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!

**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!
* 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!
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.


GoMamaGuides have already helped thousands of LA parents.
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Take the LAUSD Calendar Survey Today!


Hey LAUSD Parents,

It’s bigger than a pop quiz! This survey will help decide the fate of our school calendar (First Day of School, Last Day of School, Holiday Breaks) for next fall and through 2019!

Your voice counts – please participate in the survey.

Online survey available NOW through Dec 6th.

Five little questions with big implications.

Click HERE to Do It Now!

Here’s your test prep:

2016-19 LAUSD Instructional Calendar Survey Questions

Question 1: In your opinion, the school year should start:

  1. Early August
  2. Mid-August
  3. Late August
  4. After Labor Day
  5. It does not matter to me.

Question 2: The winter break should be:

  1. Two weeks
  2. Three weeks
  3. It does not matter to me.

Question 3: The District should explore a different, “modified early August” calendar. This option provides a four-week intervention during a shortened summer break. In addition, the winter break would be extended by four weeks to provide interventions. The winter break would last about seven weeks.

  1. I strongly agree
  2. I somewhat agree
  3. I neither agree or disagree
  4. I somewhat disagree
  5. I strongly disagree

Question 4: It is important that both elementary and secondary schools follow the same calendar.

  1.  I strongly agree
  2.  I somewhat agree
  3.  I neither agree or disagree
  4.  I somewhat disagree
  5.  I strongly disagree

Question 5: The first semester should end before the winter break.

  1. I strongly agree
  2. I somewhat agree
  3. I neither agree or disagree
  4. I somewhat disagree
  5. I strongly disagree

Ok, now you know what the questions are. Get to the SURVEY and get it done!

Splash page with links to a deep dive of additional info HERE

SITE: http://achieve.lausd.net/schoolcalendars

Please note: “Survey opinions will inform Los Angeles Board of Education members when voting to approve the calendar. Their decision will cover the next three years.” It will still come down to the School Board vote.

School Boundary Changes – It Can Happen

LAUSD RSI Map Shopping for a new home? Want to make sure you land in the right school footprint?

This is the time of year where there is a lot of real estate movement as families relocate in advance of the coming school year.

But before you commit to a new lease or escrow, make sure you double check the address by plugging it into the LAUSD Resident School Identifier to verify which specific elementary, middle, and high school it is assigned to. Realtors are not always accurate. You don’t want to buy on the wrong side of the street. And it’s true, from time to time, school boundaries do change. Just because you can “see” that lovely school down the road, doesn’t necessarily mean you automatically get to “attend” it.

First, let’s get the lingo right. Every local neighborhood school has a designated zone around it which admits area residents who reside within that boundary. Sometimes this “zone” is also called an “attendance area,” “footprint” or “encatchment.” To confuse parents even further, some folks also refer to this school boundary as a “district” or “local district” which in my opinion is an unfortunate choice of wording that only tends to confound parents even more in an already confounding arena of uncertainty and cloudiness.

The use of the word “District,” in my opinion, should be reserved for allocating which “school district” as in which city we are talking about, such as Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), or Santa Monica-Malibu United School District (SMMUSD) or Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) or Las Virgenes Unified School District (LVUSD)…you get my drift. These are actual municipalities with their own collective of schools, governed and overseen by their own Local Education Agency (LEA), aka School District.

Because LAUSD is so large (2nd largest school district in the country under New York City), it is also organized by it’s own internal collection of “local districts” also known as Educational Service Centers divided geographically (ESC West, ESC North – which will be splitting into ESC NE and NW next year, ESC South and ESC East), so you see where the language, specifically the term “district” or “local district” can certainly get confusing.

(Magnets and charters and other types of school options do not typically come with attendance areas, so you will never be zoned to a magnet school or an indie charter. Caveat: there are exceptions to that last statement. But let’s press on. We’re talking about our local NEIGHBORHOOD schools. And their attendance areas. And more importantly, Boundary Changes.)

You should also know that occasionally local attendance areas can (and do) change.

Why? When the District determines they need to better balance enrollment in a specific area, they may move certain boundary lines to alleviate overcrowding in one school and fill available space in another nearby school.

Boundary changes, while infrequent in stable neighborhoods, can happen in response to shifts in demographics, population growth, urban development – think new high-rise multiple unit condo developments, the opening (or shuttering) of schools, and frankly what we’re seeing the most of – families that are either cramming into certain “hot” neighborhoods in order to attend the local “halo” school, opting out of certain “undesirable” neighborhood schools, or just generally being priced out of certain areas thereby prohibiting new families with young school-aged children from moving into the area. All of these neighborhood fluctuations – whether growing or declining – impact local school enrollments. Changing neighborhoods, changes in school performance and reputation, shifts in affordable real estate, not to mention the growing menu of school options that are NOT neighborhood schools (magnets, charters, language immersions, specialized academies), all directly impact neighborhood school enrollment.

Ivanhoe changesRecent population explosions in areas such as Carpenter and Colfax Elementary in Studio City, Ivanhoe Elementary on the Eastside, and the current debate raging at Westwood Charter Elementary in WLA (here and here) have angered residents who thought they had paid a premium just to live within a school’s footprint, only to find out that boundaries had or will likely change to accommodate the incoming swell of students. Conversely, while Santa Monica High School is at capacity, many of the Santa Monica elementary schools are actually under-enrolled due to the prohibitively high cost of buying even a condo, let alone a single-family starter home in that coveted Westside area.

