.oceancharterschool.org

WISH (TK-8) —  call school for more lottery info
tours: EL: Feb 10, Mar 9
www.wishcharter.org

Canyon Charter – priority given to residents, remaining seats up for lottery
apps avail now in each office, deadline Mar 14 12p, lottery Mar 18 8:30a
http://www.canyoncharter.com/resources/files/Canyon_Lottery2016.pdf

Kenter Canyon – priority given to residents, remaining seats up for lottery
Apps avail online or apply in person beginning Feb 16, deadline Apr 8 12p, Lottery Apr 22 8:30a
http://kentercanyon.org/lottery-information/

Marquez Charter – priority given to residents, remaining seats up for lottery
for lottery info, tour dates and to RSVP call 310-454-4019
http://marquezcharter.org/registration

Palisades Charter – priority given to residents, remaining seats up for lottery
tours: Feb 9, Mar 1, Apr 5, Jun 6 8:45a – call school for deadlines
palielementary.org/lottery.php

Topanga Charter – priority given to residents, remaining seats up for lottery
Tours: Feb 4, 25 9a – call school for deadlines
www.topangaelementary.org/admissions.html

Westwood Charter – priority given to residents, remaining seats, if any, up for lottery
Apps avail Feb 8, deadline Apr 8, lottery Apr 29
www.westwoodcharter.org/lottery-information

Valley:
Chime Institute (K-8) — apps avail online now, deadline Mar 4 3p, lottery tbd
tours: Feb 3, 5, 12, 17, 29, Mar 6 9a
www.chimeinstitute.org

iLEAD Encino (formerly CalSTEAM) (TK-9) – apps avail on site, deadline Mar 11, lottery Mar 25
tours: Feb 3
ileadencino.org/prospective-families

Our Community School (K-8) —  apps avail online now, deadline for K: Mar 4, deadline for Gr 1-8: May 27
Lottery for K: Mar 11 11a, Gr 1-8: Jun 3 11a
tours: Feb 10, Mar 9, Apr 13, May 4 8a
ourcommunityschool.org

Valley Charter Schl (K-8) — apps avail online now, deadline Feb 5 4p, lottery Feb 19
tours: call 818.810.6713
elementary.valleycharterschool.org
 
Central:
Citizens of the World Charter/Hollywood – apps avail now, deadline Feb 24 5p, lottery Mar 9 6p
tours: Feb 4, 19 9a, , Feb 4 6:30p
cwchollywood.org

Larchmont Charter/Hwd/WeHo (TK-12) —  one application for all campuses
apps avail online now, deadline Feb 17 5p, lottery Feb 27 9a
tours: see website
larchmontcharter.org

East:
Citizens of the World Charter/Silver Lk (TK-6) – apps avail online now, deadline Mar 1 5p, lottery Mar 15 5:30p
tours: call
cwcsilverlake.org

Gabriela Charter (K-8) – apps avail online now, deadline Mar 3 6p, lottery Mar 17 6p
tours: call
gabriellacharterschool.org

Los Feliz Charter Schl Arts (TK-6) — apps avail online now, deadline Feb 24, lottery Mar 3 3p
tours: Feb 10, 18 9a full
www.losfelizarts.org

Other:
SMASH (K-8) — apps avail online, deadline Mar 18, lottery early April (priority given to Santa Monica residents)
tours: Mondays at 9a
www.smash.smmusd.org

— Be sure to check out my Middle Schools List too!

As always, if you are troubled, confused or need guidance, I am happy to help. Together we’ll go over all your charter options. In-personPhone.

2016 Charter Deadlines – Middle Schools

2016 Charter Deadlines – Middle Schools

Not an exhaustive list. Please view my school finder maps.
All schools grades 6-8 unless otherwise noted.

