eChoices Deadline This Friday, Nov 9 at 5p!

5 LAUSD Programs, 1 Application.

Due by 5p this Friday, November 9, 2018.

New Deadline: Friday, November 16, 2018.

Go to: echoices.lausd.net or apply.lausd.net

If you are considering Magnets, Dual Language programs, SAS/Schools For Advanced Studies programs (no, it’s not due in March anymore), PWT/Permits With Transportation, and the newly coined programs called Admission Criteria Schools for next fall, then get those applications in NOW!

You can go up and edit your application as many times as you like between now and 5p on Friday, but whatever is listed on your application at the deadline is what will be submitted.

Your Verification of Eligibility Forms and Kindergarten Readiness Checklist Forms for Gifted/SAS Programs also need to be RECEIVED by 5p this next Friday.

Should you miss this deadline and submit a late application in February, Magnet folks will forfeit the opportunity to collect any waitlist points. You will also run the risk of not getting into the more competitive programs. Just get it in on time.

Got questions? If you need a last-minute consult to review your app or strategy, I have a block of 30 min phone consultations available between 9a and 4p through Friday afternoon. You can grab your call with me here: https://gomamaguide.com/store/phone-consultations/

I turn into a pumpkin Friday at 5:01p.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Will There Be A Strike? What Happens Then?

If you haven’t heard, there’s been quite a bit of rumor swirling around about a potential teachers strike as LAUSD and UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles) hash out their labor negotiations. What does this mean? What will happen? When will it happen? What happens to my kids’ school if there’s a strike? What if I have to work when there’s a strike? Will schools shut down? Who’ll watch my kids???

I know. I know. So many questions, so many unknowns. These are good questions. All of them. For all of us.

I received the following additional questions from a working mom today, which made me decide to tackle these questions and share my response more widely with all of you parents in the hopes that it provide you with some understanding of where we are at currently with this pending situation.

Q: As you have heard, the LAUSD is possibly going on strike. We have been told by the principal that they will still have classes that will be combined and taught by administrators should there be a strike. Further, they are saying that if we do not attend these classes that our son would be marked as absent. This seems illegal to me. Do you know who I can contact that would know about whether or not some of these suggested strike actions are legal?
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Ok, let’s dive into this.
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In a perfect world, LAUSD and UTLA will be able to settle their differences, and come up with a workable solution through the mediation process they are currently going through, and avoid a strike altogether. However, UTLA’s members have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, and if they feel they need to use that tactic to get what they want, they have agreed to stand together should their leaders enact that option. Latest word I heard was that if it did happen, the strike wouldn’t be until December, but who knows. The negotiations are done privately. At any point if the mediation process breaks down, then yes, a strike is a definite possibility.

Meanwhile, LAUSD, and specifically LAUSD School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin, have assured me that should there be a strike, schools will NOT be shut down, they will bring in subs or whomever they can (administrators) to keep schools in session.

Also, understand that schools get paid by their ADA – Average Daily Attendance – money. This is just a fact of how schools are funded in our California public school system, which is why they are so adamant that attendance stay high, and if your child is not in school, why they insist you bring a doctor’s note or legitimate written excuse so they can still collect the daily attendance dollars. If a child is marked absent without an excuse, called an “unexcused absence,” schools are docked that child’s ADA amount for that day. So cumulatively, they are losing a lot of money due to absences. And this is why, at the end of the year if your child has more than 7 unexcused absences (you forgot to send the note!) they send you some threatening letter with a bunch of legalese under threat of prosecution that it is your parental responsibility to get your child to school or they will sue you. It’s all about money. And they are serious. [You can read all about excused and unexcused absences and attendance and Ed Code in this handy LAUSD tome, “School Attendance – A Parents Guide.” Or how chronically absent students cost a district millions of dollars here. And read the CA Legislative Analyst’s Office 2018 Update of K-12 Student Attendance and Funding.]

So, back to the labor issue. If there’s a strike and the majority of students walk out too – schools will not be getting paid their ADA funds multiplied by all the students who are absent during a strike. Meaning, the strike will not only affect teachers who will lose teacher pay for each day gone, but school budgets will also be impacted with lost ADA funds each day a strike wages on and students do not attend. It is NOT a win-win. It is quite a lose-lose for everyone, unless UTLA and LAUSD can end up cutting a deal they can live with and UTLA calls off the strike threat.

Complicating matters is that with the rising fiscal cliff of unpaid health and pension benefits careening towards LAUSD, taking up a significant portion of the annual operating budget and driving them towards near insolvency, if LAUSD doesn’t balance their budget, the State and County have already come knocking twice to warn LAUSD that they WILL take over if they cut a deal with UTLA that they cannot afford. So it is a dramatic time right now as both sides continue the mediation process. A process which is done between the negotiating partners, which we-the-people-the-stakeholders have no say or control over.

