WSG MS: An Excerpt

Westside Guide to Middle School 

by Tanya Anton

[An excerpt — Latest Edition for 2014!]

Overview: Yikes, Middle School!

Does the thought send shivers down your spine, or a sudden urgent impulse to begin scanning the MLS listings across town? Does it make you yearn for a kinder, gentler, simpler time, like say, when you were positioning and politicking, literally climbing over each other to get into that desirable preschool? Do you recall the happy days of yore when you were engulfed in the Kindergarten search angst, yet now in hindsight, you think, that was nothing!

Middle school, we’re talking Middle school here. Big kids, kids ripe with budding hormones and willfulness and insubordinate behavior, kids with all kinds of other influences running through beige lifeless buildings corralled by tired tenured teachers who are beaten down by a district both absent yet omnipotent…

Middle school? Not MY child!

Reaching for a drink you suddenly wish you had stayed in Ohio, or followed the exodus up to Portland, or for heaven sake, why can’t that brilliant mobile app concept or screenplay of yours sell already so you can finally afford to pay for private school. Or move into one of the Holy Grails of school districts. You know the one, down the way, or over yonder, where the streets are lined with gold….

A sudden choir of angelic voices rings out one long sustained chord. No, wait, actually it’s the Rolling Hills choir. (A choir so good, so heavenly, they toured Venezuela last year, or was it China, you wonder…) only to be shattered and brought back to the stark one-two punch reality of your combined zip code and bank balance.

Sorry. I feel your pain. I do. I’m right there with you.

How we got to this place, districtly-speaking, is a long and twisted tale beyond the scope of this Guidebook. How we fix things up, well, I can say I have plenty of ideas, but that’s a whole other uphill book to write. For now, let’s just take one step at a time and concentrate on what we do know and can figure out together: what our options are.

So without further ado, go pour yourself a stiff one, (I always say there’s something about public schools and cocktails that just seem to go hand-in-hand!), get out your number two pencils and repeat after me:

“It’s going to be okay…it’s going to okay…it’s going to be okay!”

*        *         *

1
Let’s Start At The Beginning: Some General Info

Q. Why would I consider a public Middle School?
This is an excellent question. However, in this downward economy, the first thing that comes to mind is the price tag. For some of us, facing an annual $28-35K per child – per year tuition bill, (plus additional student fees and costs and books and equipment and uniforms and school trips, not to mention annual giving fees), is simply not an option, especially if you’re trying to build up that nest egg for college.

Let’s do some simple math. $28-35K per year for private school, plus an additional $3-5K in annual student fees, over the 7 years it takes to complete 6th through 12th grade….swells to anywhere between $200,000 – $280,000! That’s without factoring in any tuition hikes or additional costs, which are sure to increase annually. And that’s just for one child! To complete middle and high school. Before facing college. Over a quarter-of-a-million dollars. One child.

Just for comparison, the 2013-14 tuition at Harvard University (should your little JFK or IM Pei be lucky enough to get in) is $42K/yr for Bostonians. The total out-of-state package–tuition, plus room, board, and student services fee–is $56.5K/yr. If you follow a modest 3% annual increase over 4 years of undergrad studies beginning this year, you will have spent $236,375 before you’ve even bought a textbook or lava lamp or mini-fridge, not to mention several yearly round-trip airline tickets or Go Crimson! football jerseys, which makes that number swell to about $275K. Now, just imagine what that number will become 10 years from now when your current 2nd grader is actually facing college tuition! Gulp.

But even if you can afford it, as the swell of post 9/11 babies and their siblings grow up through the grades of elementary school and begin to face fewer middle school options, the chances of getting into that coveted private spot grow ever more competitive.

[Ex: Last year according to their website, the highly desirable Crossroads School* interviewed almost 900 application-fee-paying families, and admitted only 55 students to their K-5 and 95 students to grades 6-12. Many of those were sibling and “Legacy” (alumni-related) placements]. For many K-12 private schools, you’re at the mercy of “attrition” as most of their elementary school students will feed automatically into their middle school program, holding onto their coveted seats. What to do if you’re not flush or well-connected?