West:
Animo WS MS — apps avail online for wait list, deadline Dec 1 4p, lottery Dec 10 6p
tours: Call 323.565.3251
www.greendot.org/page.cfm?p=3990

The City School (6-9+) — apps avail online, deadline Mar 10 11:59p, lottery Mar 17 4p
tours: Feb 18 7p
www.citycharterschool.org

Emerson Community Charter School – priority given to residents; non-residents may also apply
Apps avail online for non-res, deadling Apr 15, lottery Apr 17
tours: Mar 10, Apr 21 EmersonToursRSVP@gmail.com
https://emersonms-lausd-ca.schoolloop.com/enrollment

Magnolia Science Academy 4 (6-12) — apps avail online now
tours: call 310.473.2464
msa4.magnoliascience.org

Magnolia Science Academy 6 — apps avail online now
tours: call 310.842.8555
msa6.magnoliascience.org

New LA Charter — apps avail in person, deadline Mar 4 6:30p, lottery Mar 10 6:30p
tours: Feb 20 3p, 25 7p and Mar 4 6:30p
www.newlosangeles.org

New West Charter (6-12) — mandatory tour Jan 30 @SaMoHi, deadline Feb 19, mandatory verification Mar 19, 21 or 22, lottery Apr 6
www.newwestcharter.org

Ocean Charter School (DK-8) — late wait list apps avail at office, deadline Jan 29, lottery Feb 24 10a
Post lottery apps avail online
www.oceancharterschool.org

Paul Revere Charter (priority given to residents, remaining seats up for lottery) —  deadline Jan 15 12p, lottery Feb 10 9a – **can apply for the non-resident late wait list
www.paulreverems.com

Westchester Secondary Charter (6-12) — apps avail online, deadline Mar 18 5p, lottery Mar 21 5p
tours: Jan 13, Feb 17 9a, Feb 23 6p
www.westchestercharter.org

WISH (TK-8) —  call school for more lottery info
tours: Feb 9 9:30a, Mar 8 6p
www.wishmiddle.org

Other/Pilot school:
Incubator School (6-10+)– apps avail online now
tours: ongoing – sign up online
www.incubatorschool.org

Valley:
Chime Institute (K-8) — apps avail online, deadline Mar 6 3p, lottery tbd
tours: Feb 13, 20, Mar 6 9a
www.chimeinstitute.org

Millikan Charter Academies — apps avail online, deadline Feb 29, lottery Mar 3 3:30p
tours: call 818-528-1600
www.millikanmiddleschool.org

iLEAD Encino (formerly CalSTEAM) (TK-9) – apps avail online, deadline Mar 11, lottery Mar 25 10a
tours: Feb 3 6:30p, call for more info 818.697.8255
ileadencino.org

Our Community School (K-8) —  apps avail online, deadline for K: Mar 4, deadline for Gr 1-8: May 27
lottery for K: Mar 11 11a, Gr 1-8: Jun 3 11a
tours: Feb 10, Mar 9, Apr 13, May 4 8a
ourcommunityschool.org

Valley Charter MS – late apps avail, deadline Feb 5 4p, lottery Feb 17 3:30p
tours: call 818.988.9128
middle.valleycharterschool.org

East:
Citizens of the World/SLK (6-7) – apps avail online, deadline Mar 1 5p, lottery Mar 15 6p
tours: ev Weds 9a, rsvp online
http://cwcsilverlake6.org/admissions

Girls Academic Leadership Academy/GALA (6th & 9th) inaugural year – apps avail online
tours: can be scheduled beginning in June, call 310.914.2123
http://www.galacademy.org

Larchmont Charter (6-12) — apps avail online, deadline Feb 17 5p, lottery Feb 27 9a
tours: sign up online
www.larchmontcharter.org

Renaissance Arts Academy (3-12) — apps avail online, deadline Mar 25, lottery Apr 28 6p
tours: Feb 11, Mar 9, Apr 5 and 21 6p; call to rsvp 323.259.5700
www.renarts.org/applications.php

— Be sure to check out my Elementary Schools List too!

