Upcoming Charter Application Deadlines (Elementary)

Speaking of charters, we are now fully ensconced in what I refer to as “Charter Season.” The time to tour and get your charter school applications in before their deadlines and lotteries.

While not exhaustive, here’s a select list of some of the upcoming elementary school charter application deadlines and lottery dates around town. Most applications can be downloaded online on the school’s website and either mailed in or physically handed in to their office.

CharterFeel free to peruse my color-coded school finder MAPS for individual school contact info and a direct hyperlink onto their websites. All charters are marked in green on my maps.

Remember, 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 going up for lottery to non-residents.

All charters give preference to siblings of existing students, and some charters offer other priorities in their lottery structure, such as to founding families, 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.

Ok, here’s that list.

SELECT UPCOMING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHARTER DEADLINES:
(certainly not an exhaustive list and in no particular order)

Pacific Palisades Charter Complex* Schools — apps avail now in each office, deadline March 11th 12p, lottery March 22nd 8:30a *(schools include Canyon, Kenter Canyon, Palisades, Marquez and Topanga Charters)

WISH —  apps avail online now, deadline March 6th 6p, lottery March 15th

Goethe — apps avail online now, deadline Feb 28th,  lottery in March tbd

Ocean Charter School — apps avail online now, deadline Jan 25th, lottery Feb 27th 10a

Larchmont Hwd — apps avail now online, deadline Feb 20th 4p, lottery Feb 23rd 9a

Larchmont WeHo — apps avail now online, deadline Feb 8th 4p, lottery Feb 23rd 9a

Citizens of the World/Hwd — apps avail online now, deadline March 1st 4p, lottery March 21st 6p

Citizens of the World/Silver Lake — apps avail online now, deadline tbd, lottery April 4th

Citizens of the World/Mar Vista — – info Mtg 1/31 in MV, apps avail online now, deadline March 1st, lottery April 11th

Los Feliz Schl of the Arts — apps avail online, deadline Feb 28 (by mail) or March 5th 12p (in person), lottery March 5th

Valley Charter — apps avail online, deadline Feb 8th 4p, lottery Feb 22nd 5p

Chime — apps avail online now, deadline March 8th 3p, lottery March 15th

Ararat —  call 818.994.2904

Our Community Charter — 818.920.5285

Again, please view my school finder maps for more info and links.

PS Smart Tip: Transformation Begins With Visualization

Exhale Stress and Worry… Inhale Joy, Inspiration and a Vision of The Highest

Take in a deep cleansing breath and visualize your children among other children, in happy nurturing environments, excited to be amongst good-hearted caring people, with inspired lessons and wonderful opportunities for learning. Hold this vision for your children, your school, your community.

Collectively these are our schools. And we are creating them, shaping them, as we lean into and visualize the need. And as we fill them with our collective love and care and nurturing, they will soar. And despite the economic downturn, despite all you might hear in the press, many already are. And many more are opening, transforming, filling the need for something new. Because of all of us, together, holding the vision, asking for and creating change. For our collective children. For our future. Because we love them. Because we care.

Because we are all inter-related; not one apart from the other.

moneytree
So let’s hold the highest vision of possible school, and in joy, bring it into fulfillment.

And trust with all this school stuff, it’s gonna be alright!

Because it is.

Westside Middle School Forum Oct 18th

Update! 2 more schools added to the lineup!

Learn all about your Middle School options on the Westside:

Middle School Forum

Thurs, Oct 18th 6-8p – FREE –
Coeur d’Alene EL Auditorium
810 Coeur d’Alene Ave,
Venice, CA 90291.map
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School representatives from:
Animo Westside MS
Mark Twain MS
Marina del Rey MS
New West Charter
Ocean Charter
Palms MS
Paul Revere MS
Westside Global Awareness Magnet.
Magnolia Science Academy
The City School Charter

featuring
Tanya Anton of GoMamaGuide.com and
LAUSD School Board Member Steve Zimmer
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brought to you by Venice Neighborhood Council’s Education Committee

Hidden Rival to Charter Schools – My Response

Have you read this recent article in the Washington Post?

Hidden Rival to Charter Schools by Jay Mathews

Fascinating. Shows just how frustrated parents are with the traditional, increasingly narrow, test-driven model of education. It’s not working. It hasn’t in a long time. We are collectively, desperately, ready and pining for something new. Even if it means trying something unorthodox or doing it ourselves. I see this all the time speaking to parents and helping them navigate their public school options.

Here in Los Angeles, the forefront of the charter movement and the second largest school district in the country, we’ve also seen an increase in collaborative homeschool study groups with organized educational field trips and social group outings. Many area museums and attractions offer programs/tours designed specifically for the homeschooler, and we also have a couple of hybrid schools that offer a part-time classroom /part-time home study combo.

