Magnet Season Is Open!

The 2016-2017 Magnet Season opens October 1 and will conclude at 5 pm on November 13. Check out our post with tour schedules.

For the first time in twenty years, I don’t have to fill out an application. When we started, it was a two-color paper brochure with no pictures. Now, most folks use the online application at LAUSD has come a long way, but they still have a lot to do to make it a simple and well-understood process. Feel free to continue to ask questions here.

Good luck!

61 thoughts on “Magnet Season Is Open!

  1. Hi – followed your site last year, very helpful, thanks!! I do have a question already!

    We applied for Kindergarten last year at Comm Magnet with PHBAO points, and were waitlisted. We ended up sending our son to a private TK program this year, but want to apply again to Comm Magnet for ’16-’17, when he would be entering K – so would we actually get waitlist points for the previous year, even though we are applying for K again?


    • Unfortunately no. You can’t get wait list points for essentially repeating a grade.

      There would be too many families trying to game the system playing their kindergarten entry year.

  2. Quick question –

    I have a girl, white, entering 5th grade, with 4 wait list points from last year and 4 PHBAO points, so 8 total. I only want points for this year – no entry…what would be my best bet? Community Charter or SOCES? I was thinking Community Charter is probably a safer bet, but with 8 points – who knows…any idea?

    • I hate to make suggestions like this. There’s likely, not likely, and no way in Hades. Points have been going down each year. Check the total applications and then ask about openings for that grade. It’s unlikely, but I have heard of folks getting into SOCES in odd years (or with 4 or even 0 points). You can try Valley Alt too, but I’m not going to be the one to suggest which one is more likely to get rejected.

  3. Check out this link, it is very useful.

    My child has 2 resident schools options for grade 6, one is a PHBAO school and one is not. Magnet office told me that if I have 2 options and one of those options is PHBAO then my child will receive the PHBAO points. They told me to verify the points assigned by viewing the a confirmation letter that they will send out in December. If the points/info in the letter is incorrect, I have until Jan 8 to dispute/make any corrections.

    • It is CRITICAL to check the point total in that letter as there is still time to get it corrected and students ranked before the admittance letters go out.

    • Hopefully they will be able to address the concerns folks had with students leaving the academy for HS and requiring 3 more years of science, and not a lot of choices without duplication.

      What really concerned me was the extreme departure from typical magnets. Even G/HG magnets only require students to apply and if they meet the criteria, they get thrown into the lottery. For this magnet, students apply, then the applicants are tested on Nov 17th, and then they’re placed into the magnet pool. I’m not comfortable with this addition to the criteria. I’ll see how it plays out, but it gives me pause.

      • Which type of testing on Nov 17? What will happen to the current science academy’s students? Can you explain a bit more, thanks.

        • I was not there for the Science Magnet tour, so I didn’t pay much attention. It sounded like math/science aptitude. Hopefully when others tour they will bring back more info. That academy was an acquired taste. While the Math Academy allowed for academic rigor and allowed for an elective (say jazz band), the science academy was always a cohort of 40 students that traveled class to class and got no outside classes. This year, with the end of the Civics Academy, the Science Academy was to perhaps double to 80 students for 6th grade, which would at least allow for some flexibility.

          Also for now, the magnet says 6-8.

          • The schiik told me that science magnet applicants must take a mandatory academy test that will include math, science, and a short answer portion. The score will be used to see if the applicant will advance on to the next step in the application process.

          • I know a child in that is currently in that program (6th grade). There is very competitive testing that occurs in November. Basically they REALLY need to be sure that each child is really ready for such a demanding program. I heard from a parent that they do AP course starting in 6th grade. A good match if your child is VERY gifted in science/math.

        • My son just took the Science magnet test yesterday. There were probably about 300 kids there (the majority looked to be 5th graders…but there were also a fair number of those applying for 7-8th grade, and those who put the Science Magnet as the #2 choice).