As always, if you are troubled, confused or need guidance, I am happy to help. Together we’ll go over all your charter options. In-person. Phone.

Enrolling My Child In School – What I Need To Know

EnrollmentJust relocated across town in order to get into a fancy new school footprint?

Enrolling your first child into Kindergarten and wondering what paperwork you’ll need?

Here’s how it will go down and what you need to gather before they just hand over your enrollment packet.

Note: This information applies to enrolling in your neighborhood public school. It will be a slightly different process to enroll in a charter, magnet, or specialized school such as a language immersion, although aside from the first step, much of the paperwork requirements will be similar. 

Also note that the more desirable (full) the school is, the more stringent you can expect the paperwork requirements to be. On the contrary, an under-enrolled school might be a little more lax about paperwork requirements for incoming students. Ok, let’s get started.

The first and biggest step is Proof of Residency 

You will need to bring a recent utility bill such as your DWP, Edison or Gas Co bill, (NOT a phone bill), showing your address lies within the attendance area of the school. Some schools, in addition to the utility bill, will also need to see a rental/lease agreement, escrow papers or homeowners property tax bill, or some other official US Government mail (IRS, Social Security, CA State tax) with the same residential address. Most schools need one or both of the above AND you will also need to show your CA Driver’s License that matches the address. Copies will be made and kept on file.

Having just renewed my drivers license and asked them this very question recently, by law you are required to update any change of residential address within 10 days of moving. Your drivers license should reflect your current residential address, not a mailing address. (I know many people don’t follow that rule, but that is the law.)

If you have just moved over the summer, get your driver’s license taken care of ASAP so you have no problem enrolling. For what it’s worth, my drivers license renewal came within about a week to 10 days of turning in the paperwork at the DMV.

You will also need to show Proof of Child’s Birthdate

In order to prove your child has met the state’s Kindergarten Age Requirement, you will need to present your child’s birth certificate, passport, or baptism certificate showing proof of age. CA state law requires your child must turn 5 by September 1 in order to enroll in Kindergarten that fall.

Once you pass those two hurdles, (Proof of Residence and Proof of Child’s Birthdate), you will be handed your enrollment packet. Thud.

paperwork I will not lie to you, for Kindergarten it is usually about a stack of forms 1″ thick, somewhat intimidating, with many different pages of requests for info and documents to sign. You will have until just before the start of school to get that baby turned in. (For LAUSD that is mid-August!) The earlier you do this, the better. Don’t wait until the day before school starts.

.
What’s inside?

In the enrollment packet you will be asked for general family contact information, immunization records including dates administered, healthcare provider and insurance carrier info, other health history questions including developmental milestones (just do the best you can to fill in all the Qs), last dental visit info, home language survey, an emergency contact card – where you list relatives and who to call if they can’t reach you in an emergency situation, previous school enrollment info, release of records and transcripts if you are transferring into a grade higher than Kinder, a meal application to see if you qualify for free/reduced lunch, a blanket release authorization should your child be photographed and the district wants to use it, and likely the school’s bell schedule and events calendar will also be included.

You might also find additional requests for info from the PTA/PTO or Booster Club including parent liaison/room parent contacts, opportunities to join committees and such, opportunities for summer family meet ups, and a school roster info request. If the school is uber-organized, they may even start hitting you up for money for their annual giving campaign or invite you to upcoming fundraiser events.

Let me tell you, this pack of paperwork is not something you can just stand at the counter and fill out. You will definitely need to take all this home, gather the necessary information and fill it all out, then bring it back to the school office before the start of the school year.

Just a heads up, most school offices tend to open up about 2-3 weeks before the start of school, and will be shut down for most of July.

And, remember, you are not officially enrolled until you have submitted all your paperwork to the office and they have added you to their system.

If you’re looking ahead to next year, most neighborhood schools hold a “Kindergarten Roundup” sometime in early spring (late February to mid-March) where local residents meet the principal, hear a pitch about the school, some of the kids may perform or special projects are displayed prominently, and the parent organization extends the welcome wagon out to incoming neighborhood families. With proof of residency, you can pick up your enrollment packet right then and there and get started filling that out.

