Gifted Student Programs


In spring 2011 LAUSD will begin testing all second graders for giftedness in the High Achievement category using the Otis Lennon School Ability Test, 8th edition (OLSAT 8).

If students pass with a score of 95%+ they will be identified as gifted High Achievement. Those with scores 90-94% and with CST test scores will also be identified. If identified, your child can enroll in LAUSD gifted programs, including gifted magnet schools.

Please note that the OLSAT does NOT qualify children as Highly Gifted; only an Intellectual test administered by an LAUSD psychologist can qualify your child as HG, allowing them to apply for the HG magnet schools. If your child does well on the OLSAT and you are interested in HG magnets, you should request Intellectual testing to qualify.

More information on the District’s OLSAT testing can be found here:  This is the link for the LAUSD GATE Office.

Generally “gifted” designations seem more important for elementary and middle schoolers. Gifted students are essentially slotted into honors course and SAS (schools for advanced studies) programs. There are gifted magnets at the elementary and middle school level. Generally, high schools all offer honors and AP course work so the designation is less important. However, as a few gifted high school magnets have rolled out at Taft and Kennedy, this may change.


875 thoughts on “Gifted Student Programs

  1. 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!

    Last year, the school was basically in a downward spiral — we had 41 students for four grades — and LAUSD was threatening to shut down the HG magnets. We are frustrated that 1) the LAUSD didn’t market the program to HG students (nobody knows about us!), 2) they don’t break out our test scores like they do for school-wide magnets (so while ours was a perfect 1000 in 2007, the website shows 800… total school’s), and 3) the LAUSD doesn’t care about highly gifted kids, who you would think they’d want to show off as examples of what an LAUSD public education can still do. Our school definitely has its share of frustrations, but it is at least an affordable alternative to spending $25,000 a year at Mirman.

    This past year, in typical LAUSD fashion, rather than fixing the problem of not marketing its own HG program, LAUSD simply lowered the bar for entry… from 99.9% to 99.5% testing. It did help us to boost enrollment and almost double in size and doesn’t materially affect the program, so we are thankful to still have the magnet going. But it drives me nuts that I know there are parents out there with highly gifted kids who don’t have deep pockets and don’t know we are an option for them! Anything you can do to pass the word would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!!!!

    Rebekka Hosken, President
    San Jose Magnet Booster Club

    • I wanted to weigh in here about the school these highly gifted students may ultimately attend. The Highly Gifted Magnet (HGM) at North Hollywood High School is one option for these students to seriously consider. I say ‘these students’ because, parents, by the time they are in 8th grade they will, and should, have a strong opinion about where they would like to go to high school. Just because they have the HG designation, they may have an overwhelming need to attend LACSA, or another school with, for example, a particularly strong track and field team. Listen to them, and do take them to all the open houses, but insist that the HGM be one of the visits. Because this is an option available to so few, those few are obligated to consider it. Like every other LAUSD school. the HGM has incurred cuts and is operating on a thin and threadbare shoestring, but you would never know it from the results. 70% of the graduating seniors are either National Merit Scholar Semi-finalists or Commended Scholars, and the National Science Bowl, California Literary and Prologue Society, Mock Trial, Gates and Millenium Scholar, Duke Moot Court and an ever-lengthening list of other awards grows every year. Both of my boys actually started at a small private school in Hollywood that claimed diversity – but please, this school really is diverse, and these kids learn the greater lessons of how to get along in the world. The kids that I observed who spent their entire academic lives in private schools simply are not as equipped to navigate the social, economic, and emotional challenges that lie ahead. Quite simply, our job as parents is to prepare our children to live independently. This particular program, the HGM at NHHS, is giving students an amazing academic and social experience that the private schools cannot, bu their very nature, provide.

      And, from my own experience, I found that the Magnet choices for middle school may not always be the best fit for the HG student. Walter Reed Middle School’s IHP (Individual Honors Program) prepared my son very well for the HGM, and it also had the musical programs he wanted. The fact that there is not a bus to the school is a surmountable problem, as they facilitate carpools. So just because you don’t have a zillion magnet points, there are still some very viable options. The SAS (School for Advanced Studies) at Reed also folds into the SAS program at NHHS, too. This is a college preparatory program that some Gifted and Highly Gifted students choose, but does not require a test score.

      I think Rebekka may have mentioned this, but I’d like to reiterate that you don’t prepare your child for the HG programs – in my very personal observation, early mandatory immersion in some of those math and english extra study programs can lead to a loss of the joy of learning. Instead, go to the museums, the library – and the park! Be a reader yourself. Cook together, and let them do the measuring. Be open to who your child is – an individual with interests and talents of their own.

      ~Susan Proffitt
      Friends of the HGM, Inc.

      • Hi Susan,
        I would love to ask you some questions. My daughter attends Colfax Charter Elementary and loves it socially; however, it does not meet her academic needs. We applied and got in to Kester Gifted Magnet and are torn about weather or not to accept it. We also are pretty confident that if tested by the lausd psychologist she would qualify for the eagle rock higly gifted magnet. I would love to contact you and talk more.

          • We are a group of parents from an LA charter elementary school that has had a difficult time setting GIFTED testing up or has been resisting our desire to have our cchildren tested for giftedness, since they don’t need it for the charter program. However, we’d like to have the option to consider other schools, therefor we’ve been pushing for it.
            Our kids are now in 4th grade and are hopefully getting tested this spring. My questions:

            What tests are usually administered in LAUSD elementary schools?
            Can parents or the schools request, which test is administered?
            Does the OLSAT come standard and is there a way to test for Highly Gifted at the same time as gifted?
            What are people’s experiences with OLSAT vs. RAVEN her in LA? (I can only find data from NY)
            Does the OLSAT have an oral portion?

            I’d appreciate any input from families with experience. Thank you!!!

          • I’m not familiar about the OLSAt but they say it does not qualisfy you for hg becqause it is not an IQ test. When my son was tested 8 years ago by the LAUSD
            school psychologist she used Raven’s.

        • Kester is a high ability magnet. Different than gifted. My son qualified on teacher recommendation alone. But because of the lottery and point system didn’t get in. My DS recently tested as profoundly gifted by an outside psychologist. Trying to find a school that meets his needs has been an uphill battle. Good luck!

          • Belinda, I am awaiting test results from psychologist as we speak! What did getting identified as highly gifted do for your DS? They are telling me it will open doors. I’m not holding my breath.

      • Susan (or anyone else who would like to answer :)),
        I have an 8th grader in an SAS program at a middle school on the westside. She has GATE designation since elementary school based on test scores alone, but we have never asked for testing for the HG designation. She will only have 8 magnet points when she applies for high school. Is there enough time to get tested for HG if she is interested in the HG magnet? How many points does one need to get into the HGM even if the HG designation is already in hand? And if my 8th grader is unlikely to have sufficient time to get HG designation or points to get in, can you explain anything more about the SAS at Hollywood High and whether there is any mingling of classes or resources between the SAS and the HG magnet? Or would the SAS at Hollywood High be comparable to the SAS at any other LAUSD high school? Thanks so much for any feedback you can provide!!

        • The only advice I can give after speaking to so many frustrated families regarding the testing/retesting, is to contact the GATE office and ask them directly. Things have changed from even a year or two ago and any advice or suggestions we have aren’t current (and even today’s current is going to change by the time brochures go out and applications go in). All we hear at Council of Council meetings is that testing is hard to get, there are long waits, and there are fewer counselors to administer. That said, asking & receiving results by December seems doubtful by LAUSD’s timetable–but you’ll want the actual answer.

          As for North Hollywood’s Highly gifted magnet, feel free to talk to the coordinator about the likelihood of getting in with 8 points. You’ll want the actual, accurate info for that. I’m assuming you mean the SAS at North Hollywood as well, so I’d ask those questions of someone officially at the school. I know the folks at other tours were very clear the programs are separate.

          • I started asking to have my son tested in Oct 2013. He just got tested (still waiting on results) for HG on March 17th! Good luck. This is from Madison Middle School.

        • Debi:

          Angel’s reply is on target, speak directly with the schools to ensure most accurate info. I think the biggest battle for you at this point would be getting testing prior to the December deadline. I think it is almost impossible. Testing often takes up to a year (and that was before more cuts to the number of psychologists). So first step, talk to your current school about getting your daughter tested ASAP and see what they say. (Hint: It really helps if teachers or administrators push with/for you so if you can get some on your side, do it.)

          In terms of points for North Hollywood, generally we’ve been told if the child tests as “true HG” (99.9%+) they will make room for them no matter the points. If they are “HG applicable” (99.5%) they will get them in if space is still available. Points are less important at the HG schools as they usually are trying to get enough qualified kids.

          I know the NoHo HG Magnet is a standalone program that has its own teachers for the core curriculum. I don’t think they co-mingle with the SAS program — though Magnet kids take classes from the rest of the school for electives and such – but talk to Phyllis Spadafora, who is the magnet coordinator at NoHo, for the most accurate current info. Her contact info is on the NoHo Magnet website at

          Good luck!

          • Thanks for your help on this. I am exploring all of our options for HS and haven’t wanted to determine whether the HGM is a desirable option if it is not even a viable one. I guess I am concerned about the Choices application deadline most at this point. If the testing cannot be completed before the December deadline, is it pointless to pursue at all? In other words is there any way to be admitted to the HGM if no CHOICES application is submitted in December or a different magnet school is selected? I actually have no idea whether my child will test as HG or not and don’t want to go down a pathway that is counterproductive of other options for HS (for example foreclosing other magnet choices by selecting the HGM). On the other hand perhaps there is nothing to lose if most HS magnet programs are popular enough that no students other than those with at least 12 wait list or matriculation points gets considered anyway…

            Then too I am unclear whether submitting a CHOICES application on time and being rejected by another magnet school also precludes submitting a CHOICES application late to the HGM if/when the HG designation is obtained. I have also tried to look around the LAUSD website on the CHOICES program and was surprised to find that all the information is outdated and applies to last year. It almost makes me wonder if the magnet program has been so starved of resources that all prior knowledge of the magnet program is inapplicable at this point anyway…

          • To be fair the brochures for 2012-13 aren’t even out yet and I wouldn’t expect them before sometime in November. The information will appear on the website as soon as it’s available.

            As for applying without the designation, it is risky. If you child isn’t tested by December, the application gets rejected. If you apply to a different magnet and get in, you’d be coming to the HGM with zero points.

            Go ahead and contact North Hollywood and discuss your concerns with them. They can give you that information, and hopefully give you current information. The magnets are still viable programs, but you will have to have current information to make an accurate decision.

          • I understand that brochures for 2012-13 wouldn’t yet be out, but it was things like dates and tour information that made it seem like the page hadn’t been touched in a year. Also many schools seem to have cut back on their tours based on information I was able to gather from school websites, e.g. LACES and SOCES seem to each be offering only one open house evening for prospective parents and both of them are on Dec 1 at the same time!

            In any case when you say applying to the school without the designation is risky and the application gets rejected if the testing is not complete, what does it mean if it is rejected? Is that equivalent to being wait listed or not applying at all or worst of all applying and being precluded from putting in a second application for the same academic year for another school even if (by some chance) it has openings? If that worst case scenario is what makes it risky, I guess it all depends on whether there is any chance of getting into another magnet that we prefer but which doesn’t need maximum points…

            Likewise if we do apply to a different magnet and get in, are we worse off than if we applied to HGM and got rejected there? Or if we apply to a different magnet and don’t get in, are we worse off

            Ultimately my question is how the Choices program handles people who have applied to any magnet and not been accepted for THAT magnet. Is there any opportunity as it gets closer to the beginning of the school year to apply to OTHER magnets that turn out to have openings?

    • Hi!

      I am considering having my daughter attend Portola Middle School HGM. My only concern is the 1 1/2 hour commute each way. Is that a long time for a student to be on the bus? Also, by the time she gets home, will she have enough time to get her homework done and have time for extracurricular activities? Basically, is the curriculum that much better than, say, Porter Middle School’s gifted magnet?


      • Hi Alice! My child goes to Portola Magnet now. In terms of curriculum, it is always SO hard to answer those questions… but the specific curriculum is on the website at under “Magnet” menu at top, then look for menu at right “Magnet Curriculum.” In this way you can compare for yourself with Porter’s curriculum (with which I’m unfamiliar).

        Besides the curriculum itself, things to consider include teacher quality and peer relationships. If your child has friends and is doing fine in a gifted magnet, then why fix what isn’t broken? If s/he has trouble relating to peers and needs more stimulation, then perhaps it is time to move and the positives would outweigh the negative of changing schools and a long commute.

        As for transportation, most of the parents I know at Portola either do a carpool or use the bus. The Magnet does put out a carpool directory so, depending on where you live, it might be possible to reduce the commute time for your child and lessen the number of trips you need to make as a parent. If you want to email me privately with your location, I can let you know if there are families there now in your area.

        You have to decide priorities for yourself but 1.5 hours each way does seem like a LOT of time to me. The homework load is fairly heavy and does take time. If you have a child that could work while on the bus, it might work.

        As with all things, tour the school, ask other parents, and decide what is best for your child/family. Good luck!

    • Hi All-
      I have a 1st grader and I’d like to apply to San Jose HG for next year. We had him tested for Mirman last year and he is HG but I know we have to get LAUSD tested now. I’m looking for feedback on the school and the application process. I suppose I need to push his current school to get him tested as soon as possible. I’m sure we won’t make the Nov 15th magnet application deadline so not sure how that works with applying. Also, if he gets the test this year is that his one shot at the test? What if he doesn’t come out as HG on the test, does he never get a chance to take the test again?
      Thanks for any insight!

      • Call the gifted office now. Ask them what the chances are for your child to be tested that quickly. It’s rare that any one gets tested that fast, so make sure you get the right info. Throw in a call to the magnet office.

        I’m not saying it can’t happen, but you don’t want to go through the headache if it’s not going to happen.

        As of recently, you get one shot at the testing and that’s it. Given the budget scenario, it’s more important to give kids a chance at testing rather than allowing some kids to retest.

    • Hi Rebekka,

      I live in the bay area in San Jose. Do you know of any schools for pre-schoolers or elementary schools in this area for gifted children? There are quite a few private schools here which are very expensive and we cannot afford them. I would appreciate if you can share the names of schools which are more affordable here. Thanks,


      • Tania,

        Thanks for finding the blog. We’re a San Fernando Valley focused blog with some pockets of LA proper.

        Good luck with your search!

  2. I read your post. I live nearby and would like my 11 month old daughter to attend your school when she reaches the proper age. Do you have any advice on what I need to do now to prepare her for the test she must take to qualify?

  3. Michael:

    Thanks for the interest in our school!

    The “test” is one of several IQ tests administered by the Psychological Services branch of the LAUSD. Generally kids are referred for testing at the end of second grade but are, occasionally (if parents have enough chutzpah), tested earlier. (The reason for the delay is that these tests were designed for older kids and younger ones don’t always test accurately and can fail more readily than at later ages.) The psychologist picks the test to be taken based upon your child’s age and other factors. So first off, you don’t always know which specific test your child will get. And IQ tests are intended to test natural intelligence, things like decision making, visual/spatial abilities, cognitive reasoning, and an array of other psychobabble terms. It isn’t something to really study for. (It would be a little like studying for a Cosmo Magazine personality test — you are who you are…)

    But second off… your darling daughter is only 11 months old! How do you know the school will be a good fit for her still-developing temperament and personality? How do any of us know what the school will be like in five years, when she is old enough to attend? Grab your favorite beverage of choice and RELAX. You have plenty of time. The best way to prepare her is to love her, cuddle her, read to her, and explore the world with her. If she is gifted material, this will become apparent as she enters school reading Chaucer and working in binary numbers. You and the teachers will make the obvious decisions to have her tested when the time is right. Your child will lead you in the right direction… And at that point, you can look at the full option of schools to find the one that best fits her and her needs. Yes, I hope that is our highly gifted magnet school but… keep all your options open! There is no “one-size-fits-all” school.

    Best of luck!

    • This is why I have kept an ear open to your blog all these years! Your voice, your timbre, your sound advice. I’ve been asked to speak to westside preschool parents about public school options, and I’m sure some part of your spirit will be shared with mine. I hope to help some parents navigate these waters. xo

      • Please feel free to share your experiences on Westside schools. The biggest challenge we face is that schools change over time, and with 600K kids and nearly 1000 schools, there’s no way to be ‘boots on the ground’ for every single one. We rely on LAUSD yentas far and wide. Thanks!!

  4. Do you know if children are tested only at a teacher’s request or if parents can request it? My local school has a gifted magnet as well, and I’ve heard good things about, but I’ve heard conflicting information about the testing procedures. What can I say, I’m an info junky!

  5. Hey Amy! Thanks for writing. We have a small problem. You are an info junkie and… the LAUSD gives out conflicting info. So you have fun wrestling with that! (We find wine helps.) I’ll share what I know but be aware that it changes daily depending to which LAUSD employee or school you ask!

    The short answer is… parents can request it. The request isn’t taken as strongly as one from the teacher or GATE coordinator, but they can make the request.

    Here’s the deal on testing. Schools don’t always WANT to test your child so make the process as clear as mud. Now why ever would a school not want to assist its students and their parents in finding out their true potential? Well… 1) As mentioned earlier on this site, the tests are really aimed at older kids and younger ones can have a higher “false negative” result, e.g. fail when they may not if they were older. So there is an attempt to persuade you to wait until the child is older. 2) It COSTS the local school to test and comes out of their budget (so, as always, the almighty dollar is important). Some schools test away, because each child identified means a few extra bucks from the State each year, and other schools living on their last dime don’t see testing as much of a priority. 3) If your child is older and at their school and doing well, the school may not want to lose this shining star… and her accompanying high test scores. Why would they want to help you take Suzie High IQ out of their school? (To be fair, I do not think there is malicious evil intent but it resides in the subconcious of every administrator who has to sign off and approve the testing… )

    The “norm” in the LAUSD is that the teachers identify kids for testing in second grade and they are pulled out and tested at the end of second grade. Now… given that some of the gifted and highly gifted magnets start in first grade… obviously they will and do test earlier. I can tell you that my child was tested in first grade, at our request (with support from her teacher). It is a harder battle to justify as a parent and helps a LOT to have the teacher’s support and backing. But it CAN happen. Submit a request in writing to the school asking for your child to be tested.

    A few cautions before people request testing lightly: first, the LAUSD can take a LONG time to test. There aren’t enough psychologists for this huge system. Sometimes it can happen very quickly after request and I’ve also heard of people waiting over a year. So don’t assume if you ask today, it will happen tomorrow. If you are trying to hit a big deadline, request testing early. Again, having a teacher or GATE coordinator backing you up helps a lot to move the system along. And being an obnoxious, pushy parent who calls regularly works, too! 😉

    And again… testing early can backfire. If Suzie High IQ doesn’t “pass” the way you wanted, it can almost take an Act of God (and lots of time) to get her tested again… for all the reasons above. They will occasionally retest, but again, it is a tough sell as your child is eating up financial resources another child might use. Tread carefully and only request testing when the teacher and you truly feel it is merited.

    Good luck!

  6. Postscript (P.S.) to the above post — younger children do not have to be formally tested to apply to gifted magnets. As long as their teacher signs off saying that they meet the following criteria: then his/her CHOICES application to a gifted magnet will be approved and go forth in the process.

    Basically if you apply for a young child who is already in LAUSD to attend a gifted magnet thru the CHOICES process, they will send a form to his/her teacher asking if s/he meets the criteria. So if you are interested in applying to a gifted magnet and your child is in K-2, I’d talk to his/her teacher to ask about that.

    • Hi Rebekka,

      Question…my child’s tests results just came in and he was accepted into the gifted program. He’s in the 2nd grade. I never did a CHOICES appl. for him as I didn’t know he was gifted. He’s received the “orange notebook” but do I still need to do a CHOICES appl. for him to move him onto a new school? The school is closed now for spring break for me to ask them.


  7. I can attest to the wait, and that you can get tested earlier if you’re persistent. We asked our daughter be tested at the end of kindergarten, and pushed again in first grade. She was tested at the end of first grade.

    If the school is scheduled for testing I’m sure there are kids who have waited longer and some kids who just were placed on the list–somewhat like someone pulling up to a light and waiting for the green and another guy pulling up just as it turns green. It is a function of limited resources.

    One of the reasons they do wait until second grade is, as Rebekka states, that if a child gets shy and doesn’t test well, they don’t have the resources to retest. Sadly it happens more than people want to admit. We all know how bright our kids are, but if they clam up during the test, it’s a test wasted.

    And in case someone wants to “help out” the district and pay for a test, that won’t work either. This is the egalitarian LAUSD at its frustratiing best. So if you’re sure, request testing early, and often, and do it as nicely as you can. The person organizing the testing/coordinating the kids understands your frustration, but can’t move one kid up over another.

  8. Thanks for all the info! Our local gifted magnet doesn’t start until 2nd grade, anyway! And to tell the truth, I feel a bit weird presuming my child is “gifted”. I mean, yeah, I think she’s brilliant, but don’t all parents think their kids a super smart? Anyway, this is all good to know. And it helps that I’m not afraid of the regular neighborhood school, or at least I’m not right now!

  9. There is a lot of – well, politics at play in how schools approach meeting the needs of students. The state funds allocated to schools for Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)are particularly vulnerable to abuse. EVERY school has “gifted” students – as you probably know, there are multiple dimensions to identifying such students – and the process of doing so isn’t a priority in LAUSD.

    LAUSD schools are required to design and submit plans detailing how they will meet the needs of GATE students. Although each such student generates only about $50 (is it $40 this year?), these plans are public documents, they are submitted around the middle of October each year and they require parent input. In addition to the GATE coordinator, each school is supposed to have a parent rep – a GATE parent rep – and this year, for the first time that I can remember, each school’s GATE plan was required to have been approved and signed by the GATE parent rep. If this is news to you, ask your school administrator about it; if, as I suspect, some schools submitted plans without inviting parent input…hmmm… who signed off on the plan?

    I want to be sure that everyone knows there will be a district-wide meeting of GATE parent reps on November 19, 2008. Check with your school for details. Local District 3’s Parent Community Advisory Council will also be taking a closer look this year at our GATE, School for Advanced Studies (SAS) and Gifted/HG Magnet programs along with discussing how to provide parents with more choice.

    Bill Ring
    Candidate, Los Angeles City Board of Education, District #4
    Organizer, Local District 3 Parent Community Advisory Council
    Director, TransParent

  10. Correction to the post above: the district meeting of GATE parent reps will be held Friday, November 14 from 5:00 to 6:30PM.

    Bill Ring
    Candidate, Los Angeles City Board of Education, District #4
    Organizer, Local District 3 Parent Community Advisory Council
    Director, TransParent

  11. We suspect our son may be highly gifted and are desperately seeking a good kindergarten for him. Aside from moving to the Carpenter school district and Mirman, are there any good choices out there that would truly serve the needs of a highly gifted student?

  12. We are experiencing acute disappointment with our daughter’s Gifted Magnet school, and we are seriously considering re-enrolling her in our neighborhood school.

    She is a second-grader. Her teacher and magnet coordinator actively DISCOURAGE her from expanding her work and encourage her to cap her thinking. Teaching to the test has overtaken any thinking outside of the test.

    One homework assignment with vocabulary words asked the students to look up “bristled” in their school-provided dictionary. The definition, “when you feel bristly,” prompted our child to point out to her teacher that the definition was lacking. The response from the teacher (with my husband present) was that they were only testing on the verb and not the noun!

    Our parent/teacher conference consisted of the teacher laying out five pages of spread sheets showing us every test and score our daughter as taken since September and telling us to gloat since our daughter’s ranking in the class is very high. But the teacher was unable to tell us one trait about our daughter as an individual. Apparently Microsoft Excel is king, my child is a set of data, and my husband and I (and our child too?)are odd for seeking more.

    Certainly we understand that in this climate the test is important, and certainly there is a minimum required knowledge. But why would you tell a group of children in a gifted magnet not to pursue an idea? Why would you quash it with, “it’s not on the test” and leave it at that.

    Our home school had a warm and encouraging environment. I feel we were taken in by the possibilities, the idea of the gifted magnet. This is only our fault, but I would encourage parents to ask a ton of questions before changing schools. We spent a lot of time checking out our home school in advance of kindergarten. We should have done the same with the magnet.

    Please examine the gifted magnets with a fine tooth comb as you might your home school. Our home school is lovely. I believe you’ll find us back there, since intellectually she has more of a chance to be creative than at a school who sees test scores as the be all end all of education.

  13. Allison — As for HG options, please see my very first post above on San Jose HG Magnet. There is no panacea, and especially for Kindergarten/early years. LAUSD doesn’t really kick in for HG until 2nd grade. There simply aren’t enough identified children to fit that category until older grades.

    If San Jose HG Magnet is too far geographically (north valley – Mission Hills), then consider Eagle Rock HG Magnet and/or Multnomah HG Magnet. See the CHOICES Brochure. Mirman is always an option — I’ve heard good and bad, plus the pricetag is hefty. Explore everything and hopefully you’ll find a good fit… not a PERFECT fit, because I don’t think that exists for HG kids… but a good one that meets your priorities (academic vs. social, etc.) GOOD LUCK!

  14. Stephanie:

    I’m sorry about the disappointing school… that puts a real damper on the year for child and parents alike.

    One thought — my DD attended one of the best, highly-rated gifted magnets in the Valley. EVERYBODY wants to get in there, very competitive, blah blah blah. And it is a very good school, BUT… it still has the occasional dud teacher. And as you are finding out, the teacher really makes or breaks the school experience for you.

    I would just suggest that maybe the whole gifted magnet isn’t bad because you got a teacher that isn’t progressive. Talk to the principal and say what you said in this forum. Ask about changing your daughter to another teacher for the same grade level (talk to other parents beforehand to find the “good” ones). It is possible that it could make a huge difference…

    I say this thinking maybe a classroom move in the same school would be less disruptive to your daughter than a whole school move. I don’t know the specific gifted magnet to which you are referring, etc. Just suggesting you consider this and then, obviously, do what you think will work best for your daughter. If that is the local neighborhood school, then so be it! GOOD LUCK!

  15. Hi, my daughter is in Elementary she is attending a school at risk (PI) she is in Magnet and GATE what do you suggest I’m thinking of changing schools in the LA 90039 area! I’m very concerned Thanks

  16. Talk to your school directly before freaking out over the PI score. Those letters are frightening, but they only tell half the story (or less). Dozens of elementaries and junior highs here in the Valley were designated PI because of a single subgroup (Special Ed). While it’s very important for *all* groups to do well at a given school, it’s important to understand the why. In this case, over several years, it’s become very common to mainstream kids who are more challenged than previously would have been accepted to regular classrooms–and they’re being tested on the same material.

    When you know the specifics (and you can actually get a good idea by using the test score breakdown at, you can then proceed with deciding IF you want to move or not.

  17. And I haven’t left yet, so I’m going to go out on a limb. By using 90039 and CA over at GreatSchools, I found a few elementary schools. Flipping to the back page of the Choices brochure, I’m guessing it’s Allesandro. And lo and behold, here’s the test score page, and it is the kids with disabilities subgroup.

    The school overall has a 788 API which plenty of schools would fight for.

    Again, if you really want to move, this will give you an “out” but no guarantee on where your daughter will get to go. On the other hand if you’re happy where you’re at, and your daughter is in GATE and the magnet, then enjoy!

  18. Welcome Janice (#15)!

    First off — you mention the school being PI but is your daughter doing well? Is she happy? Overall school performance isn’t always indicative of how an individual child will do and/or be. For example — there can be seriously funky math at play. API scores for many magnets are lumped into the overall school scores and not separated out… so the magnet/GATE program may have a much higher score than shown for your overall school and be a perfectly fine program. If your magnet is doing okay, teachers are acceptable to you, daughter is challenged and happy, and you don’t see any major program changes in future years for her — life is good.

