Magnet Season Arrives

According to the LAUSD Choices website (, the 2011-12 Choices brochures will be mailed during the second week of November.  And the deadline for turning in applications will be December 17, 2010.  The site is currently down for maintenance, but as soon as it goes live, it will contain a complete version of the brochure.
Let the games begin!  And now–the website is live:

71 thoughts on “Magnet Season Arrives

  1. Is it possible for middle or elementary school students to gain magnet points without having to transfer to a magnet school until high school? If so, do you know how?

    • Sure. If you apply to a very popular magnet program each year, then you may never get in even though you have the maximum number of points. Lots of parents use places like Community Magnet, USC’s arts school, LACES, Valley Alternative, etc to this effect. Look at each school and check out the 2010-2011 number of applications and the 2011-2012 number of spots available and you’ll get a sense of how difficult it is to get into some magnets.

    • As anon has pointed out, it’s possible, but it’s not without risks. There’s a possibility that you might get in, and then you either have to take the spot, or lose the points accrued (they don’t force your child to attend). With class size increases likely in the next two years, it’s riskier than in years past, but it’s still better to have the points than to have none and have no chance of getting in.

      • Thanks for the insight 🙂

        Two things.
        One. In case anyone reading this is at all friendly toward charter schools and is interested, LAUSD’s policy this year is that any student enrolled in a charter school will not be freely given a ChOICES application and should have their family or teachers go to the local library to request brochures. If you happen to be a charter teacher in need of 200 ,like me, be prepared to spend hours scavenging the city for sympathetic librarians.
        Two. I am a middle school teacher trying to help my families earn sufficient “wait list” points to be eligible for decent magnet high schools. I’m quite new to this LAUSD magnet application game. Is my best bet really to have them apply each year and hope they are declined for enough years to get enough points to get in the high school they want without getting accepted to a middle school they really don’t want in the meantime?

        • Not just libraries. Any LAUSD has the brochures and they should be easily handed out. You can also contact integration services downtown or your school board member and they should be able to provide you with a box of them. You shouldn’t be driving all over town. Plus, everything they need is available online at

          Feel free to read around this website. Essentially that’s what families have done for years–applying where you have little chance to get in and accumulating points for that transition in 6th or 9th grade. Welcome to the Yenta-hood.

          • Very true! My local Elementary had two unopened stacks last week, just waiting for people to request them. The office assistant broke the seal on the first packet when I came in and asked for one… the implied lack of interest doesn’t say a whole lot about the district’s attempt to reach out to people who aren’t already in the system.

          • LalaGal,

            Not sure if it’s a lack of interest, or the fact that they mailed home an app to every child in the district, and it’s available online.

  2. Your site is so helpful. I have two questions: 1) I have twins in K at Sherman Oaks. I love this school and want them to stay. Should I start accuring points for middle school now ( I undertstand that if I get in and don’t go I forfeit those points) or wait until 2nd grade to apply. Do the points expire. 2) What does LAUSD do about twins. Is it possible one would get it and not the other.

    • Welcome, Alyssa!

      Don’t start now unless you want to have a higher likelihood of getting in somewhere you don’t want to go. With the impending budget crises in the next few years that will likely lead to class-size increases, you might end up getting in to a school by 3rd or 4th grade, and you don’t want that. Starting in second grade (for 3rd grade) is fine. If you do get in and turn down a spot, you forfeit those points. After 3 years of wait points (12 points total), the oldest year terms out. So again, applying now doesn’t help since you can only have the last 3 years worth of wait list points.

      Twins and LAUSD. *sigh* It’s entirely possible that one gets in and one’s on the wait list. However, since they both have the same amount of points since you won’t be doing anything differently, you can contact the school and make it very clear you’d like to make sure your kids attend together. You may not know if they both got in until late in the summer, however. So you’ll want to make sure you have back up plans including SAS and open enrollment (and don’t worry about those now–just enjoy kindergarten).

      Good luck!

  3. So grateful for this terrific resource. Am hoping you can answer two questions as I can’t seem to get a live person at Student Integration Services. We have a preschooler and we’re applying for a K-8 magnet school for 2011-2012.