If you just moved into the neighborhood this summer, get on that enrollment packet asap.

Hope you found this helpful. Good luck!

LAUSD Open Enrollment for 2014 Now Thru May 23!

OEThe LAUSD Open Enrollment application period for Fall 2014 has officially opened. Deadline to apply is Friday, May 23, 2014.

Open Enrollment info

If you’re hanging on wait lists and still looking for school options for the fall, this is a good list to peruse.

Every year LAUSD offers up a list of schools to anyone who would like to apply for them through a process called Open Enrollment (OE). These are neighborhood schools with available seats that anyone can apply for. Once enrolled in a school via Open Enrollment, your child may attend that school until the last grade offered without having to re-apply every year. It’s an easy type of school transfer without going through a complicated permitting process.

You may apply to multiple Open Enrollment schools. If there are more seats than applicants, everyone who applied gets in. If there are more applicants than seats, a lottery will be held at the school site in the last week in May to determine offers of enrollment and the wait list sequence.

For a list of schools with Open Enrollment seats available, sorted by Educational Service Center/ESC area (East, West, North, South), see:

OE List 2014

The OE application

Good luck!

When is Spring Break?

Calendar
For LAUSD families, it starts next week! April 14-18, 2014. (1 week)

For SMMUSD families, it starts today! April 4-18, 2014. (2 weeks)

For CCUSD families, it’s already over and kids are back in school today. March 24- April 4, 2014. (2 weeks)

So, when is the Last Day of School for this year ?

LAUSD – Thurs, June 5, 2014
SMMUSD – Tues, June 10, 2014
CCUSD – Fri, June 13, 2014

LAUSD Calendar
SMMUSD Calendar
CCUSD Calendar

** Remember, independent charters have the freedom to write their own calendars, so check with your school to learn their schedule.

Happy Spring everyone!

 

SAS Applications Now Thru April 30th

GATEIf your child qualifies, NOW is the time (April 1-30th) to get those Schools For Advanced Studies, (SAS) applications in. The deadline to apply for the 2014-15 school year is April 30, 2014.

Acceptance notifications come out in early May. In order to apply to an SAS school, students must meet specific eligibility requirements, either by being identified as Gifted and Talented (GATE), verified by their teacher and principal, or by meeting specific testing thresholds.

What is an SAS school? It is a specialized program for qualified students that (hopefully and depending on the strength of the program and staff) delves deeper into course material at an accelerated pace. From the LAUSD website: “Gifted/Talented Programs creates high end learning opportunities which allow students to flourish in stimulating academic and social environments. In designing challenging educational opportunities, we strive to raise the floor, remove the walls and eliminate the ceiling on learning.”

If your gifted child is wait listed at their magnet choice and you haven’t yet heard if they got into that charter school, the possibility of an SAS program can be another school option to consider. You can apply to more than one SAS program, you apply directly at your desired SAS school site, and the school will determine which applicants get accepted or not by the end of the application period. Some schools handle applications on a first-come first-served basis, other schools base student acceptance on a more selective criteria which might include a student interview plus review of work samples, cumulative grades, teacher recommendations and test results.

*Note: For middle and high school, chances are excellent they will look at your child’s grades going back 2-3 years, making your child’s 3rd, 4th and 1st semester 5th grade grades particularly important when applying for middle school, and 6-8th grade grades critical for high school applications.

For more on SAS (Schools for Advanced Studies) programs, see: New LAUSD GATE website!
achieve.lausd.net/gate

SAS application and criteria: achieve.lausd.net/Page/2033

List of SAS programs by area/grade:
List

You can pick up applications at each SAS school office during the application period, or download it here:
achieve.lausd.net/Page/2033

As always, if you want to discuss anything further, I’m here to help!

phone consultation

in-home consultation

 

A Sticky Subject: What If Your Child’s School Is NOT a Fit?