    If you do see bumps in the road ahead, magnet going downhill, lots of staff turnover, etc…. then look around. Unfortunately I am not familiar with the specific schools in your area (other yentas?), but start at and click on the “Magnet School Selection Tool” at the left. You can hunt for gifted or other type of magnets in your nearby area. Then do normal parent research — LAUSD website,, this yenta forum, go on tours, talk to parents, etc. If you find a good match, apply through the CHOICES process. GOOD LUCK!

  19. Does anyone have any luck with getting a regular public school (not a gifted magnet) to individualize the curriculum for a gifted child? My son is in kindergarten at our local school (Dixie Canyon) and I love the feel of the community there, not to mention the fact that it is walking distance from our house. But when I see what work they are doing, my heart aches. This is stuff that he learned 2 years ago in his Montessori preschool! He enjoys his friends and the activities but says the schoolwork is “boring” and “easy.” I feel a bit bad keeping him in our local public and making him trace letters when he’s reading chapter books at home, but I don’t know that transfering to a gifted magnet next year (which may not be any better, and involve a much longer commute) would be any better.

  20. My son had a great teacher in first grade a dozen years ago. She was willing to teach 19 kids one thing, and my son did his own thing. He went to Balboa in second grade, and that was no longer necessary. My daughter is in a great school, and this year in second grade, we asked the teacher if she can possibly ramp up her work, especially in math (since I can have her read at a much higher level at home, but I don’t want to re-teach math at home). So while they’re learning borrowing and carrying, she’s adding columns of numbers. And while they’re learning combinations of change (25, 50, 75, $1), she’s going to be dealing with more complex combinations of making change.

    Another idea that seems to be gaining support again is the possibility of skipping a grade. He’d still keep the same friends, he’d just be in a different class.

    Keep in mind, the school year usually does start slowly, and then the teachers start moving–especially in kindergarten when you have kids that didn’t have preschool, and kids who went to all different philosophies of preschool. In addition, I hear all the kids in my daughter’s class say work is “easy” and “boring.”

    This is a great subject to bring up with the teacher and gauge her reaction. If you’ve already had your conference, then I’d suggest asking for another one to specifically address this issue.

  21. Joann:

    Angel gives great advice (as usual). I believe Dixie Canyon has an SAS program (gifted clustering) — is your son in SAS? If not, you should ask about moving him to SAS, where teachers are supposed to have additional training in giftedness and be better able to handle gifted kids and your son would be placed with peers. Otherwise, as Angel says, time to sit down with teacher and in a non-confrontational way, suggest that son is bored, did this work two years ago, and how can she/he challenge your son to keep him interested in school?

    In several grades my daughter’s teacher, like the ones for Angel’s family, did provide additional work for her to keep her challenged, etc. So much depends on the individual teacher and then the administration’s approach to GATE programs.

    I also agree with Angel that Kindergarten takes a long time to “ramp up” to full speed, for the reasons she mentioned; the teacher is feeling out where each child is and what their capabilities are as they come from WIDELY different backgrounds.

    So… Ask the teacher to discuss the matter and feel her/him out on philosophy toward gifted education. Ask for his/her proposed solution. Keep gently pushing and take it from there. GOOD LUCK!

  22. Rebekka,
    my child is eligible for San Jose HG. I have talked to two parents with their kids there, both discouraged me and recommended instead the Balboa. They said the teachers aren’t very impressive and challenge enough. The local school(the regular San Jose) isn’t as safe. Is there any way to hear opinions from other parents at San Jose Highly Gifted? Also do you know the percentage of the kids continue on to the highly gifted middle school (Portola) after graduating from San Jose? Thanks.

  23. Steve,

    Please go visit the San Jose campus and don’t listen to other parents on the safety issue. While I chose a different school for my son years ago, and haven’t chosen San Jose for my daughter, I get a little weary of the other parents who seem to think everything east of the 405 is the hood. Certainly Balboa is an entire magnet, so every child on campus is gifted or high ability, but I live in San Fernando and actually know families that use open enrollment to go to San Jose’s regular school. I seriously doubt anyone would send their highly gifted kids into a dangerous environment.

  24. Steve:

    Ask three parents their opinion about a school, get three answers… I agree with Angel; if you really want to evaluate a school, you MUST go check it out yourself. Every family and every child has different needs, expectations, and philosophies.

    What I can tell you is that my daughter was at Balboa before San Jose; it was a tortuous decision whether to move her or not but we did and she’s now happier than she’s ever been. Another family moved their daughter from Balboa this year and they, too, are very happy– the mom just told me she almost cried telling the principal how much of a difference they’d seen in their daughter. As for academics, San Jose’s 2007 API score was a perfect 1,000 and the kids are doing a grade level ahead in math, as well as in-depth research and analysis work in other subjects. More importantly to us than academics (I can pay to enrich any LAUSD curriculum), our daughter isn’t bored silly and has peers to interact with.

    Is San Jose a panacea or for everybody? No way! And no way is any other school around (no matter what the hype). I talk about San Jose not because I think it is the be all, end all of schools, but because I want people to know it exists (so many don’t) and that they have another option to explore for their child — and there aren’t many options for HG kids! The more options to explore, the better the chance you will find the right one for you. Balboa is a great school for the right type of kid… San Jose is also a great school for the right type of kid, etc etc.

    So to answer your question — call the San Jose Office and ask for a list of parents who have volunteered to talk to prospective families. They can give you contact info.

    As to graduation on to Portola — I was told that of last year’s graduating class of 15 fifth graders at San Jose Magnet, all but two enrolled at Portola and the other two went to Walter Reed IHP. So yes, the majority go on to Portola.

    Hope that helps! Good luck in finding the right fit for your family.


  25. Thank you Angel and Rebekka. My wife actually did a tour at San Jose. But you could imagine this kind of short visit in the HG classes doesn’t produce much detailed information.

    The two parents I mentioned earlier, one of them complained about the problem of frequent bullying at school(not inside the HG classes), another one about the imbalanced boy to girl ratio. I also read some comments at this site:

    It’s a hard decision to make. As smart as they are, in terms of academics, all these kids should perform excellently. Yet, does the school really meet the individualized special needs for these highly gifted children? That’s our main concern and needed an assurance for.

  26. I wish I could answer that for you, Steve, but I can’t. First off, NO LAUSD school is going to provide truly individualized attention to your child. They have 20-30 kids in a classroom and do the best they can. Special programs like ours have enriched curriculum, etc. and teachers provide extra classwork for individual students. If you are seeking a school that will accelerate as fast as your child can go, I have yet to see such a program in LAUSD.

    Again, each child/family is different so you have to figure out what is most important to you and your child. Yes, our kids will do well anywhere academically — and we can enrich what LAUSD provides to pay outside for whatever else they need academically. But at schools previously, our child suffered greatly from the lack of peers who “get” her. Now she is so happy because the kids “speak the same language” as her and she can relax and be herself and actually enjoy her education and not worry about sticking out in the crowd… and being bullied for it.

    Is there minor bullying at San Jose? Sure. Same at our last school. And every school. Mean kids are everywhere. Our job as parents is to train our kids how to handle it.

    Think about your priorities, gather your data and opinions, and then go with your gut and pick the school that you like best. That’s all you can do! I applaud you for exploring your options. Good luck.

  27. P.S. As for the boy/girl ratio… agree it is an issue. But that really speaks to the problems of gifted testing more than anything — girls don’t get picked for early testing and fly under the radar because they tend to be more quiet, etc. As to whether the ratio is a “problem” at school, again, so much depends on your child’s temperament… it hasn’t been a problem for my tomboy but I can see that it might for other temperaments.

  28. Just found this thread by google. My daughter wasn’t identified as highly gifted, but her IQ result met the criteria to enroll at this HG school. Should we apply? Will she be guranteed later for Portola despite her status not actually marked as ‘highly gifted’? Or she will have lower priority? Any input would be appreciated.

  29. Hi Chun!

    First off — is your daughter happy? Are you happy with her education where she is? If so, then don’t move just to move! There are a lot of HG (99.9%+) and HG Applicable (99.5%+) kids in non-HG schools all over the LAUSD. Go where the fit is right for your family! If, however, you are unhappy and looking to move, then sure, check out everything you can apply to. Why not? The more options you explore, the better chance of finding the right fit.

    As to Portola, there is no guarantee for anyone, HG or HG Applicable. It is an LAUSD magnet program so you apply and hope! But in answer to your question, the CHOICES brochure states for all Highly Gifted magnets that: “Priority will be given to highly gifted students (scoring 99.9%); however, students scoring at 99.5% and above on an LAUSD intellectual assessment may be accepted based on seat availability.” So yes, HG kids would get priority.

    I just attended the tour at Portola and the Magnet Coordinator there confirmed this, stating that, because the magnet was established for HG kids, yes, they take everyone who is HG first and open up any remaining slots (if any) to HG Applicable.

    Hope that helps! Good luck!

  30. I pulled my hg daughter out of the San Jose hg program two years ago. The boy-girl ratio, the teacher’s refusal to differentiate the curriculum (which she told the children) for the two 2nd-graders that were in the 2-3 combo class at the time, the safety (she and my husband were nearly run down on the sidewalk right outside of the school by some guy on a pocket bike, and then another incident where our car almost got crashed into outside of the campus), and the financial hit of a $350/kid donation request to the booster club to pay for my daughter’s “free” education were all instrumental in pulling her out. Before we enrolled, the principal at the time told me that “all children who end up here thrive”, but two days before classes started I learned that a 4th-grader in the hg program from the prior school year was not promoted to the 5th grade (with the blessing of the parents). (When I spoke to the new coordinator last fall about my younger son, also hg, she told me that the new plan for the few 2nd-graders in the program is to send them to RESIDENT SCHOOL classrooms for language arts and math! What kind of nonsense is that!) Since we left San Jose, my dd has been in one of the few SAS programs in the District (Dearborn) that still has a large % of its teachers involved in the Dr. Sandra Kaplan Javits grant work. Those lessons more so than anything else I have seen my dd experience at school are where she is really shining. She is learning to really think outside of the box, which as far as I’m concerned, is far more imporant than being one year ahead in math. As for middle school next year, we’re not doing a gifted or highly gifted magnet OR an SAS program. Right now it’s about making sure she’s in a program where she can pursue her passions (humanities), and will stay engaged and excited about being a learner, not just about that pesky moniker, wrought with all of its sometimes not-so-socially-tolerated emotional baggage: “highly gifted”.

  31. Hi Nichole,

    You’ve learned the hard way that there’s not a one-size fit all approach to education in LAUSD. My son got accepted into a highly-regarded elementary school through open enrollment, and it was an awful fit for him. It took us three schools, and in second grade he was at Balboa and for him it was a good school (not perfect).

    Fast forward eleven years, and my daughter was in a very nice elementary school for kindergarten when she was accepted to Balboa. We very quickly decided to turn them down. Where she is, how happy she is, and the school’s ability to differentiate for her are all keys to us keeping her where she’s thriving rather than where she’s eligible to go.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve found somewhere for your child to thrive as well.

    In regard to traffic safety at school, hardly a week goes by that I’m not almost run over in the crosswalk, and, I’m not aware of (m)any schools that don’t ask for yearly donations (my daughter’s school started this year with the annual fund drive). From my experience, these are common complaints at most schools, so I’d hardly hold that against a single school.

    We said it last night at the Magnets & Martinis and we’ll be saying it for years to come, you need to be the best advocate for your child(ren) and find the school that best meets the needs of your kid(s). It’s not easy, and that’s why the Yentas are here. We’re offering some advice, but it’s free, so take it with a grain of salt.

    Happy holidays!

  32. Nichole:

    I’m becoming a total broken record here — NO SCHOOL FITS EVERYONE. NO SCHOOL IS PERFECT. I’m sorry San Jose didn’t work for your family. It is no panacea and nobody has said it is (I won’t!). I point it out above simply as another OPTION for people to know about, because the vast majority of people don’t even know the school exists (I still get blank stares when I mention the name). It worked for us but it WILL NOT work for everyone. We are all big people and everybody has to be responsible to evaluate each school for their own family’s philosophies, child’s needs, child’s temperament, etc. Weigh the info, look at the place, and make a decision to enroll or not. If a school doesn’t work for your child, move them. I have. You have. As good moms, we did what was best for our children and life goes on.

    The good news is that we even HAVE options in this megalopolis. The point of this blog is to explore them and try to help people identify options to examine. At least we have choices! Where I grew up (in the boonies) there was one school (public) and you went there. End of story. Unless you wanted to drive an hour to a private school in the neighboring community, that was it. So we all need to be thankful we have so many options to explore and access here.

    Some of my closest, dearest friends and I have VASTLY different approaches to education. That’s okay. Different strokes for different folks. Schools also change greatly in just a few years. I posted about San Jose above just to let people know it exists. My child is leaving there this year so I have no horse in the race (other than trying to ensure a highly gifted track continues to exist at LAUSD), I don’t get paid for people going to San Jose and don’t care if you choose public school, home school, private school, charter school, or aboriginal mouth sounds school –DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR CHILD. End of story.

  33. Steve,

    I hope you found it helpful to hear about my experience at San Jose — your request to hear from other parents was the reason why I shared my story. I think you are smart enough to decide for yourself not only what type of academic program, but also what type of school culture (which includes the “VASTLY different” personality types of the booster club parents) is the best fit for your child and family. Keep doing your homework — as you have already discovered, is a great place to hear the things the booster club parents, principals, and magnet coordinators won’t dare tell you on the tours.

  34. Hi – was wondering if anyone could weigh in on whether or not it is worth the time/cash to attend the CA Assoc for Gifted conference this Saturday in Pasadena (Jan 10, 2009). I’m a parent of two elementary school age HG kids, neither of whom I have enrolled in HG programs, as we’ve had our fair share of bad testing experiences/bad magnet coordinator advice/etc. At this stage of the game, we’ve settled at a wonderful neighborhood LAUSD school, but the middle school question looms. Any thoughts?

  35. Hi Suzi,

    I can’t tell you whether it’s worth going to it or not. It sounds like you’re at least happy where you’re at.

    I know some of the LAUSD gifted seminars charged, and in the 13 years my son was a student, I never went. My daughter has another 10 years, and I’m not planning on going.

    I suppose if it were free, and it wasn’t going to be over a weekend, I’d want to know more and I might consider it. But probably not.

  36. I just received word that my 2nd grader was not accepted into her school’s GATE program. I was confused after speaking with our Magnet coordinator, as she informed me that RAVEN test results were the largest factor in my child’s non-acceptance, but also said that other factors went into the decision making process as well. Overall, her answers were vague and somewhat evasive. How do I go about getting the most complete picture of what criterion was—and was not—met by my child regarding admission into this program? Do we have any options regarding re-testing and/or re-consideration, or do we have to wait another year or two?

  37. Hi Mike. Unfortunately, clarity of information — especially about gifted testing — isn’t an LAUSD strongpoint. As far as I know (and I am open to hear from others here with more info), the only criterion for GATE entry if your child was formally tested (as yours was) is test score. S/he either makes the cutoff score or not.

    I am surprised to hear your magnet coordinator suggest that other factors went into the decision; perhaps in true “borderline” cases under advisement with the teacher they will go ahead and identify anyway? I haven’t heard that but wouldn’t be surprised if that were the reality. At the very least, don’t be shy. I’d suggest you call up the magnet coordinator and ask again, “Sorry, I’m confused, on what criteria do you base your decision?” You are entitled to ask again and be told so that you get a clear answer.

    Did your child’s teacher request the testing or did you directly? If the teacher requested, I would talk to her/him about it. If you both agree that the test results seem off-base (heck, everybody has a bad day!) then you should request retesting in writing at the school office. Read my warnings on that above in this forum and recognize it can take a long while to occur… and isn’t always a given. The school has the right to deny retesting. In these tight budget times, I would guess it would get harder but it depends on the school.

    And… fear not, testing isn’t your only hope. Children can also be identified into GATE by either being high achieving (test scores + grades) and/or auditioning with specific talents in visual or performing arts. So if perhaps testing doesn’t work out, there are other avenues to take on your journey.

    Good luck!

  38. Perhaps the additional factors are the other ways to identify “gifted/high ability” that include scaled test scores from standardized testing in the spring. Since she hasn’t had those yet, she can’t be considered for the program yet. And there are the four criteria that a teacher can say she meets to be identified as “high ability” and get into the program.

    My first suggestion is to ask for a sit down with the Magnet Coordinator AND her teacher and ask for clarification. And read the LAUSD gifted site until it starts to make some sense (I’m still figuring it out):

    Good luck!

  39. Hi, me again!

    I talked to a veteran mom (thanks SoCalGal!) who offered the following:

    Here’s how he can get this info: under FERPA, he can request access to all of his daughter’s records – including the actual Raven test protocols and everything else that was used to make the decision. And they have to make this available to him within 5 business days. They won’t be used to a magnet parent using FERPA in this manner but it is both state and federal law – the school has no choice. Every single item, including electronic records that can be identified with his child is considered an educational record and he has the right to see it.

  40. Hi,

    You’ve mentioned that “three-track” schools are the overcrowded ones. My daughter’s local elementary school is “four-track.” What does that mean? Is it overcrowded as well?


  41. Hi Rebekah,

    Three track schools have an A, B, and C track. They’re holdovers from a calendar called “Concept 6” and essentially made each day longer to squeeze 180 days into 163 classroom days. They are now considered less desirable. When my son attended one, they went two months on, one month off).

    Four track schools are A, B, C, and D, and contain the full 180 days that the district desires children to attend(four months on, two off, four on, two off).

    While any year-round school is overcrowded in the sense they don’t have enough class space for the students who need to attend that school, by LAUSD magnet standards, only three-track schools get overcrowded points at this point.

  42. Rebekah (nice name!):

    Yes, four-track schools are also overcrowded. “The four-track calendar is aligned with the Board’s desire to provide students with the maximum number of school days as possible given the District’s lack of classroom space;” Also…

    “More than 141 schools use one of two different year-round calendars either three-track or four-track — to accommodate heavy enrollment at those sites. Year-round calendars begin in early July. Students attend have vacation time on staggered tracks throughout the year.” (from LAUSD’s 2007-08 Fingertip Fact Sheet)

    Anything other than a single-track means that the school has more students than can fit into classrooms during a single school year… so they stagger enrollment over time to make more space. I hope that makes sense.

    If you are asking whether your child’s school will get points for overcrowing in the CHOICES application process, then my guess is yes, but I would ask the school directly: “Are you designated as overcrowded by LAUSD?”

    Hope that helps.

  43. Thanks for the clarification! Another question: what is the difference between the magnet themes “gifted & high ability” and “highly gifted?”

  44. I have twins fitting both designations. Highly gifted applies to those that have been tested, scoring 99.9 per cent correct on the Raven’s Matrix test. These kids are usually in the IQ range of 150 or above, and they can still fail miserably if not supported properly. I am not sure of the score required for gifted on Raven’s Matrix as it is not specified, but high ability means just that. The child could be on track for Olympic ice skating, or they could be an opera singer, or they could be an incredible visual artist or storyteller, or they could be completely devoted to chemistry, or they could be performing algebra and trigonometry in 3rd grade. This covers kids who might not score overall gifted, but clearly have skills related to a passionate pursuit.

    Also note that LAUSD will generally rely on the Raven’s Matrix score because it is a language free test, but a more “verbal” test can sometimes be requested. I think it is the WHISKAR??? Anyone know?

  45. My son tested so long ago they used another test that was language based. So I was beyond cheesed to find out they now use the Raven and my daughter did fine on it, but had they used a verbal test (since she is a verbal creature), she would have blown it out of the water. We’re not looking at Portola or North Hollywood in our future, so it wasn’t exactly a blow, but it’s good to know we can ask for another test. However given the budget, there’s no way I’m going to ask her to be retested when there are kids on the list still waiting to be designated.

    Regarding “high ability,” it is specifically school-work ability related when used by LAUSD. High Ability kids miss the designation for “gifted” but they actually do “hang” with the gifted kids testwise. So they miss by a few points, but they get the benefits of the educational process and they definitely are an asset to any class.

  46. My 2nd grader took the Raven test this year and did not get into her school’s GATE program which begins in 3rd grade. I got the test results back this week, and found that she missed getting into the program by just 3 percentage points. I am going to ask the district for a re-test but I’ve been told by her school’s GATE coordinator that retests are virutally impossible to get. Is this true? Is there any particular reasoning to give that can help (or hurt) the cause? Also, I know she’d do better with a verbal test, how does one go about reqeusting it instead of written one?

  47. Mike – You have to get someone on your side, usually the Gate coordinator at your site, or the school psychologist, and/or your child’s teacher. The teacher can make the case to the GATE coordinator or psychologist that backs up your instincts for a verbal test. I have also been told that if the child scores high on the California Standards test 2 or 3 years in a row, this can also help you get the “orange folder.” So if she has high verbal test scores, this may eventually apply. Don’t have any experience, though, with this later hearsay.

  48. Mike,

    Definitely talk to the coordinator at the school about the standardized test option. Schools are very reluctant to re-test. First simply the cost of testing, and re-testing keeps another child from being tested in the first place. Plenty of kids get identified through the standardized test route.

    Here’s more about the ways they identify:

  49. Peggy,

    In belated answer to your question above, LAUSD Psych Services can choose from a variety of IQ tests to use for each individual child. The two most commonly used are the Raven (usually for the younger children) as you’ve mentioned and the WISC IV (previously WISC III) which stands for “Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children” (version four/IV). Raven is more visual/spatial and WISC more verbal. There are other test options as well but they seem to be less frequently used. From what I’ve heard, those two are the most common. Hope that helps!

  50. My daughter is in 1st grade at her home school. I toured San Jose Magnet last fall, and it was very impressive. My idea was to apply there if my daughter’s 2nd grade standardized test scores meet the criteria for highly gifted. But it just occurred to me that those tests may not be administered to 2nd graders until spring, and magnet applications are due in January. So my options are to request testing early in fall of 2009 (or earlier?) or to wait another year and try to get her in San Jose for 4th grade if she is eligible. Is it unusual for students to start there as late as 4th grade?

  51. Hi Delia! Thanks for posting.

    One thing — standardized test scores don’t count for the highly gifted criteria; only IQ testing performed by the LAUSD Psychological Services Branch (psychologists) does. Just want to make sure we are talking about the right thing! But yes, you need to request earlier rather than later; there is often a long wait (up to six months, I’ve heard a year for some, others in a few weeks) so plan ahead just in case. I would ask now. Submit a request in writing to your school that you want your child IQ tested. You can tell them you want her tested this year or fall semester of next and at least get the ball rolling. That way you’ll have results back in time for the early January CHOICES application deadline.

    As for entering in fourth grade at San Jose, it is not unusual at all. Fewer kids enter in fourth than in third, but it happens all the time. My own daughter started in fourth. Several new children started this year. We had several start in fifth this year.

    Please see my note below on San Jose, FYI…

    Good luck!

  52. FYI to those interested in San Jose HG Magnet:

    The District informed the principal yesterday that, due to the budget crisis, the “plan” right now for next year is to cut one of the three HG Magnet classes which would leave two classrooms: a 3/4 grade split and a 5th grade (currently there are three rooms, 2/3 split, 4th and 5th). This means there would be no second grade at all anymore at the magnet and LAUSD would offer very few (if any) options to highly gifted children before third grade. I am sure other magnets will also be impacted (if you know of some, please share here).

    Parents who are concerned should write to Student Integration Services at LAUSD. Please feel free to contact me at the email above for more information. Nothing is finalized but that’s the latest on the grapevine…


  53. This is a great discussion and vey helpful. We have an HG+ son that attends Mirman, unforunatly thier is nothing in our arae public or private. We live about 1 hour drive south. So we now drive. It is unfortunate that smaller disricts with 20K to 40k students have nothing for the HG children. I only wish that a local district could come up with an in school magnet that was open to multipul districts to help fill the gap.

  54. Good news! We received word today (5/7) that the cuts to San Jose will NOT happen and we will retain our three classrooms and second grade spots. We are hopeful that this will “stick” but with things changing daily, who knows?

  55. Any one have experience at the high school level at SOCES for a highly gifted kid? My son would have to leave a good middle school program and the only reason to do so would be to secure high school. Unfortunately, school is not in session now, so we are unable to tour the high school.

    • No specific experience at SOCES, but based on what I know about that program and the comparable program at LACES, you need to understand that they are not specifically designed for highly gifted. They have a good reputation because of the overall quality and success of their student bodies (in large part due to raised expectations), but that doesn’t automatically translate to challenging students at the top. If you have access to North Hollywood’s highly gifted program for high school because of your son’s classification (or to even a very good SAS program), he may be happier there. Plus, the knock against SOCES and LACES is that they pay a bit less attention to the middle school-age kids because their focus is on the high school in the 6-12 setting.

    • I know this message is a year old, but on the off chance that someone else might benefit from an answer…my HG son started at SOCES in 4th grade. One attraction was the possibility of accelerating him in math. He started algebra in 7th grade, and seemed to be doing well (meaning learning something, not being challenged) in his other classes.

      Then came 8th grade, and things went downhill. His honors english class was working well below his level. Working with the teacher, we swapped in different books and a CTY writing course, which helped somewhat. The geometry teacher was truly horrible, and unfortunately made a big deal about my son being very good in math–in a class mainly made up of 10th graders, two years older than him. A bigger problem was that he acquired a reputation with the other 8th grade students of being the brainy one. He just wasn’t with his “tribe”, and that started to wear on him socially. We toured the HGM, and found that he really resonated with the students there. I went through the pros and cons of each school with him. He chose the HGM. Years later, he says it was absolutely the right decision for him to make.

      This is very much an individual issue. Your child might prefer a SOCES-type environment. NoHo is definitely a rougher environment. It’s a much heavier workload. Kids who would be academic superstars at SOCES may be middle of the pack at the HGM. This can affect college admissions. Private colleges often know what the HGM program is like, but University of California only cares about the numbers. My son’s GPA at the HGM is significantly lower than it would have been if he’d stayed at SOCES, but he’s learned far more and is far better prepared for college. Most importantly, he’s been with his tribe. That works for some HG students, but not all.

  56. My daughter is in 8th grade. She tested for hg with the WISC testing in 7th grade and did not score as hg. I am a little disappointed because she was identified as hg in 1st grade with the standford benet test. Is one test more accurate than the other? Are there any other tests that is acceptable for the hg program? Currently she is attending a private school and is planning to transfer to public school. We were considering North Hollywood hg but now that is out of the picture. We live in Reseda and is now cosidering to move to El Camino High School district. Do you have any suggestions?


    • Yun:

      There are endless arguments about which test is more accurate and no real answer.

      My question is, has your DD been tested by LAUSD? If not, you should request testing through the local school as they don’t usually accept outside test results.

      To be eligible for an HG magnet a child must score 99.5% or above.

      I would suggest you apply for a good magnet based upon her scores and then also to any and all open enrollment and SAS programs in “good” high schools that you like the spring before enrollment.

      Good luck!

  57. How does one know if they are eligible for a highly gifted magnet? I do not see any percentile score on paperwork that was sent home.
    Thanks for all your answers.

    • Just as an additional note — a year ago they allowed children with a score of 99.5% and above (“HG applicable students”) to apply to HG magnet as well as HG students (99.9% and above).

      So to be eligible for an HG magnet, your child needs to score 99.5% or above on an LAUSD IQ test. However, HG kids (99.9% and above) get first priority for seats.

      Hope that helps.

      • Judy:
        Your child was tested by Psych Services branch of LAUSD? It should be there but if not, call your local LAUSD District office (District 1, 2, 3, etc.) and talk to their psychologist people. They can help you find out.

  58. Other than North Hollywood High, any suggestions for gifted high school programs or good SAS programs at the high school level in LAUSD – thank you.