    How should I complete the following?
    – Grade this school year. (PK? Leave blank?)
    – Grade next school year. (K?)

    • Hi Cris,

      I’m not entirely sure how I filled out the application for my daughter eons ago, but if you put PK for this year and K for next year that should work. That space is for letter boxes (not fill in the dots), so someone has to “proof” the application for accuracy and as soon as they see the “K”, the PK makes sense.


  4. Does anyone know roughly how long it takes for them to confirm receipt of the application? I noted on the Choices website that if you provide an e-mail address, they will now confirm receipt electronically.

    Has anyone received one of these e-mail confirmations yet? If so, what was the lag time between mailing in the application and receiving the e-mail?

    I picked up an application Monday, mailed it Tuesday, and am not worried at this point, but I’m wondering whether I’ll even receive a confirmation before the deadline passes.

    • Last year, one mom I know received it after the deadline passed. And we never received one by email, despite filling out that section. Sooo, your guess is as good as mine as to when you’ll get that confirmation. My guess is early January. Let us know when you do hear back, though 🙂

  5. Need some help to maximize points, my Daughter transitioned to King Gifted magnet 7th grade this school year. Last year she attend Eagle Rock Elementary gifted magnet and was put on the waiting list for Eagle Rock JR/High gifted magnet. The plan is for her to attend Marshall high gifted magnet, I talked to the coordinator and we will need 12- 16 points in order to have a good chance for her to attend in the 9th grade. I’m only aware that she has 4 point for been on the waiting list for Eagle Rock JR/High. Due we have anything to worry about? points wise, here how I’m seeing it 2010-2011 school year 4 points, 2011-2012 school year 12 point for matriculation and 4 points for PHBAO. Our home schools are El Sereno Junior High, Wilson High and are PHBAO. So total points for high school will be 20 points? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Hi NickR, I might be reading something hokey, so if I’m off, please correct me. If your daughter is in King Gifted Magnet, she will receive 12 points when she moves to HS. There will be no additional wait points. Wait points are in lieu of, not in addition to. So you would get 12 when she graduates King and 4 PHBAO for 16.

      • I was under the impression that the waiting list points were good for three years. Magnetangel are you saying that we forfeit the waiting list points, because she’s going to King.


        • What I am saying is that if you don’t get into a magnet, you get wait list points. The minute you get into a magnet, you no longer have wait list points, because you got in somewhere. So if you apply for three years, you have the same opportunity as someone matriculating from another magnet–not a better opportunity. As soon as you get into a magnet and get off the wait list, you are no longer waiting, so you lose those.

          • Thanks for the help. What options due i have to squeeze some more points from this current choices program.

          • Sixteen is really good. Unless you can acquire a sibling that is already in the same magnet she plans to apply to for high school, or you can move to one of the areas that receives overcrowding points (very few schools at this point, and you’d have to call downtown to get those numbers), sixteen is the max most people see these days.

            Good luck.

  6. Just trying to maximize the possibility of getting in. We had her complete 6th in Eagle Rock Ele. with the plan of her attending Eagle Rock Jr. and did not get in. We spent many months worrying about her Jr. high placement, don’t want to experience that feeling again. Once again thanks

    • Your real issue in that case is that most openings are for the first year of a magnet. While there are a few schools that run K-6, the majority of middle schools run 6-8, so there were probably only a handful of openings, rather than several classrooms full. By staying in a school for sixth grade, you were competing for far fewer 7th grade slots.

  7. Eagle Rock Ele. is K-6 and Eagle Rock Jr. High magnet is 7th – 9th. There were several classrooms for 7th grade , just to many applicants and not enough accumulated point on our end.

    • NickR,
      I can feel your stress in your writing, this system is very trying.
      I have a question- my daughter will be at King next year (we hope she will get in teh gifited magnet, we have pleanty of points, but one never knows) I have gone on the tours, talked to parents who love the school (booster type parents who want more “middle class” familys at the school).
      My question to you- what do you think of the program your daughter is in? How about the school as a whole?
      Mom, 5th grader at Micheltorena

      • Doreet I’m liking the school program. From our experience the coordinator is energetic, responsive and effective. It’s taken some time for us (parents & daughter) to get adjusted to middle school experience. We’ve dealt with 3 of her teachers (because of grades), two in my opinion were responsive and offered solutions. The Math & English teacher offer after school tutoring and the school has an after school program in the library where they can work on there home work.