A Sticky Subject: What if your child’s school is NOT a fit?
by Tanya Anton

NotaFit

Between December and January this year I worked with four separate clients whose children, for one reason or another, were really struggling in their respective schools. These students had issues beyond some of the typical school adjustments such as adapting to differing teaching styles, navigating personality conflicts, developing organizational skills or learning how to put more focused effort into classwork, which, ultimately, can all turn out to be great “life lessons” or opportunities for growth.

But in all four cases, these were soul-crushing school worries that kept these kids – and by extension their parents – up at night, unable to cope, and super stressed-out that the school they were attending was not the right fit even after months of trying to make it work. After in-depth consultation and discussion, and much to everyone’s relief, we were able to facilitate mid-year transfers for all of these students.

Folks, there ARE other options. Always, there are options.

In this crazy city with its range of public school choices, there is always something we can do to support a child. And yes, even after the lotteries. Even mid-year. Especially mid-year if your child is truly miserable. We can figure something out!

While it’s true that some schools are completely at capacity or even over-enrolled, many are not. Many are under-enrolled, or have a few open seats due to attrition, that last-minute shifting off another wait list, or to a move out of state. Some programs never quite fill to capacity, and some will just make an exception for an exceptional kid in an exceptional circumstance.

Bottom line: a child’s school life should not be filled with misery and dread. Or the endless grind of homework. Or the constant fear for their safety. Or the stress that comes from a deflated social bank account. Especially when you watch these issues start to chip away at that confident, well-adapted child you know and love who used to love school.

Sometimes students can hit a rough patch in school and as parents it’s our job to try to determine what’s really going on and just how serious it is. Is there social drama? Does your child need extra support in certain subjects? Is your child unchallenged or bored, so then starts acting out? Is your child over-scheduled and needs to let some extracurriculars go? Is your child being subtly (or not so subtly) harassed, or ostracized? Is the school culture not a fit? Is it too big? Too small? Just. Not. Right?

It can be tricky to determine what exactly is going on, especially as students transition to middle or high school because that’s also the time they tend to pull away from parents in favor of their peers. But parents, this is NOT the time for you to pull away too. This is the time to get even closer. Do your best to find out what’s going on. Try to get them to open up, but in a gentle, non-pushy way. Monitor their afterschool activities, texts, instagrams, class planners and homework assignments. Set up a meeting with their teachers, the school counselor, the magnet coordinator, or even the principal if you feel you have to, to find out a) what’s going on, and b) what can be done about it.

No school can provide all things to all students, so it is important to weigh and dissect the specific issues and challenges against the more positive aspects of the school and see how it does on balance, especially taking your overall priorities into consideration. When weighing your decision, it’s helpful to note things that can change, things you can support at home, and things that probably won’t ever change. In the end, it all comes down to fit and the well-being of your child.

Either it’s a good fit, or it’s not.

And at a certain point, when you’ve exhausted all your school resources and things have gone from bad to worse, you might want to consider making a school switch. I know we did. And the other clients I helped place. And believe me, we’re all happier for it!

7 Signs Your Child’s School Is Not Working:

Your child is:

  1. sobbing at the thought of facing school
  2. dragging, won’t get out of bed
  3. refuses to get out of the car curbside at school
  4. has a sudden drop in grades
  5. isolating behavior, not reaching out to friends or participating in school activities
  6. apathy, avoidance, loss of interest or the desire to learn in school (esp. when previously a very upbeat and curious learner)
  7. changes in appearance, grooming (or lack thereof)

It doesn’t make sense to stay in a not-so-great situation just because you fear making a change. Or you worry about losing your points. Or where they’ll go to middle or high school if you leave your current school. These things can all be figured out.

If your child is struggling and you want to discuss the situation further and explore your options, please let me know and we’ll schedule a consultation. I am here to help. Completely confidentially, of course.