Countdown to Back To School! Checklist Included

Back2SchlWe’re in the final decent to the start of the 2015-16 school year in Los Angeles…let the scramble begin!

For LAUSD students, school starts this Tuesday, August 18th. For Santa Monica-Malibu it’s Thursday, Aug 20th, and for Culver City you get ’til Monday, Aug 24th. And for some lucky indie charter students, you still have a week or two to go, but for others school started a few days ago on the 11th! Wah.

In any case, there are Back to School sales going on everywhere, even at your local drugstores, so now is the time to make sure you have everything you need to start the year off right. Here’s a quick basic checklist but check your actual school for particulars:

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backpack
lunchbox
food storage containers/ziplocks
water bottle
thermos
new sneakers and socks
other closed toe shoes
PE uniform (middle/high schoolers)
notebooks and binders
folders
filler paper
pencils and pens
erasers
school planner
sunscreen stick
lip balm
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And of course your stylish new school wardrobe…unless by that we mean the regulation khakis or navies and school logo’d polo shirts you’re required to wear.
It’s also time to consider a haircut and perhaps a deep conditioner from so many sun-stripped summer days at the beach.
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Locker1Some lucky secondary (middle/high) schoolers will actually get the opportunity to deck out a locker, which opens up a plethora of over-priced fashion accessories like plastic chandeliers, stylish wallpapers, shelves, rugs, magnetic organizers, mirrors and cup holders. You can Google “Locker Makeover” for some fun ideas both retail and DIY.
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Depending on the school, your student might need to cram in any required summer reading if they didn’t get to it already – check your school’s website or enrollment/welcome packet. This is typically for secondary students, but you’d be surprised how many kids forget this one. Let’s just say there may be a last-minute trip to your local library or bookstore (or Amazon Prime!) in your future and some late-night reading in order to get your student up to speed for the first day of school.
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Also, make sure your child’s shots are up-to-date. There’s a host of required immunizations and corresponding paperwork needed in order to enter Kinder, and incoming 7th graders must also have proof of their Tdap shot or they will not be allowed into classes. (I’ve literally seen schools keep un-reported or un-immunized students in the auditorium until their immunization paperwork arrives.) Can’t get in to see your doctor? No worries. Shots can be had without an appointment at many local pharmacies, like CVS or Rite Aid. Note: With the recent passing of SB277, this is the last year for Personal Belief Exemptions until January 2016, when the new law goes into effect.
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Heads up, I’m still getting emails daily announcing school openings (I’m posting them on my FB wall as they come in*), so be prepared for the unexpected offer off a waitlist to literally fall out of the sky in the next few days or even weeks. Remember, Magnet programs have until Sept 14th to fill any vacant seats, many under-enrolled schools or expanding new charters are calling for students, which combined creates a corresponding ripple effect down all the related waitlists. It really does happen to many families this late in the game, so don’t be surprised if it happens to you.
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If your student has been having lazy summer sleep schedules, staying up late and sleeping until noon, you might want to roll back that schedule now, start setting their alarm for their typical school-day schedule, and practice getting up early in order to acclimate back, otherwise it will be a rude awakening the first day that alarm goes off at the crack of 6a!
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BeachFinally, do your best to RELAX and enjoy the final days of summer and get those end-of-summer pool parties, beach outings and BBQs booked. School will be here soon enough, and then we’re all off to the races once again.
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Cheers to my families for being ready for back to school!
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*If you hear of any school openings, please let me know and I’ll post them on my GMG FB wall.

August Is The New Fall: Back to School 2015

Congratulations all you graduates. We wish you the best in your future endeavors! And to all the rest of you students, parents and educators, we hope everyone enjoys a restful, relaxing, wonder-filled summer.

To those of you already eyeing the calendar wondering how will we ever get through summer with no childcare I mean when will school start back up again, here are the start and end dates. Plan accordingly.

calendar

2015 School Calendars
(Click district link in blue to view full calendar.)

LAUSD: Tues, Aug 18, 2015 thru Fri, June 10, 2016

SMMUSD: Thurs, Aug 20 thru Thurs, June 9, 2016

CCUSD: Mon, Aug 24 thru Fri, June 10, 2016

Note: The LAUSD calendar impacts all neighborhood schools, magnet schools, dual-language immersion programs, SAS programs and affiliated converted charter schools. Independent charters, however, get to set their own calendars and may opt for different start dates. To be sure, check their website or call the school directly.

When Does School Start?

Back2Schl

Or more to the point, how soon does school start?

Answer?

Soon!! (August is the new September!)

Here’s a breakdown of the First Day of School 2014-15 – because I know you’ll ask:

LAUSD – Aug 12 (This Tuesday!!)
Goethe Charter – Aug 18
Wish Charter – Aug 18
LACHSA – Aug 19th
SantaMonicaMalibuUSD – Aug 19
City School Charter – Aug 19
Las VirgenesUSD – Aug 20
Culver CityUSD – Aug 25
Larchmont Charter – Aug 25
Ocean Charter – Aug 25
New West Charter – Aug 25
WSCS – Aug 25
CWC MV – Aug 26
El SegundoUSD – Aug 26

Got any more to add to this list? Leave me a note in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

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.