    • Hi Tarosa,

      I generally just mail it in the regular way. I know in years past, the district office refused to sign for the applications (that might be certified mail). You can just do delivery confirmation and check that they got it online at

  8. Can anyone enlighten me as to what purpose the point system is intended to serve? In other words, why incentivize parents who are interested in magnet schools to “game” the system and apply to schools neither they or their children have any interest in actually attending solely to accumulate points to attend a school they are interested in attending? Isn’t there something wasteful (if not wrongful) about this exercise? One purpose that I do see it serves is to require interested families to show sufficient interest to apply for several years before being accepted, but there may be families who are just as interested who are either not aware of how the game is played or are unwilling to play along?

    • The point system wasn’t meant to be gamed. The point system was meant to give increased ranking to the students most likely to be impacted by overcrowded, homogeneous schools. It is an integration program.

      Like any set of rules, people will see the loopholes, and use them to their advantage. I happen to live in one of the neighborhoods that gets extra points for PHBAO. When my son was in kindergarten, a Chatsworth parent explained the system to me. We applied for my son for first grade, and he didn’t get in. By second, he was in. No games were played. Ten years later, the schools on my side of town haven’t gotten any better. We found a non-magnet school we LOVE for my daughter. But unlike my son who received 12 points upon graduating Balboa (and stayed in various magnets through graduation), my daughter will only have her 4 PHBAO points for middle school. She won’t get in to any magnet that way.

      Plenty of parents know about all their options–through friends or church or having older children. I’m sure some don’t, but judging by the parents I talk to, very few know nothing about the magnet system. Afterall, the brochures are mailed home every year starting in kinder.

      • Sorry, I don’t mean to be flip. I’m actually trying to address a dear friend’s nagging concern about the ethics of applying to a school that she has no intention of sending her middle schooler to, merely to accumulate wait list points for high school. She asked me why the system would be set up this way and what possible policy objective is served by a process that incentivizes people to apply for what they don’t want, and distorts the acceptance rates beyond recognition if people are using schools with low acceptance rates as their “safe to apply and get rejected” schools.

        • I guess if she has qualms about it, she can use other systems like open enrollment or SAS to enroll her middle school child. Like I said earlier, the system is set up to benefit students in racially inbalanced, overcrowded schools. If a family already has a sibling there, it’s also a benefit. The wait list points are designed to give some equity to people from neighborhoods that aren’t as overcrowded and are more diverse. Otherwise, the ONLY kids getting in would be on year-round, PHBAO schools. It’s a lottery, so if she doesn’t want to play, that’s certainly her perogative.

      • “She won’t get in to any magnet that way”
        ~ I must disagree. I know of several students who have gotten into middle school magnets (Nobel/Holmes) with no points.
        Also, folks in private pre-schools and pre-k need to go pick up a Choices book. Few schools will suggest it. There are magnets with Kinder to start the points game with. But be careful, I also know quite a few folks who got into their unwanted magnets and then lost points.

        • I can only speak to my experiences listening to the magnet coordinators. And when they tell you that you need 16/12 to get in, then 0 or 4 isn’t looking good. I’ll be happy to apply, but given that I have a 100% chance of getting into Nobel with the NCLB/PI situation, I’m thinking that might be my “hail Mary” pass.

          Also, I try to go with the most likely scenario for parents here. I can hope she’d get in with no points, but the reality is that happens few and far between. When it MIGHT happen will be when class sizes increase either this year or next (we can hope that’s not going to happen, but the reality of the budget is that it will).

          I haven’t decided if my daughter will even go to LAUSD for middle school at all at this point, but it’s nice to know there’s still a small chance either way.

  9. As a new mom with a six month old girl and a resident of Sherman Nuys I really need help figuring out the public school system. How to figure out which, if any, public schools in the area are decent and how to get wee bunchkin into one? Help!