          My son said the test was really hard…all fill-in, no multiple choice. He said the math started out sorta easy, and then got progressively harder. And, the science portion really rocked him. He didn’t seem to think he did very well. He said he left a lot blank. A couple of the questions he recalled: what makes up an atom; list the planets in order. There was also a writing prompt about why a STEM program was good for kids.

          My son came back from the test and said he thought he failed. The program sounds pretty amazing, but I don’t think we’ll get past this test portion.

          As I understand it, all the kids who passed the test will then be submitted to LAUSD, and then the lottery will happen (and those with the most points will be picked from first), and of course everyone will know by March if they got in. Everyone who took the test will know if they passed or not and if they are moving on to the lottery by the first or second week of Dec.

          I’d love any insight into Walter Reed’s IHP test. What should they be thinking about?

          • Thank you SO much for this feedback. As the first time test “guinea pigs” future families will at least have some idea of what goes on.

            No matter how tough that test was, they do have to fill 72 spots. Good luck!

  4. Hi – We have just moved from NYC where my kids both went to public school. I can’t believe the labyrinth I have walked into. From what I can tell my 5th grader cannot apply to any Magnet school, because he doesn’t have any points. Are there any concessions for an out-of-state kid? Wow, the NYC system is a dream compared to this.

    • Your child can indeed apply. Some schools will be easier to get into than others, but you will be able to apply. In addition, there are other programs including SAS (Schools for Advanced Studies) and even open enrollment that you will be eligible for.

      Please remember that the magnet program in Los Angeles is a desegregation program. While it’s not aimed at minimizing the needs of newly moved students, the consent decree is aimed at integrating current students.

      Also, you are eligible for your home school without an application, and that includes its SAS.

    • You need to read through this site. All the threads. It will help untangle the web. Many of your questions will be answered.

    • I wrote up a guide to LAUSD a few years ago. Some of the info may be out of date but it should give you a good overview of how the whole school choices thing works. Here’s the good news: LAUSD is way, WAY more flexible than the NYC system and the odds of you getting your kid into a good school are excellent. My advice is to keep an open mind, tour lots of schools and talk to the principal and parents.

    • Elle, what neighborhood are you living in, or are you in temporary quarters while you figure out where to settle? And what grades are your kids in? Folks on this site may be able to suggest some good alternatives based on that data. Also, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to visit your local school, you may be pleasantly surprised.

      • I’m in Silver Lake, my kid is at Ivanhoe. I will definitely visit King. I hear so-so things about it. The way I approached middle school in NYC for my older kids was to just send him to the big feeder school for our district and figure what the hell – as long as they are smart and we supplement we are OK for high school. I had good results – my older son was admitted to Stuyvesant and Bard High School Early College. But here, I’m wondering if that’s possible because I don’t yet know the high school process – I mean as long as the kid does well does it really matter where they go to middle school? Do they test in to high schools like in NYC? I didn’t bother to try to transfer my kid from Stuyvesant to a public here – but that’s a whole other story. I would like to keep second kid in public al the way…

  5. I am new to this whole process but I have been studying it (OMG one needs an advanced degree to decode it). MY daughter will be in K and is white. I would love to get her into a magnet (as our home school is not great), but most of the magnets with kindergartens are super competitive.
    Any advice?

  6. Where do I start…. I will be submitting 3 eChoices this year, just want to be as informed as possible before applying.

    Applied in 2013 to Balboa Magnet for 1st grade Hispanic child with 4 PHBAO points got wait-listed, applied in 2014 for 2nd grade got wait listed. The letter I received in March shows my child has 8 points ( 4 PHBAO + 4 wait list 2014-2015). Getting ready to apply for 3rd grade but I have a question, when are the 4 wait list points for 2015-2016 be applied? Will the points be applied by the time the lottery is conducted early 2016? Will my child have a TOTAL of 12 points (4 PHBAO + 4 wait list 2014-20-15 + 4 2015-2016)?