  59. When the LAUSD psychologist tests the child identified as gifted, where does the testing take place, the school? How long does it generally take?


    • It’s done in the school, and it wasn’t that long, maybe an hour or so? My daughter had it done at the end of first grade, so it’s not the most reliable response, but you can ask at the school.

    • Do you have any information about their reputation on Walter Reed IHP program? Their web site doesn’t give much information.

      I wish I could get any information about Walter Reed IHP program from any parents.


  60. First time poster anywhere. Does anyone have a recent experience with Lawrence Gifted Magnet? My daughter has applied there. Her home school is Woodland Hills Academy. Any opinions or advice?

    • DJeanne:

      We toured Lawrence last year. It has a reputation for being a very strong gifted program, if with a lot of homework. It is for serious students who are ready to put their nose to the grindstone.

      Angel on this board had a son who attended there a few years ago. Angel?

  61. Hi Rebekka and DJeanne,

    My son did attend several years ago. The thing that makes it relevant is that he continues to return and his teachers (all but two I think) are all still there. He loved it. Amgen award winners and other phenomenal educators were his teachers–to the point that he felt he was repeating some work in high school that had been better covered in his science at Lawrence.

    Like virtually all gifted magnets you’ll hear about have copious amounts of homework. My son had more group projects than I care to remember and the bigger issue was the distance to his groupmates homes since we live in one corner of the Valley and he was always paired with kids from the exact opposite corner.

    If you haven’t toured, make it a point to visit during their open house which is likely in April or May.

    Good luck!

  62. Thank you Angel for your previous response to my comment.

    Another question I now have. My child’s tests results just came in and he was accepted into the gifted program. He’s in the 2nd grade. I never did a CHOICES appl. for him as I didn’t know he was gifted. He’s received the “orange notebook” but do I still need to do a CHOICES appl. for him to move him onto a new school? The school is closed now for spring break for me to ask them.

    • Leslie:

      First off, have a good conversation with your current school and ask what they can do. Sometimes your child’s needs can be addressed right there. Rule that out first.

      If not, and you wanted to move to a gifted MAGNET school, then yes, you would need to apply thru the CHOICES brochure. Unfortunately the deadline was in December for next school year, so you have missed it. Plus, the magnet system works on a “points” system (read more above). So you can look into that and plan for the future if a gifted magnet interests you.

      If you want to move earlier look at SAS programs — Schools for Advanced Studies. Some elementaries have these (search for GATE on the LAUSD website and then look at “Options” for a list). Basically in SAS gifted children are clustered together in classrooms in regular schools with teachers who have additional training in giftedness. Because your child has the orange folder, you can apply to any SAS school — talk to their office NOW about how and when to do it as the timing is usually May for applications. It is a lottery system — they pick from applicants until available spots are filled, then begin a waitlist. The good thing is that you can apply for more than one SAS school at any time!

      Hope that helps. Good luck!

      • Rebekka I really appreciate your response and it made perfect sense. I’m bummed but will talk to the school. Thank you.

    • Leslie,
      I LOVE that this site exists and am sorry that I haven’t contributed earlier. I am the magnet coordinator at Vena Gifted/High Ability magnet (and a parent on the wait list for a magnet school as well). So, I am very empathetic to everyone here.
      Another option for you is to call around for gifted magnet school’s like ours that MAY have opening. We can accept students who qualify for a gifted magnet on a WALK-IN basis after our school can verify eligibility and given there is space at that particular grade. Find out about schools that you may be interested, but you may need to act soon, because the spots fill up as applications come in.
      If it looks like a good fit, please do not hesitate to call the me at (818)896-9551 (Peggy Lew). As Rebekka stated, it’s a crying shame that more parents don’t know about the magnet schools. We offer an outstanding program, but we are in a working-class neighborhood. The families that do attend our school are extremely satisfied. We offer a multitude of enrichment activities.
      So for parents that missed the application due date, there may be some hope if magnet schools are accepting walk-ins.

      • Hi Peggy!

        Is Vena still the “teaching” school where many teachers learn how to teach gifted students? It’s been eons since I’d heard that (my son is now in college), and it was what was told to us back in the day.

      • Peggy, I am very thankful for this site. It’s been invaluable. I started out knowing nothing about magnets, points, gifted, etc. I’ve received so much information just from this site alone as I’ve read through each post, which has taken a while 🙂

        Let me ask you about the walk-in magnet schools you mentioned. If there is available seating and no waiting list, is it possible my son could get in if he doesn’t have the points? He does have his orange notebook, but no points. I guess my question is if that particular school does not have a waiting list can they still exclude my son since I didn’t go through the E Choices?

      • Hi, Magnetangel!
        Our school does not train other teachers specifically on teaching the gifted. We do have “master” teachers who train students from CSUN. One of our teachers has a masters in teaching gifted. One of our teachers is Nationally Board Certified. Many experienced and warm teachers on our staff. We are too much a secret and we need more parents to know about our school!

    • You can fill out a blank Choices application if you missed the deadline and turn it into a magnet school that has openings. The school would keep that application on file until for the next few weeks until the district tells them that it’s okay to take “walk-in” applications. If it is a gifted/high ability magnet, the coordinator would have to verify eligibility (look at test scores, gifted identification, report cards, teacher recommendations, etc.). The paperwork would be submitted and we would wait for approval.

      So yes, there is still time if you do some calling. Your points would not be an issue at that point. It really depends on the situation at specific schools, so it behooves you to do your homework now and not wait, as slots get filled.

      For example, our school has openings, especially in third and fourth grade. We’re already getting calls from interested families.

  63. My son in K was just tested (privately) because we were confused by his performance in school. His IQ test results revealed he has some sort of audio processing issue—a learning disability. He scores extremely high on the visual/spatial and reasoning part of the test, but lower (albeit still above average) on the verbal part. His overall iq score puts him outside the highly gifted range.

    His current school program, although I am a big fan, is counter-productive given his disability. Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts seems like it would be the perfect fit, but we are way down on the wait list. What options do we have for first grade for an E2 child in 90065?

    • Hi Andrew,

      I’m sorry someone hasn’t responded sooner. If you have concerns with 2e (twice exceptional, for those just reading that name for the first time, it means being both gifted and having learning difficulties), I’d talk to someone at Los Feliz Charter and discuss your concerns. Also if you feel comfortable talking to someone at your son’s school now, definitely ask them what they’d suggest.

      GreatSchools has a Learning Difficulties message board with several 2e parents, but they’re nationwide, and I’m not familiar with anyone posting there that’s in L.A.

      Good luck

  64. Hi there. Question: does my child need to be enrolled in an LAUSD school to be tested? What if he is enrolled in a private school, how do I get him tested? Thank you.

    • Cecille:

      Funny you ask (are you psychic?). In the PAST the LAUSD would allow anyone to request testing from their local school. So even your private schooler could get tested through your “home” LAUSD school upon request.

      HOWEVER… just this past week I heard through the grapevine — yet to be verified! — that LAUSD was in the process of changing this policy and requiring students to have attended an LAUSD school for at least six months before they would agree to do testing.

      I will try to find out more and get back. It is a horrible policy as many private Kinder/First kids enroll later in the magnets, bringing both State and Gifted money into the district (“twofer”) and this change would exclude those private school entrants into the system. LAUSD is cutting psychologists and, thus, rationing testing due to the budget crisis. It is a real shame for the gifted programs but it seems they are attempting to move more toward use of standardized tests and grades (e.g. “high achievement”) to identify kids, though that doesn’t happen until later in elementary school. But that is free to LAUSD!

      The short story — ask your local school about getting your child testing RIGHT NOW to see if you can beat any new policy change excluding private schoolers. Good luck and let us know what happens!

      • Thanks, Rebekka. That’s a bummer if that new policy pushes through. Actually, my son is in preschool right now, I was just thinking ahead, just in case. Another question, ‘attended a LAUSD school’ — does this include charter schools?

      • I can’t verify but I do not believe LAUSD will provide testing if your child is in a charter school. I believe this is the case because on this page
        it notes how to be designated as “gifted” for the magnet process and testing isn’t an option for charter students (only teacher recommendation/verification).

        If you think that LAUSD loses state money to charter schools for each student, it makes some sense (from their perspective…which is the bottom line) that they won’t pay to test charter students, only children in “regular” LAUSD schools for which they get funding.

        Again, I am guessing here… I would ask your charter school directly about gifted testing. Sorry I can’t be more definitive.

  65. We got into a magnet for middle school. If we do not take it, we lose all points. How do we start accumulating points if we decide to put him later back in the same or for magnet school at high school?

    Also do you just lose wait list points or the points due to neighborhood, overcrowded etc. as well? How does this all work if you do not accept the offer or drop out after few months. It is too far, that is why we think we may not go there, likley.

    • Hi Lauren.

      If you don’t take the magnet slot, you will lose the wait list points you’ve accumulated. Anything like PHBAO or overcrowded or sibling you would be eligible for next year again.

      If you apply again next year, you’d be eligible for up to 11 points–4 PHBAO, 4 overcrowded, and 3 sibling.

      Good luck!

  66. I see these both schools discuseed above, one private, other public. Which school is better: lawrence HG vs Mirman? pros and cons?

  67. Walter Reed IHP had 3000 applicants this year for the 60 spots. One success story believes they gained a spot because child had perfect scores on California State standardized tests. So even if you have a highly gifted designation, you also need 600’s on those state tests or it doesn’t look good…

    • I would check these figures. Last year Reed had approximately 500 applications for ALL of their small learning communities, including the IHP. Last years 6th grade class had 74 spots and everyone on the IHP waiting list got in. You do not need to be designated highly gifted, nor do you need perfect scores. The only true highly gifted magnet middle school in lausd is at Portola.

  68. Numbers were given to me by a parent who had 2 children in the Walter Reed applicant pool. One got in, one didn’t. That’s what she was told…

      • Anon,

        what’s the distance in real-time driving minutes? Reed would be a haul for us, but even with no traffic, I’m not sure how far the Westside is from the Valley, realistically.

        I know that was a serious deterrent to Hamilton for parents from my son’s middle school.

  69. “magnetangel
    April 28, 2010 at 7:11 am


    what’s the distance in real-time driving minutes? Reed would be a haul for us, but even with no traffic, I’m not sure how far the Westside is from the Valley, realistically.

    I know that was a serious deterrent to Hamilton for parents from my son’s middle school.”

    Well, that obviously depends upon where you are coming from in the Valley. You can easily take the 405 or Beverly Glen and then turn on Santa Monica Blvd. It’s just west of Overland, behind the large Mormon Church. It’s not far from Century City Mall if that is a point of reference. My experience has been that the 405 doesn’t back up too much until just south of Santa Monica Blvd, but you could also get off at Sunset and go east, take Veteran south, and avoid the 405 the rest of the way if Wilshire is backing things up. It’s literally just south of UCLA campus.

    In fact, the proximity to UCLA is a selling point for Emerson’s IHP program. They now have a formal “tie-in” program with UCLA, but even without that my son has gone on walking field trips to do science experiments in UCLA lab facilities and UCLA professors and grad students attend his science class weekly and assisted with science fair project selection/advising and judging.

  70. Our child just scored a 99.9% on the LAUSD IQ test. We are now considering San Jose HGM. I am not thrilled however with the extremely low API score of 801. If the HGM score of 1000 was taken out of the mix, I wonder what the home school score would be. What are your thoughts on this?

    I am also concerned about reports about the lack of discipline at the school. Are the 3 HGM classes isolated from the home school? Does everyone mix at recess? I do not want my child coming home with a bloody nose.

    • Hi James. I know you’re sincere in your question, but keep in mind that some of us live on the East side of the Valley by choice and think it’s a wonderful place.

      First off, the 801 isn’t exactly extremely low, since it’s what the state aims for. Given that there are 650+ kids in the entire school, the 70 or so in the magnet really don’t make that much of a dent in their scores. Yes they bring the scores up, but taking them out of the mix won’t drop it as much as you’re assuming.

      The HGM are in bungalows, so they’re isolated. I’ve never seen kids come home with a bloody nose–at any school simply by “mixing.” In fact, my son (a Balboa/Lawrence graduate) received stitches in the back of his head in 8th grade when a *magnet* student at Lawrence surprise-tackled him knocking him clean out of his shoes.

      Perhaps you’ll get a response from a San Jose parent or alum, but there is life on this side of the 405. Truly.

    • James:

      As noted above, our DD went to San Jose for two years (4th-5th grade). MagnetAngel really answered the questions pretty much the way I will. The homeschool would have lower scores without the magnet but that is the case with most magnet CENTERS (vs. Magnet Schools)… AH, there is the rub! Whole-school magnets (like Balboa) are ALL magnet and virtually all gifted, so naturally their scores are higher overall. Only when you isolate the magnet portion only — Balboa has a 990 or whatever and San Jose Magnet Center had a 1000 a few years ago, don’t know latest offhand — do you get a better comparison.

      Yes, the kids in the San Jose homeschool are neighborhood kids and not all magnet kids. Frankly the Magnet is quite isolated. I didn’t meet any parents from the homeschool while we were there but I didn’t attend PTA meetings or such either, though I could have. Magnet kids are in separate bungalows. They do have PE with homeschool kids once a week and I know some teasing/bullying occurred then. My DD was also teased/bullied at a VERY popular gifted magnet before San Jose. I don’t think the administration handles it as strongly as they should at San Jose but I also don’t know many parents of HG kids who would send them every day to an unsafe place (we wouldn’t). People come from far away (Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Porter Ranch) to attend San Jose as well. And I think we hear about the problem instances there more simply because the Magnet is so small. I bet on a per capita basis, the bullying there is no more than at any other magnet. With that said, if your kid is “the one” being bullied, obviously life is miserable. 😦

      San Jose doesn’t have a pretty campus or tons of extras like field trips and “sexy” stuff like that (that mean more to parents than the kids, frankly). For our family the teachers knowing how to deal with HG kids made up for it. And DD having true peers who “got her.”

      I would just advise you to talk to your child. If s/he is happy where they are and the school is accommodating to meet his/her needs, then stay! Don’t move just to get in an “HG School.” Many HG kids go to “regular” schools throughout LAUSD. You can always try HG middle or high school later. If, however, your child needs more challenge, more peers that are like them, etc. you should consider it.

      Final note: if the school s/he’s in now is your neighborhood school, you can “try” San Jose or another magnet. If you don’t like it, your home school has to take you back so the risk would be minimized. Just a thought.

      Good luck. These decisions are always SO hard…

  71. My son took the “gifted test” and I was told he didn’t pass the test. The paper I was subsequently given has the “High Achievement Ability” box checked (not the “Intellectual Ability” box). The Magnet Coordinator could not tell me what his score was. She did say that his past two year test scores were high enough that she’ll submit the scores and he’ll still obtain the “orange folder”.

    Since he’ll have the “orange folder”, but didn’t pass the test, does that mean he’s not gifted? Not highly gifted? I need help understanding the differentiation.

    How/where can I find out his score — because I’m reading on this site that there are the 99% category kids and the 95% category kids.

    Each of his teachers have been “stunned”, “shocked” (their words) upon finding out that he didn’t pass the test. Can he take the test again? Who pays for it? How can I make that happen? Is there any stigma to taking it again? (Is it like the bar exam and you get 3 chances to pass it?)

    Also, what doors/opportunities/schools will not be available to him as a result of not having “passed the test” (but he still has the orange folder…)???

    Any concrete answers are greatly appreciated. I’m not getting them from my son’s school. Thanks.

    • Hi Pj,

      I’ll admit it can be very frustrating dealing with labels and cutoffs. First off, your son is still bright. He missed the label by “this much.” And magnets that are labeled Gifted/High Ability acknowledge that kids who are gifted have the label, but there are also the kids who can “hang” with the gifted kids and make excellent classmates, even though they might not have the label. So the district allows them to join the gifted kids in their programming.

      LAUSD is not currently retesting due to the budget. Don’t worry. He has his folder, and he’s eligible for any “regular” gifted/high ability magnet and SAS. There are literally NO opportunities that he’d miss that I’m aware of. Go back and look at the CHOICES brochure, and you’ll see the schools are listed as Gifted/High Ability. Seriously. 🙂

    • PJ, I’m not the expert in this at all and have had to do my homework quick but you can send a written request to the District Gifted Program asking them to send back the percentile of the test. Here’s there address. I faxed my request and received a response in about a 1 1/2 weeks.

      Central Administrative Offices
      333 S. Beaudry Ave., 25th Floor
      Los Angeles, CA 90017
      Phone (213) 241-6500
      FAX (213) 241-8975

      I’m assuming though your child didn’t pass that they would still give you his percentile. That is all they give you though. They won’t give the questions missed or an IQ score. I was asked to put on the letter for the results, my name, son’s name, school name, approximate date the test was given and child’s DOB. And again I’m learning also but I was told from our school’s gifted coordinator that the testing was ‘compromised’ and that many gifted kids don’t pass the test. My son scored very high but he said the end was miserable in that all the kids were finishing up first and were then allowed to play outside. He was embarrassed he was still there and just wanted to play also. I would assume he wouldn’t be the only one.

      Oh and I didn’t get any answers from my son’s school either. I know they’re burdened but to not get any calls back is not good either. I called the District instead and they were always very, very helpful. Maybe try that.

    • Oh sorry one more thing. Something else I’ve learned is that a college or schools won’t look at a gifted kid and say great you’re in. It’s better to have your child in advanced classes/honors and get those high grades than a gifted child who is getting mediocre grades. My daughter goes to Millikan and to get into those “prestigious” academy classes just being ‘gifted’ doesn’t get you in. They look at the STAR scores, report cards, and that the child has been designated at least advanced among other things.

  72. Magnet Angel & Leslie — Thanks for your replies. I too contacted the LAUSD Magnet office & was given the same info about requesting his scores. They said they’ll also let us know which test he took — apparently, there are different kinds. I’m told that, in advance of taking the test, a parent can request/specify a certain type of test… I’m assuming that means one geared toward your child’s strengths. Wish I’d known that before, but that’s water under the bridge. Perhaps it’ll be helpful for a parent whose child has not yet tested.

    In addition, the Magnet office did say that re-testing occurs, though it is rare and a very strong case needs to be made from the child’s school.

    Magnet Angel, I think not having the HG status will preclude my son from Portola MS and N. Hollywood HS, right? They only take HG and consider HG Applicable?

    As far as the “bigger picture”, the info about better grades and the type of classes the child takes is GREAT insight. Thank you.

    Anyone else have more info/insights on the LAUSD Intellectual Test?

    • PJ –
      You understand it all correctly. There are several ways in LAUSD to be labeled “gifted” and get the “orange folder”, among them — 1) intellectual ability (IQ test), 2) “high achievement/ability” — test scores and grades, and 3) talented in performing or visual arts — audition and get passed. All of these gets the same orange folder and qualifies your child for all GIFTED programs.

      So as MagnetAngel said, given the teachers’ reactions, your child will no doubt get identified as gifted through “high ability” via grades and test scores, even if not by the IQ test. The downside on this is that it usually doesn’t happen until at least after third grade.

      You are correct that the only thing for which you wouldn’t qualify is the HIGHLY GIFTED category unless you can find your child was IQ tested and got a 99.5% or higher score. If so, he can apply to HG magnets. Only the IQ test method works for the HG magnets.

      As for test types, they do use various ones. The most common now is the RAVEN’s Matrices which is a visual/spatial test. LAUSD likes it as it is supposed to work for all language speakers (isn’t biased towards English) and can be given in groups, meaning it is less costly. An alternative is the WISC IV (Wechsler) which is a more verbal test and given individually. I believe they can use others as well at their discretion but I’ve always been told the psychologist chooses, not the parents. LAUSD definitely likes to handle the testing quietly on their own with minimal parental interference! I do know that several kids I know who we all thought were obviously gifted haven’t passed the Raven’s recently… not sure if that is coincidence or what. 😦

      Get your child’s scores and see where you are. Feel free to email me if you want to chat further. But an orange folder gives you MANY options to choose from. Good luck!

      • Rebekka,
        Thanks for the thorough explanation! I have written to LAUSD to receive my son’s test score & name of test. Doubt I’ll do anything with it, as he will get an orange folder via his CST scores…. but it’s great to be informed.
        Perhaps for my 2nd child, I’ll request the WISC IV test.

  73. I have a job in Santa Monica. We might live in Santa Monica or we could live somewhere else.

    The general perception seems to be that Santa Monica has good public schools. (The test scores are pretty good, but the local perception seems even better than would be justified by the test scores.) However, I’m concerned that the Santa Monica school district does not seem to have any program or allowance for gifted or highly gifted students per se.

    Can anyone speak to the prospects for highly gifted students in the Santa Monica school district, and compare and contrast with the gifted magnets in LAUSD?

    I know I should try to investigate in person, and I will, but I would also be interested in comments from the Internet.

    • Hmmm. Not sure anyone here will be from Santa Monica and able to answer your question, sorry, since this forum is about LAUSD. I would love to hear the answer to your question, too!

      I would suggest reading parent reviews on for SMUSD schools and also post your question in the forums there. Do let us know if you hear anything.

      Any other suggestions fellow yentas?

      Good luck!

  74. Hi Rebekka!
    I know you’re no longer the Booster pres. at San Jose Highly Gifted Magnet Center, but I’m wondering if you might be able to point me in the right direction as I try to get in touch with current/new families attending in the fall of 2010 – perhaps you know who the current booster president is?

    We found out literally the day before school let out in June that my son qualified to apply and spoke to the magnet director who was very encouraging about the likelihood that there will be a spot for him as they’ve been able to take applications year round. That said, we don’t want to take any chances, so we have our application filled out and ready to hand in the first day they’re back in the office!!

    My son would benefit greatly from getting to meet some of the other kids prior to the start of school, particularly considering he’ll be transferring from another LAUSD school (he’ll be starting 2nd grade there, assuming he’s accepted). Any advice for how to get “in the loop” before school starts?

    Thank you!! We’ve gotten so much great information here – we sincerely appreciate your willingness to share what you know!! It’s such a jungle to try and navigate it all!

    • Email me offlist and I will send you the email address of the current president… 🙂

      rhosken “at”

  75. To PJ, (and Leslie and magnetangel)I tried to get the Weschler for my 3rd grader. He’d privately had one in K and scored HG. The Ravens matrice is a subtest and one of his weakest areas as he is verbally HG. I submitted a request to LAUSD for the Weschler and rejected. I was not allowed to say he’d had the Weschler already as they said this will be get me a no response. They said budgets will not allow Weschler as it requires a one on one psych. My son got the ‘gifted’ as a result of me agreeing to the Raven, not an HG.
    I do believe there is a difference in such outcomes. I hear that the HG teachers are trained in the social/emotional aspects. In
    gifted -ems to be absolutely no accomodating of unusual behaviours. Overexcitabilities are just labelled disruptive. Anyone have any thoughts on HG vs. Gifted in this regard?

    • Hey Kiki. Interesting topic!

      To me the overexcitabilities issues is very much child-specific, moreso than HG vs. G specific. My DD goes to an HG Magnet and some kids are “excitable” and others, not at all, much more the self-directed, quiet, get-down-to-business kids. VERY wide spectrum…

      As for teachers… similarly, each to his/her own. Some teachers are very interested in gifted issues and others not and I feel those who are interested learn more overall on their own. I don’t believe there is much training specific to the emotional side of giftedness at all and I would not say that the HG teachers are better necessarily than the Gifted magnet ones… in fact, I’ve had mixed results (we have been at both gifted and HG magnets. At each, some teachers at each great, others not.)

      I would love if some gifted teachers chimed in and let us know about the types of training they’ve had!

      Sorry about the test results. I have similar suspicions. We should push to have LAUSD release the percentage of kids testing HG now with the Raven versus with the Wechsler which they used previously. I bet it has dropped… I know several kids I felt would qualify for at least gifted, if not HG, and didn’t even make gifted under Raven. At least your child made that cut!

      • Rebekka – For the record and for those of us with HG kids, what were the two schools referenced in your post? It is always a question parents have – “Would my HG kid be better off in the HG program?” So please shed more light.

        And for Kiki, I am one of the rare parents who have successfully petitioned for the Wechsler. Our school coordinator said she had NEVER seen LAUSD agree to re-evaluate. I believe the ONLY reason that I was able to do so was because my child had been evaluated for a Speech and Occupational Therapy IEP. There were already pages and pages of paperwork in the LAUSD evaluation process which supported my claim for verbal giftedness. It took the better part of a year to get the IEP done, and the speech therapy has been sporadic at best, but we got the appropriate GATE designation for the child because of it.

      • OK – went back and saw San Jose. But what has your HG child’s experience been since elementary school? Anything you think better or worse for an HG kid on their way to middle school and beyond?

      • Pegpie:

        I don’t like to get into too much detail publicly. If you want to write me privately, I’m at
        rhosken “at”

  76. King Gifited magnet (in Silver Lake) will be having tours for interested parents and students. Call the school (323) 644-6700 for more info. the dates are 10-28, 11-4, 11-18, 12-2 and 12-9.

  77. When is the last date to test for request to get tested for GATE psychological exam? Also, if the kids are tested when in 2nd grade, how are they admitted to San Jose in 2nd without the exam ? Does not make sense.

    • The class at San Jose has often been a 2/3 split because few students are tested earlier. But late in kindergarten you could conceivably request the testing and get it. With the much talked about cuts, fewer and fewer kids get tested before second grade, but there are exceptions, and that’s how they are eligible. Sorry if that was confusing.

      As for “date” I’m not sure there is a specific date. I know there is typically a significant wait, but you should talk to your gifted coordinator to find out how long it’s taking at your school these days.

    • Gina:
      You point out a BIG issue of concern for HG track parents…. the restriction of testing to get kids into the program. We struggle to get kids tested (and early) to keep population up. That’s why a few years ago they added in 99.5% “HG applicable” kids.

      It has become harder and harder for parents to get their child tested by LAUSD psych services and this is the ONLY means of entry to the HG track… and since they won’t accept outside testing, we are in a massive Catch-22. To make it even worse, LAUSD is now using student population size as a metric by which they make cuts… go figure that the HG track, which is AIMED at a very small population to begin with, is now suffering cuts because of “not enough students” and “not a big enough constituency of parents.”

      I am hopeful that we can muster an HG Track parent summit this spring to try to figure out how to make this point to the LAUSD Board and Powers-That-Be before the program is decimated. If you are concerned, too, contact Cortines/Deasy and your School Board members!!!!!!

  78. My 5th grade daughter is GATE identified, currently attends local elem school and is interested in a nearby charter school for middle school. If she gets accepted and attends there for 3 years, does she lose her LAUSD GATE identification for high school? My understanding is that the GATE identification means she can apply to any SAS in LAUSD, which would make a switch now a lot less stressful, but is that right? Thanks in advance!

  79. In spring 2011 LAUSD will begin testing all second graders for giftedness in the High Achievement category using the Otis Lennon School Ability Test, 8th edition (OLSAT 8).

    If students pass with a score of 95%+ will be identified as gifted High Achievement. Those with scores 90-94% AND with qualifying CST test scores will also be identified. If identified, your child can then enroll in LAUSD gifted programs, including gifted magnet schools.

    Please note that the OLSAT does NOT qualify children as Highly Gifted; only an Intellectual test administered by an LAUSD psychologist can qualify your child as HG, allowing them to apply for the HG magnet schools. If your child does well on the OLSAT and you are interested in HG magnets, you should request separate Intellectual testing to qualify.

    More information on the District’s OLSAT testing can be found here:

    • What if anything can you tell me about gifted and HG options for high school? I haven’t pursued the HG designation for my child as the distinction didn’t make any difference in the elementary and middle school options that were of interest at the time, but in looking at the options for high school I wonder if I should find out whether identification as HG would be worthwhile to pursue?

      There seems to be a lack of SAS options at the high school level – at least on the Westside – which means that open enrollment and permits are our only options outside local high school, right?