    • With a six-month old, I have a few simple suggestions. At the park, at Mommy & Me, and other places, find out where people send their kids. Get to know your neighborhood elementary school. Visit when they have events (they all have websites), and even see if you can volunteer in some way. So much can change between now and in four years, and it will. You should spend the next few years enjoying your child and not panicked about things that will be different before you get there.

  10. According to the LAUSD “doomsday budget” released recently, which would supposedly be activated if the tax extensions don’t get put on the ballot and pass, magnet funding would be cut 90%. Some magnets are using this to rally their parents to lobby their reps. Let’s assume this effort is unsuccessful and the doomsday budget is put in place. Does this mean magnets would disappear? Could existing teachers in the magnet programs take on some of the administrative tasks (e.g., admitting students off of the wait list etc) and parents fundraise to replace the activity money etc? If it was activated after admissions were completed for this season, I assume coordinators would be let go and activity funding would disappear, but would it also mean magnet teachers would have to be reassigned in the District (that itself wouldn’t save money, but presumably some teachers overall would be let go and magnet teachers could take their place)? In other words, why cut 90% and not 100%? What would the 10% funding allow them to do, if anything?

    • The funding is the “additional” funding, meaning above and beyond the ADA that the school gets for students in seats (used to pay teacher salaries). This essentially means the loss of the magnet coordinator positions. The administration of the magnets would fall under the jurisdiction of the home school’s principal.

      If you looked at all the doomsday cuts, you’ll see an interesting trend. They didn’t decimate places like Beaudry or the local district offices, rather they concentrated the cuts on core issues with active parents: class size, arts, library, SAS, magnet. See a trend? They want you to go out and vote to extend the tax increases, and by hitting all the hot button issues, they hope to motivate parents. Personally I would have been far more motivated if they had merged local districts (by at least 50%) and cut Beaudry (and extraneous services like parenting classes). Instead this seems as political as ever. At a LD1 meeting last week, we were told if the vote did not happen in Sacramento to place these extensions on the ballot by 3/12, then it was too late. I haven’t heard much coming from Sacramento, but I know they have yet to vote for placing them on the ballot.

      In addition, the unions must agree to concessions to benefits plans, to come up with the other “half” of this plan (out of $408 million, 225 gets saved with tax extensions, the rest with concessions). If either side blinks, there will still be cuts, but it remains to be seen which will be first in line.

      • Thanks. I definitely saw this as an attempt to motivate the parents who would be most likely to do something about it. Nevertheless, I wasn’t sure what it really meant. Sounds like the magnet programs themselves could continue, but just without the dedicated administrative oversight at the school. As you say, it would be smarter and more cost-efficient to cut the oversight outside of the school, but that might risk having parents decide that this wouldn’t be such a “doomsday” scenario at all.

        • I think the one that’s most concerning as far as I’m concerned is the cut in SAS would mean either fewer SAS campuses or less funding at each. Many parents would rather subsidize the funding themselves, and still have the option and the opportunities to apply and be accepted. However, some parents at current SAS campuses were vocal that they’d rather see fewer campses than endure the cuts. I’m not sure how well that will go over if their school is the one on the chopping block. As much as I prefer smaller class size, I’d rather have my child in a class with more kids all performing at a similar level than fewer kids who are all over the place. Given how few magnet opportunities there are for gifted kids already (there are none at the HS level, and only one highly gifted), that’s a concern.

          But again due to the way the state laws require budgets passed, this doomsday budget is passed, and then things get added back as funding becomes available. As a parent, however, I really want to see what order things get added back.

          • If SAS takes a hit, what other GATE options take its place? Doesn’t GATE programming get funded with money from the state that will get lost if the programming goes away? Seems like the doomsday program cuts someone’s nose to spite their face?

          • GATE funding used to be a magical, wonderful pot of money that created great programs for gifted kids–field trips, after school enrichment, assemblies. At this point, it’s so little (this year it was $15 per child), that essentially it funds a seminar or two for teachers. It’s beyond sad. I do know GATE is not funded at the federal level, so it might come from the state. But LAUSD is doing themselves a huge disservice by ignoring the needs of gifted kids. Parents will be looking at any option that gives their kids the attention they deserve. For years, that could be LAUSD. The more they cut gifted programming, the less likely that parents will come to that conclusion.