    I know that most of the 170 openings are in 1st and 2nd and chances of getting chosen in 3rd-5th grade are low. Hoping that we have a good chance Hispanic with 12 points applying for 3rd grade. I do have a back up plan, I requested to have my child assessed for Gifted/HG, our home school magnet coordinator has already submitted the request to the Gifted/Talented Office.

    My older child is a student at a HG Magnet Elementary, I’ve spoken with the Magnet Coordinator who informed me that they always have openings in 2nd & 3rd grade and even in 4th grade. Therefor if we do not get into Balboa Magnet which will be the only Magnet I will be applying for on eChoices, and if my child is identified as HG/HGA by the end of this school year (2015-2016) I would be able to enroll her in the HG Magnet.

    Thanks in advance!!!

    • Your 2015-16 wait list points will show up when you apply this fall and receive that letter in early winter.

      Unless it changed, it used to be a set number in first and second and half that for third: 60-60-30. After class size went up, my understanding was it was 72-72-36ish plus the few openings in 4th and 5th.

      That would be your current application. And yes, the HG elementaries do have difficulty filling with the new testing (or lack thereof). There are often spots in each grade. The only risk would be if for some reason enough families applied that the spots were filled. I’d definitely get clarification on that as a back up.

      • I’m glad to hear that Balboa has that # of openings for 3rd grade, I will definitely confirm it on the upcoming tour I will be attending. I will also follow up with the Magnet coordinator at HG Magnet, their website does a good job to keep us informed when opening are available and the specific grade. This is my child second year and she is constantly telling me we got a new student or someone left, it seems that even if a child if identified as HG/HGA the school is not always the right fit. In our case my child LOVES the school!!!

        Thanks again!!!

  7. I also have a child currently in Pre-K, we are planning to apply to Balboa in 1st grade. Learning from my above experience I want to increase my child’s chances of getting in so I will be applying to Kindergarten to either Community Magnet or Valley Alternative Magnet. Which is a best choice for Hispanic with 4 PHBAO points hoping to get wait-listed?

    We are hoping that Hispanic with 8 points (4 PHBAO + 4 wait list 2016-2017) we will have a GOOD chance getting into Balboa Magnet when we apply for 1st grade.

    • Since every family applying has 7-4-3-0 points, there are families who get into both those schools with zero. Apply and hope for the best. Bottom line, you apply and hope not to get in, but if you did, there’s no loss (it would be the same as if you hadn’t applied).

      I can’t say which one is more likely. Look at the total applications and the kinder spots and just see which seems less likely.

      • magnetangel,

        Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge and answering the questions. I will definitely follow up with both school.

        • You’re welcome. I appreciate the ‘boots on the ground’ reports that help fill in the gaps. I can’t do it without you!

          • Magnetangel,

            Called Community Magnet & Valley Alternative for # of Openings for Kindergarten:

            Community Magnet K – 5th grade ONLY
            – Kindergarten Openings for 2016-2017 – 66
            – Applications received for 2015-2016 – 3680 (for grade K-5)

            Valley Alternative K – 12th grade
            – Kindergarten Openings for 2016-2017 – 20 (approx)
            – Applications received for 2015-2016 – 2336 (for grade K-12)

            Community has 3x as many openings, BUT it had over 1300 more applications last year for K-5 (6 grades) vs Valley Alternative applications for K-12 (13 grades).

            Will be applying to Community Magnet and hope to get WAIT-LISTED!!!

  8. Hello MagnetAngel,

    Thank you so much for being a resource for us exhausted and confused parents trying to navigate this crazy process.

    My 5th grader is trying to get into a highly sought after magnet program in our neighborhood. I began applying for magnet programs when he was in 2nd grade. My understanding was that if we did not get in, we would have the 12 waitlist points and cross our fingers.

    In going back over paperwork, I have found that he wan not given the 4 waitlist points the first year we applied. I have found this is the case with many friends as well. Do you have any idea why? Someone said they are no longer giving points the first year you apply?

