Mastering Magnets Webinar This Monday Nov 6 at 12p

New Webinar!

Everything You Need to Know (Those Points!)

This Monday, November 6th, 2017 




In this 60 minute webinar, we’ll break it all down. Magnets: what they are, how to apply (step-by-step), what’s new for 2018 and that darn that “Point System” demystified. Learn how to maximize your eChoices strategy for optimal results. With LIVE Q&A.

Registration is now closed. Please check back for future webinars.

PHBAO, Overcrowded and Twins Points UPDATE for 2018-19 Magnet Application


It’s been brought to my attention that there are a handful of neighborhood schools, out of the nearly 1300 within LAUSD, that will buy you an extra four “Overcrowded” points on the Magnet eChoices application.

Overcrowded points historically were assigned for zoned schools that were so full they had to operate on a multi-track year, meaning a group of students started school in the fall, and another group started in the summer or even in multiple tracks in multiple months, and school went year-round in order to fit everyone in.

After LAUSD spent all those billions of dollars worth of bond money building out 131 new schools over the past decade, (the largest buildout in the country btw), we ended multi-track schools, we ended CAP sending and receiving, (busing kids from overcrowded schools to under-enrolled schools), the final multi-track school, Bell High School, went to a single track calendar and those 4 “Overcrowded” points went the way of the dodo bird, from what I understood. They became extinct. Nobody had them.

But I just spent 20 minutes on hold with the LAUSD Office of Student Integration (you’re welcome) in order to verify this astounding discovery. While so many schools across LAUSD are now under-enrolled, there are currently 9 LAUSD schools that are in OVERCROWDED status believe it or not, according to last year’s list, meaning if you are zoned to one of these schools, you get an extra 4 points!

Now, I was told that this is last year’s list and the new list for 2018-19 will not come out until December – AFTER the Magnet deadline – however, she did confirm that these are the schools on the current Overcrowded list:

92nd Street
Carpenter EL
Dixie Canyon EL
Franklin EL
Hesby Oaks
Kittridge EL
MacArthur Park VAPA EL
Wisdom EL

Playa Vista EL and Westwood EL, who have recently moved their TK programs off to nearby hub schools to make additional room on campus were on my mind, which I specifically asked about, and as far as she was concerned, were not on the list. Yet. Check back in December though when the list updates.

As for determining PHBAO status, in addition to calling your zoned school’s office, or waiting 20-30 minutes on hold for a person at the Office of Student Integration to get to your call, I found this PHBAO LIST of Schools online, (also to be updated in December), but it will at least give you a good idea of current standings. PHBAO stands for Predominantly Hispanic, Black, Asian and Other, (i.e. the majority is non-Caucasian) and if you are zoned to one of these schools, you get 4 points. We cover this extensively in my talks and consultations, and you can learn all about points in my latest guidebook, The GoMamaGuide to LAUSD.

For 2018-19, eChoices finally worked some magic to support families with TWINS and MULTIPLES!! Before now, each child was treated as an individual and took their shot in the lottery, which meant many times only one child would get in and the other twin was out of luck until the following year when they would get those extra 3 sibling points. Now, if one twin gets in, the other twin or multiples jump up to the next number(s) on the top of the list. Meaning, if there is one more seat available, they will get it. In essence, finally being able to allow twins and multiples to get in together in the same program in the same year.

We discussed how crazily upward trending (and by that I mean unaffordable) real estate has started to force out diversity in certain neighborhoods, so schools that once were PHBAO, are no longer PHBAO, and therefore families who have siblings already attending the magnet program who have a younger rising sibling whose zoned school has fallen out of PHBAO will likely have NO chance of getting their siblings in, since Sibling status only gives you 3 points, yet PHBAO status gives someone 4 points. Since this whole magnet system works on a weighted points-based lottery starting from the highest down to the lowest points, the way this is currently set up, a particular magnet program would have to exhaust ALL their PHBAO applicants before a Sibling-nonPHBAO student could get in to join their other sibling. Meaning, families will become divided with little chance of keeping their kids together in the same magnet program.

