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

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

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

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

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
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
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 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
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

For more info and schools, please view my color-coded school finder maps HERE.

Westside Middle School Forum a Success!


Thanks to event organizers Julia Morgan and Sandi Wise, The Venice Neighborhood Council’s Education Committee, and to Mark Twain Middle School for opening up their auditorium to the community!

Thanks also to the twelve area public middle schools who presented at the Westside Middle School Forum, representing a wide range of public school options to our local families. Thanks to all of you who showed up to learn about your options, and especially to those of you who came up to say hello! Great night all around.

Additional pictures added.

Westside Middle School Forum, Oct 24 6p


Shopping Middle Schools on the Westside? Then you’ll want to check this out.

Thurs, October 24th starting at 6p, a dozen area middle schools will be under one roof at Mark Twain Middle School presenting their pitches, power points and pamphlets. Come, listen, learn. Afterward there’ll be a chance to walk up to each school table and ask questions.

And of course, I’ll be there to help focus you on your options.

Thurs, October 24, 2013 6-8:30p
at Mark Twain Middle School
2224 Walgrove Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90066
It’s FREE!

Thanks to organizers Julia Morgan and Sandi Wise, and the VNC Ed Committee. Thanks also to Mark Twain for hosting. No thanks to Venice HS (originally pegged to host) who had so much school pride they wouldn’t allow their space to be shared with a mix of charters, pilots, and magnets. Well, likely it was only the charters and pilot. Seriously? How HS of them!

4 New Westside Middle School Options – Who Says We Don’t Have Choice?

by Tanya Anton |

For years I’ve heard parents say we have no “viable choice” when it comes to middle school on this side of Los Angeles. For years one particular organization’s platform was that we only had one choice in these parts, and that it desperately needed transforming. (Or put more succinctly, our children deserve better!)

While I wouldn’t argue the second half of that sentence, the first part was incorrect. We’ve always had a few choices. In fact this Westside area (from Venice to WLA to Westchester), is known as a district “zone of choice” allowing any student to enroll into any of its ring of five area middle schools. It’s just that despite some valiant efforts, most of the schools in this zone seem to be quite lackluster. And run down. And perhaps face safety issues. And most certainly staffing issues. Not to mention a revolving door of leadership. Perhaps it is choice, but to some it’s a choice-less choice.

So much potential…but just…not…a viable choice.

The continued declining enrollment speaks for itself.

As this recent wave of hands-on parents – the ones who have worked tirelessly to revitalize their elementary schools – and their children approach the middle school years, parents are getting more savvy and invested (not to mention more active) in the types of educational experience they want for their children. Many are seeking a different model altogether and are doing whatever they can to find it, transform it, or if necessary, help create it.

In the past year alone, four new Middle Schools have opened on the Westside. Five since 2011.

Say what you will about density, and impact, but I have personally watched many fine folks toil for years (of thankless unpaid labor) to get these schools off the ground. And here they are.

In any case, when it comes to Middle School options, who says we don’t have choice!

Let’s meet them, shall we?

in alphabetical order:

Animo Westside Charter Middle School – launched in 2011, this Green Dot charter was the result of the LA Parent Union/Parent Revolution movement. With small classes and a supportive infrastructure all students are encouraged to achieve academic excellence.

The City School – launched in 2012, this charter comes from some of the same folks who worked on the two highly successful Larchmont Charters as well as Valley Charter Schools. With a focus on civics, debate and writing, not to mention service learning and building good character, this charter has the intention to expand through grade 12 by 2017.

The Incubator School – opening 6-7th in 2013 and growing to 12th by 2018, this cutting edge new district pilot school will focus on tech-entrepreneurship and will utilize blended learning, design-thinking, real world project-based learning, as well as partnerships with ed, tech and Silicon Beach startup companies and non-profits.

Westchester Secondary Charter School – will open 6-9th in 2013 and grow to include 12th by 2016, offering a rigorous college-prep comprehensive education that includes the arts to athletics. WSCS looks forward to serving students in its community with the autonomy to make its own budget, curricular, staffing and governance decisions.

WISH-Westside Innovative School House – this K-5 independent charter was approved to launch a district pilot middle school but opted instead to extend their charter to include 6th grade for 2013. Steeped in research-based best-practices, and partnered with LMU’s School of Ed, this co-constructivist inclusion school is modeled after the highly successful Chime Charter in Woodland Hills.

Stay tuned for future GoMamaGuide stories that will take a closer look at these new school options.

WSMS Map13Be sure to check out my color-coded Westside Middle School map on the school finder page. Includes a complete list of all your public magnet, charter, pilot and neighborhood middle schools in WLA, Santa Monica, Malibu and Culver City.

Westside Middle School Forum Packs in Parents!


Tanya speaks to a packed house last Thursday at the Westside Middle Forum at Coeur d’Alene Elementary School in Venice, CA.

Thanks to organizers Julia Morgan and Sandi Wise of the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Education Committee for putting on such a great event featuring nine area middle schools, and thanks to the many parents I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with. Fun!