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!

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**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.
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GoMamaGuides have already helped thousands of LA parents.
About the GoMamaGuidebooks:
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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. 

Westside Elementary School Forum Nov 10

EL Schl Forum15

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I’ll be giving the opening talk at this year’s Westside Elementary School Forum, hosted by Westchester Parents Nursery School and held at Loyola Village Elementary School.

Over 30 area schools will be represented including neighborhood schools, magnets, charters, parochial, even privates! UPDATED: In addition Wiseburn Unified will also be coming to talk about their schools (Anza, Cabrillo, Da Vinci, and more), St Anthony, Westchester Lutheran, Venice Lutheran, St Mark’s and for the first time, private Los Angeles Area Independent Schools (laais.org) be represented well!

It’s going to be big!

Bring your questions and an open mind and meet the school reps! I’ll also have a table and will be selling my latest edition guidebooks there, so stop by and say “Hi!”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 
7-9p

Loyola Village Elementary School Auditorium
8821 Villanova Street
LA , CA 90045

$10 suggested donation/free for WPNS members.

Call WPNS for more info: 310.670.5522

Scores, Schmores, What’s Your School’s API Score?

CDE API

One of the first things parents do when checking out a school is to look up its score – that almighty 3-digit API score, which stands for Academic Performance Index, as well as the 1 through 10 Similar Schools Ranking.

As if a school with it’s ever-changing community of personalities, programs and special projects can be reduced down to a simple number.

A number so almighty though, that in terms of real estate and parent frenzy, folks have gone to extreme lengths to get into the right public school. It’s not uncommon for a crazy number of offers (24! 31!) to be thrown at a tear-down house in one of those buzz-driven  “halo” (read: high-performing) neighborhood school footprints.

We’ve had realtors knocking on doors on a weekly basis asking, “are you thinking of selling?,” “are you looking to relocate?” due to low inventory in high-performing areas.

I’ve heard of families willing to rent out an 800 square foot 1 BR  just to get into a specific school’s attendance area. And let us not forget the 120+ address scammers who fudged their way into the high scoring (and highly regarded) Carpenter Elementary school, who were recently booted off the campus so that actual residents could send their kids to their own neighborhood school.

Parents come up to me and say, “Tanya, I looked up our home school and it’s a 6, it’s a 7 (makes long face) and we only want to send our kid to a 10, maybe a 9 school (making hopeful face).”

So, do scores matter?

I sat down with realtor and Beyond The Crib blogger Sara Reichling to share some insight into what all those scores mean. Check out her post, What’s Your API Score?

Beyondthecribla

In addition to Sara’s post, here are a few points to consider:

Our Governor has suspended testing (and thus its results) for 2 years while we transition to the nationally standardized Common Core testing, so the scores you are looking at are now old.

They are the results of the multiple choice “bubble in the scantron” California Standardized Testing, which for elementary school only tests English and Math, with a little bit of 5th grade Science.

In elementary school, only 2nd through 5th graders take the tests. So those students whose results you are looking at have mostly graduated off by now. Same for middle schools.

Scores tell you absolutely nothing about the style and approach to teaching and learning, let alone what else (besides English and Math) the students are doing, and how they are doing it. Nor does it tell you what types of supports and/or additional challenge it offers for those who might fall above or below the middle.

With so much national pressure being put on scores, it is no wonder that curriculum has narrowed, redundant test prep is paramount, and cheating scandals have, sadly, become rampant.

An API score of 800 or above means the school has met its target and the majority of students are testing at or above grade level standards.

A 900+ school is not necessarily better than an 800+ school.

The 1 through 10 ranking is also based on test scores, then compared to schools with similar racial/socio-economic and other demographics. A 7 school is not necessarily worse than a 9 school. (And I personally have known families who have left a 10 school if it wasn’t the right environment.)

I hope that ALL students who attend school will learn how to read, write and calculate math, but my hope is that our schools will provide so much more than those basics.

And it bears repeating, a school is only as good as its collective of inhabitants – which is constantly shifting. So, please don’t accept or reject a school solely on its score. Please look deeper than that.

For more on API scores, check out one of my archived articles HERE.
To browse school scores in detail, see the CDE website HERE.
If you need help finding the right school for your family, I can help with that. HERE.

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.

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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!

