April Contest for Greatschools.org–One School Will Win $5000.

GreatSchools.org is currently sponsoring a contest for a $5000, awarded to a school that receives a new review this month, so if you haven’t reviewed your school recently, go ahead and share your experiences with other Los Angeles parents.

Did you know that GreatSchools is also seeking parents familiar with learning issues?  Anonymous reviews can be posted using this address: www.greatschools.org/LearningIssues and it will give valuable information to parents seeking information on IEPs, 504s, and which school to choose for their special needs children.  Share what you know and help other parents make an informed decision.

Two West Valley Charters Receive OK to Add Grades

According to this article on Tamar Galatzan’s website, two well-known West Valley charter schools will be able to add grades by expanding onto long-closed campuses.  El Camino Real has been given the go ahead to add K-8 after reconstruction at Highlander Elementary, converting Oso Elementary to an outdoor science education campus for the K-8, and moving and expanding their continuation high school to the Platt Ranch Elementary campus.

CHIME charter, currently a K-8, would be adding a high school at Collins Street Elementary after razing classrooms and other upgrades.

The key consideration for parents is both these campuses are expanding their already successful programs to meet the needs of more campuses.  There had been rumors for years that other charters would expand, and with Granada Hills Charter High School owning the Pinecrest site, it’s still up in the air if they will move in the K-8 direction (vertical growth) or expand their offerings for the 2000+ student wait list.

Do successful school ‘brands’ make you more likely to go K-12 within that system?  What if Castlebay Lane or Ivanhoe went to 8th grade?  Or if Taft HS could go 6-12?  Is that an attractive option?  Let us know in the comments.

LAUSD GATE Website Enters the 21st Century

The previous website had the info, albeit in a 1999 type format. After hanging around on it for awhile, parents could find stuff, and given the budget cuts, complaining about fancy websites isn’t my deal. But now it’s borderline fancy! Check it out here: http://achieve.lausd.net/gate

Here’s the new 2014-15 SAS link: http://achieve.lausd.net/Page/2033

SAS Application Window Open for 2014-15

While some of us are celebrating or need a little consoling, the other important window of LAUSD choice is now open.

Last year’s app is still up, but nothing is likely to change.  Start gathering the info on this, and I will repost the 2014-15 application as soon as it appears: http://www.lausd.net/lausd/offices/GATE/prog-opt-3.html

To locate schools in your area with Schools for Advanced Studies, scroll down from that link as well.

Families can apply to more than one SAS program.

Questions?  Fire away in the comments section below.

Update: the new SAS application is available HERE = and the newly redesigned LAUSD Gifted and Talented website can ba accessed here.

Magnet Letters Go Out April 1 (no joke!) for 2014-15

Feel free to post your acceptances and rejections in the comments to help others.

Please consider including:


Grade level



2013 in Review

Thank you all who helped make 2013 our best year ever!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 53,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 20 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Just a Few Friendly Reminders

Ask a Magnet Yenta is an all-volunteer resource for parents learning the magnet system.  Before you post, PLEASE spend time on the E-choices website: http://echoices.lausd.net .  The site lists every magnet available, deadline dates, bus schedules, maps.

Magnets never require grades.  Only gifted and highly gifted magnets require proof of ability which may be test scores or other identification.  Magnet applications are due between October to November 15.   

Other programs differ with their requirements (SAS is an application and does require tests and grades. Open enrollment requires an application), but please do some research before you post.  We want to help, but we need to be respectful of our volunteers’ time.


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