Early Start Calendar…It’s EARLY!!

Aug 2013Hard to believe that for hundreds of thousands of LAUSD students and families, not to mention our teachers, school starts back in just a week. Yes, a week! Where DID the time go? Did we even have a summer?

With the adoption of the Early Start Calendar, and I’ve heard a lot of grumblings* from parents on this topic, the first day of school this “fall” (and I use that term lightly), is Tuesday, August 13th, 2013. Next Tuesday.

This Early Start date applies to all LAUSD Neighborhood schools, Magnet schools, Affiliated Converted Charter Schools, Language Immersions and Pilot Schools. Independent charters, however, have the autonomy to set their own calendars, so many will start in late August or after Labor Day in September.

Not to feel left out, the surrounding school districts are also upping their start times into August this year. So gather up your back-to-school supplies, dust off those backpacks and sharpen your No 2 pencils…it’s going to be another great, albeit early, year! Hey, it just means that next summer vacay will come sooner too!

To view the entire 2013-14 LAUSD calendar, including winter and spring break dates, see:
2013-14 LAUSD Calendar

Santa Monica-Malibu Schools start back on Thursday, August 22nd.
2013-14 SMMUSD Calendar

Culver City schools will start on Monday, August 26th.
2013-14 CCUSD Calendar

Tip: If you are headed to an independent charter, check their website, Facebook feed or newsletter to find out their start date. Each one is unique.

Alright kids, enjoy what’s left of it! Summer, that is.

*Note: to read through previous grumblings on this topic, see the comment thread from when I originally posted the new calendar. Here.

Is Dual Language Immersion Right For You?

Considering a Dual Language Immersion program for your child? They’re quietly gaining much popularity as an alternative learning approach.

Check out this in-depth report Bi-Lingual Learningand see what these participants have to say about their experience, good and bad. View a map of all bilingual language schools in CA HERE.

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Or read my previous post about language immersion programs HERE.

 

Dual Language Immersion Programs: Another Option

by Tanya Anton | GoMamaGuide.com
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So you’re looking for a Kindergarten and you’re beginning to buckle by the weight of so many choices…your neighborhood school, that other neighborhood school, magnets, charters, permits, oh my!
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Well, here’s another option to consider. Language immersion.
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Dual-Language immersion programs are not new, but they’ve been steadily growing in popularity as an alternative path that gives the gift of bilingualism, multiculturalism and a more robust world view.
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It’s no secret we’re a global melting pot here in Los Angeles. We represent many cultures and speak many languages. In LAUSD in 2010-11 almost 30% of our incoming Kindergarteners were English Learners.
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Dual Language immersion programs offers non-English speakers the opportunity to learn in their own language as well as English, while teaching English students to learn and integrate another language, building a bridge to both languages and cultures. Unlike taking a language class as an elective, these programs teach core subjects in both languages so the level of language acquisition and comprehension is much deeper. The goal is for students to master grade level content while learning to speak, understand, read and write in both English and the target language.
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Some programs offer a total immersion in one language for the first year, and then a gradual movement toward the other language in subsequent years until the two are balanced. This is called the 90-10 model. Some programs teach half the core subjects in English, and the other half in the other language, the 50-50 model. In either model, students are grouped to represent both native languages equally, and they both learn from each other. Because the program is so specialized, it deserves a full six-year (K-5) commitment in order to gain the maximum benefit of proficiency, and students will exit elementary school proficient in both languages.
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While it might take longer initially to master core subjects while learning in two languages, students will not only catch up over time, but research shows that those who achieve advanced levels of proficiency in two languages often experience cognitive and linguistic advantages when compared to monolingual students. Bilingual students perform better on tasks that require divergent thinking, pattern recognition and problem solving, and have higher levels of metalinguistic awareness. Plus, it’s just cool. It’s forward thinking in a We are the World, We are the Children kind of way.
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On the Westside of Los Angeles, families have several Dual Language elementary school options: Edison in SMMUSD (Spanish), El Marino (Spanish and Japanese) and La Ballona (Spanish) in CCUSD, Grandview (Spanish) and Broadway (Mandarin) in LAUSD, and Goethe International Charter (German).
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In SMMUSD, John Adams Middle School and Santa Monica High School offers a continuation of the Spanish Dual Language program for students who started at Edison.

In LAUSD, Mark Twain Middle School offers a continuation of the Dual Language program in Spanish, has a Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese World Languages Magnet program, and will be the future home for matriculating Broadway Mandarin Academy students. Venice High School offers a World Languages and Global Studies Magnet program, offering French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish, as well as International Relations and Global Studies.

Tour, ask questions, and investigate your options.
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Read more:
NYTimes “The Benefits of Bilingualism” Op-Ed, here.
LAUSD Dual Language Program info, here.
The full LAUSD Dual Language Directory, here.

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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.