2014 Dual Language Program Deadlines

Hey Westsiders –
Here’s a quick list of many of the area Dual Language Immersion elementary school programs and their upcoming application deadlines for the 2014-15 school year. Each school organizes its own tours, application, screening and lottery process, and you apply directly at the school site.

LAUSD:
Broadway Mandarin Academy – apps are first-come-first-served (not a lottery) so the earlier you turn in your app, the better your chances! Apps avail in main office, can be picked up between 8:30a-3:30p.
Tours: Feb 20 9a, Mar 6 9a, Apr 22 9a and May 20 9a.
App priorities/dates:
1- Siblings of current Mandarin Immersion Program students 02/24/2014 – 3/21/2014
2- Within LAUSD’s Education Service Center West (ESC West) 03/03/2014 – 3/21/2014
3- Within other ESCs in LAUSD (ESC East, North and South) 3/10/2014 – 3/21/2014
4- School district is other than LAUSD 03/17/2014 – 3/21/2014

Apps received after 3/21/14 will be date and time-stamped and placed on a waitlist regardless of enrollment priority or area of residence.
www.broadwayelementary.org/bmiadmissions
www.broadwayelementary.org/enrollment

Broadway Spanish Immersion — call for more info 310.392.4944
Tours: Jan 22 9a, Feb 26 9a, Mar 26 9a, April 23 9a, May 21 9a
www.broadwayelementary.org/si

Grandview Spanish Immersion — call for more info 310.390.3618
Tours: Feb 5 8:30a, Mar 5 8:30a, Mar 20 8:30a, April 2 8:30a, May 7 8:30a
grandview-lausd-ca.schoolloop.com/duallanguage
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ownload the FLYER

LAUSD Full List of Dual Immersion Programs:
LINK

Indie Charters:
City Charter Elementary Spanish Dual Language (K-2) — apps avail online now, Deadline Feb 28, Lottery Mar 13
Tours: Feb 20 9:30a, Mar 14 9:30a, Apr 4 9:30a
citycharterschools.org/westadams

Goethe International Charter School (German) – apps avail online now, Deadline Feb 28, Lottery Mar 18 6p
Tours: Feb 4 9a, Feb 13 9a, Feb 18 9a, Feb 27 9a rsvp 310.306.3484
www.goethecharterschool.org

SMMUSD:
Edison Language Academy (Spanish) – application given at tour
Tours: scheduled Nov thru early Mar, call to schedule 310.828.0335 x61149 or x 61148
App priorities:
1- Students living within the Edison attendance area
2- Siblings of Edison students
3- Students from within SMMUSD, and employees of SMMUSD, City of SM and City of Malibu
4- When available, Edison accepts students from out of District contingent upon an inter-district permit
www.edison.smmusd.org

CCUSD:
Residents register at home school first between Feb 11 – Mar 14, then inform them of interest in El Marino and/or La Ballona, receive a Dual Lang App request to take to El Marino and/or La Ballona office(s) to be entered in lottery. Enrollment for out of district permit begins Apr 9 by apt only @ CCUSD offices.

El Marino Language School (Japanese/Spanish) – Kinder info night Feb 6 6p
App priorities:
1- CC residents who are siblings of current students
2- CC residents who speak target language (Spanish/Japanese)
3- CC residents who speak English
4- Non-resident Spanish/Japanese speakers w approved inter-district permit
5- Non-resident English speakers w approved inter-district permit
elmarino.ccusd.org/about/faq.jsp

La Balllona Spanish Dual Language Program – Kinder info night Jan 23 6p Registration by appt
Tours: Jan 24 10a, Jan 30 9a, Feb 4 9a, Feb 21 10a, Mar 3 9a
laballona.ccusd.org

To locate any of the above programs, please view my Westside Elementary School Finder Map at GoMamaGuide.com/schoolfinder

More about the Dual Language Immersion options HERE.
Is Dual Language Immersion Right For You? HERE.
2013-14 LAUSD Dual Language Directory HERE.

It’s Charter Season!

Now that the Magnet deadline is fully behind us, it’s time to get your charter school applications in for next year. Each charter school is responsible for running their own admissions and application timelines, so be sure to check with the charter schools you are interested in to get all the specific details.

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.)

For guidance on which charters are the best fit for your family, consider either an in-home of phone consultation with me, read more HERE.