      • debi, what grade is your child in, and is he/she in public or private school? If your child qualifies and you live in LAUSD territory, having the HG designation opens up the option of the Highly Gifted Magnet at North Hollywood High School.

        The problem may be getting the testing so that your child can be designated as HG. LAUSD’s budget is tight, and what I’ve heard is that it’s become tougher to get the district to agree to test for HG. Private testing can’t be used; I’m not even sure if out-of-district testing is accepted. Maybe others here can tell you if they’ve had any luck recently with asking for HG retesting.

        Good luck!

      • Yes, Liza is correct. The only HG magnet high school option in LAUSD is North Hollywood HG Magnet.

        Others here should please chime in if they are aware of any HG-oriented high school IHP or other non-magnet programs.

        Part of LAUSD’s “doomsday” budget scenario if they don’t get both the State tax extension passed in June AND concessions from unions is to cut all magnet, SAS, small learning community programs. In short — pretty much everything they offer for gifted students. Sigh.

  80. Heads up to 5th grade SAS class parents. Do not assume that your child is officially identified as gifted, or assume that all SAS students have been tested. If the parent or teacher did not requested testing the student may not yet be identified. Many high achieving students are in these SAS classes yet will be denied for SAS middle school applications. I know of several parents at one valley school who have found this out the hard way. Check with your teacher to make sure your child has the “orange” (gifted identified) folder before you apply to gifted magnets, IHP or SAS programs in middle school.

  81. Thank you everyone for providing so much useful info here. We live in Santa Clarita and our son’s teacher recommended Lausd’s magnet program to us. We took our son to a private physiologist and he scored 99.9%+, so we started to explore all kinds of option for a better education choice. However it seems really difficult for us to get into the HGM. First we don’t live within the District, although we’d consider moving, since our son is going to 3rd grade this fall, it seems impossible for him to enter Balboa (Am I right they don’t accept new students after 3rd grade?) We also considered San Jose, but due to the uncertainty on the timing of IQ test, by the time he gets in (if he’s lucky in the lottery process), he may be in 4 or 5th grade already. That is still ok since we want him to get in the HGM for middle and high school. However, those are also based on lottery right? Not to mention the possibility of removing the whole magnet due to budget cut.

    This is really frustrating. Could anyone share some info on good private or public school for highly gifted kids? Mirman is beyond our ability. We are also considering renting into good small public district, such as La Canada, but not sure if those high score school has good gifted program for our son. We have a friend whose kids go to a national blue ribbon school in bay area and her 3rd grade son gets bored too. I can see the ” thousands of review” method in public school is eating up my son’s love in learning. We don’t want to rush on to homeschooling since we”ll have to live on one income then. So we’d appreciate any recommendation on good but not so expensive private school or public school district that has better program for highly gifted kids. Thank you.

    • I’m not sure LAUSD’s magnet program is a good gamble for you. Since you’d have to move to the district before you could get him identified by the LAUSD officials (and before you could even apply), you would truly be looking at a process that would take more than a year. LAUSD will not accept the outside testing, so you’d have to wait for their testing. Balboa does indeed take kids at the 4th and 5th grade levels from attrition, so you could conceivably get in, but it’s only an “if” based on where you live and how you can accrue points. San Jose does accept students because there seems to be far fewer students applying, but San Jose is always at risk because of its small size.

      If you were looking long-term, you might be able to move down here and start looking at Portola & North Hollywood, but given the cuts to the programs (there is no chance that magnets will be cut completely) who knows what the programs will look like. And yes those are lottery too.

      Hopefully a few folks will answer on private schools. We never considered that route. With two kids in the highly gifted and highly gifted applicable range, I’ve used Balboa/Lawrence/ and an entirely non-gifted high school, but one that allowed him to take college courses while in HS, and in my daughter’s case, we kept her at her wonderful school on open enrollment (and she is one of the kids who got into Balboa for the second time in 4th grade…so it does happen). We are looking for independent study for middle school year after next.

      Good luck.

      • Thank you magnetangel. The lottery is really the frustrating part, since for our moving to lausd territory, we have to make a lot of efforts. The best senario I can think of is our sons gets into San Jose in 4th grade. But if two years later our son fails on the lottery to enter potola, we may have to move again. what a pain!

    • First, do not discount Mirman School. Private school tuition is high, but most schools offer partial, if not full financial aid to qualifying students. You might find it affordable. Our child thrived there for seven years. A++. Couldn’t hurt to apply, although they are most likely full for this September.

      Second, if you relocate before open enrollment begins you could apply to several SAS programs. Magnets will have to wait another year, assuming they survive the cuts.

      Finally, for middle and high school, my advice is to wait til the end of fourth grade to see what your child’s strength’s, passions & talents are. Math, science, writing, arts, robotics, drill team, sports, etc. That will determine where to start looking. IHP, magnet, SAS, are all options.

      However, we have learned with our three kids that chances are today’s school research will no longer be valid in two or three years, or even next year! As budget cuts are made and teachers and principals are relocated, no one knows what programs will survive or if they will ever be the same.

      Good luck.

      • Thank you 2educ8 for the info on Mirman. I read some review and a few people mentioned science is their weakest part, but our son is only interested in math and science. He hates drama and histroy, so we thought regardless of the cost, it may not be a good match for him anyway. Based on your experience, do you have the same feeling on Mirman?

  82. Hi Wendy!
    My son is in the 2nd grade in San Jose Elementary School’s Highly Gifted Magnet and the program has been amazing for us. It’s true that budget cuts are breathing down our necks, but we have an organized parent activist group (expanding to include other schools hopefully!), so we’re working hard to try and ensure the future of the program. We’re not closing up shop 😉 The more people who know about us and enroll their children, the more likely it is we’ll stick around.
    Because of dwindling enrollment (partly due to the shift to the OLSAT test from the RAVENS, but also because we’re not widely known about), I feel fairly certain that we have spaces available, which means you wouldn’t have to play the “points game” and would conceivably have an easier time getting into Portola and North Hollywood High School. I’m not 100% certain of that, but that’s how we got in last year.
    Here are some tips for possibly speeding up the process though – you can fax the downtown GATE office with a request to have your child’s test scores sent to you (or faxed I believe?) ASAP after the test. This was key to our finding out in time to be able to have a tour (the San Jose HGM coordinator Judy Lyttle is wonderful!), and get our paperwork submitted in time for my son to start 2nd grade just five months after testing. That doesn’t address your issue of not living in the district, but it might help to know if you get so far as to have an LAUSD test administered. Also, even though the LAUSD has moved to a teacher administered test (the OLSAT), you can still request – sooner rather than later – to have the LAUSD psychologist come and administer the RAVENS, which would determine eligibility for the Highly Gifted programs. Unfortunately, the OLSAT doesn’t do that….
    Hope this helps! I know it’s a lot of information, but I can’t tell you how my son has blossomed and opened up both socially and academically going to San Jose HGM. He’s a different kid!!

    • Thank you Brynn for the encouraging info. I did talk to Judy, but after she learned we don’t live in the district currently, she expressed more concerns, especially on the time when we can get a test from LAUSD physchologist. I thought we could have a LAUSD home school based on our work address, but she said that doesn’t work for the HGM, i.e. the kid has to enroll in a LAUSD school first and then request and wait for the IQ test. Assume we enroll our son in a LAUSD school in fall 2011 for 3rd grade, we”ll have to obtain an IQ test before Dec in order to meet the application deadline. This seems not very possible per Judy. If we missed the deadline this year, it wouldn’t make much sense for us to apply next year since our son will be in 4th grade already, leaving only one year possible in San Jose.

      We”ll go to the open house this Thursday and hopefully can figure something out from there.

  83. Yes, magnets are magnets and they are supposed to honor all the machinations of LAUSD and the Choices bureaucracy. But, and this is a very big “but,” when you have a highly gifted child you are in a very small subset of the school population. The schools want your child in their program. When my child was identified as Highly Gifted, I was encouraged to go visit the related schools even though I had missed all the CHOICES deadlines for the next school year. The staff made time for me as their programs are quite small and generally under-enrolled. We have a friend at Eagle Rock and there are something like 7 kids total in her class. I would call the related schools and explore the possibilities before giving up and worrying about every permutation of the bureaucracy of LAUSD. Speak with the GATE coordinators and speak with the principal and see what you find. As a side note, have investigated La Canada. The kids have a social network, and can level up into advanced courses once in middle school, but there is not a lot of GATE differentiation, just high expectations for all students. You should also look at the Davidson Institute in Reno, NV. Extreme, but good to know it’s out there.

    • Thank you pegpie for the comment on La Canada. Our psychologist also mentioned Davidson to us. Have you ever used it? If we decide to do home schooling, I”ll need to explore all the available local and online resources. It seems SCV has a big population of home schoolers, which makes me feel a little more comfortable on the home schooling idea.

  84. Re: Outside testing.

    Never say never. LAUSD’s hard line is that they will not accept outside testing for entry to gifted/highly gifted programs. However, speaking from experience, I do know of a few occasions where that has not been the case. Talk to the principal or program director. Exceptions can and sometimes are made. Be persistent. The squeaky wheel…

  85. I’m not sure if this is the right forum for this question but I was wondering if anyone could tell me about the summer programs offered by the Gifted Children’s Association of the San Fernando Valley. Does anyone have children who have participated? Are there other programs like this that are available to children who have been been identified as gifted?

    I am so grateful for the service you offer here. I hope you are getting SOMETHING out of it yourselves!

    • SandraTsingLoh wrote: “But my kids have gone to the program cited below and it’s great. And I think they are loosey-goosey about “giftedness,” it’s more motivation to go to interesting programs (which range from art to rocketry).”

      Angel says: I tend to do my own enrichment during the summer–for financial and personal choices. We spend our summers at the museums ranging from the Science Center, the Grammy Museum, architectural tours, you name it.

      • As for getting something back, it’s really a case of paying it forward. If it weren’t for a wonderful mom who coached me when my son was in kindergarten, none of this would have happened. 🙂

        • What a great attitude! (And I’ll try to remember to pay it forward too.) Thanks for the extremely quick response… Yeah I think summer should actually be mainly for PLAY, but I feel my son is getting precious little enrichment in his school-year curriculum. He’s interested in history and social studies and he doesn’t get much of these subjects, so I thought this might be a good program for him.

          • It might be–you can always call and ask to speak to parents from previous summers. I’m just more hands on and would rather build rock crystals or check out downtown LA with my kids (ok, one’s in college now, but they’re still both my kids). My daughter does continue with her orchestra and their summer camp, but we try to just do day trips all over.

    • Our kids did GCA for two summers and really enjoyed it. Definitely not academic acceleration but topical exploration. DD was geeked by a class exploring all things Harry Potter. DS, a science nerd, loved the science classes. Classes taught by regular teachers so well controlled. The only two caveats would be 1) make sure your child is up to “school-like” classroom environment during summer and 2) they tend to repeat the same classes year to year. That’s why we stopped, kids moved on to something new.

      Another option is the CSUN summer academic program, SAEP/SAPESS. Not a “gifted’ program but taught by teachers and real academic classes, can even get credit for school. Variety of “fun” enrichment and actual courses. Probably booked up for this summer but another good one for your list…

      Good luck!

  86. Does anyone have information about LACES? I know it’s 100% Magnet and getting in is subject to winning the lottery. But, the students I know from our elementary school who have been accepted are the children of ‘highly connected’ parents…..

    Are there any techniques for increasing a child’s chance of getting into LACES?

  87. I can only second your observation. The few acceptances I know of are kids with siblings at LACES and son of LAUSD staff – mmmmm? Many kids from our magnet school applied, lots of points, not enough.

    • Before we call out Oliver Stone and the conspiracy people, the siblings points are a BIG deal. While many kids can get 12 or 16 points, sibling points push that number to 15 or 19. The families with siblings WILL get in before families without siblings. They’re also likely better at making sure they have the most possible points before applying.

      Since the placements for magnets are done by a computer downtown, it’s a little too convenient to point fingers now. Find out what the cut off for points was, find out how many points those “connected” families had, and I assure you, that the rejection letters came to the families with fewer points.

    • By their own definition, it’s hard to have an LAUSD program that starts in kindergarten. Children need to identified *by the district* to be considered gifted, and a child can’t be identified before they’re in a class room. If there is an SAS that starts in kindergarten, it’s a new one on me.

  88. Someone here mentioned that SOCES, which is similar to LACES, doesn’t really cater to, gifted kids, and pay less attention to their middle school kids than the high school population. Can any of you help clarify those points for me, I’m interested in knowing more about LACES as a middle school option for my HG-Applicable son, who barely missed the cut-off for true HG designation. I also have read that someone here mentioned that NoHo HG HS is a rougher environment than SOCES, one can get lower GPA but more prepared for college? Is that because in these non-gifted high schools, teachers only touch the “surfaces” of the subjects and can’t or don’t have time to go more deeply? In that case, that’s a real disservice to the majority of our kids population.
    I live in the westside and am not sure if LACES is the best fit for my son. I do want him to be challenged and to be well prepared for high school and college, but I also don’t him to be surrounded by overly competitive kids and hours of homework, basically let him be kids. A school that understands that gifted kids don’t need more homework would help. Do these schools exist in the westside? It seems all of the middle schools with great SAS/SLCs are all in the valley.
    Thanks for responding.

    • If you are looking for strong gifted programs for Middle School on the Westside, the options are Palms Gifted Magnet, Emerson Middle School’s IHP (Individualized Honors Program), and Paul Revere Charter Middle School.

      Some people like New West charter, but it decidedly does not cater to gifted kids because the student population is too small (it can’t even offer the advanced classes in many subjects).

      LACES is a lottery magnet and there is no attempt whatsoever to identify gifted kids. As a result, it may have higher mean numbers (reflecting the fact that any school comprised entirely of students with involved parents who figured out how to get enough points to navigate the magnet lottery is going to have a higher average achievement level in its student body), but it is purely chance if they have gifted or highly gifted kids. They simply teach a little higher to the mean, which means they have to give short shrift to the extremes on either end. Your child might have a good experience, but it’s not because the program is designed for gifted students. Also, because it is a 6-12, the API score is based on a much larger range and they can focus on high school students, which can leave middle school students lost at times. Still, lots of people are happy there.

      Based on what I have heard and seen, people complain about the homework at Paul Revere (lot’s of busy work), but Emerson and Palms are about the same. Paul Revere has higher average achievement because its feeder neighborhood is comprised of higher socioeconomic families, but it is not really known for a superstar SAS program. It just has a grouping of good students, some of whom qualify as gifted.

      Palms specifically identifies gifted kids, but it doesn’t really cater to highly gifted kids per se. Emerson usually has a cohort of highly gifted kids who are the children of UCLA professors (since it is the local school for families who live in UCLA faculty housing) and its IHP program within the SAS was designed to cater to those kids. Along with Walter Reed in the valley, it is the only IHP program (a program that predates the magnet desegregation system). Emerson’s larger population, however, has a lower average student score (although IHP kids have their own classes and are separated in 6th grade).

      • Emerson IHP is not restricted to HG designated students, however and is open to anyone admitted to SAS either as home school or by permit. Eligibility for IHP classes for 6th grade is based on a placement test administered this year on May 31, which is repeated in September for anyone who misses the May administration. It is a great option for gifted and HG students in the area and is within a much smaller total student body population (2000) or Palms (>1800).

        I would say that the homework load for the 6th grade Emerson IHP and SAS classes (its only English and Math classes that are IHP) is fairly heavy, but does get much more manageable for 7th and 8th grade.

        Also for math, IHP program essentially puts eligible kids in next grade level curriculum, with the net result being that 6th grade math is basically skipped (a highly abridged curriculum does get taught as part of CST test prep). 7th grade IHP math is Algebra I and 8th grade IHP is geometry. For 7th and 8th grades, continued eligibility for IHP math is determined by grades/diagnostic test/teacher recommendation at the end of 6th and 7th grades, respectively. This can lead to the occasionally anomalous result of a student previously in an IHP math class for 6th or 7th grade being moved to a regular SAS math class for the next year – and essentially repeating the curriculum from the prior year. The IHP 7th and 8th grade math teacher is great, however, and is also the school’s GATE coordinator, and this quirk of the curriculum shouldn’t scare anyone from applying, its just worth knowing about and being prepared for.

        • clarification, the final sentence in the first paragraph should have read:

          It is a great option for gifted and HG students in the area within a much smaller total student body population (less than 1000) v. Paul Revere’s (2000+) and Palms (1800+).

      • Anon (and/or anyone else with knowledge of these middle schools):
        Any thoughts on local gifted options are for high school for kids coming from Emerson and Palms?

        • There are no gifted magnet school options at the High School level on the westside. Many Palms gifted magnet kids (and some Emerson IHP/SAS kids) go to the Hamilton Humanities Magnet. That is in part because the Palms kids come out with 12 matriculation points in the bag and then have 4 more from the PHBAO points, so they typically just stay in the magnet system. The Humanities magnet is not gifted per se, though, but it is taught at a rigorous honors level and is very good in English, History, and Art History (probably the only full scale program at HS on this), where they coordinate teaching so students study different parts of the same subject in all classes. It isn’t as strong at math/science, but it’s OK. The sheer number of high achieving kids make it feel closer to a gifted program. Other Palms kids go to Venice Foreign Language Magnet. Again, it isn’t gifted, but it has a strong reputation and operates like a Global Studies program more than simply a foreign language operation. Emerson kids are more likely to go to University HS’ SAS program (Hamilton and Venice also have SAS programs, but Uni’s is a bit more established and the SAS programs at the other schools often function more like wait lists for kids trying to get into the magnets, whereas at Uni the SAS program is more of a destination program than a weigh station). Uni’s SAS has less of a gifted magnet feel, since SAS is more of a collection of classes and the students still affiliate with a small learning community in a particular subject matter, but the history department is particularly good and the math and science are decent. Some of the smartest Emerson IHP kids (the ones who could truly be classified as highly gifted) have gone to Uni in the last few years because Uni has a smaller HS program than most and has been really active in trying to attract kids. That means they bend over backward to get kids what they need academically. Hamilton’s Humanities Magnet is the more cohesive and nuturing environment for gifted kids in the language arts, but Uni is probably the more flexible option. Finally, some kids at both Emerson and Palms try to get into Palisades Charter High school through a lottery. They went very deep in the waiting list this year (almost 300 deep), so the old wisdom that you needed to be at Paul Revere to get in was not true. Pali has no special program for gifted kids, but they have honors classes that are filled with smart kids. Most parents and kids who choose Pali do so for “the social environment” (that’s code for the demographics), rather than because of any academic specialty or focus on gifted kids. Having said that, a gifted kid would find plenty of rigorous classes and talented classmates.

          Very few gifted kids at Emerson and Palms end up at gifted/highly gifted High School program like at North Hollywood HS because the drive is too horrific from the westside. Some end up at private school, but my anecdotal experience has been that just as many kids leave private school for public high school as leave Emerson/Palms for private high schools after 8th grade. That could be because they can no longer afford it or because they have discovered that the cost isn’t worth it. There is also nothing about private schools per se that necessarily means they are focused on gifted kids.

          • Thanks so much for this, very helpful!
            As a general question, if a kid is identified academically as gifted (i.e. not gifted in performing or visual arts which I do understand to be a different matter), either through grades or tests or both, do you think there is a difference between honors and gifted classes? In other words, doesn’t academic giftedness just mean being able to handle challenging, rigorous academic work, possibly above grade level?

          • Anon – Do you know anything about the SAS at Hamilton HS? I have heard some good things but it also seems to me that the two magnets are the 900 lb gorillas at that school and anything else cannot possibly have adequate resources. Is that wrong?

          • Westside – the SAS program at Hamilton was brand new this year. Most applicants used it as a wait-list for the Humanities Magnet on the theory that they would be assured a spot at Hamilton and could transition off the wait-list to Humanities once class began and spots opened up. It obviously didn’t work for everyone, though, and some stayed at Hamilton in the SAS program, mostly in the Global Studies SLC. I don’t think the resource concern was particularly salient this year. Indeed, there are often shared resources. Currently, a Global Studies teacher leads the AP European History class and it consists of both Global Studies and Humanities/Music students. The presence of the magnets allows the main school to justify offering AP classes they might not otherwise offer because of lower interest among students in the main school.

    • “I also have read that someone here mentioned that NoHo HG HS is a rougher environment than SOCES, one can get lower GPA but more prepared for college? Is that because in these non-gifted high schools, teachers only touch the “surfaces” of the subjects and can’t or don’t have time to go more deeply? In that case, that’s a real disservice to the majority of our kids population.”

      At non-gifted high schools, there’s a broader range of kids. Even in honors classes at the non-gifted school, the work ethic, interest level, and innate ability of the students varies. Having had a kid at SOCES, who then transferred to the NoHo HGM, I’ve seen that difference. HGM courses are taught at a level appropriate for the HGM students, and classes at non-gifted high schools are taught at a level appropriate for that broader range of students.

      One heads-up about homework: I agree that it’s great when schools “get” that gifted kids don’t need a ton of homework, especially busywork. However, in high school the course work becomes more complex, and work load rises accordingly. There will be a few brilliant kids who just need 20 minutes to finish up their Calculus or Physics homework, or who can read an English novel in an hour. Many other almost-as-brilliant students will need to put in several hours a night doing homework that’s not busywork–crafting an essay, working on chem problem sets, or honing debate arguments. That’s not a bad thing, since they will be facing that level of work in college. Better for them to learn how to allocate time now, rather than getting flummoxed during their college freshman year.

  89. My daughter was evaluated as gifted by her teacher (she’s in 1st grade), and we applied to the Sunland Gifted magnet. She didn’t get in — budget cuts apparently reduced the number of available slots, making it even more difficult than normal. I’ve heard rumblings that she should still be eligible for some sort of GATE program, but I’ve also heard that no, that’s not the case. Anyone here know the truth?

    • GATE programs vary by school, but essentially ALL kids identified as gifted should be given the differentiated instruction to give them a challenge. That can be that students are clustered in regular classrooms and given more challenging questions. Here’s the link, get comfortable with the information in it. It’s not a crime to ask what they (school and/or teacher) are doing to accommodate your student. Good luck.

    • Was your daughter formally identified as gifted through LAUSD or did the teacher just tell you this informally? Big difference. If it is formal and your child is identified in LAUSD as Gifted (ask the school office – it is also on the report card), then your child qualifies for gifted magnets as well as any SAS program. Go to the site magnetangel provided below to find programs near you and call them NOW as the deadline for applying to SAS may be ending soon (this week!).

      First — as magnetangel smartly suggests — see if you own school will differentiate curriculum for your child. Talk to the teachers/principal and see what they can do. If they won’t meet her needs, explore the other Magnet/SAS options for the future. Good luck!

      • Haven’t been here in many, many months but as I decided to check in, I thought I would underscore the importance of asking about the ability of a school’s teachers to differentiate instruction – regardless of whether you are seeking a magnet, SAS, traditional, et. al.

        As an aside, all SAS schools were recently required to re-apply for the designation for the first time since the program was created ( LAUSD historically does little to no monitoring or evaluating of programs). This is a good thing – and the people in the GATE office downtown are unsung heros. Nonetheless, teachers most often need (sometimes significant) support in understanding how to teach children identified as gifted; indeed, when the SAS program was created, teachers were required to complete 32 hours of professional development before an SAS program would be approved. The GATE office downtown still provides “PD” for teachers interested in better understanding such children and these classes are always FULL. It is important for each of us as parents to improve our own understanding of what to look for, what questions to ask and how to evaluate whether or not the needs of our children are being met.

        • Great info, TransParent. Appreciate your sharing it. I agree that the downtown GATE office has our best interests at heart. I’m really glad to hear about the redesignation of SAS schools, that is great news.

  90. Just yesterday we’ve received our child’s OLSAT test result. Even there is an explanation, I don’t understand it and don’t know if my child determined as gifted/high ability or not.
    She did 56 correct out of 60 questions. Her total SAI is 138, Age PR-S is 99-9 (i don’t know what this number mean), Age NCE is 99.0
    Is she normal/just gifted/highly gifted, which one?

  91. I don’t know what grade your child is in but am guessing second. According to the LAUSD website, the criteria to be identified as gifted using the OLSAT are as follows:

    Grade 2 only: A score a 95 percentile or above of the total “Age Percentile Rank” (APR) score on the achievement test, Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, Eighth Edition (OLSAT-8), administered by the classroom teacher. A score of 90 to 94 percentile on the total “APR” score of the OLSAT will be considered along with eligible 2010 CST scaled scores in English-Language Arts and mathematics as indicated below.
    NOTE: Because the OLSAT is not a measure of IQ, it does not identify students as “highly gifted.” Students may not take it twice, therefore, reassessment requests will not be considered.

    So, if you can find the APR score on the OLSAT results (you didn’t mention that above0 and it is 95+, your child has been identified as gifted. If it is 90-94 your child might be identified based on the annual test score results. I would urge you to consult with your child’s teacher and/or principal/coordinator for confirmation, especially since this is the first year of OLSAT testing for second graders and, um, there may be bugs in the system.

    Your child scored over two standard deviations above the mean for the OLSAT (mean = 100 and you had SAI of 138), so your child did very well and likely will be identified. But I can’t tell you that — please ask LAUSD!

    The OLSAT cannot identify for Highly Gifted status — that requires a separate test.

    Good luck!

  92. Hello everyone,

    I am glad that I stumbled on this site. My son finished his 5th at Welby Way magnet and has been accepted to Lawrence Magnet. Recently we got a call from Hale MS (which is our home school). They wanted us to consider their SAS program. I spoke to the SAS co-ordinator @ Hale and she strongly believes that thier SAS is comparable to Lawrence magnet (except for the homework part).
    Any parents here have some input? Trying to decide if we should switch him to Hale (which is a much shorter commute).

    • Hi Nooka,

      I can’t directly compare. I know kids who are going or who went to Hale who were happy. And my son graduated from Lawrence a while back and he loved his time there (and nearly all his teachers are still there–it has very low turn over). It’s a great school. But if I were to compare two schools and they were dead even, the tie breaker for me would be the commute. While my son was at Lawrence, nearly every group project he had was with families from West Hills (we live in the NE Valley). It made friendships and hanging out after school a nightmare.

      Since the schools are out right now, there’s not a lot you can do. But when the schools get back into their offices go ahead and call Lawrence and tell them what you’ve been told. Let them try to sell you on their campus. I can tell you they have great teachers, interesting projects, and when your son graduates in three years, he automatically will get 12 points to apply to the high school of his choice. If you go with Hale, you’ll have to keep applying to places you don’t think you can get into, and hope he doesn’t.

      Good luck with the decision, and I encourage you to include your son in the negotiations, as well. He might like taking a bus, and the friendships he gets there, or he might like riding his bike and being able to hang out with friends after school. Listen to his preference, because they’re both really decent schools.

  93. Although I think the counselor is wrong that her home school SAS program is the same as a magnet, Lawrence is not for everybody. My kids attended both Lawrence and SAS (honors) programs. The material is the same, and if you get a good teacher, the SAS classes can be better than the magnet. Some great teachers at Lawrence, and some old timers who are just ok. The magnet program as a whole makes it a more motivating experience than the SAS. Kids feel like they are part of something bigger, and therefore do better. Lawrence is not for everybody. There is a lot of homework in 6th grade, especially in Science. More homework doesn’t equal better teaching or learning. Lots of kids drop out. The Welby Way kids tend to fare better than kids from other schools because they seem to already be in the groove of magnet education.

    • The kids who came from Balboa did very well, too. Not sure how the science teachers work now, but it was Huffman, Lauritzen, Zem, and Zem to this day was my son’s most motivating science teacher. He learned more in 8th grade science than he did in 9th grade. I can’t speak for kids dropping out, since none of my son’s did–in fact students came from other schools to get in.

      Any school is not for anyone. Great points.

