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.

6 thoughts on “Two West Valley Charters Receive OK to Add Grades

  1. The article doesn’t say how long it will take until these schools are able to take on new students. Any idea when that might be?

    • Given that they have been mothballed since the 80s, and have seismic and asbestos concerns, I can’t see them being open in anything sooner than 5 years. Call me crazy. On the other hand, they’re charters, so maybe they can go faster than LAUSD?

  2. Too many parents over-prioritize the benefits of “not having to go through this again” when considering span schools (especially, 6-12 or K-12, but also K-8 even though there is still one more step). It is certainly a hassle to go through the search again when your child moves from elementary to middle school and again to high school, but there is some logic to the separation of those age groups. It’s not just that the little kids will be intimidated by the big kids (they can easily be separated, as many middle schools already do for 6th and 8th graders, and they can just as easily be mentors/mentees, benefiting both groups), it’s that the little kids grow up and have different interests, strengths, and needs then when they were younger. Parents look at their little 4th graders and are terrified for them. Fast forward just a few years and those little kids are practically adults and their parents do them a disservice by effectively locking them into something that might not work later on. Even outside of span schools there are kids sent to a middle school that is not a fit because it will allow the kid to go to the high school desired by the parent. Rather than addressing the student’s needs and situation now, you pound the square peg into the round hole on the assumption, based on hearsay and predictions about your future young adult, that the high school will be perfect for them. This problem becomes more pronounced in some span schools, since they are inevitably are stronger in one level than another. So, the great 9-12 in a span school may come at the price of diverted attention from the 6-8 kids.

    If you are spending magnet points on a span school, especially a 6-12, just remember that one risk factor is that the perceived benefit of certainty and stability will be at the price of losing flexibility. If you go to a magnet MS and matriculate from that school, you can take your magnet points to the magnet HS of your choice. With a span school, you lock yourself in and lose your points if you leave before matriculation (which is 12th, not 8th grade).

    • Anon,

      Great points. Although, these schools are charters, and the new schools will be ‘owned’ by the brand, but they will be run as seperate schools.

      Regarding your points, I have heard of SOCES kids getting out some point in high school eager to experience a more traditional experience–same at Valley Alternative. K-8s run the risk of being a little too small at the middle school to run different programs–from honors to separate courses, to real electives.

  3. The Highlander campus is in my neighborhood, and I’m thrilled that it will finally be occupied. Is it your understanding that the El Camino K-8 will be an affiliated charter? If so, does this mean that the neighborhood districts might be redrawn?

    • It is so early in the process I couldn’t say for sure. Isn’t ElCo an independent charter? I will definitely keep an ear out.

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