Magnet Nights 2010–Reminder

High School Magnet Night at Monroe High School is this Thursday, November 4, 2010 from 6-9 pm.  More info here.

Meet the Magnets Night at Sepulveda Middle School is this Wednesday, November 3, 2010 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  More info here.

As additional schools offer magnet nights, post in the comments section and I’ll do the same.

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16 thoughts on “Magnet Nights 2010–Reminder

  1. Does anyone have high school information to share for the Westside? I have a middle schooler and suddenly HS is right around the corner. I am interested in both magnets and SAS/honors programs for a GATE identified student who is not yet ready to specialize in any subject (the way I fear magnets seem to require). Our neighborhood HS is University HS.
    Thanks!
    ps this is a great site and I have learned a tremendous amount reading through it. Unfortunately LAUSD does a terrible job in publicizing the full scope of programs available to kids interested and ready to achieve academically.

  2. We’re in the same position and we’ve heard great things about Uni HS and its SAS program. Lots of kids from Emerson (who went to Westwood Charter or Fairburn before that) are going to Uni and the GATE program seems to be growing. We had one former teacher at another LAUSD high school on the westside tell us that Hamilton’s Music Magent is the place for performing arts but Uni is the place for strong academics. Apparently, a lot of the strong AP-level teachers from Uni’s glory days remain, particularly in social studies. Uni just got a Digital Media magnet in Fall 2010, but that doesn’t seem likely to be of interest for you. What it probably will do is help raise test score numbers a little since magnet students tend to have involved parents and be a bit more focused. They moved the magent from Pali to Uni and changed the substantive focus in the process.

    Hamilton’s Humanities Magnet has a great rep as well, but it is not GATE per se and some think that the rest of the school is more worrisome from a safety perspective (it is also roughly 1000 students bigger). Still, it is certainly a viable option and gets lots of students from Palms’ gifted magnet. Incidentally, Uni has a Humanities Small Learning Community that ostensibly provides some of the same substantive classes and focus as the Hami Humanities Magnet, so you certainly don’t have to get into the Hami Magnet to get this type of curriculum.

    In addition to Uni and Hamilton’s Music and Humanities magnets, other possibilities include Venice High, (although it’s magnet program in foreign languages might be too narrow), LACES (which is very hard to get into in 9th grade and you’ll have to decide whether to waste your points there when you could use them for Hamilton), and Palisades HS (which is a charter school and therefore uses a lottery, but is also very hard to get into and is probably really far away if you are zoned for Uni).

    None of the schools have great overall test scores. All of them have really smart, interesting, and happy kids in their GATE/AP classes, though, so it’s just a matter of touring the schools and talking to parents who already have kids in HS.

    • re: “hamilton is not GATE per se” statement above.

      all of Hamilton’s Humanities magnet classes are honors or above.

      Whereas, Pali doesn’t have honors classes for 9th graders at all.

      Uni has honors classes but ANYONE can sign up for them which kind of defeats the purpose, because then kids who can’t keep up are constantly nagging for more time and less homework and dilute the classes. But 10th grade this isn’t so dire, because AP classes kick in and those who can’t deal, can’t take them.

      i agree with your statement “all of them have smart, interesting, happy kids in their GATE/AP classes”

      • Thanks for the further thoughts. One clarification, though. ANYONE can sign up for Hamilton’s Humanities Magnet. It’s just a points-driven, “all-comers” magnet like all the others. So, it’s in the identical situation as Uni in that the honors classes in 9th grade are not true gifted classes (in that admissions is not contingent upon achieving a certain score on a standardized test like in a gifted or highly gifted magnet). The difference is that Uni can easily reassign kids who are struggling to non-honors classes in 9th grade while the struggling kids in Hami’s Magnet don’t have non-honors classes as an option and therefore remain in the class (although it is possible they can be reassigned outside the magnet if there is space in the regular Hamilton classes). Uni also makes student assignments to 9th grade honors classes based on middle school grades and test scores etc, not based on student preference. It’s actually in higher grades where students can try to get into those classes on their own, although they can be reassigned too if they are struggling.

        Also, to be fair to Pali, I think they would also characterize all of their classes as being taught at the honors level. Since they are a charter, they just don’t have the same formalities about labelling and classification. Plus, they have the full range of AP classes.

        • I know this exchange is a few months old already, but if anon is still around, what does it mean that LACES is really hard to get into for 9th grade? Is that because there are few openings or many applicants? As I understand it from those who did get in, a minimum of 12 wait list points was necessary to get in in 6th grade, so is there a higher points threshold for 9th grade than that?

          • Curious – LACES is a 6-12 school. That means that 9th grade is not a natural entry point for them. The reason they would have spots open is because students leave for other high schools or because they are able to accommodate more students in the high school classes. As a result, 9th grade isn’t going to have as many openings as 6th grade or as in a normal 9-12 high school magnet program. Plus, LACES is an integration program, so the openings they do have open are at least partially affected by the race and gender of the people who left or of the remainder of the class. All of that means that the points you need to get in could vary depending upon what race of student they need. Having said that, though, I would think 12 would be a minimum, 16 would be much better, and higher would be great, but is only possible if you have sibling points etc and there are going to be enough of those students to likely fill out the class. You can certainly ask the magnet coordinator what the minimum point total was for admission of the wait list last year to get a more precise idea.