  94. Hi,
    Im a mom of a 5th grader that just moved to California from WA last year. Im looking for a gifted magnet middle school for her. I will not have many points, possibly none. Any ideas on how I can get her in?

    • In terms of magnets, it will be difficult. You will at best have 8 points, and more than likely 4. Most schools need 16 or 12 to get in. But you might get in from a wait list, so feel free to apply to one, and forget about it until August. In the meantime, start looking up nearby schools with SAS (Schools for Advanced Studies) programs. They are essentially gifted magnets at neighborhood school sites. No busses, but when the school has extra seats available, they offer them up by lottery to families interested in attending. You can find out more here: You won’t be applying until Spring, but you will have plenty of time to research. Good luck!

    • Each program varies by school, as they vary from magnet to magnet. You’ll want to consider distance, the programs offered, and even where the kids then typically go to high school.

  95. I live in Chatsworth; my child is strong in Math and English, but I think her natural tendency is for Language arts/writing. Thank you for your reply!

    • You’re in luck. Your home school is likely Lawrence, and they have a great magnet and a strong SAS program. You will not have to apply to the SAS, your daughter will be automatically eligible as a gifted student. And if you apply to that magnet, and got in, say a week or two into the school year, she would still have the same friends for lunch, PE, and possibly her elective. The magnet will start having tours in November or December, but you’ll definitely hear more about it as your daughter gets closer to the tour time.

  96. In my experience the -:@ program at Walter Reed MS in studio city is an excellent choice for the gifted student, and a good fit for the highly gifted. As it is by application and not a magnet, it would be avaiableb to new residents and those with few or zero magnet points. And it feeds into the HGM at North Hollywood High, where students must have a particular score to attend. Excellent school check with the HgM office for requirements.

    • Hi Susan, I am curious what you meant about the IHP program at Reed MS feeding into the HGM – does that mean w/o going through the Choices application and/or testing HG? Or just that it is a well-trod path?

      I am asking because my child is in the IHP at Emerson MS (which I believe is the only other IHP program at a middle school in LAUSD) and I have been trying to figure out whether the HGM is an option for us w/o points or having been IQ tested as HG.


  97. HOMEWORK- my 6th grader goes to King gifited magnet and has at least 2 hours of homework 4 nights a week and 10 hours on weekends. Is this normal for a gifited magnet?)(She was placed in the most advanced classes, the “600 club” with other students who scored 600 on STAR tests; the teachers told us all kids in this “club” should be doing supper advanced work).

    • Ten hours on weekends?? Not when my son went through Lawrence. And super advanced work doesn’t equal super amounts of homework. I’d barf. Sorry. And my 600 “star” who will be looking at middle schools has a life, and that will be the kind of questions I ask.

      To be fair, the two hours during the week seems about right for six classes, even though they should by district policy only have about 60.

  98. The IHP program at Walter Reed feeds into the HGM at North Hollywood High School (NHHS) in that it is a well-trod path. HGM students must be tested to qualify for the program, and it has been my understanding that if a student does test at 99.9% and above, they can be admitted to the Highly Gifted Magnet even if they do not have magnet points. Some years students with a score of 99.5% + have been admitted, so that the student population did not drop, and I believe this simply reflects a lower number of students that were tested. The best source of the most up-to-date information for admission guidelines for the HGM is the HGM office at NHHS, (818) 753-6212/13. Also, check out the facebook page,

  99. Hi.. If anyone can answer my queries, pls. My son is in the GATE program in one of the schools in Wland Hills. I would want to transfer him in Middle School in Nobel ( Northridge). Can i transfer him in the GATE program of Nobel.. We dont live in the area boundary of Nobel// Pls advise. Thanks.

    • You’ll need to get an open enrollment permit to attend their SAS. The School for Advanced Studies is the GATE program. They get many more applications than spaces available from outside their district. Inside their boundaries, students are automatically eligible. So, you can apply, but you would have no guarantee of getting in. Are you at Hale or at Woodland Hills Academy?

  100. If my child is currently in a private school in first grade how would I have her tested for gifted programs in LAUSD (which is my district)

    • Since you child is young, your best option would be to have your child verified as gifted by the private school/current teacher; they can just sign off a form stating your child meets certain criteria as part of the CHOICES magnet application process. See the LAUSD GATE verification process info here:

      This would make her eligible to apply to Gifted magnet schools in LAUSD (but not highly gifted).

      A year or so ago due to budget constraints LAUSD stopped providing IQ testing by psychologists for any child not already ENROLLED in an LAUSD school (prior to this if you lived in the District you could get tested, even if your child went to private school). So I think the verification process may be your only option. Just for funsies, I would suggest you call your local LAUSD school and ask and see what they have to say…

  101. I want to say this in the nicest possible way… for me.

    LAUSD claiming that budget cuts prevent testing for gifted is a violation of your right to a free and appropriate education under the law. Period. LAUSD just announced (to great fanfare – Secretary of Education Arne Duncan came to town to make the announcement Tuesday) an agreement with the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights that specifically cites things that LAUSD is promising they will do (oooh, they’re promising…) to settle claims made during an investigation of the District begun in March 2010. Here is a sentence lifted from the press release: “The District is also being tasked with developing a District-wide comprehensive plan to address the disproportionate participation of African American and Latino students in the LAUSD’s Gifted and Talented Program (GATE), and ensure that GATE identification reflects the demographics of a school.”

    This will not be done unless WE ALL DEMAND THAT IT BE DONE… with equity and attention to every student in the system.

    Although the investigation pointed out many weaknesses in addressing the needs of traditionally underserved students, the District is also keenly aware of pressures being placed on it by families of all types demanding
    academic improvement, including families with students who have learning disabilities (heretofore identified or not) and those of us with the children with whom LAUSD can’t seem to be bothered.

    • It’s so hard to understand why LAUSD refuses to make things ATTRACTIVE for parents of gifted children. People opting away from LAUSD are costing the district money. Why is this SO hard for them to fathom?

  102. Hi all– I wonder what people think of Reed’s IHP for a kid who is highly gifted applicable and great at math but a bit lazy and unfocused, especially when it comes to humanities-type subjects. He has an IEP but his issues are mild. I am concerned that the IHP might be too hard even though my son is very bright.

    Also, has anyone here tried the Math Academy at Millikan? I would love your thoughts.

    thank you.

    • If you haven’t toured both–go ahead and do it. With a current fifth grader, I’ve looked at both and both seem to have their plusses and minuses. You’ll be able to talk to someone at each tour that can help you discuss whether they can be an option.

    • At least at the IHP at Emerson in Westwood, the “Individualized” in IHP really distinguishes it from gifted programs. A kid can be super-advanced in math, taking classes far above grade level or even being excused for a portion of the day to take classes at community college, while being in regular SAS classes for English and other subjects (and vice versa). I’ve seen 6th graders in Geometry and 8th graders taking Calculus at Santa Monica Community College. One of the potential benefits of an IHP program is that it is less rigid than a gifted/highly gifted or high honors-style program where it is one size fits all (e.g., all 6th grade gifted students are put in one class in pre-Algebra and there is little attempt to offer differentiated learning beyond the distinction between gifted classes and regular classes). If Reed is similarly run, then it may actually offer a good fit for your son.

      • Your point is well taken. Emerson and Reed are the only two IHP programs in LAUSD. I have long asked for an IHP high school… Emerson even retreated from becoming the International Baccalaureate middle school in LD 3. To my knowledge, there is no IHP high school into which Emerson students may matriculate. I served on the school site council at Emerson two years ago and participated periodically last year. We never properly evaluated the IHP although I made such a request. Lastly, the school has a new principal. Let’s see how responsive he is to the community.

        • Its worse than there not being any IHP high school for Emerson students to matriculate into; the local high schools do not necessarily even accommodate how advanced Emerson students are, particularly in math where 30+ students graduate 8th grade having already taken geometry. Most of the local high schools cannot even offer 4 years of math above geometry to students who have advanced that far in math. Further, despite LAUSD introducing an end of year test for Algebra and Geometry that many of these students will have taken and passed, I was told at one local high school that many of these students will be recommended to retake geometry (albeit “honors”) so that they can get on the honors track at that school. What kind of message are we sending these kids when we do that?

          • There is definitely a sense of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing across LAUSD. I’ve had similar concerns with Millikan’s science academy. If a student graduates 8th grade having passed AP Bio, Chem, and Physics, the question immediately becomes “what next?” I haven’t pursued that academy in the sense that it precludes the student from taking an elective, which really isn’t an option for most kids. The Math Academy also graduates at Geometry, meaning the Alg 2, pre-calc/trig, calc AB, calc BC is the minimum sequence. And where I’ve asked about Calc BC in some of the high schools, I get a *maybe* or a *we hope to* That will hopefully change, since community college courses are no longer an automatic option for HS students. I suppose as they build these programs, hopefully, there will be enough parents who demand them, that the schools that want these kids put together a product we can support.

      • Anon, or Westside, or Emerson Parent, or others who are familiar with middle schools in the Westside:

        Do you think a HGA kid who’s not the buckle-down-and-let’s-do-homework type but excels in Language Arts would be challenged in the Emerson SAS more than he would at LACES where he has been accepted (thanks to the new ES feeder school)?
        I am torn between Palms SAS and Emerson SAS. Palms is a shorter drive and I have two kids at an ES in Weschester. I am bummed that he would only have 8 points versus 12 points at the end of 8th grade if we choose to send him to an SAS.

        Thanks in advance for your feedback.

        • At Emerson, your kid would likely be in IHP English and that is pretty challenging, although not in a load-you-up in homework kind of way, but in the sense of the materials they cover. For instance, the 6th grade IHP class does not use the LAUSD textbook for 6th grade English, but instead assigns novels that they read and discuss in class.Most of the books are far above grade-level and they are designed to break kids out of their comfort zones to really think and analyze. I don’t have personal experience at LACES, but my understanding is that their strength lies more in math and science than in Language Arts. Palms SAS is kind of in the shadow of the Palms Gifted Magnet, so it’s not clear what that means for their Language Arts Program. I know they have claimed to have the same teachers in both programs, but that suggests the students are different. As for the points, I think you would still have 12 if you get wait-listed for 7th and 8th grades, since you would have those 8 points, plus the 4 points for having a home school that is PHBAO.

        • Out of curiosity what high schools are you looking at if you choose SAS at Palms or Emerson over LACES? Keep in mind that you only need to accumulate wait list points for high school if there is a magnet high school other than LACES for which you need the full complement of 12 points (which you would have only from matriculating at a magnet middle school or having three years of rejection when applying for high school). If you take LACES now of course you won’t get any wait list points since you will already be in a magnet that goes through high school. Keep in mind that the whole magnet program seems to be threatened by current budget situation as well…

  103. Good luck. We’ve been fighting that battle in the HG magnets for years. It is all about resources. There is no incentive for school districts under NCLB to address gifted issues, only to cater to the under performers to try to improve test scores. 😦

    • It must have been before my time but on one of the tours I’ve been on this week, I was told that gifted had been under the “Special Education” umbrella. Because parents felt that stigmatize the kids, they fought to remove it. What happened was they won–but the funding disappeared–so in the end they lost. I definitely feel that gifted ed gets ignored, rather than cultivated. It’s beyond frustrating.

          • It is definitely the case with the Toronto School board, i’ve toured schools up there. Gifted kids are assigned an IEP, they fall under the special needs umbrella. I was sad to learn this isn’t the case with LAUSD. We would all be funded and not ignored! I’m still unamused that the HG track is Eagle Rock to Portola to No. Hollywood. Pick a neighbourhood! TransParent, we’d love to hear more about Emerson. I toured there and the new principal seems quite energized. However when i asked about matriculation for the IHP crowd, he admitted to having no answer. What is life like at Emerson in the IHP? Thanks everyone!

          • MiddleMAD –
            I am an Emerson parent, what kind of information are you looking for about the IHP and matriculation? Others may have different experience, but the IHP is not a completely separate track at the school and is really part of the SAS program. There are separate IHP classes in 6th, 7th and 8th grade for both Math and English and it is possible to be in an IHP class for one but not the other and also to be in an IHP (math or english) class one year but not the next. I would be curious to hear if Reed does it differently, but at Emerson the existence of the IHP track is really most apparent in Math, where the IHP kids are accelerated and if they stay in the IHP track throughout their 3 years at Emerson, they will have had both Algebra and Geometry before entering high school. In English, it is not clear to me what the difference is between the SAS classes and IHP classes. There are no IHP classes in other subjects. For math, it is worth considering that most of the public high schools in the neighborhood may not offer 4 years of math beyond geometry and some of the local schools even routinely recommend retaking geometry for kids who were accelerated in middle school. On the other hand, the kids are clearly able to handle the work and the teacher is fantastic and it can be a real ego boost for them to know they are taking “high school” math. What other questions did you have that you haven’t been able to get answers for on the tour?

  104. And don’t forget the role of State budget cuts. About five years ago, LAUSD got about $75 per identified gifted student from the State. Now it is down to something like $12/student (going from memory — probably not exact amount but under $15). Cuts do hurt.

  105. One of my sons went through Reed’s IHP and then went on to the Highly Gifted Magnet (HGM) at North Hollywood High School (NHHS). He graduated from there and is now in college, and was recognized as a National Merit Scholar Finalist. His scores indicated capabilities in all areas, both math and humanities (some children show higher capabilities in particular areas), and he was interested in both science and humanities subjects, particularly creative writing and art, as well. From what I saw at that time, 2006 – 08, Reed had stronger teaching in english and related subjects, and seemed to place more emphasis on that. My son was able to develop his writing as well as art skills with very good teachers there. However, he was able to take AP Physics in 9th grade from a particularly talented teacher, Mr. D Kitajima. And on just a purely personal note of advice, despite where your child’s strengths may lie, it will be the areas that are weaker or of less interest that deserve their attention. Both for college applications as well as life beyond, the individual with wide ranging interests and talents, the well-rounded individual, will be better situated for social success as well as personal satisfaction. And listen and help your child cultivate his or her own interests, not the violin and tennis lessons you have arranged.

    • Was on the tour this week and the current population maintains a 96% stability over the three years. The coordinator said very few leave. My son attended 2001-2004, and that was the same back then. Are you looking to get in for 7th or 8th?

  106. My daughter is in the 3rd grade at a Spanish Immersion charter school in Canoga Park. Even though I am not interested in moving her at this time, I would like to get her tested to see if she is gifted. I understand this is a good age to test and I know this information may open up more educational opportunities in the future. How would I go about getting her tested? Would I go through the Charter school or her neighborhood school?

    • Right now, this is an interesting dilemma. It used to be you walked her into her public school, and they would test her. Now they only test the kids attending LAUSD kids. You should be able to compare her state test scores to the requirements for giftedness, but I’d contact the GATE office downtown for a specific answer.

  107. My child has been wait listed for 2 years (Balboa Magnet) and only has a total of 8 points. I am debating whether or not I should apply again this year. Will I lose the points if I do not apply in consecutive years? I am thinking about “saving” these points and applying to SOCES for the 2013-2014 school year as she would be an incoming 4th grader. Any thoughts? Any helpful hints or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Points accrue for three consecutive years, then the oldest ones drop off. So you can accrue for Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3. For Year 4, the Year 1 points would drop off and you’d add Year 4. Does that make sense?

      If you skip a year, you lose points for that year. Since you want to apply for 2013-14, you’d want to use points from 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 (the current CHOICES cycle). I’d suggest you continue to apply this year but either apply to Balboa with the chance of getting in OR apply to a school with bad odds in hopes you do NOT get in so you get 2012-13 points to carry forward to SOCES. If you do get into Balboa you’d need to go since you will lose ALL points if you turn down an acceptance.

  108. Question: I have a 4.5 year old boy who has tested HG with a private psych. This all came up because of his issues at preschool, super bored, didn’t like naptime, didn’t like all the free play, he wanted to do science projects or other projects all day, etc. He is definitely an “overexcitabilities” kind of kid. Now, we are looking to start kindergarten in September and our options are Wonderland (the home school, not the gifted magnet though I am told by the principal they are run very similar and their API’s are only 30 points apart) and perhaps Mirman if we get in. Does anyone have insight as to which school would be a better fit for a “quirky” HG kid? Thanks!

    • Jamie:

      I am not directly familiar with either school. Anyone from Wonderland here who can help? I have heard mixed reviews on Mirman — many like it, some felt it was too structured and inflexible. Check out/join the “Asynchronous Minds” yahoo group which is a group of LA G/HG parents. I know some Mirman parents are there who can give you more insight.

      You might consider checking out San Jose HG Magnet in LAUSD, located in Mission Hills. It welcomes quirky kids (my quirky kid loved it there) and is free. Not as “sexy” or beautiful an environment but the teachers and classrooms make up for that. About an even commute for you as Mirman. Just a thought. Eagle Rock also has an HG elementary program through LAUSD. Most of these don’t start until first grade so you might go to Wonderland for Kinder and then decide to stay or move later.

      Best of luck!

      • Thanks for the insight! will definitely be checking out the HG magnets too when the time is right for him (I thought the earliest they start is second grade?)

    • Jamie,
      I was EXACTLY you a few years ago. If i’d had the means, i would have chosen Mirman for my quirky HG kid. The Wonderland principal is correct….the materials and opportunities are the same for both home school and gifted. That should tell you volumes about understanding differentiation. However, there is a peer group at the magnet. 30% of the children who are willing to get on a bus at 7am for the opportunities for academic excellence. My child found some solace in this peer group but not the academic stimulant. Also, there is seemingly no knowledge of ‘overexcitabilities’. I haven’t seen any attention to the emotional or social aspects of HG children and i have both witnessed and experienced problems as a result. I do believe one might find more understanding of the ‘quirks’ at an HG public like Balboa etc. but i don’t have firsthand experience there. I hope i was helpful. Not a bad idea to try Wonderland for K and then Mirman, since no HG starts till age 6 in LA.

      • Thanks for the insight. Was the principal Don Wilson when you were there? What did you end up doing/going? Did you ever find a good fit or did your son grow out of some of the overexcitabilities and learn to adapt?

        • Yes it was. My child learned to adapt, with a bit of outside support. I don’t believe anyone outgrows the overexcitabilities (not that i’ve seen!) All these kids have wildly differing issues and capabilities. I truly believe that parent advocacy makes a big difference for these kids.

  109. One of my sons is also a super HG, and both he and his brother went to the Wonderland Ave. home school, transferring there in 2nd grade from a private school that had no earthly idea what to do with someone like him. Because of the extraordinary teachers there (who are still there), his experience was superb. He was engaged, challenged and motivated, without specifically being in a HG program, which I also liked as he developed good social skills for being with all sorts of people, like real life! He went on to Walter Reed Middle School IHP, then North Hollywood High School’s Highly Gifted Magnet, where he graduated as a national Merit Scholar Finalist. Still completely quirky and totally artistically creative, these schools never drummed that out of him. Now he is in a small arts-centered college back East, and thanks to that great education he has a hefty academic scholarship. So yeah, Wonderland’s home school if a real gem in LAUSD’s system.

  110. Also a parent of not one but two kids lucky enough to attend the Wonderland magnet and wanted to weigh in. I have a left brain HG and a super creative right brain Gifted. Twins. As such, I get to see a lot of the behavioral permutations. Both boys are really passionate; one is forever the teacher’s pet, the other has always been a bit more of a disrupter. It helps that he is also charming and incredibly socially adept. We had a great experience at our home school, Ivanhoe, and I cannot say enough about having that time in our home community. We really parsed the commute and bus ride to Wonderland, and still found community there, but it is not the same as walking to school and having playdates with your pals who live close by. It is much harder to build those friendships that are further afield. But changing to Wonderland proved to be the right decision for my kids. Why? They were not BORED. I would not say that my HG kid was super challenged either, but he was a happy, connected participant. There were a few peers, which is what he did not have at his home school. And he did not spend his time doing extra worksheets and tutoring other kids. Is there some ideal place where HG kids get all the resources they need and still get socialized to function in our society? It is a hypothetical question with no best answer. As previously stated, the parent as advocate and provider of outside enrichment is a key component of the equation. And both kids are succeeding in different middle school SAS programs at Millikan so we do the best we can with the myriad resources that are out there in LAUSD. Best of luck.

  111. The SAS program for LAUSD states that it applies for K on up. If we need an SAS waiver to get into the Kindergarten / School of our choice, how do we get our son identified as gifted? I’ve heard of other parents with their kids in Transitional Kindergarten on SAS waivers, so I know it’s possible. Can our private pre-school teacher sign the form indicating he is gifted? Any guidance would be much appreciated.

    • I’d recommend calling the SAS office at the school you’re interested in or the Gifted Office downtown. Because SAS kindergarten applications are outside my purview, I want you to get the most accurate information available. Good luck!

  112. Sorry this is duplicative but I thought I should post here instead of hitting the reply button.
    I have an HGA 10-yr old (young for his age bc he skipped a grade), very bright, but can be unmotivated, non compliant, easily distracted, but focused when he wants to (like comic books). We are torn between LACES (we got in thanks to the new feeder ES) or Palms SAS or Emerson SAS. Palms SAS is a lot closer since we live in southwest Los Angeles and I have two other kids in an ES located in Weschester. I read here that LACES puts more emphasis in the high school and doesn’t necessary challenge those at the top. Plus I have been hearing about the gobs of homework. My son is NOT the “buckle-down-and-let’s-do-homework” type of kid, but I do want to encourage him of the importance of organizational skill and homework is a reality.
    Those of you who have specific experience with either Palms SAS or Emerson SAS, do you think my ds would be challenged at either of these schools specifically in the area of Language arts and writing where he is very strong?

  113. My 4th grader is HG. We applied for San Jose HG magnet but couldn’t get selected and now in waiting list of San Jose HG. Eagle Rock HG has spot for her, but I like San Jose more. Right now SAS application time. We don’t know which way to go.
    1. Wait for San Jose to call us when they have opening (which is very low chance).
    2. Go to Eagle Rock HG magnet (I don’t think this is very good class).
    3. Apply for several SAS school and wait (I don’t know SAS is better than Eagle Rock HG)
    4. Stay in current school (which we don’t want most)
    She has 8 matriculation points right now. We want her to go better school, especially we want her to go to good middle school. Which way will help us most?

    Can anyone give us some helpful information?

    Thanks a lot for your reply.

    • My son is completing his third year at the Eagle Rock HG Magnet, and will attend the Walter Reed IHP in the Fall. My wife and I are quite happy with the HG Magnet at Eagle Rock, enough so that we’ve commuted, both via carpool and solo, from the Westside for three years. If your child is HG-identified, you owe it to him/her to learn with his/her peers, from properly trained teachers, and Eagle Rock has proven to us to be the right place for our son.

      • Thanks for your help jasonbr. And as you attend Walter Reed, please keep us up to date on the program. We looked at it for our daughter, and indeed got in, but we’re going another route. But we constantly get questions about Walter Reed, so I’d love a current parent’s perspective!

          • For safety concerns, I’m pretty hesitant to give out the location of where my daughter attends or will attend, especially since we’re still working on finalizing the SAS permit.

            We toured several schools, and really liked the teachers at Walter Reed, but had serious concerns after the Q&A at the end of the tour. While I had no qualms with the students learning Latin, the school backed away on whether it would continue due to budget cuts and available teachers. Same with orchestra. We had assumed she would not get in to Walter Reed until the first round of the wait list, so we applied to three programs and she got in to all three (including a magnet with only 8 points–unheard of at this magnet). I have experience with small schools and children with multiple talents, and it’s very hard to schedule in a ‘school’ of 60 if they need specific courses. We all felt it was a better fit elsewhere for my daughter.

          • My daughter also got into Reed IHP a few years ago but we opted for another school because 1) the commute was very tough from our home to Reed (we were even late for the tour!) and 2) our daughter was in a magnet track with a group of kids and wanted to stay with her friends who were mostly going elsewhere. There are a variety of personal reasons people go where they go… honestly I think Reed likely would have been better for her academically but friends are also important, especially in middle school. 🙂

          • Our daughter also got into Reed’s IHP a few years ago and we opted to go elsewhere for a couple of reasons: 1) the commute was just too tough from our home (we were even late for the tours!), and 2) daughter was in a magnet track with a group of kids and wanted to stay with her friends, only one of whom was going to Reed. Academically I think Reed probably would have been better for her but friends are also important, especially in middle school. 🙂

  114. You might want to take a look at Walter Reed Middle School’s IHP program. The Individual Honors Program is more challenging than the SAS, and if your child has an interest in music / theatre, that is just a superb bonus.

    • Because I have the luxury of hindsight, I can assure you parents of elementary through middle school parents that the friends they have, they will keep irrespective of the school choices they make. Good school decisions are made based on academics and interests rather than friendships. (And I am fervently hoping that your child is actively making these choices, rather than you making the decision.) It turns out that my children, now in high school and college on the East Coast, both still number among their closest friends those they met in nursery school and elementary school, and all of whom went their separate ways to widely varying schools. It is short-sighted to base educational choices on a contemporary social agenda. Your child is far more connected than you can imagine.

      • Ringsofsusan,

        I too have a son (graduating college this month), so with that perspective we can agree to disagree somewhat. While no one has ever suggested to make decision solely based on a social agenda, each child is different. And it’s a lot easier to have a child succeed with a support system rather than without.

        Social media has made this transition easier, but there are matriculation patterns that many children follow from certain magnets, neighborhood schools and even private schools, and to pretend that they’re irrelevant is also short-sighted.

  115. I have a question regarding the Gifted/High Ability magnets. My daughter attends Eagle Rock Elementary and is in this program. It appears that there are a high number of high ability students with parents having email addresses. In asking around, it appears that teachers have figured out how to game the system and get their kids in this program. Now, I certainly don’t fault them for wanting to do this–it’s a great program–but are they getting in ahead of others that are applying through Choices? Also, these high ability kids tend to not have the same personality/behavioral quirks that the gifted kids do and the gifted kids seem to be marginalized in their own program. Any take on this?

    • I am not aware of any ‘gaming’ of the system that benefits employees over nonemployees. And you will get different responses on whether high ability kids are of the same ‘ilk’ of the gifted kids or not. I have never felt they bring down a program, nor have I felt that they have any fewer of the quirks of the gifted kids. Bottom line, if a program has openings, that’s a lack of funding. The fuller a school is, the more funding they have.

    • Yikes! I see worms all over from that can you’ve just opened! 🙂

      My primary response is that the administration of each school is unique and handles these things differently. Some are very rigid and others, less so. Knowing some LAUSD teachers with children, I would definitely say they have a leg up and get more sympathy than us non-LAUSD parents, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if perhaps there was an advantage there. Can I say that for a fact? Nope.

      I have seen where an HG Magnet took “HG applicable” kids over “true HG” kids even though the CHOICES brochure clearly said HG applicable kids get any seats available after all true HG kids got in. When I poked at the principal about this, they finally admitted that they went by race and not HG status, despite what the CHOICES brochure said. This makes sense since the Magnet program is an integration one but it is frustrating to get mixed messages and have the rules defined differently at different places.

      As for gifted kids marginalized in their own program, I think it is really up to the teachers and administration to see that the needs of ALL kids are met. We could argue at length over real or perceived differences of gifted vs. high achieving vs. true HG vs. HG applicable but it will only serve to hurt parent feelings. I would say if the kid got in, we must go on the belief that they belong there and serve their needs.

      I suggest you talk to the administration about your concerns and note that the “quirky” gifted kids have needs that don’t seem to be met and that they shouldn’t be forgotten. Good luck!

  116. You can also take a look at the LAUSD School Report Card for North Hollywood High for 2010-11 (the last year for which data is available). It shows 99% of the highly gifted magnet students scoring proficient or advanced on the CST in English language arts and 91% as proficient/advanced in math.