It’s worth mentioning that since Independent Charters have the flexibility to hire and fire and negotiate their own staff’s benefit packages directly, and have the autonomy to manage their own budgets and governance decisions, they will NOT be impacted at all should there be a strike.

But LAUSD neighborhood schools, Affiliated Converted Charter schools, Magnets, Dual Language Programs, Schools For Advanced Studies (SAS) Programs, Small Learning Communities (SLCs), Academic Criteria Schools (ACS), as well as other Specialized Academies within LAUSD, will ALL be impacted by these negotiations and potential strike.

I hope this explanation helps you understand the process and ramifications. I am holding hope that the strike is avoided and a settlement can be reached. For all our sakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Webinars Just Added!

The GoMamaGuide “Lunch & Learn” Webinar Series has officially launched and I want to thank everyone who has participated so far! I am loving the no-driving part, seriously. Brilliant.

Since it’s eChoices season and several of you weren’t able to jump on those first few webinars, I’ve added two more that will directly help you with your eChoices application.

An additional Mastering Magnets webinar is scheduled for this Thursday, October 11…

And since SAS joins Gifted Magnets as part of the eChoices app this year, you might want to also check out Understanding Gifted Options next Tuesday, October 16 where we cover all your GIFTED worries, and break down the goods on SAS, GATE, and that string of acronyms: GHA, HG, HGA, IHP.

All Webinars start at 12p and run 60 mins. But if you can’t make it live, don’t sweat it, as long as you sign up BEFORE the start of the webcast, you’ll get the replay for another 7 days afterward. To sign up, just CLICK ON THE PICTURE (above) of the event you’d like to attend. If you have related questions you’d like me to cover, you can email them to me in advance, or use the live interactive Q&A feature during the webinar. Learning has never been so easy, informative, and focused on just what you need to hear. It’s like we’re together, but without all the LA hassle.

So grab a snack and your burning school questions, and join me for a Lunch & Learn Webinar. Book your spot today!

Heads Up! SAS Now Included in Oct/Nov EChoices App!

Heads Up Everyone.

If you are considering applying to an SAS or Schools For Advanced Studies (gifted) program for next year, LAUSD has moved the application deadline from March (when it had previously been due), to the newly revamped Oct/Nov eChoices application.

That means SAS apps are DUE by Friday, November 9, 2018 by 5p. 

FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS EARLIER THAN LAST YEAR!

Yep.

This is causing a slight last-minute panic, both for SAS schools AND parents, however I have gathered everything you will need to get this done on time.

Here are the bullet points:

• You will have up to 3 choices for SAS on the eChoices application, so choose and sequence them wisely. You will have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice, so think about which SAS school you want the most, and also consider which one is most likely to have space as residents will have priority enrollment in the school before SAS applicants.

• You only have the potential to draw one SAS offer from the eChoices lottery, however you could also apply and get drawn for a Magnet AND a Dual Language Program AND an Admissions Criteria School (new category) as well. In fact, you could ostensibly win all 5 program categories on the eChoices application. Then you will have to make a choice between programs.

• So to recap, if you want to apply to some SAS programs, you will do it in Oct/Nov on the online eChoices application while you’re also applying for Magnets, Dual Language Programs, an Admission Criteria School, and also Permits With Transportation (if your school is a sending school.)

• If the SAS program you are interested in is also an Affiliated Converted Charter School, you cannot use this process. You must apply directly through the school’s onsite non-resident lottery. At a later date. Set by each school. (Valley, Palisades peeps, we’re mainly talking about you here!)

• There are NO POINTS for any program EXCEPT the Magnet program. (That’s a relief!)

• Additionally, in order to apply to an SAS program, your child must meet the GIFTED eligibility threshold and submit the necessary paperwork by the Nov 9th deadline. 

• There are multiple ways to meet eligibility, however probably the easiest method is to have your child’s Teacher and Principal or Director fill out the Verification of Eligibility Form, especially if your child is coming from preschool, private school, a charter, or another non-LAUSD program.

• In addition, for incoming Kindergarten SAS applicants, you will also need your child’s current Teacher and/or Director to fill out and sign the SAS Kindergarten Readiness Checklist Form.

To repeat, you’ll need BOTH these forms (linked below) filled out and signed:

The Verification of Eligibility Form
The SAS Kindergarten Readiness Checklist Form

Send the signed completed forms either by mail or deliver in person BEFORE the Friday, November 9, 2018 5p deadline:

U.S. Mail:
Unified Enrollment
P.O. Box 513307
Los Angeles,  CA  90051

or Hand Deliver:
L.A. Unified Headquarters/Unified Enrollment
25th Floor Reception Desk
333 South Beaudry Ave
Los Angeles, CA  90017

Don’t you love a good paperwork scramble? Yeah. I thought so.

• If your child is already enrolled in an LAUSD school and has already been identified as GATE, the District will automatically check the student’s eligibility through the school’s records so in that case you won’t need to submit these forms.