Is there a way to avoid a local boundary change? Generally, this is out of parents’ domain and is determined by the Facilities Division of the local school district. If you are looking into real estate in order to attend a specific local school, my advice would be to land well within the center of the area, not on the periphery or outskirts of the attendance area. (Hard to predict, I know.)

If my local school boundary changes, is there a choice? It depends. In most cases, certain blocks along a perimeter will be re-assigned. Sometimes they will offer a phase-in reassignment for only the incoming new Kinders, then K-1 the following year, etc, until the phase-in is complete. Sometimes there will be a hard cut-off in the next year and all incoming new students of all grades will be impacted by the new boundaries. Younger siblings of existing students may also be impacted but will try to be accommodated on a space-available basis.

How do I know if my school boundary has changed? Check this LIST. If you’re not on the list, you are fine. If your school is on the list, click the link for more details.

The list is good for the upcoming school year. The new calendar year begins July 1st.

LAUSD Resident School Finder
The List of 2015-16 Boundary Changes

Further reading:
Enrolling My Child In School – What I Need To Know

For HELP with school placement:
That’s what I’m here for.
PhoneIn-Home Consults 

LAUSD Approves 2015-16 Calendar

CalendarThe LAUSD School Board voted yesterday to approve the 2015-16 School Calendar.

First Day of School will be Tuesday, August 18, 2015. Last Day of School will be Friday, June 10, 2016.

Key recesses are:
Thanksgiving Break: Nov 23 – 29, 2015
Winter Break: Dec 19 – Jan 10, 2016
Spring Break: Mar 21- 27, 2016

Negotiations will continue however, and changes are likely for the 2016-17 calendar. Talks include the possibility of pushing the start date back after Labor Day and reorganizing the breaks so the first and second semester have a more evenly distributed number of instructional days. Perhaps the end of Early Start after all? Wouldn’t that be grand!

Calendar Link
News Release

GoMamaGuide Profiled in the LA Weekly!


Thrilled to be profiled in a piece in the LA Weekly outlining the daunting task of navigating your public school options within the LAUSD!

Here’s a snippet:

Magnets vs. Charters: Meet the Woman Helping You Choose the Right LAUSD School

“It’s that day of the year again – out come the shiny new sneakers, brightly colored backpacks, and paper-bag lunches. Today, more than 640,000 kids from kindergarten through grade 12 return to school as the LAUSD opens its doors for the first day of instruction.

With nearly 900 public schools and 187 public charter schools, LAUSD’s students make up the second largest school district in the nation, supported by an annual operating budget of more than $6 billion.

But that doesn’t mean all students are receiving an equal education. There is a broad range in the quality of teachers, programs and instruction within the district. Some schools are among the state’s best. Others struggle.

The truth is that even once you’ve settled on public schools for your kids, selecting the right one within LAUSD isn’t easy; it involves navigating a complex and confusing system of applications and requirements. It’s enough to make many parents give up.

Enter Tanya Anton.…” 

Read the entire article HERE.


Thanks to reporter Chris Walker- who’s got a cool story of his own – who heard me on Warren Olney’s show the week before and sought me out for the story!

GMG “Meet The Candidates” in LAUSD BD#4 Podcast

I am thrilled to announce the first-ever GoMamaGuide podcast, featuring Steve Zimmer and Kate Anderson, the two candidates running for LAUSD School Board District #4 on Tues, March 5th.

BD4 MapWhat does Board District #4 cover? Everything from the southwest San Fernando Valley, through Pacific Palisades, Venice, down to Westchester, and heading eastward through WLA, West Hollywood and even into parts of Hollywood.
See Map (It’s everything in white.)

With the race heating up and much of both campaigns getting mired by outside interests, deep indie expenditure dollars and negative ads, I put together a list of the Top Ten Hot Topic issues we are currently facing here in LAUSD. These are the challenges that affect YOU – the parents and families – and how they impact our current and future schools. (These are questions I hear over and over in my talks, and if you have school-aged children I know you’ve already experienced some of these issues, perhaps become frustrated by them, and/or can relate.)

Cut through the political spin and join me as I ask both candidates about the REAL ISSUES being played out right now in our school district, and hear what they intend to do about it. For convenience, I’ve indexed the questions by topic so you can get right to what peaks your interest most. Listen to both candidates’ answers back to back, get informed, but mainly, get out and vote on Tues, March 5th!

GoMamaGuide’s “Meet the Candidates” in LAUSD BD#4
Top Ten Burning Parent Questions:

Intro – Welcome to my first podcast!


Your Vision for LAUSD
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:
#1. Prioritizing The Budget
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:
#2. Relentless Parent Fundraising
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

#3. Narrowing of Curriculum/Over Focus on Test Results
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

#4. Innovation
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

#5. Evaluating Teachers/Firing Bad Ones
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

#6. Charter Growth
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

#7. Co-Location Issues
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

#8. Autonomy & The Parent Voice
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

#9. Middle & High School Improvement
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

#10. Charter Reform vs. Union Status Quo
Kate Anderson:   Steve Zimmer:

Thanks to both candidates for agreeing to participate in my podcast!

This is just the beginning of a whole series of podcasts I plan to develop on issues we public school parents care most about.

I hope you’ll join my free monthly GoMamaGuidance newsletter for breaking district news and updates, subscribe to the blog for announcements and articles, and join our wonderful community of parents on our FB page. Thanks for listening!

-Tanya Anton, creator/founder GoMamaGuide.com