Independent charters open their lotteries to anyone from any district. Affiliated conversion charters, an LAUSD hybrid type charter, gives first priority to those residing within the school’s attendance area with any remaining seats lotteried off to non-residents.

All charters give preference to siblings of existing students, and some charters offer other priorities, such as to founding families or staff members, students residing within LAUSD, or students qualifying for Free/Reduced Meal Plan (ie. low socio-economic status.)

Each lottery is independently operated and instituted by each individual charter school. Applications are handled directly with each school site. There are no points involved, thankfully. If you applied and were waitlisted last year, you need to reapply this year.

While not an exhaustive list by any means, here’s a quick list of some of the more popular charter tours, application deadlines and lottery dates around town. Most applications can be downloaded online on the school’s website, and either mailed or physically handed in to the school’s office.

Ok, here’s that (partial) list.

Select 2014 Elementary School Charter Deadlines:
(child must turn 5 by Sept 1, 2014 for entry into Kinder 2014)

Palisades Chtr Complex ELs (Canyon, Palisades, Kenter Cyn, Marquez, Topanga – all share same deadlines) — apps avail now in each office, deadline March 21 12p, lottery April 25 8:30a

Ocean Charter School (TK-8) — apps avail online now, deadline Jan 24,
lottery Feb 27 10a


WISH (DK-7) —  apps avail shortly, deadline March tbd, lottery March 28 8:30a
EL tours: Feb 19 9a, Mar 12 6p
www.wishcharter.org

Citizens of the World Charter/Mar Vista (TK-3) – apps avail online now, deadline March 3, lottery March 28 4p
tours: Jan 31 8:50a, Feb 12 7p
Citizens of the World Charter/Hollywood – apps avail online now, deadline March 3 4p, lottery March 24 4p
tours: Jan 28 6:15p, Feb 11 6:15p, Feb 20 9a
Citizens of the World Charter/Silver Lk – apps avail online now, deadline March 3 4p, lottery March 20 7:30p
tours: Feb 11 10:30a, Mar 4 6:30p
cwcsilverlake.org


Goethe
 — apps avail online now, deadline Feb 28,  lottery in March 18 6p
tours: Jan 30 9a
www.goethecharterschool.org

Larchmont Charter/Hollywood (K-12) & WeHo (K-8) — apps avail online now, deadline Feb 19 5p, lottery Mar 1 9a
www.larchmontcharter.org  and www.larchmontcharterweho.org

Los Feliz Charter Schl Arts (K-6) — apps avail online now, deadline Mar 4 12p (by mail/fax) lottery Mar 4
tours: Jan 21 5p, Feb 4 5p, Feb 18 5p
Valley Charter Schl EL — apps avail online now, deadline Feb 7 4p, lottery Feb 21 3:30p
tours: Jan 14 8:45a or 9:15a, Sat Feb 1 Community Fair
elementary.valleycharterschool.org
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Chime Institute (K-8) — apps avail online now, deadline March 7 3p, lottery March 14
tours: Feb 5 9a, Feb 12 9a, Feb 19 9a, Feb 26 9a, Mar 5 9a
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Our Community School (K-8) —  apps avail online now, deadline for K: Mar, deadline for Gr 1-8: May
tours: Feb 5, 8a, Feb 19 8a, Mar 5 8a, April 9 8a (818) 350-5000

SELECT 2014 Middle School Charter Deadlines: 

Animo WS MS — apps avail online now for wait list, deadline Dec 6 5p, lottery Dec 19, 2013 5p
 
The City School — apps avail online now, deadline Mar 3 10p, lottery Mar 13 4p (new location tbd)
tours: Jan 25 10a, Feb 1 10a, Feb 6, 7p, Feb 22 10a
 
Larchmont Charter/Hollywood (K-12) & WeHo (K-8) — apps avail online now – one application for all campuses, deadline Feb 19 5p, lottery Mar 1 9a
 
Magnolia Science Academy 4 — apps avail online now, deadline tbd
tours: Every Weds 3p
 
Magnolia Science Academy 6 — apps avail online now, deadline tbd
 
New LA Charter — apps avail online soon, deadline Mar 7 6p, lottery Mar 13 6:30p
tours: Jan 23 7p, Jan 31 8:45a, Feb 11 7p, Feb 22 3p, Feb 26 7p, Mar 7 6p (deadline)
 