SAS Schools Alphabetical List
SAS Schools FAQ
SAS Schools List by Grade Level

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SAS-eChoices Commentary:
(Warning! Tanya’s getting on her soapbox. Hey, my blog, my soapbox!)

I’ve been calling around to various SAS schools for the past week to gather as much intel as possible ahead of this October 1st eChoices/SAS launch, and I can tell you after speaking with more than half a dozen SAS school office personnel, they are just as “in the dark” about these new application changes as “we the people” are. One Office Manager from a prominent SAS program asked me to call her back once I found out what the new policy was! Really? So instead of the SAS School being the source of intel, the parent has to be? Really? Another SLC Coordinator from an equally high profile SAS school in another part of town echoed similar sentiments. She just kind of sighed and resolved herself that this year “we’ll just figure it out as we go.”

Oh great. Tell that to the parents who were not informed of the changes, who will show up in March and have completely missed the SAS deadline.

Well yes, there’s a late application starting in February, but your child will then be placed at the bottom of the already sequenced waitlist. Result? Well…you do the math.

True to LAUSD form, this notion of consolidating a number of program applications onto a “common app” and moving the deadline a good 4.5 months earlier than usual should have been rolled out and announced widely months before we all found ourselves at the start of the application cycle. However that simply was not the case. It appears that some SAS schools are literally just now finding out about these new changes right at the same time you are, creating unnecessary stress and confusion in what could have been a smoother, more inclusive rollout. Or maybe the Principal or Magnet Coordinator knew about it, but the office staff fielding parent phone calls had no idea at all. I guarantee there will be disappointed parents who “didn’t get the memo” (since as far as I can tell there wasn’t one) who will bring their paper SAS apps to the schools in March just like in previous years, only to find they will now be placed hopelessly far down the waitlist and have little chance of enrollment. Because. No. Notice.

And shall I continue?

You know what’s great about producing a list of all 288 SAS programs all cutely colored and listed in alphabetical order?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing is great about that. Except for, um, at least there’s a list. 

You’ve got elementaries along with middles and high schools, all mashed together in one long alphabetical list of schools that span over 720 square miles across this vast behemoth of a city. Clearly no one on the “eChoices Common App Graphics and Strategic Planning Team” has ever ACTUALLY had to find a school for their kid within a reasonable commuting distance from where they live.

Ok LAUSD. Let me break it down for you.

For a parent seeking a school for their children, this is absolutely not helpful. I mean, if my 2nd grader needs an SAS program and I live in Van Nuys, why the heck do I want to wade through a 3-column multi-page list of hundreds of schools I’ve never heard of, mixing San Pedro schools with Silver Lake schools with schools in Cheviot Hills and KTown? And how the heck am I going to know the difference if I’ve never even heard of these schools to begin with? It doesn’t work, folks.

I feel like that scene in Spinal Tap, where Nigels’s backstage playing with his “mini” baloney sandwich….

“I’ve been working with this now for about half an hour… I can’t figure out….”

 

 

So in conclusion, parents, here is your memo.

The SAS application is now going to be part of the eChoices application which means it, and all the necessary supporting eligibility documentation, will be due by Friday, November 9th before 5p. Do this at the same time you are applying for Magnets, and Dual Language Immersions, and that other new category, ACS, and Permits with Transportation if you qualify for those.

Should you find you need assistance with this or any of your K-12 Los Angeles public school choices, please know I am available for phone and in-home consultations, and I would be more than happy to work with you to come up with your very own personalized public school plan based on your specific needs and what makes sense for your family.

Best of luck to all of you.

xo

(exit soapbox.)

 

 

SAS Applications Now Through March 30th (It’s earlier this year!)

GATE
Hey folks, heads up! They moved the SAS date up a month!

If your child qualifies, NOW is the time (March 1-30, 2017) to apply for LAUSD’s Schools For Advanced Studies (SAS) programs for next fall. The deadline to apply for the 2017-18 school year is March 30, 2017. Acceptance notifications come out April 21st.

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, and most 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 SBAC test results.

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

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

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

All about GATE options and “The List” of SAS programs by area/grade begins on page 5: List

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

Transportation is not provided for these programs, so keep that in mind when applying.

As always, if you want to discuss anything further, I’m here to help!
phone consultation
in-home consultation

Tanya Added to Valley SoCal Parenting Speaker Series Next Weds, Nov 12 7p

Hey Valley Parents,
Tanya will be leading a public school seminar next Weds evening at ONE Generation in Van Nuys as part of the 21st Century SoCal Parenting Speaker Series. Come get savvy about all your public school options, including magnet and charter lotteries!

Navigating The School System
Weds, November 12, 2014 7p
ONE Generation
17400 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA  91406
(just East of White Oak)

Register Online:  21csocalparenting.com

Navigating the School System

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

 

Hot Off The Presses! New School Guidebooks for 2014!

P1110150

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westside Guide to Public Elementary School

and

Westside Guide to Middle School

newly revised and updated for the 2014-15 school year!

$20 each. Click HERE to purchase.