          • Agree. A coalition of HG magnet parents addressed the School Board at its 2/15 budget meeting and got a very chilly response of “Tell it to the State — get them to give us more money.” Not very encouraging in terms of LAUSD management really looking into its own organization for ways to make real, rationale cuts. It would be impossible to totally cover the deficit but… just cutting the most successful programs?! Lunacy.

            I know many GATE parents (including myself) who are holding their breath but preparing contingency plans if need be… homeschool, private school, other districts, charters…

  11. I’m confused. As you say, GATE funding is a minimal amount already. So even if they cut the rest of the funding, SAS schools and classes could still continue. It’s up to the school/administration how they want to group the children. Why would this be the end to SAS?

    • Currently SAS run as separate schools on the campuses where they reside. They receive additional money for administration and other costs. With that money cut, then comes the discussion of whether to reduce the amount of programs or to cut funding to the programs that exist.

  12. Not trying to make waves, but SAS programs are not separate from the home school, they are a part of it. It was mentioned above that schools are only receiving $15 for each identified GATE student. Even without the money, schools can still have a set up just like the current SAS. I would hope that the administrators would continue to run their schools as an SAS even without the designation.

  13. What is the distinction of being part of the home school v. being a separate program like a magnet when it comes to GATE funding and GATE requirements? Even w/o GATE requirements or integration goals of magnet programs, the number of students in the district and the required annual class hours don’t change, so how does cutting magnet and SAS programs actually save money?

    • I am not an SAS expert, so if someone else wants to jump in, feel free. My daughter’s school is 25% gifted, and we do not have an SAS. We’ve discussed it as a SSC and we don’t feel we need one. I don’t mind having the kids in the same class together because they do great differentiation–and the teachers are phenomenal.

      In terms of applying, SAS are distinct. You can apply to the “home” school through open enrollment and SAS through their separate application. For gifted children zoned for a particular school, they are automatically sent to the SAS. People from outside the boundaries, they can apply. This is a huge issue for parents with too few magnet points because more SAS offers more choices. They cut the amount of programs, and that leaves fewer choices for parents trying to escape bad schools. SAS classes are separate from the home school. All the kids in an SAS program are identified in one or more ways. That’s all listed here:

      I think for some kids, and certainly at some schools, it’s better to be part of a separate SAS. And many parents like the distinction. Magnets are different, since even the gifted magnets are desegregation programs.

      My understanding, and if someone works for the district they can clarify, but at this point the very minimal funding per student can pay for just a small amount of teacher training (the bigger the student population, the more money). Cuts to the funding at magnets would involve the paid position of magnet coordinator, and those responsibilities would roll over to the principal.

      I’ll know more about whether they’re looking to cut the programs or the funding for SAS Tuesday. I’m not sure where the SAS money goes, but there has to be some administrative costs involved with any school that has an application process and runs gifted program. They might be able to fund the gifted coordinator with this money, or it can go for additional training.

      I will update on Tuesday.

        • these are the operators they voted for:

          In terms of budgeting stuff, those things are being handled as a done deal. If the tax extensions happen, positions will be brought back. At this point, however, teachers who were pink slipped are not even able to sign up for the matrix. If the tax extensions happen, if everything goes smoothly and the money comes back quickly, then early in the fall they can start re-instating people. I was at the PCAC meeting at LD1 and an SSC meeting, not downtown–not that anyone could have gotten a seat anyway. There was one thing on the agenda that read

          “1. 2011 Initial Proposals for Successor Agreement on Health and Welfare from All Exclusive
          Representatives of District Employees – Initial proposals from collective bargaining
          representatives are made public and adopted by the Board before negotiations begin. ”

          But I didn’t hear if they actually made any movement or if they were reasonably close. Originally we were told that 3/15 was the last date to put the tax extensions on the ballot. Instead, now we’re hearing 4/1. Sacramento is voting on a budget, but don’t have the votes for the extensions. So we wait.

    • I might be able to offer a little insight, but more from my experience with the SAS at my son’s middle school than with my knowledge of LAUSD rules.