Public schools ARE an option. There are some very good ones out there if you know about them, if you know how to apply, collect your points, and wager your best odds in the lotteries. There are excellent Magnet and Charter options with new ones opening every year, and there are also Permit and Open Enrollment opportunities, offering students more choice. Additionally, as our Westside Elementary schools continue to blossom and revitalize with the return of the surrounding community’s support, these neighborhood kids and families will have to go somewhere. Perhaps back to their local public middle schools.

Teams of savvy, dedicated parents are already aligning to rejuvenate and transform our local middle schools. They’re continuing the upward progression of the preschool and elementary school model of community-mindedness and active participation, (not to mention exercising their political muscle), and are choosing to refocus on their neighborhood middle schools. We welcome and encourage this much-needed activism.

As with my previous guidebooks, my goal in sharing what I’ve learned is to clarify the process so you can make an informed choice. I will explain the basics and then send you on your merry way to do the work of assessing your child’s needs, determining your family’s needs, doing your research, touring campuses, and choosing a school that works for your family.

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to choosing a school. Especially as students get older and develop different specialized needs. It is critically important that you become knowledgeable about your options, because YOU know your child best and YOU will be the best advocate for your child, no matter where you end up or what anyone else thinks.

So, with all that in mind, let’s take a peek into the labyrinth that is public schools…
[End excerpt]

© 2014 by Tanya Anton

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Please note that phone consults are generally scheduled Monday through Saturday between the hours of 9 and 3p, based on availabilityEvening appointments are sometimes available, however not during the September-mid November fall admissions season.

Thanks again and I look forward to speaking with you.

~Tanya

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Thanks for taking a peek at my site. Perhaps you need immediate answers and don’t have time to read through a Guidebook. Don’t worry, I’m here to help. That’s what I do.

Consider booking a quick phone Q&A, a longer session on Skype, or a one-on-one in-person consultation where we sit down together and go over all your options and devise a public school action plan for you and your family:

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Or, check my speaking page for the latest seminar dates.

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Either way, I wish you the best of luck on your school journey!

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WSG MS: Table of Contents

Westside Guide to Middle School:
Know Your Public Options
by Tanya Anton 

CONTENTS

Note 2
Contents 3
Preface 5
Overview: Yikes, Middle School! 6

1
Let’s Start At the Beginning: Some General Info
Why would I consider a public Middle School? 7
What do I need to know in order to get started? 8
What is Parent Radar and where do I get some? 9
Where am I? (aka: What’s my assigned school?) 9
When does Middle School start? 11
Feed me Seymour! What’s my feeder pattern? 11
Do I have to go to my feeder Middle School? 12
What is Open Enrollment? 12
What do I need in order to enroll? 13
What if I am opposed to immunizations? Will I be denied enrollment? 13

2
The Search Begins
How do I choose a school? 14
Who am I and what am I into? 14
What do I look for while choosing a school? 15
What are my priorities? 15
What makes a good Middle School? 16

3
Magnets: One Choice
What is a Magnet school? 17
How do I apply to a Magnet school? 17
How many Magnets can I apply to? 18
Do Magnets come with Transpo? 18
What if we have Twins? 18
What if we are inter-racial, which ethnicity do we check? 18
What is this “Point System” all about? 18
How do I find out if my school is either PHBAO or Overcrowded? 19
What are the requirements for applying to a Gifted Magnet? 19
When should I start collecting points for Middle School? 20
When do I find out if we got in? 20
What if I am waitlisted? 20
Are Magnet schools that much better than regular schools? 21
Magnet Recap 21
What if I have no points? 21
PWT – Permits With Transportation 21

4
Charters: Another Choice
What exactly is a charter school? 23
What’s the difference between an “Independent Charter” and an “Affiliated Charter?” 23
Do I have to live in the LAUSD district to apply to a charter? 23
How do I apply to a charter? 24
Do Charters provide transportation? 24
How many charters can I apply to? 24
When do I find out if we got into our chosen charter? 24
Are Charter schools that much better than other schools? 24

5
Pilots: The New Autonomy
What is a Pilot School? 25
What is the difference between a Pilot and a Charter? 25
How do I apply to a Pilot School? 25

