Parents and/or administrators in Los Angeles public schools, let us know about any great new programs in your area that have openings. Post as a COMMENT below.

Please include:

1) School, location, type of program, what grades you have openings in
2) What grades you have openings in (and approximately how many)
3) What your attendance boundaries are (if any)
4) Contact person (e-mail and telephone number)



  1. Verdugo Hills High School Multimedia Magnet

    The first question we inevitably got when my son said he attended Verdugo Hills High School was “Where’s that?” or a “Isn’t that really far?” For the record, Verdugo is less than 15 minutes from Granada Hills and much of the East Valley–located off the 210 freeway at Sunland Blvd. Verdugo Hills Multimedia Magnet has several things that make it stand out.

    * An incredible schedule called the “Copernican Block Schedule” that allows students to take three classes per semester and switch in February. The benefit is that the three 90-minute courses finish at 1:30, and the students have the option of seeking extra tutoring, participating in a sport (and still being home before dinner), or leaving campus to do homework, to get a job, or take classes at the community college. The extra time definitely helps with homework, and parents attending don’t have to groan when they hear the teachers all proclaim that “we all coordinate major projects so the kids never have tests on the same day” only to raise their hand when they have 4 projects and 3 tests due at once to be told “You’ll just have to get over it.” Yes, occasionally students will have things due on the same day, but they can actually focus on 3. The schedule actually allows students to graduate a semester early if they’re interested.

    * Small campus overall with 2100 students and only 360 magnet students (90 per grade 9-12). Courses taught in the magnet include English, Science, Social Studies, and the magnet curriculum. Math is taught with the regular school, and the teachers there are amazing.

    * Incredibly engaged counselor in Michelle Carbone, who went well above and beyond with my son, coordinating his high school courses (even when he was taking courses not on the schedule), community college courses, and writing recommendations for scholarships and college applications at a blistering rate. The magnet funds its own counselor, so her student load is roughly half of what other schools experience.

    * Most courses are taught at an honors level. In the cases where interest was small and the options were only regular and AP, the counselor worked with teachers and the student to get the honors designation. The teachers are phenomenal in catering to the specific needs of each student.

    * It’s one of those “hidden gem” schools, where it doesn’t have the brand recognition of a SOCES or a North Hollywood High, so getting in with fewer points is still a real option. 2008 graduated its second graduating class, so it’s still fairly new. It has several multimedia labs including one dedicated just this spring.

    * The magnet coordinator (who created the magnet) has just semi-retired and the new coordinator is the former Health/Life Skills teacher and she will be even more focused on bringing the recognition to the school and making it an incredible place to be.

    Of course, no school is perfect, and Verdugo would be no exception. The same schedule that allows students to focus on only three courses a semester makes schedule planning a bit of a challenge. AP students might need to pick and choose which courses they’ll focus on.

    There’s a few places to look online for VHHS Multimedia Magnet info:

    My son graduated in 2008, but we still have friends there, and he still plans on returning to visit regularly, so I’ll update as we know more.

    • My son just returned this week to visit with his teachers, and they’re all still there. We’re still actively encouraging folks to look at this as an option, especially for kids with a heavy after school load of activities.

      Our daughter is only finishing second grade this year, but we’d still consider it when the time comes.

  2. Riverside Unified School District doesn’t have magnet schools but does have many amazingly dedicated teachers and a responsive school board that spared instrumental music from budget cuts this year after vocal parent — um — support.

    Highland Elementary (K-6) serves a synergistic mix of two main neighborhoods: UC Riverside faculty, staff, and student families (very educated, very international, wide income range) and lower-income, English-learning, Hispanic families. Both groups include parents who are passionate about education, and the school provides Spanish translation for all meetings and handouts.

    Highland, a Title 1 school with a Head Start program, was a California Distinguished School in 2006 and has continued to improve steadily in API scores. Beyond the testing, Highland has a science club (with occasional Astronomy Nights); resident art teachers; and an instrumental music program whose goal this year is free instrument rentals (accepting donations!).

    New(ish) programs include a salad bar, fruit and vegetable gardens, Latino Literacy Project, tutoring partnerships with North High and UC Riverside, and city-funded evening computer classes for adults. After completing the four-class series, Riverside residents are given a free computer to support learning at home.

    Free tutoring is available after school in math and science at the East Side Cybrary (Chicago Ave, across from post office).

    Free library reference help is available online 24/7 through the Riverside Public Library.

    Contact: Betsy Lawlor, lawlorb[at] Direct experience with Highland Elementary, University Heights [Middle], and John W. North High.

  3. Van Ness Elementary is having Back to School night on Tuesday, September 16th from 5:30-6:30pm. This is a good chance to see what the school is all about. This is a neighborhood school with great potential. Please stop by if you are interested. I’m going to go.

    I’ve toured the school twice. If anyone has any questions about it or is interested in going on a tour, please let me know.

    I am very inspired by parents who make a difference in their neighborhood. I’d really like to do it at Van Ness but have not found another person or two to help me with the cause. Still trying though. The school is very nice, clean, good test scores and the principal is terrific and open to parent involvement. Hoping that this will be the year to find someone.