New West Charter — apps avail at mandatory tour, deadline Apr 9 4p, verification Apr 11-15, lottery Apr 23 4p
tours: Jan 25 10a, Feb 5 6p, Apr 3 6p @SaMoHi
Ocean Charter School — apps avail onsite, deadline Jan 24 3p, lottery Feb 26 10a
Info mtgs: Jan 7 8:30a & 6p, Jan 9 8:30a, Jan 23 8:30a & 6p
Paul Revere Charter — apps closed for 2014, deadline Jan 17 4p, lottery Feb 19 7p
can apply for the 2nd non-resident wait list
 
Westchester Secondary Charter (6-10) — apps avail online now, deadline Mar 21 5p, lottery Mar 24 6p
tours: Feb 3 9a, Feb 17 9a, Mar 3 9a, Mar 17 9a
 
Wish Charter  — questions can be sent to wish secondary@gmail.com or call 310.642.9474
MS Info: Jan 29 6p, Feb 12 6p, Mar 12 9a app deadline Mar 12, Lottery Mar 28 8:30a
Other – NOT a charter, but a semi-autonomous District school of innovation:
Incubator Pilot School — no enrollment info yet for 2014
Chime Institute (K-8) — apps avail online now, deadline Mar 7 3p, lottery Mar 14
tours: Jan 22 9a, Feb 5 9a, Feb 122 9a, Feb 19 9a, Feb 26 9a, Mar 5 9a
Our Community School (K-8) —  apps avail online now, deadline for K: Mar, deadline for Gr 1-8: May
tours: Feb 5, 8a, Feb 19 8a, Mar 5 8a, April 9 8a (818) 350-5000
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Valley Charter MS — apps avail Sept 1, 2013, deadline Oct 23, lottery Oct 25, 2013
tours: Jan 28 9:30a, Jan 30 9:30a, Feb 6, 11, 13 @9:30a
middle.valleycharterschool.org
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For more info and schools, please view my color-coded school finder maps HERE.

Playa Vista EL Opens Non-Resident Waitlist THIS Friday

I get asked about the new STEM focused Playa Vista Elementary School often in my talks and consultations. If you are interested in applying to the school, please find enrollment info below. As it is a neighborhood school, priority is given to those residing within the school’s attendance area. For non-residents, Wait List begins THIS FRI, Feb 1st, 2013 at PVES Main Office (open 7am-4pm)…first come, first served.
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PVES


2013-2014 Enrollment Information

Transitional Kindergarten (TK)
T-K Eligibiity: Children must turn 5 on or between Oct 2-Dec 2; Kindergarten eligible children may enroll in T-K if space is available. For more info on T-K visit: http://www.tkcalifornia.org/

Kindergarten
K Eligibility: Children must turn 5 on or before Oct 1.

Playa Vista Residents, One Westbluff Residents and LMU Employees

Registration Day – Sat, Feb 9th, 2013
9am-1pm at Playa Vista Elementary Library

Please pick-up an enrollment form at the PVES office as soon as possible and return forms on registration day. If you do not have your child’s physician card completed, you may turn in enrollment forms and bring your child’s immunization record (original and copy) and submit the physician card at a later date.

Enrollment Forms are NOW AVAILABLE for pick-up at the PVES main office (open M-F, 7am-4pm)
Please bring the following documentation with you to pick up a form.

Residents:
I. Photo ID (drivers license, passport)
II. Proof of residence (one of the following):
– Utility Bill (Gas, Electric, Water) *no phone bills*
– Rental or Lease Agreement
– Property Tax Papers
– Copy of Escrow Papers (if purchasing)

LMU employees:
I. Photo ID (drivers license, passport)
II. Recent LMU pay stub

Permits for Non-residents/Non-LMU employees
Wait List begins THIS FRI, Feb 1st, 2013 at PVES Main Office (open 7am-4pm)

Permits will be released based on available space and in order of the wait list. To be placed on the wait list, please visit the office on or after February 1st (M-F, 7am-4pm). First come, first served.

Permit applications will be available starting April 15th. Questions? Contact the school office at 424-228-1800.

“Ready For School, Ready For Life” Panel Discussion Oct 11

“Ready For School, Ready For Life” Speaker Series Panel Discussion
I’ll be joining Christina Simon and Porcha Dodson of “Beyond The Brochure” as well as Director Julie Dubron for a lively school discussion, at Kehillat Israel Early Childhood Center in Pacific Palisades on Thurs, Oct 11th at 7:30p.