      The SAS has an admission process. For local kids identified as GATE already, it is basically automatic although you still apply. For out of area kids, it is a way to get into the school. In most cases, they could have gotten in anyway if there were open seats because of open enrollment, but SAS sounds better. One of the existing teachers in the SAS classes acts as coordinator each year and in my experience that job has rotated among the faculty (probably spreading out the extra compensation and job responsibilities). If there is additional money for activities, I haven’t really noticed it. It probably funded a field trip or some scholarships for an overnight science trip, but I imagine that money could be replaced by fundraising or by upping the amount parents have to pay for transportation etc in those cases. Plus, our school has already had to get creative by doing “walking” field trips and the like.

      The rest of the SAS program could really be handled centrally. In my kids’ school, all of the SAS classes are the same size as regular classes, so it’s not like they are buying some kind of smaller student-teacher ratio with the money. In fact, some of the really accelerated classes are larger because they have enough students for one large class, but not so many that they could have two smaller sections of the class. They group the 6th grade SAS classes in one hallway, but that wouldn’t have to change if funding dropped. They would have to assign students to different classes anyway based on ability and background, so SAS doesn’t increase that expense. The principal also takes an active role in SAS because she wants to attract good students to increase enrollment and test scores at the school. So, if there wasn’t money for an SAS coordinator, I have little doubt the principal would pick up the duties. If you have committed teachers who want to attract SAS kids (as I expect we do because there always teachers at the evening recruiting events and the GATE parent meetings), then you really haven’t lost anything noticeable without the additional administrative money.

      From looking at High School SAS programs, I think they already take a very laissez faire approach. Perhaps the additional money helps justify some extra AP classes for somewhat smaller groups of students, but SAS in high school is not as clearly differentiated as at middle school. It’s not like kids feel like they are “in SAS” in the way they might in middle school with the grouping of the classes in the same hallway. It’s just an organizing principle for the AP, honors, and other advanced classes. Some schools might play it up more as a recruitment tool or might have a more cohesive SAS program because they have their own building, but that doesn’t seem to be the norm from what I could discern.

      As long as you have enough GATE students to fill the advanced classes and the teachers of those classes can teach non-GATE classes too, there really isn’t an advantage to eliminating them. It would be different if a school was teaching AP Calculus to 7 students, but I assume that this doesn’t happen very often and when it does the school stops offering the class the following year and sends the kids to the local community college or to take a virtual version of the class on the LAUSD’s Virtual Academy (both of which already occur in High School these days).

  14. Our 5th grade daughter currently attends Wonderland gifted magnet and our local middle school is Reed, which means that she now has 16 magnet points, 12 for matriculating and 4 because Reed is PHBAO. She received her magnet letter on Friday but didn’t get in to the magnet of her choice (LACES) and I haven’t checked to see where she is on their wait list yet. We also submitted a ‘walk-in’ application at King a month or so ago, and so presumably she’s on their wait list too. She has been accepted at Larchmont Charter and also in to Reed’s humanities SAS programme.

    So here are our questions:

    1) If she goes to either Larchmont or Reed will she loose her matriculation points?

    2) Will she keep her 4 PHBAO points if she attends Reed or Larchmont?

    3) If King offer her a place and we don’t accept does she loose any/all of her points?

    We like Reed, King and Larchmont equally – what would anyone out there do in our situation?!

    Thanks omniscient magnet gods!

    • 1) Yep. Matriculation points are good for the year of matriculation only.
      2) Yep. She’d start over next year if you applied somewhere and would have those 4 (they don’t accumulate, so it’d be 4 each year, not 4, 8, 12).
      3) You would lose the 12. Not the PHBAO, you’d still have those if you applied somewhere for 7th.
      4) If it were up to me, I’d talk to your daughter. She’s in at Larchmont and Reed, so I’d get her to choose one of those for now, and let the other one go. Get her to weigh in on how she feels about LACES in the process. Create a deadline–where if she gets in to LACES, you’ll consider it, and equally, after that, you won’t. We’ve done the same with my son for middle school magnets, college acceptances, and summer internships, and it’s worked for us.

  15. Thanks magnetangel.

    She really wants to go to LACES and so we’ll see where she is on their wait list after spring break (nice timing for the letters, obviously the schools wanted a break from desperate parents!) and then try to work out the odds.