6
GATE: Your Gateway to other options
:
What is GATE and how do we qualify? 26
How can I have my child identified? 26
What are the testing requirements of GATE? 26
What are some of the options available to GATE students? 26
Bonus Q: Why are there so many damn acronyms in the school system? 26

7
Schools with an Identity Crisis
What if a school is both a Magnet and a Charter? 27
What if a school is both a Magnet and an SAS school? 27
What if a school is a Neighborhood school, a Magnet and a
Charter school? 27

8
Permits
What is a permit and how do I get one? 28
How do intra-district permits work and how do I apply? 28
What types of outgoing inter-district permit requests does LAUSD accept? 29
How do I apply for an inter-district permit to leave LAUSD? 30
When do I apply for a permit? 31
Can my permit be revoked? 31
How does SMMUSD prioritize their permit requests? 31
List of Permit Offices for LAUSD, SMMUSD, and CCUSD 32

9
Waitlists: The Inter-Dynamic Game
What if I am waitlisted? 33
When will I know what’s what? 33
Norm Day: what’s this? 34

10
The Big T: Transition (From 5th to 6th)
Help! Going from Big Fish in a Small Pond to Small Fry in a Big Sea! 35
Matriculation Matters: Grades count! 35
Multiple Personalities: Can’t we all just get along? 35
Essential Survival Skills: What I need to succeed 35

11
Handy Bonus Materials:
Recap: Breakdown My Middle School Options 36
Application Timeline 37
Contact List of Westside Public Middle Schools 38
Resources/Links 40

© 2014 by Tanya Anton

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GMG EL: Table of Contents

**Just Released!
GoMamaGuide to LAUSD:
LA Public Schools Demystified
(Elementary Edition)
by Tanya Anton

CONTENTS

.

Note 2
Contents 3
Overview: Why Public? 8

1
Where To Begin: The Basics
Choices, choices, where do I begin??   9

How do I find my assigned school?  10
Do I have to go to my assigned school?  10
What if we are divorced or separated? Which address do we use? 10
What if my child has a learning disability or special needs?10
What is the age requirement for Kindergarten?11
What if my child just misses the age requirement for Kindergarten? 11
If my child has a late fall birthday, should we hold him back a year? 11
How do I enroll my child in my local Kindergarten? 12
What if I am opposed to immunizations? 12
When does school start? 12

2
The Search Begins
How do I choose a school? 14

The Tour: What do I look for? 14
What are my priorities? 15

3
Where To Look First: Your Neighborhood School
Why would I consider my local school? 17

How can I make a difference?  17

4
Magnets: One Choice
What is a Magnet School?  19

How do I apply to a Magnet School? 20
How many Magnet Schools can I apply to?  21
Do Magnets come with transportation?  21
What if we are an inter-racial family, which ethnicity do we check? 21
What is this “Point System” I keep hearing about?  21
Breakdown of the Magnet Points System   22
How do I find out if our home school is either PHBAO or Overcrowded? 22
What if I have twins?  22
What are the requirements for applying to a Gifted Magnet? 23
If we are already attending a Magnet, do we still apply each year?  23
When do I find out if we got in? 23
What if I am waitlisted?  24
If I hold my kid back, reapply for K next year, can I keep my points?  24
Are Magnet schools that much better than regular schools? 24
What if we want to collect points for a Magnet Middle School?  24
Magnet Recap  25
What are the other program choices on eChoices?  25 

5
Dual Language Programs
What is a Dual Language Program?  26

What kinds of Language Programs are offered?  26
What are the benefits of Dual Language Programs? 27
How do I apply to a Dual Language Program?  27
How do Dual Language Programs prioritize applicants? 27
What are the DLP application guidelines?  28
Do the Language Programs come with transportation? 29
Where can I find a list of all the LAUSD Dual Language Programs 29

6
Charters: Another Choice
What exactly is a Charter school?  30

What is an “Independent Charter” and an “Affiliated Charter?  30
Do I have to live in the LAUSD district to apply to a Charter? 31
How do I apply to a Charter school? 31
Do Charter schools provide transportation? 31
How do I apply to one of the Affiliated Charters? 31
When do I find out if we got in our chosen Charter? 31
Are Charter schools that much better than other schools? 31
What is this co-location drama I keep hearing about? 32
Will my Charter School move?  32