For more information please contact Jen Madamba 424.214.7482 or by email Jen.Madamba@kehillatisrael.org by October 8, 2012

or click HERE.

The Conversion Charter…Trending Now

by Tanya Anton | GoMamaGuide.com

With 6 LAUSD neighborhood schools converting to affiliated charter status last year and 25 more schools converting this year, we ask, is it contagious? A sign of the times?

 Why would your perfectly good neighborhood school convert to affiliated charter status anyway, you ask?

It all comes down to the 3 Fs. Flexibility, Freedom…and Funding.

An affiliated charter is a unique sort of “charter lite” or hybrid model that was created in LAUSD to pacify all parties. While this type of charter doesn’t have the full autonomy an independent charter school has, they do have increased autonomy from the traditional district model.

A typcial LAUSD neighborhood school that converts to an affiliated charter school can keep its existing campus and facilities -no fighting for space or co-locations via Prop 39. They also keep their attendance area -maintaining the feel of a neighborhood school with priority enrollment given to area residents. The UTLA teacher contract and District-paid union positions stay in tact -but with it so does tenure and seniority-based bumping rights. The school gains some limited freedoms from the district – and the feeling of semi-autonomy. Most importantly the school once converted can apply to the state for a block charter grant -direct funds based on enrollment numbers, which can make up some of the budget shortfalls the school sustained as a non-charter.

While still overseen by LAUSD, an affiliated charter creates its own site-based governance system typically made up of parents, staff, and administration, so the decision-making body of the school resides on campus, not downtown. The school also gains flexibility in curricular focus, textbook selection, selecting programs and materials, as well as freedom in deciding how to allocate, manage and spend the funds that come unrestricted from the state.

The district still oversees and controls many policies in an affiliated charter, and when lateral budget cuts are made – when a staff position or program is reduced or eliminate districtwide – affiliated charters are affected. When the district decides to change the calendar and implement “Early Start,” or makes changes to the bell schedule, or the number of instructional days, class size ratios, or changes to the graduation A-G requirements – affiliated charters are affected. So ultimately, it’s a compromise. The District maintains some control, the unions maintain their contracts, and the school site gains some autonomy without going full-out independent charter.

There is money involved, surely, particularly important for schools that have fallen just below the now higher Title 1 (poverty level) school threshold. In fact, the majority of the schools that have converted one by one (or seven by sixteen) to affiliated charter, are schools that have lost their Title 1 status, meaning they have lost their additional federal funding. The loss in federal funds, in additional to the continued onslaught of yearly state and district budget cuts, has been devastating.

For an elementary school in LAUSD, already 48th in the country in per-pupil spending, the Title 1 funding loss can amount to $80-150,000 annually from a school’s operating budget. For a secondary school such as the highly-lauded LACES, the loss from their budget this year was $460,000. For Millikan Middle School, the loss was about $600,000. You can see the kind of fiscal pressure a school is under, and why that charter block grant, not to mention the thought of gaining some autonomy, starts to look not only attractive, but necessary for survival.

Read some commentary on it from School Board member Tamar Galatzan HERE. And KPCC takes a look at the issues HERE.

But what does this mean in terms of trends where predominantly high-performing motivated middle class schools capable of self-governance are converting to charter 25 – 30 at a time? What does it mean for the rest of the district’s schools, where high staff turnover, low parent participation, and unmotivated communities do not, or can not, advocate for their schools?

In California we have more students enrolled in charter schools than anywhere else in the nation. Ten years from now, will the majority of our schools be charters? Will the District be bankrupt? Will we (the people, the policy-makers) make public education a priority, an undeniable human right, a necessary investment in our collective futures, or will it become an obsolete novelty gone the way of social security and pension plans?

In updating my color-coded Valley Elementary school map with all the recent charter conversions, there is a clear green line. The charter line. Schools south of the Ventura Freeway in the foothills, in North Hills, and Granada Hills, see the most conversions. Make no mistake, they’re also the areas with the highest property values.

GoMamaGuide’s Valley Elementary Schools Map.

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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.
© 2012 by Tanya Anton, GoMamaGuide.com All Rights Reserved.