Parents want options other than the traditional test-driven District model. That is unmistakable. Here’s what I’ve observed:

– communities desperately trying to support, reinvigorate and revitalize their neighborhood school despite the yearly onslaught of budget cuts and set backs, frequently get frustrated by the lack of engaging, inspired teaching and learning, and the unavoidable District policy ceiling they will hit, so they

-explore all their lottery options including magnets, charters or transfers/permits to find the best-possible school option for their children, and failing that they

– band together under a united vision to launch an indie start-up charter where collectively they can participate in an alternative model of education and have the freedom to collaborate on the shaping of their school. However, the space limitations under Prop 39 continually thwart rapid enrollment growth resulting in wait lists in the hundreds for the successful models, not to mention the rather sad lack of facilities (a row of temporary bungalows co-located on the side of another district school, or housed in a church, or concrete business park with no field, no auditorium, no library, few enrichments)

– some find a way to “make it work” and make the best of what they are offered, others frustrated by these options move to another more successful, better-funded public school footprint (if it exists nearby or if they can afford it), and finally having exhausted or summarily rejected all of the above for various reasons

– look into homeschooling options, which run the gamut from filing PSA affidavits, forming co-op home study groups, meet-ups, or utilizing online courses, such as K12, Kahn Academy or CAVA. With the ubiquitous accessibility of technology, I don’t doubt we will be seeing even more online and hybrid education models in the very near future.

There is plenty of research that points to best practices in 21st Century teaching and learning, yet for some reason the policymakers continually reject what the research shows and what the teachers already know, and set public school policy (federal and local) that instead narrows the curriculum and pushes top-down test-driven results, beating the very inspiration, depth and engagement we so desperately seek, out of education altogether.

I personally know my own limitations and don’t homeschool my daughter, but is it any wonder families are exploring any and all alternative options? “Hidden rival” to charter schools sound ominous and overly threatening. I’d say it’s more like growing numbers of families exploring their options and seeking different ones than the traditional model.

What do you think about this trend?

“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. 

Magnet Madness: The Recap

by Tanya Anton | GoMamaGuide.com

echoices.pngBetween now and December 16th, getting in that Magnet application choice is on many of our minds…

Which Magnet should I choose, how many points do I have, how many points gets you in, what’s the best way to bank points, what are my odds, am I trying to get in, am I trying to NOT get in, what if I do get in, what if I don’t get in, what if… So. Much. Angst!!!

Take a deep breath and trust you’ll get through this. The Magnet lottery is the first in a series of public school options one can apply to with its application window opening November 1st for the following fall. (Charter and other applications typically become available after the new year.) The hard part is you only get to choose ONE magnet school to apply to, and after that, there’s nothing you can do but sit back and wait to see how you did.

New for 2012 – The Choices Highlight Reel

The Magnet/Choices applications are (finally) online! Some old-school paper applications were sent to local schools and some public libraries, however most parents are encouraged to apply online. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s paperless! And did I mention that it’s online?!

Deadline to get that application in is Friday, December 16, 5pm. After that, most LAUSD schools will close for a 3-week Winter Break.

Magnet tours are happening now folks, so get out there and tour!

Your child must be 5 by November 1, 2012 to enter Kindergarten in Fall 2012.

Remember, LAUSD’s Fall 2012 school calendar will now start on August 14, 2012.

Overcrowded points are becoming virtually extinct. Only 2 schools (Del Olmo EL and Cahuenga EL) will remain on a concept 6 (3 track) calendar by 2012, making those students the only ones eligible for the additional 4 Overcrowded points. For everyone else, it means the most points we could possibly accumulate is: 12 Waitlist or 12 Matriculation + 4 Phbao + 3 Sibling = 19 points max. A more even playing field.

According to the new brochure, “students may be contacted regarding an opening up through the first month of school.” (Used to be the first 10 days of school.)

Any LAUSD resident can apply to a regular Magnet program but for Gifted/High Ability or Highly Gifted Magnet programs one must meet eligibility requirements either through being tested or identified prior to application deadline. If applying from a charter or private or pre-K school, the verification process can be found here. (It’s different than if currently attending an LAUSD school.)

Some Basics

Must be a resident of LAUSD.

You only get to choose ONE program (Magnet or NCLB PSC or PWT if eligible).

You only get to choose ONE Magnet school.

No early applications – apply in the winter before the fall of age-appropriate enrollment.

It’s a weighted lottery so the more points you have the better your chances are.

If you are offered a spot and turn it down you lose all your accumulated wait list points.

If you are currently attending a Magnet school, you don’t need to re-apply each year unless you are matriculating or wish to enter the lottery for another magnet school (from EL to MS, MS to HS, or to switch to another magnet program.)

It’s a random lottery so anything can happen.

For NCLB-PSC or Public School Choice – you must be currently enrolled in a PI school to take advantage of that program.

Transportation is available if you live outside a 2 mile radius from the magnet school’s attendance boundary for K-5, or 3 mile radius for grades 6-12.

Stumped on all this Magnet talk? Come to my last-minute seminar, Navigating The School System: Know Your Public Options, Sunday, December 11th at 5p in WLA and we’ll go over all this and more.


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 popular Seminars, visit GoMamaGuide.com or email us at GoMama@mac.com.
© 2011 by Tanya Anton, GoMamaGuide.com All Rights Reserved.