  117. I just learned my child’s LAUSD high school offers a summer bridge program and am wondering about whether it is something we should consider. This would be for a teenager who is GATE identified but not very interested in attending anything that remotely sounds like “school” over the already too short summer. Any thoughts on whether something like this is worthwhile? I don’t have very much information about it yet and will call the school to find out whether it is even recommended for SAS students. I have had previous experience with programs not for SAS students that would have been useful (MESA) had we not been discouraged from it so don’t want to miss the boat on this just because it is not particularly targeted to SAS either.

    • If you can get him out of bed for the 2-4 weeks these programs run, they’re typically about organization, getting comfortable on campus, etc. It does give the kids a leg up, it typically gives them 2.5 or 5 units of elective, and gives them lay of the land before they get there. Often there’s a language and/or math component that can give the teachers a more accurate idea of where your student falls. This is a short summer, and that makes it harder, but I’d call and ask what they’ll cover specifically. Some high schools in my area require it, so it’s not optional, but I can see how it’s helpful. Would I want to do it? No, because I like to sleep in during the summer. My kid would want to do it, make friends, and know what’s going on on campus. My kid is weird.

  118. Hello! I am a bit confused with this whole GATE Program. Was hoping you would have an answer for me. My daughter will be in 3rd grade come the 2012/2013 school year. She was tested for gifted by the school psychologist in April. Never heard anything until the last day of school when I received her report card (at home) and noticed that it said she was enrolled in the Gate Program as of April, 2012 & the Program Category was Intellectual Ability. I have not received scores or anything so I do not know what percentile she scored in. Does this mean she did well on the test since she is going to receive instructional services. May I add that although her teacher is an excellent teacher she did not inform me or explain to me the exact qualifications. Also I wanted to know if High Achiever & Intellectual Giftedness are two distinct instructional, program categories.HOpe to hear from you soon. Thank you

    • Congrats! Your daughter was given the Otis Lennon test at end of second grade and apparently passed and is identified as Gifted by LAUSD. You should have received a letter stating this and with her score — contact her school and/or the LAUSD GATE office to inquire. The only reason this would be useful is if she passes with a very high score which might indicate she should also be tested as highly gifted (a separate process); otherwise, honestly, it is only useful to as a curious parent to know her score.

      There are several ways to be identified as gifted in LAUSD. Intellectual Ability (passing a test) is one. High Ability applies to children identified as gifted based on grades and California standard test (CST) scores (usually in upper elementary grades). Kids can also be identified as gifted through performing or visual arts or leadership; there are a variety of ways to be labeled as “Gifted.” See the LAUSD GATE website for the different options. And once labeled — no matter how — the child is eligible for all GATE programming in LAUSD. So even a performing arts kids who is gifted in dance would then be eligible to go to gifted magnet programs or SAS schools and take honors classes, etc. There is no differentiation on instruction based upon how the child was identified as gifted — with two exceptions. If Highly Gifted, there are special magnets only for those who qualify. And for those identified in performing arts, LAUSD offers free conservatory programs on weekends. I am not aware of other differentiated programs… any other Yentas know of any?

      Hope that helps.

      • Just a small clarification. If your child was tested by the psychologist, she would be classified under the Intellectual category. Her score on this test would determine if she is classified as gifted or highly gifted. I believe you can call the LAUSD office and get her score.

        All second graders take the Otis Lennon test, but this test in and of itself only qualifies children under the High Achieving category.

    • Hi! It’s not at all uncommon to NOT hear back with your child’s test results for a while unfortunately….After having our son tested, we were given the advice to call the downtown GATE office to request his results be faxed to us as soon as possible. They faxed them the next day so fortunately we had his score by the last week of his 1st grade year (he was tested in 1st). He scored Highly Gifted in Intellectual Ability so we were able to scramble and get him into a Highly Gifted Magnet program – which has been wonderful for him. The “funny” thing is that we didn’t get the official notification of his test results in the mail until he had already been attending the new school for 3 months!! So I’d highly recommend calling the GATE office directly to get the actual results faxed to you.

      Schools that offer GATE Programs incorporate more “depth and complexity” into the regular curriculum for the kids in the classroom who have been identified as GATE eligible. The kids are “clustered” into a group within a regular classroom that is taught by a teacher who has gone through extra training. I think this can be great for some kids and can be done effectively by some teachers, but just know that you have other schooling options now that she has been identified. If she tested 99.5 or above on the RAVENS (the test administered by the LAUSD Psychologist) she is “HG Applicable” and can be admitted if there’s room within a Highly Gifted Magnet. If she tested 99.9% then she gets priority enrollment over an applicable student. The way it was at my son’s school two years ago, there weren’t enough kids identified as HG or HGA to fill the program so we didn’t have to play the magnet points game and he was automatically in, so don’t let the word “magnet” scare you away if you’re looking for other options 🙂

  119. Just wanted to paint a realistic picture. The state has granted school districts like LAUSD flexibility over so-called categorical funds (including GATE) for several years – including 2012-13. The net result is that even as LAUSD is calling for identification of higher numbers of traditionally underserved students, they are not required to spend GATE funds (the pittance they get to begin with) to serve those students (this is known as TIER III flexibility).

    It is also important to recognize the implications for schools since while there is increasing political pressure to determine how we will evaluate our teachers and administrators, there is little monitoring or evaluating of outcomes at school sites other than whether schools are meeting the so-called “Performance Meter” benchmarks. More than ever, parents must become advocates for their children and that includes asking the right questions and participating in the conversations about acdemic plans and budgets at schools.

    • This I can attest to. As our elementary school became one of the affiliated charter schools, great pains were taken to address the needs of the special education population. As a parent, I pointed out there were no similar programs being planned for the gifted population, despite the significant number of students at the school with GATE identification.

      Even while a school can say it’s very proactive in differentiating instruction, it simply takes one teacher proclaiming “All children are gifted!” to send us back to the drawing board.

  120. Also agree! To translate — what Transparent is saying is that being identified doesn’t amount to much if the LAUSD can’t afford to do anything for your gifted child. We have seen years of repeated cuts to gifted programs and attempts to kill off magnets, etc. Parent involvement is crucial to preserve services. Without a federal mandate to serve gifted children as there is for special education, it is not a fiscal priority. Get on those committees and boards and lobby your school board members and State legislators!

  121. Any suggestions what to look for in a HS curriculum for gifted student? My child just got accepted to a new charter HS which is an expansion of an existing (successful) middle school. The descriptive material for the school indicates that all A-G requirements will be satisfied, but that the school will not offer AP classes and will focus on honors. I see that history is not part of the 9th grade curriculum as only 3 years are required. Can anyone comment on whether this is surprising or if any of this raises any flags?

    • Unsure Parent – AP classes are no longer the sign of a school that caters to gifted kids like they used to be in years past. Many universities no longer accept AP scores for credit (or won’t allow them to be used to reduce requirements, which effectively makes them worthless for graduating early) and some private schools have eliminated them altogether (although I think that is partially because they didn’t want the potential accountability of having parents finding out their kids don’t score all that well when someone who is not counting on them for $30K/year is doing the grading). You can certainly have a great program for advanced kids without AP courses.

      Having said that, a new high school charter program that is an extension of an existing middle school is almost certainly going to be weaker for gifted kids than a large comprehensive program. They simply don’t have enough kids and they can’t screen for only gifted kids (like a gifted or HG magnet), so they literally can’t offer stand-alone gifted classes or teach at the gifted level in all of your classes. They can say they teach at the honors level, but it is a watered down, slightly above average version of honors, not even a true honors class, which itself is not a true gifted class. This is particularly true in Math and science classes, where truly advanced classes require heavy investments in terms of teachers and materials and require that students had sufficient background at the middle school level. Check out the highest levels of instruction taught at the charter middle school (you might even ask to see the books used) and you will get an idea of the maximum they can do at the high school level since the vast majority of their kids are moving up from that middle school. If you’re talking about New West Charter MS and its new high school, I think you will find that it is not truly gifted level and it will only get worse in high school because of the leakage of kids to private schools and to bigger high schools that offer sports, more languages etc.

      As to the absence of history, that is not truly a red flag. There are schools that offer history in 9th grade (e.g., the Humanities magnets at Hamilton and Cleveland), but it is not necessarily standard. If your child likes history, that will feel disappointing in 9th grade. What they will really miss out on, though is advanced courses like AP European History and instead will take a world history course most likely. It is not the AP that is critical, but the focus of the history classes will not be the same without a 9th grade course (which would be an ancient civilization class) and the opportunities for more specialized history classes later on will be more limited. Again, though, that is the same situation you would find at other non-humanities magnet high schools.

      • I agree that it’s possible to have a challenging gifted program without AP coursework, but that it’s challenging for a school to do so. If the school is offering IB coursework, or college-level electives in 11th and 12th grade, or if there’s a history of the students taking and passing APs without having the official AP designation, then all’s well. A new charter school with no track record doesn’t sound like it’s pursuing this kind of curriculum.

        As for APs and colleges–the few colleges that I know of that don’t accept AP credits generally allow them for placement with high enough scores. UCs still accept them for both placement and credit.

    • Sorry, it’s been a busy week. With a son who was accepted into many competitive colleges, he only took AP Calc. He took several courses at the community college, as a way around the AP offerings–and some schools will tell you they prefer community college coursework (and it’s guaranteed to be accepted as transferable if you stick with matriculation agreements). Ask the school if they’re not pushing AP the first year, if they plan to offer it the second year, or if they will be offering ways to allow students to take community college coursework either at the community college or will offer the community colleges space to conduct the courses there. Social Science and Science are not typically 4-year requirements, so some schools start with science the first year, others social science. For students who want to major in those areas, it might raise a red flag (getting 4 years of science in if it’s not offered freshman year is a challenge), but again, talk to the school.

      • Thanks for the responses, the curriculum above 9th grade is very straightforward, but limited. There will be 4 years of math beyond Geometry but only 3 years of science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics). Social science for 3 years, consisting of World History, American History and American Government and Economics. In English the offerings are slightly more, 9th grade composition, World Literature, American Literature, Advanced Composition and British LIterature. Apparently honors will be an option in some but not all classes. I like the suggestions of taking classes at community colleges and will keep my eyes open for that for next summer and the year after. I am holding my breath about this all a bit because it is so not where I thought we would be heading at this point, but my kid wants to try it so I guess that is important too. Thanks again!

        • Spoke to a friend of mine on the east coast who counsels juniors and seniors in high school about college application process. She was surprised that there was no social science in the 9th grade curriculum at the charter school and as a result there were only four academic classes (math, science, english, foreign language) and said that most selective private colleges and the UCs typically look for 5 academic classes each year. At local LAUSD high school where my kid would have gone, there also would only have been 4 academic classes but history was on my kids’ schedule and foreign language was not. Can anyone with experience sending their kids to LAUSD high schools comment on their experiences applying to colleges and whether 4 academic classes is insufficient?

          • My son’s 9th grade schedule in an LAUSD high school had Science, English, Math, Social Studies, PE, one elective (Spanish), and then, because he was in a magnet, it had a required 7th period magnet rotation class. Most kids I know in 9th grade took foreign language as their elective.

            If your local school only had 4 academic classes and it wasn’t like the above (i.e., 4 classes + an elective that was almost always a foreign language for college bound kids), it sounds like it might be a block schedule with longer periods. In that case, it doesn’t mean there would only be 4 academic classes all year, but some would only be one semester and would go for more minutes a day.

          • Interesting to know, but apparently local LAUSD high school did away with block schedule last year so that is not the explanation. There were definitely only 6 periods being scheduled and because it was an honors curriculum they were scheduling social science but specifically postponed the foreign language until next year and scheduled a fine arts elective instead. I’m not sure I would have known to question this if not for the discussion about the charter school.

  122. My son has been identified as both gifted and ADHD, so finding the right sort of learning environment for him seems especially challenging. He is currently in first grade at his local public school. We are considering applying to gifted magnet programs for him for next year.

    Does anyone have any insight into the Sunland gifted magnet? It is close to our home. In comparison to the Eagle Rock magnet?

    Also, does anyone have any experience with an ADHD kid in gifted programs?

    • The ratio of kids with both GATE identification and ADHD has to be pretty high. In fact, most gifted programs deal with it regularly. My son attended Balboa and Lawrence with success, although looking back, I would have probably gone with an IEP to assure what I could verbally agree with some teachers would be complied to by all teachers.

      No experience at Sunland, but give it a few weeks and call and ask when you can observe or tour it. Good luck!

    • Agree. Most gifted programs are used to having kids with ADHD. The trick is whether or not the teachers are willing to work with parents on this issue; usually they are as long as the child isn’t disruptive in class. I would definitely discuss it with the school, ask about 504 or IEP use, etc. Gauge whether their response is one of fear (Oh geez, another one of *those* kids!) or welcome (We are happy to work with you and your child). BIG difference. One thing I’ve done is talked to the administration about my concerns and requested they put my child with a teacher who is willing to work with us.

      I don’t know Sunland either, sorry. Good luck!

      • I think it’s important to note that the gifted programs are technically gifted/high ability, and are only as good as the people working there. High ability is a grey area but it seems that it relates to students that are high achievers. My daughter attended Eagle Rock Elementary and was in the gifted magnet with many children that were high ability overflow from the main school. I found that the children that were identified as gifted were often marginalized because of the quirks that come with giftedness—sometimes ADHD, sometimes something else. Most of the high ability kids were able to sit still in the classroom and pay attention, whereas the gifted kids less so. The 3rd grade teacher was able to balance both populations.The 4th grade teacher responded punitively to the gifted kids and my daughter suffered greatly in this classroom. Another boy, who very obviously was a gifted performer, was treated very badly by the teacher because of his inability to sit still while she taught by rote, standing at the front of the classroom (the main reason we gravitated toward the gifted program was for more individualized teaching). The result of this was a lot of acting out, and a lot of yelling by the teacher who couldn’t manage the classroom. By the end of the year, it was Lord of the Flies in this classroom. To complicate matters, the principal was completely disinterested in the gifted population outside of what they can do to raise the CST scores and the new magnet coordinator is warming a seat while she waits for a principal position to open up. All this to say that I would encourage you not to fall in the trap we did of thinking that a gifted magnet is The Solution for your child. Any program, regardless of what you hear, is only as good as the teachers currently working there.

        So I would suggest visiting the school and visiting the classroom and noting how the teachers manage all the students. Are they in control of the classroom, or reacting to the students’ behavior(s)? Ask how they handle discipline and disruptive behavior. How do they reinforce/reward good behaviors. One of the most ridiculous (IMHO) things I’ve noted is how some teachers discipline high-energy elementary-age kids by taking away their recess. The kids only get 2 20-minutes recesses a day, anyway, with PE once every other week (if they’re lucky). These may seem like little things, but they will tell you a lot. Good luck!

  123. My daughter is in the Sunland gifted magnet, though she is not ADHD. I know there was a boy in her class last year who (I think) had an in-class aide, thogh I don’t know what his particular diagnosis was/is. My perception is that he did have a good experience in her classroom, but of course, he wasn’t my son, and so my perception may be wrong. I’d say check the magnet out and ask detailed questions. Principal Ornelas is (IMO) great, and is quite willing to meet with and work with parents.

  124. At our psychologist’s recommendation, we’re going to request a 504 for accommodation for the ADHD. If that addresses his needs, we’ll be happy. If not, we’ll work toward an IEP, which I understand can be a harder fight.

    I am assuming that neither a 504 nor an IEP can effect the magnet application process.

    • The magnet application is blind to special needs. But it’s important to know what accommodations they can make (or willingly make) unless you want to spend your whole time fighting.

  125. Does anyone have insight into Kester Magnet? I am wondering if it’s similar to Balboa Magnet in terms of curriculum, homework, enrichment, etc.

    • We have two kids in the Kester magnet (5th and 2nd grades). We are happy with it and the E3 after school enrichment program, where they usually finish most of their homework. I don’t know a thing about Balboa, so its hard for me to compare.

        • Salsa: Gifted and High Ability are, in terms of LAUSD, the same thing. There is a lot of confusion here so let me try to clear things up.

          GATE = the District’s approach to providing programs for “Gifted and Talented Education.”

          In LAUSD there are SEVERAL ways your child can be identified into the GATE Program. Passing an IQ test = Gifted. Being identified because of test scores and grades = High Ability. BOTH kids are “gifted” to LAUSD and would get the same curriculum (gifted). So those schools that are Gifted/High Ability magnets are basically gifted magnets serving kids identified in either way. Make sense?

  126. Balboa and Kester magnets both have reputations for giving out lots of homework. By 5th grade at Kester your child can expect to be doing four hours of homework per day. Most teachers will take away recess if the kids do not finish their homework. Kester offers music, art and P.E. (if it counts) as enrichment.

    • If that is the reputation for Kester, its not deserved, at least not in my house (i have a 5th grade magnet student). He has never had four hours of nightly homework. As I said, my kids finish most of their homework in the first hour of E3.

      • It’s been quite some time since my son attended Balboa, and I have friends with kids there now. I’ve never heard of four-hour homework in elementary except in rare cases–which can be discussed with the principal because that violates the district standard. Even in middle school, it’s not *that* bad.

        • It feels like everyone talks about how great Balboa Magnet is and I don’t hear anything about Kester. We live much closer to Kester so if all things are equal I would apply there. I have heard there is more homework at gifted magnets. What would you say is the average for 1st? For 5th?

          • Everyone talks about Balboa because its test scores are insanely high (979?), and as an entire magnet, its scores are more visible than the way LAUSD typically rolls the scores into the home school, some what obscuring the magnet scores and bolstering the scores of the home school. It *is* a great school. My son went there and thrived. And my daughter got in twice. And we turned them down. Twice. She thrived at a neighborhood school–a very high performing neighborhood school.

            My son’s experience is a bit dated, but the new homework guidelines are pretty firm within the district–10 minutes per grade per year through 5th. I remember a LOT of projects at Balboa–projects that felt like they were done more by parents than by students (and that’s how I feel about most fancy projects). I was always disappointed that parents weren’t called out on how much they ‘helped.’ But the actual homework wasn’t overwhelming.

            If you have concerns, go visit during the touring season (this month) and ask.

    • Kestermom and KesterDad, do u know if it is possible to get in at Kester with 8 points? Still cannot reach Kester magnet coordinator.

      • It will depend on the grade level. Are you referring to first grade? What happened when you toured? Did you get a chance to ask then?

        • For 3rd grade admission, Kester’s magnet coordinator is on vacation right now, so we don’t have a chance to ask her yet. No info on tour date either.

  127. Why don’t you tour the school? The homework isn’t that bad. The magnet is very good. If its closer, why not keep it simple?

  128. I have called and was told the magnet does not have a tour this month. I will call again and see if I can speak to someone else. Thanks for your help.

    • Balboa doesn’t have anything listed yet. Neither does Kester. They’ll have to offer tours by early November so definitely call back.

  129. Last year we applied to gifted high ability elementary magnet that takes first grade. Our child’s K teacher designated her as meeting the criteria. She didn’t get in, and we will apply again this year. Will we need her current teacher to redesignate her, or does she now have the “orange folder” without actually having taken the test that isn’t administered until grade 2? Thanks for any information you can provide.

    • Same situation here, deb. I would like to know the answer to this question as well.

      My daughter’s teacher/GATE coordinator told me Olsat test will not be administered this Spring due to budget crisis.

      • I’m hearing it’s not the Olsat test they’re not administering. It might be the CST tests. As soon as I know more, I’ll share.

        • Erin Yoshida & Cathy Estrada from GATE office came to our school recently and made the GATE presentation. That is how I got the news.

  130. I spoke to Kester’s magnet coordinator last week who finally said they have a tentative tour date scheduled for Oct. 22nd. I am calling at the end of this week to confirm.

  131. Yes, I’m curious about the Eagle Gifted Elementary magnet too and will be touring the school in early November. I toured the Sunland Gifted Magnet and was not greatly impressed. Any insights into Eagle Rock would be much appreciated!

    • Eagle Rock seems to be a good school, their class size is 24 students in grade 2-3 and 34 students in grade 4-6. No teaching aid, just parent volunteer in class.

      I decided not to apply at Eagle Rock because they have up to grade 6 and the magnet coordinator said the matriculation points are only awarded when students finish grade 6, so it is not good for me.

      I saw Braddock Gifted Magnet website tin case anyone here want to check out this gifted magnet.

  132. Magnet Tour Date:

    Braddock Drive Gifted/HA/HG Magnet

    Last tour date is NOVEMBER 13TH AT 8:30 A.M.
    Magnet Coordinator: Joyce McClure

    Grade 2-3 24 students
    Grade 4 26 students
    Grade 5 28-31 students

    Last 5 years CST score report.

    2008 100% 100%
    2009 99% 94%
    2010 94% 97%
    2011 98% 100%
    2012 98.5 94%

  133. Wonderland is Gifted/High Ability and works best for High Ability….not necessarily for Gifted. Teachers can be very hit and miss year to year. However, the school atmosphere/events and the field trips keep it fun and interesting. Hope that helps!

    • Thank you. I have a dilemma. We are currently at a charter school that I am pretty happy with. My only problem is that they have no programs that are designed for gifted kids so it is up to the teacher to come up with activities to keep them challenged. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. My only reason to go to Wonderland would be that he would be in a program that is designed for gifted kids and that it would allow
      him to perform at a higher level vs just sliding by. Could you please tell me why you think it is not as good for gifted kids?
      Thank you.

      • I will say the kids learn self-reliance and to generate a lot of material….to me that speaks to ‘High Ability’. ‘Gifted’ varies in its levels and every kid is different even within this category. Happy to share more…. if you leave your email so i can correspond directly…mostly because you and i would be talking very specifically and what we exchange may not apply to all.

        • Thanks MiddleMAD,

          And anything you can be less child-specific about but post for all would be extremely helpful. I’ve mined my two kids experience for over 15 years at every level of gifted, HG, HGA and high ability and my opinions on each. People who post would likely love opinions for those who may think differently.

  134. Help – at two different tours, I heard two different things about adding second or third choices to the application. The first school throught that if you got into your second choice and declined, you would not get any waiting list points for next year. At Eagle Rock ES today, the magnet coordinator said she was pretty sure that if you didn’t get into your first choice and declined your second or third, you would get waiting list points for next year. Does anyone know for sure?

    • The first school is right. Do NOT use the second or third choice option unless you are equally wiling to have your child attend. While it’s unlikely you will get in with zero points, you do not want to get in one month into the school year when they move through the wait list very quickly, and then lose the points you were counting on.

  135. Can anyone here can share your experience with Braddock Drive Gifted/HG/High Ability Magnet? I decided to apply for Braddock Drive and we have been told by the magnet coordinator that we have a good chance of getting accepted with our current points/race. The bus schedule is also good for us.

  136. My 2nd & 5th grade boys are currently attending a private religious school but both seem pretty bored. I believe that both would test as gifted, and I am interested in getting them into SAS programs. Our neighborhood schools are Dearborn & Holmes, but I am especially interested in Nobel. How would I apply for a school when I am not even in the LAUSD “system” at this time? Thanks for this website! This is all a brand new world for me…

    • Hi Bethany,

      My suggestion is going to be to call the District office and get the most up to date information. The applications for SAS will open soon, and you’ll want to make sure you’re complying with the most up to date mandates. I believe you’ll need to have your sons’ school fill out a verification form–but you’ll want that before the SAS applications open. Nobel does receive quite a few SAS applications, and you’ll probably want to apply to a few other schools just in case.

      You’ll be able to look at other SAS programs from the following website as well, including elementaries that might interest you for your son.

      Contact info for gifted office is here:

      Good luck.

  137. For gifted magnet applicants (high ability students meet all 4 critical thinking & problem-solving skills), parents will receive child’s eligibility notification letter at the end of February. The deadline for LAUSD teacher to submit teacher’s recommendation is 2/13/13 (today).

    The acceptance letter will come out later or later in 1st week of April. Students have until April 19, 2013 to decline or accept the placement.

      • The verification letter that will mail out at the end of this month is for students who apply at gifted magnet based on Critical Thinking & Problem Solving skills ONLY. This criteria requires teacher’s recommendation. If your kid passed OLSAT, Raven etc, you will not get this letter if your kid applied at gifted magnet based on OLSAT, Raven, CST scores etc,

        Parents will receive a letter in notifying magnet placement in March or 1st week of April.

  138. I received the verification email today, stating that my first grader is eligible for the gifted magnet we applied to. My question: If he doesn’t get into the magnet, will he be considered “gifted” from now on or will he need to re-earn his eligibility via future test scores? Thanks!

    • My daughter’s teacher told us that for a high ability student based on teacher’s recommendation, it does not mean the child is in GATE program.

      If your son does not get in at gifted magnet, next year you will have to ask another teacher to submit another recommendation form for gifted magnet application. All second graders will take OLSAT test which would be a good chance to get into GATE program.

      • That’s my understanding, as well. Of course, for official LAUSD responses, contact the magnet and/or gifted offices. Things change so quickly down there, I don’t ever want to give someone the info and have it change by the time they reapply.

  139. We got into Balboa!! Yeah! Our son will be starting the third grade. When we shared our news with our neighbor she kind of winced and said, “Oh, Balboa. Get ready for a lot of homework.” She knows our son likes to ride his bike and play legos for hours after school not sit and do homework. While he is bright and does brilliantly in school, when he gets home he wants to be a kid. I am nervous now. I thought the district had standards on homework time. I was told that there would be projects throughout the year so we were aware of that. She continued by saying, “Balboa was a good school for the “right” kind of kid.” What?! Is my son the “right” child for Balboa? What is the “right” kind of kid? He’s bright but he isn’t Einstein and he doesn’t come home and write computer programs.

    All and any responses (candid, open and honest) please. Also, if we turn it down, my wife has informed me we will lose all of our points for Middle School and will only possibly be able to accumulate possibly 8 points versus the max of 12??!! Now my Yeah! face has surely turned ’round.

    Please help community…


    • Having a kid at Balboa a decade ago, and a kid at a high performing neighborhood elementary who graduated last June, the homework is always dependent on the specific teacher–not a specific school. For full disclosure, my son went and graduated in 2001. And my daughter got in twice–in first grade and for fourth. We lost our points and went SAS for middle school.

      Some teachers assign more homework. Some totally expect kids to be in soccer and have a life outside of school. Whether he attends Balboa or he continues where he is, you will notice a bump of homework in third grade. You will also, as an active parent, quickly begin to quote the homework guidelines, and you can make it clear how you feel. Get on the school site council if you want to make sure that your voice is heard.

      I love neighbors, and they mean well. Heck, this blog offers unsolicited advice for getting into a variety of schools.

      Bottom line, if you turn it down, there will be a very ecstatic family of a third grader getting that phone call. If it was where you wanted your son to go until talking to that neighbor, it is the same place. I don’t know what your neighbor is basing her ‘advice’ on.

      • MagnetAngel you are an angel. I could feel my heart rate decreasing as I read your reply. I don’t know where she gets her information for doling out her ‘advice’ either but she seems to be in with all the moms in the neighborhood and up to date on school information so I thought it might be valid. Our son is a great boy with tons of energy and a desire to learn and do his best. My wife and I are hoping this opportunity proves to be a wonderful opportunity for our son and our family.

        • It’s all relative. Some is project based, and when you go to open house, you’ll admire those beautiful assignments (many completed by parents–just like any other school). I don’t recall the homework being so dreadful with my son (except when he procrastinated, which wasn’t the teacher’s fault), and I know parents there now who are not big on excess homework, and I haven’t heard them scream.

          Balboa has a great outreach program, and there’s nothing wrong with calling and ask to talk to some current parents. Or find out when their next PTO meeting is, and show up. They’ll put you to work, and you’ll be able to ask all kinds of questions of actual parents.

    • LAUSD homework policy is 10 minutes/day for kindergarten, so 3rd grade is 30 minutes/day with additional time for reading log. Homework assignments would comprise around 20% of a student’s academic grade, so your child will have to get used to the homework routine. My child will be attending grade 3 at gifted magnet as well, I am going to get a homework helper for her.