    We are happy with either Larchmont or Reed, and so I’ll ask her to choose ASAP, but we’ll keep applying to LACES for 7th grade and up and just accrue points for high school if she doesn’t ever get in there.

    Oh, I have one other question! So she’ll have her 4 PHBAO points next year when we are applying for 7th grade, but will she get 4 points for not being accepted in to LACES for 6th grade or would those have shown up on her ‘rejection’ letter this year?

    Thanks again!

    • You’re right, she’d end up with 8 next year (they don’t show up on the letter this year). But call on the 25th and find out where she is on the wait list, and you very well may get in. You might want to ask as well if they already accounted for the +2 in each class with the impending budget or will that come later–because obviously that will be a nice chunk of kids off the wait list if they will take them later.

      Good luck!

      • Just to be clear, the wait-list letter states the number of points you applied with this year, right? It doesn’t include the points you get for receiving the wait list again this year. So, when it says 4 points for 2010-2011, that was the 4 points you got last year on your application for the 2010-2011 year (and the points you will get for being waitlisted this year will show up as 2011-2012 next year).

      • What is the +2 and what exactly should I say about that to the magnet coordinator?

        We got our not accepted/wait list letter on Friday and started calling yesterday. No one picked up after 4 attempts to call. I just checked and it looks like the school is on Spring Break. Could that be why they aren’t answering? Once we get through, what questions should we be asking? How often should we be calling? If we are way down on the list, should we even bother continuing to call? Thanks.

        • +2 refers to the additional two students per classroom in grades 4-8. Class size could increase in grades k-3 by 5 (from 24 to 29). What we’re not sure of at this point is whether classes were chosen with the former class norms or with the new larger class size.

          LAUSD is on spring break through Monday, so they will not be answering the phones until then.

          You can ask where you are on the wait list. And you can let them know you are eager to have your child enrolled. You can periodically call the school and see if you move up. And you can ask what the likelihood is from the spot you’re at. Sometimes they can tell you there’s virtually no chance. Or they can tell you there’s a pretty good chance. They can’t tell you anything specifically.

  16. So, this is the first year I actually want my kid to get in off the wait list for a magnet program. Do I call right away today or let the coordinator and his/her staff settle in a couple of days after Spring Break? Do I get involved in the school right away to show my commitment? Do I donate (and signal the donation to the coordinator) to the magnet program’s parent fundraising arm? The last point feels unseemly, but I’ve heard it suggested/done and I certainly can’t blame the magnets in this budgetary environment from doing what they can to raise funds.

    • If you have the stomach for it, I’d definitely suggest waiting. I’ve already talked to several parents who received no letter, or are in where they didn’t expect to be, etc., and I suspect that there will be dozens if not hundreds of calls to be fielded. If you can wait til week’s end or next week, go ahead and call. Or if you’re in the neighborhood stop by. Ask for your number, and be upfront with the fact you really want your child to get in. Ask when the next PTO meeting is, and attend it. Be visible. Keep calling every couple of weeks. I’ve been assured that there is some leeway on the wait list, especially as the first day of school approaches, so you might have to test that iron stomach. I’ve even heard of people showing up the first day with their child knowing that the principal has even more leeway as the school year begins.

      As for the donation, I’d shy away from that, but being present, and offering to volunteer (especially in any professional/creative capacity you might have) would definitely keep you on the short list.

      Good luck, and I hope your child gets in.

  17. Does anyone here know anything about Synergy Charter Academy (K-5) in Los Angeles? Good school? How hard is it to get in? I saw a demographics breakdown which said it is predominately Hispanic (85%)/low diversity rank and taught predominately by Asian/White (85%).

  18. For those of you abandoning all hope by now, my son just got in off the waitlist to his preferred magnet. I expect that some persistent, patient parents will be similarly rewarded, either now or right after school begins.

    • Thanks for the reminder. School offices only opened last Monday. There will be a FLURRY of phone calls in the next two weeks. People on the wait list who WANT to get in should call their schools, ask where they are currently, and remind them gently that you do want to attend. It can still happen. Good luck to all!

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