    Thank you,
    Nona Friedman

  4. Just wanted to share a secret option many parents don’t know about — San Jose Highly Gifted Magnet Elementary. We are a wonderful magnet for children testing highly gifted (99.9%+) or highly gifted applicable (99.5%+) on LAUSD psychological tests. We have specially trained and experienced teachers and a small community of 74 students (currently). Our children are challenged through in-depth discussion and research and accelerated curriculum. Though not a panacea, our school offers an affordable alternative for highly gifted students who can’t afford Mirman or other pricey private options. The Booster Club provides enrichment programs to round out the LAUSD curriculum such as Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum directed Shakespeare performances, hands-on Quest In Science experiments, MUV dance and yoga, additional phys. ed., and more. We are located in Mission Hills at the intersection of the 118 and 405 freeways in the North Valley. Most of our students continue on the LAUSD Highly Gifted track and move together to Portola Middle School HG Magnet. Take a peek and visit us!

  5. One World School, in the Gardena/Carson/South Bay area; college-preparatory secondary school, forms 9-13

    We will have openings for approximately 240 9th-graders (to be split into forms 9 and 10, depending upon readiness for college-preparatory work) for when our school opens, in September 2009. We expect to draw the majority of our students from the LAUSD corridor serving Gardena and Carson high schools, but students attending neighboring districts will also be eligible to apply. We expect to be an international school open to everyone, and plan to begin providing an International Baccalaureate Diploma curriculum in 2011. In the meantime, we plan to offer the University of Cambridge’s International O-Level curriculum in form 10, while form 9 will be devoted to students who are behind in mastering California’s curriculum standards and therefore need extra preparation. One of our guiding tenets is “Increased Learning Time”, and therefore we plan to stay open later than ordinary public schools, with a wealth of activities until 5:30 every day.

    We are preparing to submit a Proposition 39 facilities request to LAUSD, and therefore need parent signatures of interest on a petition. But all should please remember: this is a college-preparatory school, and therefore might not have programs for everyone, particularly those who at their current rate of progress are unlikely to make it to college. On the positive side, all students are on track to receive an International Baccalaureate Diploma, for which some colleges will grant a whole year of credit, a good bargain in these days of sky-high tuition.

    Contact: Bruce William Smith, or (949) 331-3467.

  6. Van Nuys Middle School, located in Sherman Oaks, has limited 6th Grade openings in the Valley Environmental Academy and the Five Star Academy. Class size is limited to 25!

    Both Academies require enrollment by application. The Valley Environmental Academy is designed for students who scored Proficient or Advanced in both English Language Arts and Mathematics on the California Standards Tests. Students spend 5 periods each day with just two teachers, and leave the confines of the Academy only for their physical education class. Students remain together as they matriculate to 7th and 8th grade, and receive a curriculum that highlights environmental problems and solutions. The Five Star Academy is open to student who scored Proficient or Advanced on either the English Language Arts or the Mathematics section of the California Standards Tests. Students who are accepted into the Five Star Academy matriculate into the AVID program in 7th and 8th grade.

    For more information on the Valley Environmental Academy, please send an email to For more information on the Five Star Academy, please send an email to Alternatively, feel free to contact our Director of Academies, Joe Moche, at 818-267-5900.

  7. Just saw this on a site today, 10/2/09… in case it is of interest to anyone:

    Carpenter Avenue Elementary is accepting permits RIGHT NOW for 4th and 5th grade

    (API 916!!)in Studio City – They are trying to avoid a 4/5 split class and need a 2+ fifth graders and fourth as well. If you are interested, please call Carpenter IMMEDIATELY at 818-761-4363.

  8. Hello moms, dads, friends and neighbors,

    It seems that this thread has possible died out, but just in case people are looking for public school options maybe this news can help revive the topic.

    I wanted to be sure that everyone knows about the new nonprofit charter school for Silverlake/Echo Park, Citizens of the World (CWC), CWC is a new network of schools,, based on an academically rigorous teaching methodology known as Constructivism that involves Project-Based Learning, similar to the Larchmont family of charter schools here in L.A. The first CWC school started in Hollywood two years ago and is hugely successful – please check out this amazing school at

    Our new CWC school here in Silverlake will open this fall, and applications are being accepted NOW through April 30, 2012. This public school is free and open for all to apply! Along with Kindergarten, we want be sure that people know that the school is also accepting applications for grades 1-3. So if you have a First-, Second- or Third-grader for the fall, see more details below on applying to CWC Silverlake. Because this is our first year of operation in Silver Lake, the applicant pool will likely never be smaller, thus the chances of admission to these upper grade levels will never be better. Tours of the Hollywood school can be arranged in the coming months, and the decision to attend can be made at anytime before school starts in September, but applying can only be done NOW through April 30.

    There will also be CWC parents doing outreach at the following events, so if you’d like to find out more in person, please come out!

    Saturday, March 31st – Cesar Chavez Parade Olvera Street
    Sunday, April 1st – Thai New Year Street Fair, 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Saturday, April 7th – Blessing of the Animals on Olvera Street, 11:00 am
    Sunday, April 8th – Griffith Park Carnival, 11:00 am
    Saturday, April 14th – LACC Swap Meet – 8:30-3:30

    With regard to applications, please ensure that all applications are fully and accurately completed and received by April 30th. Applications are available at and must be returned by mail to the address provided on the application or can be emailed to At the end of the open application period, if there are more applicants at any grade level than capacity, enrollment shall be determined by a public random drawing (“lottery”). The date of the lottery will be May 10th. The time and location of the lottery shall be provided in writing to each applicant, posted on this website, and posted to the community email group. All members of the community are encouraged to attend the lottery. If you have any questions or would like to get more involved in establishing this school, please email CWC at the above address!

    Warm regards,
    Jim D.
    CWC parent community

    • Hi Jim,

      The threads don’t die out, we still get traffic when the topic arises thanks to Google searches. Hope you have a great turnout.

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