      • This is the official policy. And I can assure you some teachers abide by it, and some don’t. My daughter’s non-magnet third grade teacher assigned so much that *I* couldn’t complete it in 2 1/2 hours. And we fought it. On the other hand, her fourth and fifth grade teachers gave minimal homework and her test scores continued to rise.

        It’s a case of trying to balance being a pain in the rear and knowing what you can handle.

      • 30 minutes is completely fine. I would expect as much. It seems as though it was inferred that it may be an hour plus each night. We do at least 30 mins each night of very repetitive, fairly unchallenging work as it is now. Not including 20-30 minutes of reading before bedtime. I hope Balboa will at least provide stimulating homework and not just repetitive worksheets? We’ll see. Thank you for your input.

  140. Need some advice fellow parents! We have a 3rd grader in private school currently and are contemplating a switch to public school. How can we get our child tested for the gifted programs if we are currently don’t attend a LAUSD school?

    • You can have the current school or your child’s teacher to write a note and show the types of work he or she has been doing before you transfer in. I’d call the gifted office and ask specifics. Magnet season is over, and SAS season is in full swing. Depending on where you’re hoping to send your child, you’ll either need paperwork or you’ll want to ask for testing when you get there.

  141. My son will be in high school next year. Our home school is Granada Hill High, and he is identified as HG. We are debating which one to go, North Hollywood Highly Gifted or Granada Hill which has excellent honor programs. I have heard good and bad things about both. Any advice or insights would be appreciated.

    • I’ve known HG kids who went to both. I know kids who loved Granada, had reservations about Granada and I’ve even had great conversations with a kid who started at Granada, but longed for NoHo and transferred there to be among his ‘people’ midway through.

      If Granada is your home school, you have a bit of a benefit going into this decision. While the highly gifted magnet requires points and is difficult enough to get into–as you make the decision, you can opt for NoHo, and if he decides otherwise, Granada is always going to take you back.

      I would definitely say tour both this fall, get a firm understanding of the limitations of both (one is large and lacks flexibility, and the other is small and in danger of funding removal all the time).

      We have a few parents from both who post here, so hopefully they can respond with current opinions.

      • Since my son is currently at a gifted magnet school and has enough points, he probably won’t have problem getting into NoHo. But I have heard the extreme competition at NoHo and wonder if it’s true that good colleges have certain ‘quote’ as to the max number of students they would admit from each high school, while (highly) gifted or not seems completely irrelevant at Granada high and the kid can feel lost in such a big school, so different from the small community he is used to. Hopefully we can hear more opinion from other parents who have been at either Granada or NoHo.

        • Given that the population at NoHo is so small, I wouldn’t worry about caps or quotas at specific colleges for how many kids get in.

          • My son went to the HGM and is now a college junior. The students from the HGM do VERY well with college admissions. However, there are not huge numbers of HGM students being admitted to colleges with single-digit admissions rates. On the other hand, there are no guarantees that a student would do any better in the admissions lottery for these kinds of schools anywhere else.

            Our family did talk about the entire college admissions thing when my son was considering the HGM. He was the academic star at another LA magnet, but felt unchallenged and freakish. At the HGM he was middle of the pack. Would he have done “better” in college admissions (meaning admission to those lottery schools) if he was the val at his previous middling school than he ended up doing (meaning “early decision” binding admission to a private university with an admissions rate around 20%)? No idea, but he’s incredibly happy where he is, and he entered college VERY well prepared academically.

        • I’ve also heard rumors for years about maximum quotas at top colleges, but the acceptance numbers at North Hollywood HGM seem to contradict their existence (unless they’re very high for such a tiny program).

          For example, in 2015, 4 students were accepted to Harvard… in a class of 72 students. Only 2 chose to go there while the other 2 chose other schools with very generous financial packages. The matriculation list at NoHo’s website only shows where students chose to go, not the acceptances. However, NoHo students/parents can ask the HGM counselor for historical acceptance info for individual schools and she will share them. My oldest is a junior now so we’re starting to look at colleges so we had to dig past these rumors.

          I hope quota concerns do not stop anyone from choosing this gem of a program.

          • It was never quota concerns that gave us pause, it’s more a case with the small class size and schedule limitations.

            I would hate to think a kid would opt not to go to a school because they are afraid of how many might be applying to a specific college. At 13 or 14, I’d hope they are looking at the opportunities an entire program offers.

    • Can I ask if EEP program is like taking college course during high school years? I heard aboutthis EEP program before and I already check out their website, I still don’t know why people said this program is for gifted or HG kids.

  142. Hi,

    I had the same problem last year. The counselor assigned to my son in Granada wasn’t helpful. I was asking wuesions & comparing his curriculum in Noho to Granada & she interpreted it as me trying to get special treatment for my son when I asked if he is automatically placed in Honors classes. A different counselor in Granada explained that Honors & AP classes are first come first serve but they accomodate neighborhood kids first whereas in Noho HGM whether you like it or not you take the required curriculum w/c in ludes all Honors & AP starting freshman. Some kids from IHP middle school program like Reed took Algebra 2 and pre calculus in middle school so they start 9th grade with Honors Math Analysis(pre calc) or AP Calculus whic means they already have 2 AP class in 9 th grAde. My sons friends went to both Granada and Van Nuys whic is why he wanted to go to either of them. I told him to try Noho HGM for 1 year (he has 1 bestfriend that went there as well) and 1 other classmate. Now he loves it. It’s a poor school & we depend on volunteers to coach his track ‘ cross country team. Their scien e bowl team haz been winning for 11 years. It consist of math, algebra, calculus, physics and chemistry and their cyberpatriot team finished 6th in the nation.

  143. I’m wondering if anyone can offer advice about advocating for gifted programming within a dual language immersion elementary or within a non-magnet school. We value learning in two languages but want to make sure our child is challenged. Is it still true (as described in a comment early in this thread) that schools are required to submit plans and to have a GATE parent coordinator? I’ve read about after-school gifted programs too. What should I be advocating for as the new school year approaches? Any advice greatly appreciated!

    • I’m sure it depends on size, but at my daughter’s elementary school based on their demographics, the GATE coordinator also handled bilingual stuff for the very small population at the school and was less than part time (I think paid for a day, and volunteered another day or two each week).

      If there’s an afterschool program, I’d be curious how that works.

      If you have concerns, talk to the school first, and then contact the gifted office.

      Good luck, and let us know what you find out.

  144. Does LAUSD use the raven test for gifted testing? Child is attending gifted magnet 2nd grade, qualified by teacher recommendation. What happens if child doesn’t qualify based on the LAUSD IQ test. Does he get kicked out of gifted program?

    • He won’t be kicked out. In second grade, all students take the OLSAT (Otis Lemmon). If further testing is required (for highly gifted), you’ll be informed, but they do not kick out any kid who doesn’t identify at that point.

      Good luck

      • 2 years CST scores can also be used if the child does not qualify for GATE based on Raven or OLSAT.

        My child was also qualify by teacher recommendation, but she passed OLSAT test a few months ago, so she is now in GATE,

        • Advice for a friend who wants her child to be able to access SAS/GATE? Since there are no CSTs this year, they’ve lost their option to possibly trigger Gifted label. Their charter school just announced that LAUSD isn’t coming to test the kids this year. Any other options? Thanks!

          • Every kid is going to be in the same no-CST boat. Schools with SAS programs are going to be flexible with grades and other options. Have your friend attend a tour next fall and she will be able to get a better idea. For high school consideration, our middle school has the PSAT, which at least is a standardized test option–not for all, but it’s an option.

  145. I think you have to ask for the Raven now, if student passes the OLSAT. Raven scores are for Highly Gifted status (though services in this category are sparse) .Gifted can also be accessed through STAR scores in the advanced range.

  146. Yes, to qualify for HG programs you must request that your child be tested by Psychological Services branch (assuming they do well on the Otis). The psychologists choose from any number of tests (RAVEN, WISC-IV, etc.) based upon the child’s circumstances, age, disabilities, etc. Yes, for younger ones usually it is the RAVEN but my child had the WISC-IV in third grade as well.

    But as MagnetAngel said, once identified, you’re in. They don’t take it away.

  147. I would be truly grateful if someone can clear this up for me…. what is the difference between SAS classes and classes in a gifted high ability magnet. I’m looking at two different Middle schools, one with an SAS program and another one is a gifted high ability magnet. I understand the criteria of how to apply. What I’m confused about are the actual classes.

    • SAS (Schools for Advanced Studies) are essentially “gifted” cluster rooms within a regular school. Kids who meet gifted criteria are placed together in those classes with teachers who have gotten some extra training in teaching the gifted. Supposedly they teach the same State-mandated curriculum as the regular classes in a deeper way.

      Gifted Magnets are entire magnets of only gifted kids, also with teachers who teach gifted material and have training. Same State-mandated curriculum.

      So what’s the actual academic difference? Totally depends on the creativity of the teacher. In general, none. Same mandated grade level curriculum, taught for gifted kids.

      The bigger reason many people prefer the magnets is the environment/demographics. First, if all the kids are gifted there it makes for a different place. Second, magnets mean every child’s parent is involved and informed enough to apply and get the kid in, so you automatically have a more aware/involved parent body. Third, being in a magnet automatically gets you 12 culmination points toward a magnet middle school so you will have better choices and don’t have to keep playing the points game.

      That’s my take on it. Others?

      • And in some schools, the SAS is preferable, and in others, the magnet is preferable. Again it comes to the teachers. And since SAS give out their additional spots by lottery, many (if not most) of the time, those parents are just as eager to be involved.

        And remember, even ‘regular’ magnets have an honors track. Again it comes down to who is teaching.

  148. My 10 1/2 old daughter is scheduled for individual test in highly gifted category in 1 week. My understanding was tests Raven, given in a group setting. Several other kids in her school will tested too, but only she is 101. She does not have any special needs. Please Magnet Yenta, San Jose, Portola parents enlighten me from your experience: what kind of assessment tests given in a 101 setting? Deeply appreciate any input.
    Very Stressed Out,

    • I don’t know what you mean by 101… Testing one on one with just her and the psychologist? If so, she is probably being given a different test like the WISC IV or such. There are several tests they can choose from and you can’t (shouldn’t) study for them so just get her a good nights sleep and breakfast and tell her to do her best! Good luck!

  149. Just saw this info on current GATE newsletter,

    Click to access ParentNewletterSept_2013-14.pdf

    Every year thousands of students from LAUSD schools, including affiliated and independent charters, are referred for testing to be identified as gifted in the Intellectual category. During the 2012-2013 school year alone Designated GATE Psychologists administered the assessments to 11,176 students, with another 4,600 still waiting to be tested from previous year. Due to high demand, loss of resources and limited personnel, there is often a significant amount of time that may pass between the submission of the referral, the administration of the test and notification of results. Please be aware of the following if your child is referred for GATE testing:

    Before the Test

    It is the school’s responsibility to:
    • Complete all paperwork and submit documentation to the local area Designated GATE Psychologist
    • Communicate questions/concerns about referrals directly to the Designated GATE Psychologist (not the Central GATE Office)
    • Notify the parent when the psychologist is coming to the school to test

    It is the parent’s responsibility to:
    • Sign and return the Parent Consent form to school in a timely manner
    • Not pre-expose the child to any part of the intellectual assessment or practice with items that may be similar to items on the test. Doing so may invalidate the results of the test, requiring the child to be retested at a later time with another assessment
    • Assure that the child gets a good night’s rest and has breakfast before the test
    • Be encouraging and minimize any anxiety the child may have about the test

    During the Test
    Please understand that it is the discretion of the GATE psychologist to choose the most appropriate assessment to administer to the child. The school or parent may not request a specific test to be administered. However, testing accommodations may be given based on a child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), if applicable. The psychologist also has the discretion to discontinue testing if the child has prior knowledge about the test.

    After the Test
    The school will receive a notification letter stating if the child is eligible or ineligible for the GATE program. It is the school’s responsibility to forward this letter home. If many months have passed after the test was administered and the school has not yet notified the parent of the results, then contact the school’s GATE Coordinator. If the school does not have a GATE Coordinator or if the parent needs to request a copy of the actual score, then call the Central GATE Office at (213) 241-6500.

  150. I have a question concerning Portola HG magnet.
    I heard someone say “if your child has scored 99.4 on the test w/ LAUSD psychologist, then you should try to get into Portola (honors program) on permit or lottery because they will backfill students into the HG magnet after a semester. Does anyone know if this is true?

    • I have not heard this and admittance to HG magnets is supposed to be restricted to those scoring 99.9 and backfilled with those scoring 99.5 if space is available. With that said, schools take liberties with the rules. I do know of cases when kids over the HG test requirements went into the regular school at Portola (because parents forgot to enroll them in the magnet thru CHOICES) and then the school let them enter the magnet later, but they met the HG criteria.

      The only way to know is ask…

      And… Be sure you want to go there anyway.

  151. I was told by the magnet coordinator at my son’s elementary school that he would be eligible to apply to highly gifted magnet HIGH SCHOOL with that score because they have a hard time finding enough applicants. I’m sure his grades would scare them off, but that’s another story…

    • “…they have a hard time finding enough applicants…”

      That used to definitely be the case a few years ago, but since they broadened the HG criteria a few years ago to allow 99.5 and up (if space is available), even the HG high school can have a waitlist now. It just depends on the year and lottery pool.

  152. Dear Magnet Yenta and other knowledgeable people,
    Please educate me, besides getting into a HGM school like Portola, what else can child scored in 99.9% can expect to be entitled in future to, college scholarship or else?

    • Highly gifted students do get scholarships–but for their grades and test scores (SAT and ACT). Essentially once a child is in high school, it’s about being in honors and AP classes, and less about the specific designation of highly gifted. Once in HS, it’s about performance, not designation.

      • Thanks magnetangel!
        It’s not clear for me. Is a child’s IQ estimated by LAUSD have an official power and can be used in references in the future.
        Once again thank you

        • Your child’s LAUSD highly gifted designation pretty much ends at the end of high school. Colleges do not have a line for ‘highly gifted,’ or even just ‘gifted’ on their applications. Colleges want to see performance in honors and AP courses.

          Perhaps your child can join MENSA?

  153. Other than Mirman, are there any private schools that provide opportunities for the highly gifted population? Thanks!

  154. Bridges Academy in Studio City serves 2E highly gifted and outside of LA, the Davidson Academy in Reno, NV, which has a boarding school option.

  155. Well Salsa, my child is a YS at Davidson and maybe they’ve changed it, but as recently as two years ago they offered a boarding option that was “family boarding” meaning your child lived with a local family to be able to attend. So no, it isn’t a typical “boarding school.”

    Perhaps they’ve changed it but we toured the school and spoke with administrators and at the time they were pushing that option as few families can relocate to Reno to attend.

      • No problem. It is very possible they discontinued that program… but it is worth asking about! FWIW the school is beautiful and in a secure building/grounds on a corner of the UNR campus.

    • MJ kindly don’t troll. HG is a small underserved population that very few public schools (most especially LAUSD) can adequately support. I started this thread looking for alternative resources. Don’t snark when parents are looking for help, really.

  156. Please do not jump to conclusions. I was not trolling nor was I snarking so do not accuse me of that. I mean what I said “or you could transfer ger to public school”. LAUSD may not be great by they have a lot of HG schools. My son went to public school and I never regretted it. He is now in NHHSHG and loving it. Again do not accuse me of anything or jump to conclusions. There was NOTHING wrong with what I said.

  157. Is a gifted freshman better served by a Humanities SAS high school with other gifted kids or the Cleveland Humanities Magnet? North Hollywood, Cleveland and Taft offer the SAS option. Cleveland Magnet seems to be quite successful bringing all students up to an incredible level, but you do have to follow their schedule, leaving not a lot of room for electives. Any one have any thoughts or experience with these programs? Also, my child does have scores and grades that qualify him for Taft IHP but he needs to be seduced by electives to work on the college A-G requirements. He is the typical gifted kid who bristles at hard work. So maybe not the best fit for the accelerated Taft IHP. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • If you have concerns over Taft’s IHP, be warned: Cleveland magnet kids love it. They’re up late, they work very hard, and the ones I know are passionate about how they love it. For my daughter, with a full complement of music EC, we’re not considering it. And yet, there are other kids in her same conservatory who attend and love it. The work is demanding. It’s not unusual for the kids to be doing homework after midnite.

      I don’t know anyone in Taft’s IHP, currently, but I know families who attend and they support it wholeheartedly.

      Are those the only schools you’re looking at? Verdugo Performing Arts Magnet offers interesting music electives, plus the home school’s electives, and the option of taking classes at Glendale Community College. Van Nuys HS has a variety of electives under three magnets that work together as a single super magnet. There are plenty of elective options–both AP and regular HS electives.

  158. Hi,
    I’m not sure if this is the right forum, so please excuse me in advance.

    If you had a choice to enroll an HGA (not HG) student in either Porter Magnet or Portola Magnet, which would you choose?
    Thanks so much!

  159. My son went Porter after Balboa then moved on to North Hollywood HG where most of his classmates are from Portola & Walter Reed. He loved Porter. I don’t know much about Portola so I cannot compare. Coming from Balboa Porter gifted was easy & could’ve been more challenging in English. But then I thought Math in Tulsa El SAS program was better than Balboa. That’s my personal opinion at the time my son was there.

  160. My child just took WISC IV test today at her school, is it too soon for me to request a copy of my child’s test result from LAUSD? (by fax)

    It is not always Raven, sometimes they are group tests and sometimes they are individual. I am a bit nervous with test result because I thought my child would do better with Raven. She got 99-9 in OLSAT test, but that does not related to IQ test.

    • Probably way too soon. The fastest I’d inquire is after the first of the year, and then they can tell you.

      Best of luck.

      • I have a child who goes to Balboa and is i 1st grade.
        My first child took the raven test and identified HGM but my friend told me her child took the Kaufmam test (verbal test ) not the raven test.
        I’m confused what they are taking. Do they have take different test according to their age?

  161. My daughter is in 3rd grade at an LAUSD SAS elementary. She “passed” the OLSAT in 2nd grade and was identified GATE. The school does not appear to do anything for GATE children and I don’t think there are enough identified 3rd graders to “cluster”.

    I don’t want to get too involved in her schooling but I’m worrying that I’m doing a disservice by not following up with the GATE identification. In other words, I’ve received notification at the end of 2nd grade that she qualified but since then nothing else has happened; I don’t know if I should get involved. Does being at an SAS school mean that they don’t have to provide any services to GATE identified?

    I didn’t go to school in this country so I have no idea what to expect. We live in the boundaries of this SAS school and did not “permit in” if that is relevant.

    • Hi,
      No one can really answer this question for you, but GATE identification is not everything. Believe it or not, even grouping 2-3 students is clustering. Ask to speak to your child’s teacher or the magnet coordinator to see how they differentiate. If they are given the more challenging questions in a group discussion, or allowed to work together, they are clustered. The fact that your daughter is in an SAS means these kids are performing at a higher level. You might not see anything different because they’re all performing at that level.

      I had a highly gifted and highly gifted applicable child, and we opted to leave the second child at her ‘regular’ elementary school rather than move her to a gifted magnet (she got in twice!). She had a strong group of friends, the curriculum was challenging, and I was active at the school so I was able to augment. She’s currently at an SAS program at a middle school. Essentially when they get to middle school, most schools have ‘honors’ tracks and you just have to see what the material is and how they’re teaching it. We also had the experience with the first one where we had him in three schools in three years before we got it right–and there are definite drawback to keep yanking the kid.

      Keep in mind, that LAUSD has very little money alloted for gifted education. Most schools will send teachers to conferences to enhance their teaching methods, so you might not even ‘see’ where the money goes for gifted. It is being invested in the kids, but it’s not a program or a field trip, so you don’t see it. It can be a sore spot, but it’s one that everyone with gifted kids feels. We’d all like to see more money spent on the needs of our kids.

      You can try to look for other programs, but if your child is happy and healthy, perhaps you can find ways to enrich her–after school classes, going to museums on the weekend, musical instruments, etc. Some of that might be available AT the school.

      As you can probably tell, I love my kid, but I don’t find gifted identification the end-all-be-all. I drive her education, and will continue to augment until she graduates. Some people need to see more or need the school to be more active. Some folks just love the label ‘gifted.’ So I might not be the one to seek advice from.

      • Thank you so much for your reply. I found it very helpful.

        I’m not too concerned about her being identified as GATE. I am more concerned about how the curriculum changes with a supposed GATE child. If my daughter is indeed gifted, I’d like to know that they are providing some services because I want her to remain engaged so she likes school. So far they don’t appear to be doing anything but she likes school and she feels like she’s a good student, so that’s fine (my fear is a bored child who causes problems).

        I guess my main questions is: At an SAS school, what, if anything, are they required to do for GATE children?

        Frankly, we have low expectations from any public or private education. We teach our children critical thinking skills at home. For us, school is to learn social skills and, hopefully, to correlate effort with outcome. Any reasoning ability learned at school is a pleasant bonus. Again, I just want to make sure she stays challenged at school and I’m not sure that’ll happen if they teach to the mean and she is one of a few children identified as gifted.

        • This is the GATE page for LAUSD:

          It lists what is supposed to happen. How it plays out at a gifted magnet, an SAS program, or in a clustered classroom will always be up to the school, the teacher, and the children in the class. If you have concerns, my suggestion is to meet with the gifted coordinator and ask to sit in on the class. Schools are required to have two GATE parent meetings a year, and usually they offer some insight into what goes on in a classroom. At this point, I rarely attend because my child is happy, healthy and she feels challenged (not to mention since I’ve been seeing this go on since 1995, I’ve heard it again and again).

          And remember, clustering can happen with as few as 2-3 children in a classroom. Whether the homework is differentiated, or questions in class is differentiated, it could be happening without your daughter even realizing it. And if it’s an SAS program, ALL the children are identified as gifted or high achieving so the mean they teach to is already higher.

        • Are you interested in applying at other SAS school? Gifted magnet is another option. My child passed OLSAT in May, but her name does not appear on GATE roster until November 2nd, She is very happy at her current gifted magnet.

          • Thanks for chiming in. We like being at our neighborhood school and being able to walk. It makes playdates a lot easier too and we really enjoy running into classmates at parks, stores, restaurants, etc. I think there is a good mixture of kids with different strengths and diverse backgrounds.

            I’ll definitely talk to the gifted coordinator when we get back. I’ll try to report back! Thanks for all the great advice.

  162. My child just took district IQ test last month. I sent a fax to request my child’s test score fro GATE office and I just got a result. The paperwork said her score is 99.7% (highly gifted applicable) in Weschsler Non Verbal Scale of Ability (WNV). At first, I thought she got wisc IV, but I was wrong.

    I am interested in Portola HG, but the school is 16 miles away, There is a bus stop that is very closed to us though, just a mile away. We live in West Hollywood. Is there any group project that required meeting on weekend or after school at Portola? Distance is my main concern

    • Be careful with applying. You’ll be accepted only AFTER all HG applicants, including those with 4 or even 0 points. It’s not a reason not to apply, it’s just a reason to make sure you have a great Plan B.

      There will definitely be group work. Middle school is rife with it. And you’ll be attending meetings, evening performances, etc., as well. People drive much farther to my daughter’s middle school in the Valley–kids from Brentwood, Sylmar, Chatsworth and more. Hopefully you can encourage your child to pick groups based on geography. It’s not always their choice. Some group projects are Google.doc based so they can ‘meet’ online. But in the end, you will be driving. A lot.

      • My child will have 16 points by the end of grade 5 (from matriculation and PHBAO), so she should be able to get in or get off waitlist. I know it is harder to get in at Portola for HA applicants.

        Porter magnet coordinator told me that there is no group meeting after school or on weekend, but I have no idea about Portola.I do not drive due to my health problem. My husband drive,but cannot pick u/drop off kids that far.

        My child is currently attending gifted elementary school that is 12 miles away from home, but it must be harder for us for middle school.

        • Porter isn’t necessarily the same as Portola. Have you toured both schools?

          The bus will take care of the school day. But Back to School night, Open House–that’s the stuff I’m talking about–school plays, gifted meetings for parents (at least two a year), curriculum meetings, etc. will all happen around 6 or 7 pm. My daughter has all sorts of after school performances several times a year with orchestra. Other groups will too. Since we live 20 min/13 miles from her campus, we end up picking up at 3, and sitting at a nearby coffeeshop and doing homework (SAS, so no bus). You’ll have to factor that into your day.

          My daughter has friends who live as far as Brentwood. It can be done. But without a car, it will be really tough. Check the bus schedules. I know the Orange Line goes right by this area, so that’s an option.

          Have you looked at SAS or gifted options closer? Like Palms or Paul Revere?

    • From practical experience with my son, a dozen years ago, we live in the NE SFV. He went to Lawrence. We drove, it was no big deal, because my husband worked in Agoura at the time. EVERY single group project was with kids from West Hills. There’s no easy way to navigate that, so it was a 45 minute drive at best, even if the other parents took him home after school. And other parents really didn’t want to let their kids come all the way to our house (which depending on the mess level of the project, wasn’t necessarily a bad thing). But collecting afterward wasn’t easy.

      My daughter is on strict orders to pay attention when she is in group projects to choose friends who live on the way to school (and not further in another direction) as well as finding the kids who will do their share of the work. However, some group projects are assigned not chosen, and it will always be a dance to request groups after a teacher has assigned groups. My daughter has had a few assigned groups. Some of the work was done in class and other group work she’s been able to coordinate over her iTouch.

      I just think it’s a little touchy to choose a school you can’t get to easily, as the kids are going to form attachments, and they’re going to want to come over to each other’s homes or go out afterschool–like to the mall or the movies. As much as it’s a royal pain for us, we want it to be a normal experience, so we of course, accommodate.

      Folks in the 818 are always leery of the ‘hill’ as are folks from the other side. We’ve tried to get together with Brentwood friend on weekends, or downtown where we all drive in on weekends.

  163. Is it true that many parents choose not to send their children into the very rigorous program at NHHS HGM because their GPAs might not end up as high as they would if the kids went to regular high schools? How can I find the high school ranking for NHHS HGM?

    • I’ve heard of many reasons to send or not to send a kid to NHHS, but that has never been one of them.

      Good luck with your decision.

        • Many people like the AP focus. Others do not. I for one sent my son to a school with a true block schedule, he got out at 1 pm every day and he took classes at the community college starting his sophomore year.

          For some folks, the schedule is a bit rigid. Kids have a choice of Spanish or French. Some kids, especially highly gifted kids, have a strong preference of more diverse languages. My kid took Japanese. With a small incoming class each year, there’s just not much room in the schedule for flexibility.

          The school is very small, and always seems to be on the chopping block for LAUSD’s budget cuts. It should not be. Ever. But it is.

          There are numerous great programs out there. You need to go with the one that meets to your child’s needs best. It may be NHHS HGM. It might not be.

          My next one is in 7th grade, and we’re not looking at NHHS for her either. We’re likely to apply to Van Nuys and look at Granada as well. For us, we’ll use a combination of community college classes, and performing arts electives to get her where we want her to be.

          Other people love it. I know kids who went and loved it.

        • Another reason:

          NHHS HGM is very math/science focused. If your child is the “artsy/creative” type, it won’t be a great fit, no matter how gifted. The school doesn’t have a drama program. There isn’t much for writing. The band/orchestra teacher is very good but many HGM kids don’t participate as it conflicts with their (as Angel said) extremely inflexible and demanding class schedule.

          • Actually, “Writing”: in NHHS HGM is excellent but very difficult. I have not idea where you got your info but their freshman H World Lit, Sophomore H English Lit-the program and teachers are reat. And contrary to some belief, “a lot” of these hgm kids have extracurricular activites either, sports, academics, music, synchronized swimming, band, orchestra, I know. My child goes there. Now that you mention it, just about every kid/classmates of my child that I know are either in cheerleading,basketball,xc,track,football,fencing, etc, and they excell at it too.