    At this point, he will only have 8 points which will not get him into this school.

    Any advice or insight you can share would be most appreciated. THANK YOU!

    • One of the best reasons for this website is to correct misperceptions. People do get wait list points the first year you apply. The misperception is when you see them.

      You apply:
      in 2nd for 3rd grade
      in 3rd grade for 4th grade
      in 4th grade for 5th.
      Your son is now in fifth applying for 6th.

      Wait list points only last for 3 years. You should have 12 points. My guess is your paperwork for the 4th grade application FOR 5th grade doesn’t exist yet. You won’t SEE those points because up until 2-3 weeks ago, you could have still gotten in to where you applied for fifth grade.

      If you have concerns about the actual points in your son’s case, and you have the paperwork, you should absolutely call Student Integration Services immmediately. Let us know what you find out.

  9. My friend would like to know if her child is currently in a magnet school, but she want to move hhim to another magnet with 4 PHBAO points. Will her child lose a spot at his current magnet if he DOES NOT get in at his new school?

    • If a child is in a magnet and a family applies to a new magnet the only difference is that if the child gets chosen–they are automatically moved and REMOVED from the current school. There is no call nor a decision to be made.

      If your friend is sure that the new magnet is where they want to go, they are free to apply. But that call in August or September might not be so much fun.

  10. Online our assigned Elementary School is a magnet – Crescent Heights Social Justice Language Arts. We’ll be touring lots of schools. My child would start TK in 2016. Do we get any PBHAO points given the makeup of that Magnet? How does enrollment work when you’re assigned to a Magnet to begin with?

  11. Hello. On the application, you have an option to select a Second Choice and a Third Choice School. How exactly does that work as far as the district calculating your chances to get in? I should have 8 points from last year when I applied for Kindergarten (wait list + PHBAO). This year, I would like my daughter to have a chance to get in either Balboa or Vintage for her 1st grade. My 1st choice is Balboa followed by Vintage. I assume it will be harder to get in Balboa, but is the probability of getting in at Vintage the same as if I had put it as my first choice? Hope this makes sense.

    My other question is — Balboa is a highly gifted school and from what I understand, the principal will have to decide that your child is deemed highly gifted. When does this screening take place? Before they send an acceptance letter? Are there any testing done? Is there a chance that your child might get selected and later on declined because they did not consider the child “highly gifted”?

    Thank you. I just discovered this site. Sorry for too many questions!

    • If you want Balboa, put down Balboa. If you want Vintage put down Vintage. If you put down both, you might get into Vintage, when you might still get into Balboa from the wait list. 8 points for a first grader is a good bet (NOTHING is a lock). You will not get into Balboa as a second choice.

      Balboa is NOT highly gifted. It is a gifted magnet. Your child’s teacher will be given a form and told to respond if she meets the criteria. By the time she is tested in second grade, she’ll already be in. She won’t be removed if she doesn’t meet the criteria later on the OLSAT test.

      • Thanks for your speedy reply! I know you probably won’t say one school is necessarily better than the other, and I have heard that Balboa Magnet is supposedly one of the best. Do you have any opinions about Vintage Magnet? I live in close proximity to both schools. I am new to all of this and would appreciate any feedback.

        • Balboa is a great school. My son (who’s nearing 25) went there. My daughter, got accepted and we turned it down.
          Vintage is a great school. People love the connection the school has with NASA and JPL.

          You need to tour both schools and decide which one feels right for your child. There will be bright kids at both schools.

          You will always hear about Balboa. It’s like the Harvard of magnets.

          And while a couple thousand kids go off to Harvard every year, there are hundreds of thousands each year who go to plenty of other colleges and do well too (CalTech, MIT, Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, etc).

          Tour both, and go with your heart.

        • Before applying at Balboa, you will have to speak with your child’s current teacher first to make sure that he/she meets the criteria. Parents of gifted magnet applicants will be sent a Gifted Eligibility or Ineligibility Letter in Feb 2016.