7
GATE: Your Gateway to Other Options
What does GATE mean? The Seven Categories 33

Testing, testing, what if my child tests Gifted? 33
How can I have my child identified for GATE? 34
What are the testing requirements for GATE? 34
What are some of the options available to GATE students? 35
What is an “SAS” School? 35
How do I apply to an SAS program? 35
Where can I find a list of all the SAS programs?  36
Do SAS schools provide transportation? 36
When do we hear if we got in? 36                                                                                             

8
Open Enrollment: An Open Door
What is Open Enrollment? 37

How do we apply for Open Enrollment? 37
When do we find out if we got in? 37
Will OE students be displaced or have to reapply? 37 

9
Permits: Another Way In (or Out)
What is a permit and how do I get one?  38

How do intra-district permits work?  38
How do I apply for an Intra-District Permit?  39
Can I permit into a Magnet, Charter, or Language Immersion? 40
What types of outgoing Inter-District Permit requests does LAUSD accept? 40
How long is the permit good for?  41
How do I apply for an Inter-District Permit to leave LAUSD? 41
When do I apply for a permit? 42
Can my permit be revoked?  42
Can your neighborhood school principal refuse to release you? 42
Permit Office Contact info 42 

10
Waitlisted: The Inter-Dynamic Game
We’re on every waitlist. Now what? 43

Norm Day: what’s that? 44
The 9th hour  44
Don’t be that parent!  44
If at first you don’t succeed…there’s always next year!  45
Apply & Wait Graphic: Admissions At-a-Glance 46 

11
Some Final Thoughts  47 

Bonus Materials:
Recap: A Breakdown of Public School Options  50

Application Timeline 52
Acronym Soup: The ABCs of LAUSD 54
Local District Map: Find Your Local Education Service Center  55
Find Your Board Member  56
Elementary Schools List (by Category and Region) 57
     Magnets (Regular, Gifted & Highly Gifted Magnets)  57
     Dual Language Programs 59
     Charter Schools (Independent & Affiliated)  61
     SAS Schools 63
Online Resources 66
Services 68


 

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WSG EL: Table of Contents

Westside Guide to Public Elementary Schools:
Navigating Magnets, Charters, Permits & More
by Tanya Anton  

CONTENTS


Note  2
Contents  3
Overview: Why Public?  5

 

1
Begin in The Beginning: Some General Info
Why a Westside Guide?  6
Choices, choices, where do I begin?  6
What is the age requirement for Kindergarten? 7
How do I enroll my child in my local Kindergarten?  7
What if I am opposed to immunizations? Will I be denied enrollment?  7
When does school start?  8
What is Open Enrollment?  8
What if my child tests Gifted? 8
What do I look for while touring a school? 9
Some specific things I’d look for  9
How do I choose a school? 10
Priorities, priorities, what are my priorities?  10

2
Where to Look First: Your Neighborhood School
Why would I consider my local school?  12
How can I make a difference?  12

3
Magnets: One Choice
What is a Magnet School? 14
How do I apply to a Magnet School?  14
How many Magnet schools can I apply to?  15
Do Magnets come with transportation?  15
What is this “Point System” I keep hearing about?  16
How do I find out if my school is either PHBAO or Overcrowded? 16
What if we are an inter-racial family, which ethnicity do we check?  16
What if I have twins? 16
What are the requirements for applying to a Gifted Magnet?  16
When do I find out if we got in?  16
What if I am waitlisted?  17
If I hold my kid back, reapply next year, can I keep my Waitlist points? 17
Are Magnet schools that much better than regular schools?  17
What if we want to apply for a Magnet for Middle School?  17
Magnet Recap 18
Other program choices on the Choices brochure: PWT & PSC  18