          • Just an FYI for Valley folks, LACES may not have a second entry point, but since SOCES starts in 4th, there are two entry points. The majority of the spots are in 4th grade, but they open additional classes in 6th.

        • Can anyone tell me more about Hamilton’s Music Magnet being “the place for performing arts” and Uni being “the place for strong academics”? Is the Music Magnet focused only on music? I have a middle schooler interested in musical theater and drama. As parent, I am mostly interested in academics, but would like a strong enough drama program to keep the high schooler interested in the school!

          • Since I’m the source of those statements, I should clarify. Hamilton’s Humanities Magnet also has strong academic offerings, particularly in English and History (and art history). The music magnet (which is really for all performing arts, including drama and musical theater) has decent academics, but the students are pretty focused on their craft. If your child wants a strong drama program, you might consider the Humanities Magnet and then see if your child can audition for some of the drama productions. This is possible, but they will be competing against more committed thespians and thus it is harder. Alternatively, Uni just hired a new drama teacher and is trying to reinvigorate that program. If your child is there, they can be the “drama kid” while still taking AP/honors classes. There are lots of kids coming out of Emerson’s top notch drama program who end up at Uni, so there is the potential for that to be a stronger drama opportunity.

    • Hi Debi,

      The link isn’t working for me right now, but that’s correct. This year several high schools went to the early start calendar. Originally the ENTIRE school district was kicking around starting on August 15, and then parents of middle and elementary schools fought back. They had not been part of the process like the high schools, and had vacations booked, camp deposits paid, etc. So LAUSD had two starts–the Early Start in August and the other kids in September.

      The sad part is if this passes, they will go from the longest summer on record, to absolutely the shortest.

    • The link worked for me.

      It makes a lot of sense considering how much of the period after the conclusion of testing in May is filled with parties, end-of-year shows, performances, field trips, class cleanup etc. Although teachers do sometimes use the time to back through material that they raced through to get to testing or to assign projects that they had to skip because of the volume of material left to be covered, this would allow all of the material to be covered before the testing and then use the last 2-3 (instead of 4-6) weeks for the performances, parties etc.

      That said, this summer will be awfully short. What is the process for deciding on this change and when would it be made (ho far in advance for planning camps, vacations etc)?

      • It worked for me later, too.

        A little earlier would be ok with me, perhaps the last week in August. But most of the arguments they use–finals before Xmas and therefore no homework over the break (false), and students able to take college courses (already could at most CCs, although cuts there make that near impossible), and other issues of longer high daytime temperatures, and longer delays for getting kids in actual PE classes (they often do less until the temps come down), are not being addressed. Sure we have A/C, but kids have to have outdoor lunch and recess and longer days in August are an issue in the Valley where the temps can stay over 100 for HOURS in the summer.

        The process is supposed to be decided by Thanksgiving in a strong attempt to meet parent requests to resolve this quickly and get the word out. It will be made by school board vote, so if you have feelings, contact your school board member.

      • A little research reveals that the last time this was seriously considered — in 2005-2006 — the West Valley seemed to be the loudest oppponents from a heat perspective. So, I’m not surprised to see that argument. Nevertheless, most of the schools that opted for Early Start calendars this year are in the Valley (albeit the somewhat cooler East Valley) and the academic grounds for this switch really are far more compelling than the concerns about heat, especially given the variability of temperature. After all, this year we had a heat wave in September while school was in session (and my kids’ school didn’t have air conditioning) and a fairly cool August before school started.

  3. As a parent who did attend those meetings sponsored by Jon Lauritzen, there were MANY more issues than heat. The semesters are still not even–the first semester is shorter than the second which make the workload challenging for the first semester classes. The idea that there won’t be homework over the break is ludicrous. The idea that students will be able to take community college classes is moot because there aren’t any classes available, and assuming there were, they still could. Pierce, Valley, and Moorpark and several others offered 2 or more sessions for summer, and students could choose whatever they wanted.

    The early start schools are actually mostly West Valley, since they’re all in Tamar’s district with the exception of 3 that started even a week earlier to return to what amounts to a year-round calendar–a six week break in summer and a six week break at the holidays.

    This could have been implemented with the furlough days so much better than it was by placing the furlough days at the beginning of this year rather than Thanksgiving and moving the date up.

    As a parent I absolutely think the community should make these decisions, but I wish they would not sell us a bill of goods to make a decision more palatable. The last time I heard this much “stuff” was the move to make sixth grade part of the middle school, and we know how well that’s turned out…

    This should be done community by community, but I assure you, that there will be schools outside LAUSD (charters, private) advertising a “traditional” calendar–and getting students.

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