  12. My question is similar to Lynne’s, though I’m looking at two different schools, Welby Way and Academy of the Enriched Sciences (but like the schools she was considering, one more competitive than the other). I understand from your response that ranking the more competitive school second, decreases ones chances of getting in to that school. However, does ranking the less competive school second also decrease my chances of getting into the less competive school? If enough applicants rank that school first, will they get the spots at that school before I would (since I ranked that school second)? Our neighborhood school isn’t stellar so avoiding that school is our #1 priority. We’d be happy at the less competitive school, but I’m reluctant to “give up” our son’s chance to get into the gifted magnet. However, getting into AES is preferable to being wait listed at WW. Wondering if ranking AES is a safer/wiser decision. Thanks for any insight you can offer!

    • Here’s how the 2nd and 3rd choices work:

      Say you put down Schools A, B, and C in that order. Your application is reviewed and you have X points.

      First, they look at where you are on the list for A. If you get in, your application ends there.

      But say A is already full. The computer then looks at B. If you have enough points to get into B, you get in. If you don’t, they drop down to C.

      If you have enough points for C, you get in. If you don’t, then they go back to A and you are on the waitlist.

      I can not say strongly enough there’s a real risk in using the second and third place options. If you really prefer school A, and you get into B, you will never be considered for A. You are not waitlisted on A in any way if you get into B or C.

      The only way to use the 2nd or 3rd place options is if you are completely torn between two schools equally. The sad thing though is if you put the more competitive school down first, you won’t get the chance to get into “B” from the waitlist. And that might be more likely than getting into A from the wait list.

      Only you can decide if it’s worth it. I still only recommend choosing ONE magnet, and then focusing on SAS and other open enrollment programs in the spring.

      • Thank you for the information as to how the rankings work! So, are the lotteries for each school conducted simultaneously per se and “getting accepted” is determined as to where you are on each school’s list?

        • All of the rankings (from 23 points to 0) are conducted at the same time downtown in their supercomputer. It might actually be done over days and weeks, but we’re all informed of them when the letters are released online or mailed out.

          When it comes to wait lists, some schools are more proactive than others, but suffice it to say they will want all spots taken before school starts. Schools will only resort to contacting after school starts when people don’t show up or there is an issue with an uneven number of kids that will result in a loss of a teacher or a split-grade class. Some schools seem to contact throughout the break. Others take time out over the summer and resume in late July.

  13. We applied and got wait listed each of the last 2 yrs, so we have 8 pts. What happens to those 8 pts if we do not submit an echoices application this year? What happens to our PBHAO pts ? We are happy where we are but want to keep our options open for future yrs. Thank you for this site.

    • Wait list points can accumulate for up to three years. At that point the oldest ones ‘fall off.’ If you don’t apply this year (think of this as year 3), then next year in year 4, those oldest points will fall off, and you’d only have the second year’s points. PHBAO points are recalculated each year (and change when you move to middle school or high school as well).

      You’ll be faced with applying and hoping you don’t get in, or having few points. Not sure what grade your child is in, but there are options aside from magnet, so you might want to figure a few options.

  14. I went on a tour of van nuys middle school math and science magnet. Do you know anyone who goes there, has gone there, or knows of anyone there? It seems nice but I would like to hear of people’s experiences there.

    • I realize that ‘navigating’ gets a little overused, but manipulating is not really an appropriate word choice. To each their own I guess.

  15. of course I applied on Schedule for the LAUSD magnet programs. But my daughters first choice is to go to Amno Inglewood a green Dot Charter high school. I’m told applicants are choosen on “Lottery” Is there a way to increase her chances of getting in?

  16. Thank you so much for keeping this blog going! I realize that your kids are well-beyond this stage, and yet you keep this going! I’m amazed there there isn’t really another place to get real, from parents info on the LA magnet conundrum! Thanks so much.

    • You’re welcome. We’ll continue to rely more and more on folks with boots on the ground as time goes on, but glad to help!

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