I asked this administrator to please take this concern to her superiors and magnet coordinators, because inadvertently this points-based discrepancy will be splitting families apart. I suggested at a minimum giving siblings 4 points – equal to PHBAO points – so at least the playing field is level. She seemed receptive to my concerns and said she would bring it up at the next meeting. If you too are concerned about this, please talk with your magnet coordinators so they can discuss potential adjustments for future years, just as they were able to do with this year’s TWIN/MULTIPLE FIX.

As always, if you have no idea what I’m talking about and your head is spinning with question marks about all these points, let’s book a call to go over your magnet strategy and I’ll do my best to shoehorn you into my schedule right now.

That’s all I got for the moment. Hope you enjoyed the update.






Navigating LAUSD with Twins

(This is a re-print of an article I originally wrote for WLAPOM – The West LA Parents Of Multiples Organization.)
bksandapplesWhen it comes to schools, one thing we do have in Los Angeles – the second-largest school district in the country – is choice. While it’s tricky to understand all your public school application and lottery choices and their respective timelines, it can get even trickier navigating it with twins or multiples. Sometimes you actually have an advantage. Sometimes not so much. But the key to it all is understanding your options.
Here is a quick outline of how to navigate finding a public school with twins or multiples.
Your Neighborhood School
Every address is zoned to a local elementary, middle and high school. This is your neighborhood school, your assigned school. Take the time to look it up, tour it, assess it, and talk to some of the current community involved. If you want this to be your family’s school, as long as can show proof of residence and get your enrollment papers submitted during “The Roundup” in the spring, (generally March-April), it’s a sure thing. Your neighborhood school will automatically accept all zoned residents, including multiples. Moving into the footprint of a great local school, if possible, is the ideal situation.
Magnet programs are voluntary integration programs that provide a diverse, enriched, theme-based educational environment for lucky lottery winners, with transportation provided if you qualify. This is also where that crazy weighted point system kicks in. If you’ve picked up one of my guidebooks or attended one of my talks, you should be well-versed in the ins and outs of point collection and strategy. The downside is that twins are treated as individuals. They both could get in, or only one might get in. If the latter happens, the second child would have to attend elsewhere until the following year when sibling points will almost assuredly get him/her into the program. But don’t let that dissuade you. There are plenty of twins who make it through the magnet system. Apply online at Oct to mid-Nov for the following school year.
LA has more students enrolled in charter schools than anywhere else in the country.
Independent Charters are free to design, implement and operate their schools apart from district and union policies, budgets and bureaucracy. Anyone from anywhere can apply to their open lotteries, (usually Jan/Feb), and the successful independent charters have long lists of applicants. But twins and siblings get special treatment: if one sibling gets in, typically all the other siblings get in too. This gives you multiple chances to win the lottery over “single” child applicants.
Affiliated Converted Charters are district-union run hybrid charters with less autonomy than the independent charter, but maintain the original district building, facility and neighborhood attendance area. Usually 98.5% of incoming students are residents (those who reside within the school’s attendance area) who get first priority enrollment, but every year any remaining seats go up for lottery to non-resident applicants. Each school runs their own lottery (typically Feb/Mar) and most offer the “sibling advantage” – if one gets in, they all get in — but it will be space-dependent.
In addition to the above possibilities, there are also LAUSD schools offering easy Open Enrollment, Schools for Advanced Studies (for Gifted students), Pilot schools, Language Immersion programs, Specialized Small Learning Academies (at secondary schools), and the possibility of transfers both within and out of the district to look into. In most cases schools prefer to keep families together rather than separated, however it will depend on the number of seats available and the order of being drawn if there is a lottery.
For a color-coded map of public schools including magnets and charters by area, please visit my free Google mash-up maps at If this seems overwhelming and you want to discuss specific schools or strategy, we can always set up a consultation.