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.

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

by Tanya Anton | GoMamaGuide.com

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.

Upcoming Westside Middle School Tours

Hey Westside Middle School Shoppers. Here is a quick list of upcoming tours:

LACES – Thurs Nov 8, 9a
Palms – Fri Oct 26 & Mon Nov 5 8:30a
Revere – Thurs Oct 25 & Nov 15 9a, also Dec 6 and Jan 24
MarinaDelRey – Fri Oct 31, Weds Nov 7 & 14 8:30a
Twain – Thurs Oct 25 & Nov 1, also Nov 7 & Nov 15 8:30a
Webster – Thurs Nov 8 8:10a
Animo Westside – Thurs Oct 25 10a, Nov 15 10a & 5:30p
City School Charter – rsvp online: Sat Nov 3 & 17 9:30a, Thur Nov 29 7p
Incubator School – Town Hall Thurs Oct 25 6:30p
New West Charter – check back in Dec

To navigate school websites by neighborhood, use my color-coded schoolfinder maps: https://gomamaguide.com/schoolfinder/

Middle School Mixer – Parent to Parent Oct 16th 9a

You’ve heard about our big Westside Middle School Forum on Thurs Oct 18th where 10 area middle schools will be on hand to present about their schools, answer questions and I’ll be speaking that night too, right? (details)

Well here’s another event that came across my desk, organized by parents, offering you a chance to mingle with other parents who’ve already made the transition to middle school and are there to give you the low-down, share their experiences, and answer your “what’s-it REALLY-like” questions. Check this out:


Parent to Parent

Middle School Mixer

Tues, October 16th, 9-11a (morning event!)

Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office
7166 W. Manchester Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90045  map
(not associated with the Councilman’s office)

come and get the REAL scoop!

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
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

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