4
Charters: Another Choice
What exactly is a Charter School?  19
What’s an “Independent Charter” and an “Affiliated Charter?  19
Do I have to live in the LAUSD district to apply to a Charter?  19
How do I apply to a Charter?   20
Do Charter schools provide transportation?  20
What is this “ring of 5 Charters” in the Palisades?   20
How do I apply to one of the PCC Charters?  20
When do I find out if we got in our chosen PCC Charter?   21
Will the PCC Elem Charters feed into their MS and HS Charters? 21
What are other Charter options?  21
Are Charter Schools that much better than other schools?  21

5
Permits: Another Way In
What is a permit and how do I get one?  22
How do intra-district permits work and how do I apply?  22
What types of outgoing inter-district permit requests does LAUSD accept?  23
How do I apply for an inter-district permit to leave LAUSD?  24
When do I apply for a permit?  25
Can my permit be revoked? 25
How does SMMUSD prioritize their permit requests? 25
What if I live in SMMUSD, can I permit into another SMMUSD school?  26
What if I live in SMMUSD, can I still apply to a LAUSD PCC Charter? 26
What if I live in LAUSD, can I permit into a different LAUSD school? 26
What about permitting into or out of Culver City?  27
Can your neighborhood school refuse to release you?  27
LAUSD, SMMUSD and CCUSD Permit Office Contact Numbers  28

6
Waitlisted: The Inter-Dynamic Game          
Norm Day: what’s that?  29

7
Handy Bonus Materials:
Application Timeline  30
Complete Contact List of Westside Public Elementary Schools 31
Resources  35

 

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GMG to LAUSD: It’s Elementary!

October 2017:
I’ve been promising to write this for years, and now, here it is! 

Packed with information yet delivered in easily understood bite-sized pieces. Get the Big Guide to LAUSD. GoMamaGuides have already helped thousands of LA parents…

.
**Just Released! Biggest Guide Yet!

GoMamaGuide to LAUSD – Elementary Edition
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
* 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.
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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.”

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WSG EL: It’s Elementary!

Packed with information yet delivered in bite-sized pieces. Get the Guide that’s helped thousands of LA parents…


Updated! 2014 Edition — Now 36 pages!
.

Westside Guide to Public Elementary Schools:
Navigating Magnets, Charters, Permits & More
 
By Tanya Anton

Featured in DailyCANDYKids!
AND the LA Daily News!

.
* Offers a thorough understanding of all your public school options
* Outlines how (and when) to begin the application process
* Magnets and “The Point System” demystified
* How Charters work and who is eligible
* Up-to-date Permitting info, Open Enrollment, and other options
* Covers LAUSD, SMMUSD & CCUSD
* What to look for in a school and more…
.
Includes:
* Complete Contact List of all Westside Public Elementary Schools (from Malibu to   Westchester, Santa Monica to Westwood, Venice to Beverlywood)
* Handy month-by-month Timeline
* Evaluating Your Priorities Exercise
* Links and Resources
* All this for only $25 –about what you’d spend on a yoga class!
* No need to leave home — Guidebook shipped to your door!
.


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

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Guidebook Reviews

“I purchased your guide last year and it was very helpful. It was the single most helpful resource I found to assist with our search.” –Brad Gavigan

“All I can say right now is ‘UGH!’ I had no idea the trials and frustrations that accompany the elementary school search! I already have your GoMamaGuide–a BIBLE to me. Thank You! –Jim Smoot

“Hi Tanya. I purchased your book and I just had to tell you how EXCEEDINGLY helpful it is! It organizes all the tidbits of info I had been collecting into one coherent place, explains it all clearly and concisely, and simply makes me feel less overwhelmed! Like the application timeline? Brilliant. And the online interactive map with links… well, let’s just say, I never thought a map would make me so happy! 🙂 Thank you so much for being as organized as I would be if I had more time! You’re providing a great service here. Seriously!” –Circe Mirano

“Love your book; found it very useful! Keep on doing what you do!” –Hal Martin

“Thanks for continuing your research. LAUSD…it’s SUCH a maze!” –Shana Aelony

“Best $$ I’ve spent in a long time.” –Mar Vista Mum

“Your work is inspiring and I hope it galvanizes people to get involved locally. Thanks for doing all this!” –Rachael Panush, Posh Papoose

“Big Shout Out for Must-Have Guide!” –Lynda Gorov, Journalist