          • Hi.

            I’m going to allow this to post, but in the future, please be careful in how responses are phrased.

            Most of the ‘Yenta’ responses are first or second hand experience. In the case of NHHS, we attended magnet night, and there was enough inflexibility that we ruled it out. Twice. We are talking about fit, and as you know, every HG kid is different. Other posters may or may not have children attending, but choose not to divulge.

            Thanks for playing nicely, and trusting that we are all here to try to give people a fair, multi-sided opinion to each school.

          • I got my info from my child going there. They have no real theater/drama program, no dance, no visual arts (okay, ceramics)… academically, it is VERY limited in focus (one size fits all — so you better hope your child fits into the mold). I have yet to hear of any way to accelerate in anything other than math or science. Lucky you that it works for your family.

    • Verdugo has a true block schedule. Kids take 3 classes a semester, and switch at the break. They’re working on creating a relationship (and a bus) with Glendale Community College. When my son went, we just drove him to Pierce and Moorpark. The bus would be a nice touch, though.

      I’ve known kids who transferred from Granada to NHHS and were very happy.

      I also know that there are academics outside HS which colleges look very highly upon as self motivation. Taking community college courses are equal to or superior to AP classes, and give the kids a little more flexibility.

      It depends on what the kids’ schedule looks like and what they want to accomplish.

  164. My son was accepted in Granada but I sent him to NHHGM instead. The reason is in the gifted program he gets bored a lot, not enough challenge for him so he starts talking in class & gets in trouble. In NHHGM he was challenge alright. He’s not straight A’s anymore, the competition is fierce & he still talks but not because it’s easy. I told him if he doesn’t like it he can go to Granada or Van Nuys but he likes Noho. Your decision should be based on how hard is your child willing to work, how late is she willing to stay up studying, how much free time is she willing to give up to study, how much time is she willing to put on her studying without stressing herself? Her attitude on heavy homework, ability to adjust to strict demanding teachers to a more reasonable one, fast paced AP classes & a lot of reading. A lot of the kids in the hgm I noticed are self motivated. Their parents dont have to push because they have that drive to excell. Most of them plan to go to Ivy league schools, some read school books for fun & are athletic. These kids are not geeks or nerds, they are driven & hungry for knowledge. A lot of these hg kids are athletes & excell in sports. If your child likes sports she needs to keep her grades up. Granada Hills & Van Nuys are excellent schools w less pressure. Van Nuy’s AP program is #1 five yrs in a row. They have excellent AP teachers.

  165. Good question. I asked Cal Tech’s admission officer about that. I said should I enroll my son to an hg program knowing he wont get straight or put him in regular program where he will have a high gpa. He said they prefer students who took the most rigorous classes avail. to them even though they r not straight A’s to a student who excelled & got a very high gpa but didn’t take advantage of the harder classes anytime. He said they look at the schools the student went to, classes offered in that school, resources available & how much of these the student took advantage of including extracurriculars & sports & his overall gpa.

    • I don’t think kids don’t go to NHHS because of fears to their GPA. And honestly, a college counselor would never know a student chose not to go to a school (NHHS or otherwise).

      I have heard of kids attending less respected high schools to be ranked higher, but that’s a bit of a gamble, too.

      Of all the college presentations, I’ve heard exactly what MJ heard. The only difference is some schools felt APs were better than community college classes, and some felt that community college courses, taken AT a community college (not the kind where they are held strictly on a HS campus for high school students) were superior. I’d think it has some bearing on which community college too.

  166. Also your child’s report card is labeled gifted, hg for highly gifted and hga for highly gifted applicable. Colleges are aware of what this means & would like to see these kids take advantage of harder classes their chosen school offers as much as they can handle.

    • The trick is when you have a kid that’s split down the middle: math/science AND music. If I had to make her choose, I’d have better luck having her cut off her arm. I do think there are ways to make it work, and I’ll have more opinions by next year when she’s in 8th. She probably will not follow her brother’s footsteps to Verdugo, but it’s ok. There’s a decade between them, and so things evolve. In a few more years, there might be even more options.

  167. Can we talk about high schools that actually have complete drama programs (I know about Van Nuys and CHAMPS,) what are the others? I have a gifted kid auditioning for LACHSA, live 25 miles away. So even though it could be a good fit, it could also be a really terrible decision. Also want to know how any kids can pursue drama as an elective given the A-G requirement for UC schools. If you do three years of language (recommended) then you can’t get to drama Freshman year (unless you take language at zero period or off campus.) Would love to hear about other parents’ paths and options. Also, we are operating under the assumption that if our child ends up hating his first choice school, he could get in an SAS/ honors program Sophomore year. Does anybody have any experience with 2nd year admissions for gifted programs?

    • Verdugo is fast becoming a performing arts contender in the NE Valley (if you can call Sunland-Tujunga Valley). That’s where my son went well before the PA component has been added. It sounds like you have an 8th grader, so I’m a year behind you with this one. First child was definitely NOT a PA kid. My issues with the 7th grader are being absolutely uninterested in the travel it would take for LACHSA or Hamilton.

      Verdugo isn’t quite where I want it academically (although their AP Calc teacher has THE highest pass rate in the state). But if they get that partnership with GCC, it might be a very viable option for families with bright kids who want flexibility.

      As for how to do it, there will be summer courses at the community college (or in the evenings). Mine will be the same way in order to accommodate 4 years of orchestra, and at this point she thinks 4 years of water polo.

      Verdugo’s schedule made it that much easier for my son–getting out at 1 pm made a huge difference (plus only 3 classes of homework). They now run a solid 4th period, so students are getting 2 extra classes a year. That frees up some more room, too.

  168. There’s students from NHHG who left
    and transferred to Van Nuys. If she starts Spanish in 8th grade she’ll only have to 2 more years in HS. This is not the same for French in our school.

    • My child is not interested in sports much except swimming, her current gifted school don’t has PE class.,too bad that she may cannot do marching band due to schedule conflict at NHHS.

  169. The HGM kids can take marching and concert band; orchestra seems to be where the scheduling conflict is. Which is a shame since so many HGM kids are excellent string players.

    • It is computer based. Your school will determine the test dates. For instance, ours is something like April 6 to May 7th, but that includes middle school CST testing in science. Schools are going to be provided with carts of iPads and these will travel from school to school.

      Good luck, and let us know how it works out at your school.

  170. Hello!

    I am a mom of a HG 7 year old. I know because I had him tested privately. The psychologist used the WISC test because she said it was the gold standard in testing. My son is set to be tested with LAUSD next week, and I am nervous because I don’t know what the actual test will be used. Does anyone have experience with this and have information on which test they used for their own child? I know there are many different ones, but maybe there are a few that are more commonly used. Thank you! This is a great blog! And once my son tests, I will be able to share my personal experience!

    • If he’s being tested with the entire second grade class, they use the OLSAT. When my daughter was tested in first grade, she was given the Raven.

      • Wow! thank you for the immediate response! He is a 1st grader and he is being tested with the LAUSD psych. I have been waiting for 1 year for him to be tested. Raven, got it! Thank you! Anyone else?

    • For psychologist testing, they tend to use the Raven or WISC for elementary age kids (though also can pick from others). For the regular second grade test for giftedness (versus HG) for all kids, they use the OLSAT as magnetangel said.

  171. My child just took IQ test with LAUSD in Dec 2013, she got WNV test (Wechsler Non Verbal Scale of Ability). My child is in 3rd grade right now, she just turned 8 years old a few weeks before test date. She passed it.

  172. Dont be nervous. When I got a letter asking if they can test my son (10 yrs ago) I didnt know what it meant I just said yes. There’s nothing to it. Later on someone explained to me what it means and why LAUSD do it.

  173. I should explain. I am nervous that he will not test the same on the LAUSD test as he did on the wisc (he scored in the HG range). And since you only get one chance at the IQ test, that his entire school career is at stake.

  174. I didn’t know you can ask for results back then or ask to have your child tested. You only hear about it if your child is recommended for testing by teachers. I never asked. They just sent me a letter later on. I had no idea of the significance of the test either. LAUSD are not vocal about these things. Now it seems a lot of parents know about these things and want their kids tested.

  175. Hi,

    Any strong recommendations for elementary schools in the SFV? My older son starts K in the Fall and I’d love to hear any thoughts on great programs. I’m in no rush to have him tested. We are in the Woodland Hills area but willing to drive. If he ends up in an HGM program down the road that’s fine but for now I’m just looking for a positive and interesting place for elementary school. I appreciate any suggestions.

        • Quick follow up- my older boy attended Haynes for K and 1st grade and we were all really happy. Small, well run school with great community involvement and kind, motivated teachers. We only changed elementary schools because we moved to Agoura. Just wanted to leave a note confirming that Haynes is a great elementary school option in the SFV and for some reason it remains under the radar.

  176. Hi,my son got accepted in San Jose HG for 4th grade. I am concerned about his adjustment because all his friends are in current school. Is there any family from. tarzana, encino or woodland hills attending San Jose?


    • I can’t speak for kids from those specific areas but I know personally a 4th grade super awesome little dude who goes there. It’s a small school, and the kids will settle in quickly if you choose to attend.

      • Thanks for encouraging me. We accepted the offer. Is there a way to find a family from San Jose HG to communicate them before starting school so that I can prepare myself and my son( homework style or other activities in class). If some one can help me in this regard?

        Uzma Nagra

        • Talk to the school. Most magnets have some sort of new students orientation/picnic/family day and families old and new meet and share experiences so they all feel like old pros before the first day of school.

  177. If he’s an outgoing child he shouldn’t have priblems adjusting socially. I’m sure there’s some families in the same situation. He’ll be fine. Dealing with stress caused by transfers is part of life. He’ll be a stronger petson for it.

  178. Remember there’s a long line of wait listed kids. The computer RANDOMLY chooses among the qualified applicants waiting to get in. It’s highly competitive but only good if it’s a good fit. Otherwise it can be overwhelming.

  179. Hi uzma,

    My son also just got accepted to San Jose, but for 2nd grade. We live in the encino area, and I have the same concerns as you. I am hoping there is some kind of way to meet the kids and families during the summer to make the move easier. If you were interested maybe our sons could meet. No pressure, I know the age difference is not ideal.

    • Hi Madlen,
      Thanks for reply. Happy to hear that you live in encino ,very close to Tarzana where I live. I hope we will see each other very soon. Hope this move will be easier for kids.

  180. Hi,
    If a child gets 99% in OLSAT test this year in one particular school district, can he enroll in another school district, different state with percentile he achieved in the test for next grade level

    • I’m not sure how other districts work. I would think it’s up to them to decide what to accept and what to require anew. Contact the school district you are interested in for more specific information.

  181. Hello,
    I just found this site and I’m so grateful. I would like to thank everyone who is out there and willing to help/give information to puzzled parents. Speaking of puzzled parents I am one of them. My son was attending Saticoy Elementary SAS program. I took him out last september and placed him in IVY Bound Academy thinking that’s the right way to go. Now, I am not happy with the school. Exploring my option and got him into GATE program in Portola Middle School and Madison Middle school in SAS. Please advice me which school should I choose since I already made a mistake last year. Thank you

  182. Madison middle school is a very great environment. My son is really enjoying his middle school experience there. Teachers staff and students all seem nice and friendly. HOWEVER the academic challenges are sadly lacking. My son came from gifted immersion program in Colorado. Madison SAS was all I could get him in due to LAUSD’s ridiculous policies. He got a 190 out of 100 on a history project. No paper was required to be more then a paragraph. Even my sin says he needs more of a challenge. He should have been taking algebra this year (7th grade) and is instead in his 2nd year of pre-algebra. And he said what he’s learning I’m English he learned in 4th grade

  183. Hi MagnetAngel,
    Thanks for the reply. I am torn between portola middle school and madison middle school. I already made a mistake and took my son our of saticoy elementary SAS program to charter middle school which I feel is not a fit for him (he loves it). Anyways, madison is the valley. Michele told me that academically is lacking which I already kind of knew. I live right next to madison middle school my son literally will walk there, also the transition is going to be easy cause I’m sure he will have friends from saticoy. On the other hand, if he won’t get challenged he will find trouble to follow either by talking in the classroom or just not studying cause he thinks it’s easy. Any suggestions for madison??? I missed parent information session for madison but attended portola. to start with there are two separate set of kids. You can see just looking at the kids, portola is more high class looking. I know I shouldn’t judge in that perspective what I really like that madison is school within the school. On the other hand portola has reacher set of activities. Any suggestion is appreciated and wanted. Thanks

  184. Please be patient; some of us who respond work during the day!

    I’m familiar with Portola. My child (now in high school) went there. If your child is average/normal with nothing special, you’ll be fine. If you want anything special or out of the norm, good luck. The school is well known for drumming out anyone with special needs, not accommodating acceleration (Highly Gifted Magnet kids in particular), etc. We had some abysmal teachers there (and some good ones). The campus is in a great neighborhood and extremely clean, and generally the kids are good and smart but they do have fights and ethnic tensions at times like any other LAUSD school. The PE program is a joke (=recess. My kid played cards!). It is probably slightly better than the average LAUSD school.

    If you are looking for radical gifted acceleration or accommodation, it really boils down to the individual teachers anyway, not the schools. Most LAUSD parents needing such will do it outside of school.

    If your local school is safe, clean and with peers/friends for your child, I’d say go for it. If it is unsafe, your child has no peers, and they won’t work with you, I’d say going elsewhere would be worth the drive.

    Nobody can tell you what is right as every child is different. Schools our friends loved were horrible for our child, and vice versa. There is no guarantee, unfortunately you have to check it out and try and see with your child. Which, as you know, sometimes doesn’t work out.

    Good luck!

  185. My son did not go there but more than 75% of his classmates in North Hollywood hgm came from there. I can tell they were well prepared for hgm high school which is way more difficult than middle school. If I had known about Walter Reed’s IHP program for ex I would have put my son there no matter the inconveniences it costs me, but thats my individual opinion. A good grade school prepares the student for a challenging middle school & it’s important your middle school will prepare him for the highschool program you have in mind.

  186. I heard that San Jose HG still have few spots for 2- 4 grade. Iam just curious, how is it possible? Is school’s performance going down? Or due to funding cuts in LAUSD? Why their program is not appealing to people? Any experience about this school, specially for 4 th grade?

    • San Jose often has a few spots after the original magnet application. It is still the same school it has been. It’s small. Some people with kids who qualify for San Jose go to Balboa. Others opt to stay at their home school for elementary. LAUSD isn’t doing the same level of testing as it has in previous years, so some kids aren’t identified as quickly as well.

      When my daughter was in 5th, they called to recruit us. We were polite but we were happy where she was.

      • My daughter went to San Jose a few years ago. To be honest, we didn’t think this is a good program, academically, specially in 4th grade when Mrs. Garcia was the teacher. Math wasn’t well taught and language art just so-so. And many kids ended up not having a good foundation for grammar or writing skills. Quite many field trips though, which the kids loved.

        I heard there is a new teacher for 4th grade now.

        Of course it’s individual experience and preference depending on the kid’s self-motivation and parent’s effort behind them. But many parents in my daughter’s class back then shared our disappointment. The only reason for us not having pulled her out was that she was with excellent kids. They had good influence on each other and built long term friendship.

        If you can get into Balboa, that would be much much better. We always wonder why LAUSD can’t make the HG program part of Balboa….

  187. My son (2nd Grade)appeared for OLSAT in March 2014 from his school and he didn’t get through.But we really think he can pass this exam and be identified as a gifted.Can my son take this test again .Is there a way where I can apply for him for this test again???

    • No, but you can request the school have a school psychologist test him separately for giftedness. This may or may not be the same test (often not) and is at LAUSD’s discretion as it costs money… I’d recommend getting a teacher/staff on your side to help advocate your case to justify it.

      But, I’d also suggest you wait a few years. The likelihood is that by fourth grade, if your child has good grades and test scores, he will be identified as Gifted through High Achievement (grades and test scores). See the LAUSD Gifted site for more info:

  188. Thanks mom2ojgh for replying,but can this test be done privately..i mean if school will only pay for 1 time..i can pay from my pocket and get this testing done.Is that possible..

    • Private testing can not be done. And LAUSD will not allow you to pay to retest. There are a variety of reasons, but mostly fairness of the test and equity among students.

  189. 8 yrs ago I got a letter from lausd asking if their school psychologist can test my son for gifted because his teacher thinks he is. I didn’t know anything about it then but later on I learned that the teachers recommends very few students in 2nd grade. In my sons case 4 of them. I got a letter telIing me that his test results shows he’s intellectually gifted. I noticed in the letter there were other qualifications such as “gifted in math and science, gifted in arts”. I was told in math tests in SAS he was the only one who can answer questions that require critical thinking & he was getting perfect scores in CAT. The teachers play a large part in getting tested. He’s now in high school HGM where kids from private schools are accepted if they passed the test for Highly Gifted. I heard though that the older you get the more difficult the test is.

  190. I’m new to all this, I just found out that my child was tested for the olsat test in march 2014, and he passed with 90-94%. Has been identified as gifted. He is going to 3rd grade will be taking SAS classes. Is it a good idea to move him from school and try to see if I could get him into Magnet Elementary school or just keep him there where he will be taking SAS classes.

    • There is no right answer to this and nobody can answer for you. Does your child like their current school? Is he being challenged appropriately or is he bored? Does he have friends? Is the commute close so he would have friends in the neighborhood? If the answer is “yes” to most of these, why fix what isn’t broken? There are gifted children at every school in LAUSD… if the school works for your child, then it works!

      On the other side, if your child is bored/unchallenged, doesn’t have peers, or is unhappy, then it is time to look elsewhere. Being Gifted is just a way to open up more options for you. One thing that is a positive about Magnets is that, once enrolled, you automatically get matriculation points to go to the next level of a Magnet school (e.g. if you are in an elementary Magnet school, you automatically get 12 points toward getting into a Magnet middle school). It is much easier to find a good elementary but harder for middle and high school so if you want to increase chances of finding a good middle/high school later, going magnet makes some sense. Another bonus of magnets is that they are self-selected, e.g. the students there automatically have involved, caring parents because they took the time and energy to apply.

      But again, don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. Many times being in the neighborhood, close to a group of friends, outweighs the other issues. Good luck.

      • You’ll have to choose. When my son was in DAS he was perfecting everything. Then he went to gifted magnet and his Scores went down. He’s now in hgm. It all depends on the teachers and the student.

        Sent from my iPhone


  191. I have been told that Portola HGM plan to add 64 more spots but it may take 2 years to get approved. They have around 60+ kids on Grade 6 waitlist and 30+ kids on Grade 7 waitlist this year.

  192. TO: mom2ojgh, magnetangel, Mary all other active members..
    From: A Desperate NYC Family of a G&T 1st Grader

    Looking for List of Gifted & Talented Schools – Brentwood/Encino/Sherman Oaks area

    We are moving from Manhattan (NYC) to Brentwood/Encino/Sherman Oaks area early next year. Our son attends a G&T school in Manhattan. We would appreciate if someone could provide us a list of G&T elementary schools near Encino area. Our son scored in the 99% in NYC schools OLSAT tests so we are mainly interested in Highly Gifted/Magnet schools. We have been reviewing the eChoice site but it’s difficult to get a sense of distance/quality of schools/academic rigor by looking at a list. Would appreciate if you can post a list (prioritized by distance (from Encino)/quality/academic rigor. Thank you so much for your help….we look forward to being active members of this community in the years to come.

    • Hi guptamail,

      You’ve been on the e-choices website so you realize you will be looking for schools for 2 years or more in the future. By arriving after the application period in October through November (which will be for the 2015-2016 year), you’ll be applying in fall of 2015 for the 2016-17.

      While some people do make the trek ‘over the hill’ depending on where you live will make a huge difference in where you choose for your kids to go. A drive that can take 15 minutes with no traffic could conceivably take 2 hours or more. Encino & Sherman Oaks are on one side of the hill, and Brentwood is on the other.

      While several of us are more well versed on the Valley areas, we do get a few folks who are posting about the Brentwood side, so you might get some help there.

      You will want to contact the LAUSD office to find out if they will accept your child’s testing for a gifted magnet, and what you will need to get tested for highly gifted magnets if you choose to look into those. LAUSD does not typically accept outside testing. Given the time you’ll need to wait before applying, hopefully that gives you enough time to get the testing completed. Only LAUSD testing counts, so asking to pay for an outside service isn’t going to be an option.

      We welcome you to LAUSD, and hope as you narrow down your home search and narrow down your school choices, you throw out a few questions and we’ll try to respond.

      Good luck with your move.

  193. Thank you for your prompt reply. Very kind of you.

    I understand the timing issue. Do these programs have late applications for families that are moving? I also understand that we would need to take the LA exam (makes sense since we would be applying for LA schools). Does one need to be a resident in the District to take the exam or can we fly to LA to take the test?

    Also, our first choices for home would be: Encino (2nd Choice: Sherman Oaks/Studo City….. Brentwood is low on the priority). What are the top schools near Encino? Ideally we would want as short a commute as possible. A list of top 3-4 schools would be fantastic…criteria is….academic rigor (most important), quality of school and commute distance from Encino.


    • Again, contact the district gifted office for official responses. Things change, but as far as I’m aware, you will need to be living in LAUSD and attending an LAUSD school before your child will be tested.

      As this is a volunteer site, specific recommendations can take a while to occur. We occasionally get parents with students at one of the schools who can weigh in on that school, but lists for comparison is a bit beyond our typical scope. Between a site like GreatSchools with parent reviews and ratings and a tour of the schools in your area prior to you moving (assuming you can fly out) will be your best bet.

      Every elementary school will have gifted students and gifted programs, although in LAUSD it’s common to cluster the students among other students as well.

  194. Thank you again. Putting aside the ranking/quality issues….what G&T/magnet schools are near Encino? Since we are not familiar with the geography any names that are near Encino would be helpful….and a good starting point for our research.

    • The schools you are looking for will be labeled as in ESC North.

      Perhaps Kester or Balboa. The list is here:

      However, until tested, your child can not accrue magnet points, and will have very little chance of attending. I’d worry he wouldn’t be able to attend until 3rd or even 4th grade, given the point issue.

      Another option, once you have discussed it with the gifted office would be SAS schools, or schools for advanced studies. They are considered very gifted magnet-like, without the bussing. So as long as driving is an option for you, consider schools in ESC North:

      Each school has its own program, and I haven’t visited any of these, so you’ll have to rely on GreatSchools and possibly touring. These applications will be available in the Spring (April or May).

      Good luck

  195. What is the magnet point system? How does one accrue them? How does someone coming from out of state get them?

    Since our son attends an accelerated program in NYC, we are confident he is at least 2 grade levels ahead of regular school. He has scored in 99 percentile in all the OLSAT and IQ tests he has taken so far. If we come to LA for the test in the Fall and get similar high scores…can we get into Kester for next year Fall or we will need to go through some other point system?

    Really appreciate your help….your comments have been extremely helpful so far.

    • It’s not easy. Unlike other areas, in Los Angeles, the magnet system is an INTEGRATION program. Even the gifted program is aimed at acheiving racial desegregation among the students already here. Students who have not applied previously and students from out of state are at a DISTINCT disadvantage. Testing (or high scores) does not increase the likelihood of admission. There is an entire point process that each applicant receives, ranging from being previously rejected, or graduating from one level to another, whether a sibling already attends, whether the home school has racial imbalance, and whether the home school is already overcrowded.

      You will need to jump through the same hoops, and without points, it’s a challenge to get into the well regarded schools.

    • It’s not easy. Unlike other areas, in Los Angeles, the magnet system is an INTEGRATION program. Even the gifted program is aimed at acheiving racial desegregation among the students already here. Students who have not applied previously and students from out of state are at a DISTINCT disadvantage. Testing (or high scores) does not increase the likelihood of admission. There is an entire point process that each applicant receives, ranging from being previously rejected, or graduating from one level to another, whether a sibling already attends, whether the home school has racial imbalance, and whether the home school is already overcrowded.

      You will need to jump through the same hoops, and without points, it’s a challenge to get into the well regarded schools.

    • Kester and Balboa are gifted magnets. They would require points.

      Assuming you could get into a school that meets your satisfaction for the remainder of 1st grade, you could make it super clear you need him tested ASAP, and apply to SAS with his grades and test scores at the end of 1st grade (in April or May) for 2nd grade. If you move into the zone for the school that has an SAS, and your son tests where you think he will, you would move into the SAS program seamlessly.

    • As others have said, you won’t have much chance at a magnet school until you’ve been here a year. For the move, I agree with others that you should look for an SAS elementary near your new home. First, in elementary, the “gifted” programs don’t vary that much really. Second, as others have said, it is important to have friends nearby and not fun to have to drive around in LA traffic. Our child attended the SAS program at Encino Elementary many years ago and we loved it; she then moved to Balboa (Gifted Magnet). SAS in elementary is very much like gifted clustering where they put the kids who tested together in a class; same as a gifted magnet on a smaller scale. I also think (?) the rules for SAS entry are more “flexible” and up to the administrators as well so you might have more chance to move him in there mid-year if you can convince the staff. But you should still request psychologist testing ASAP.

      SAS schools in the Encino/Tarzana area include:

      (818) 784-1762

      Lanai Rd.
      (818) 788-1590

      Nestle Ave.
      (818) 342-6148

      If you go a short drive west to Woodland Hills, there is also:

      Serrania Ave.
      (818) 340-6700

      Shirley Ave.
      (818) 342-6183

      Welby Way
      (818) 348-1975

      Woodland Hills
      (818) 347-9220

      A little east to Studio City/Sherman Oaks and you can consider

      Carpenter Charter
      (818) 761-4363

      Dixie Canyon
      (818) 784-6283

      I have heard generally good things about all of these schools and am not aware of any with major issues… anyone else?

      Good luck with the move and really, don’t panic Mama Bear! 🙂

  196. Others can better speak to the Magnet point system, but in general you apply for a school and receive points when you do not receive an offer of admission. A smart parent at preschool advised me to apply in the year before my children entered Kindergarten. So in your case, some parents may have accrued two years worth of wait list points before applying to second grade. You also accrue points if your home school is overcrowded or if the student body at your home school is predominantly African American, Asian or Hispanic. Probably not the case with an Encino address. You apply in November for the next school year, and discover your status at the end of March.

    Even without points, however, you can call schools to get on the magnet wait list. There is always movement in the first few weeks of the year and you never know when a spot might need to be filled. So you might want to call Balboa and Kester and inquire about the depths of their wait lists.

    My children attended their high performing home school before switching to a gifted magnet. Depending on your address, you might be at Lanai Road School or Encino Elementary. Both of these school have high scores in the California API game. Chances are these schools also have GATE coordinators. You definitely should communicate your situation to your home school as they will have some support for you and your child. There will be talented teachers who can challenge your child, avoiding boredom at most turns. The GATE coordinator can help your child be placed with the appropriate educator. And we fondly recall the ease of walking to our home school, and playing with friends in the neighborhood before becoming major commuters as of 2nd grade. It is so much more difficult to sustain these early friendships when you have to drive across town to get your child to a playdate.

  197. Well said Magnetangel. We probably should just save this mom the grief and suggest a house move to Wonderland or Carpenter elementary schools until she can figure it all out. I am honestly not familiar with any Encino GATE if anyone else wants to weigh in. An OLSAT is not an IQ test, it is a school readiness quiz. It weeds out the students who may next be allowed to be given an IQ test, but you have to request it as it requires an LAUSD psych to visit (which is expensive for the district:)

    Click to access NewestOLSAT%20PPT%20for%20Parent’s%20Meeting%20Spring%202012(2).pdf

  198. Thank you everyone for the detailed info. I have a lot to research….I like the idea of starting at a local elementary (SAS) program and moving to magnet after we figure out the system. A few questions based on above posts:

    1. Are Wonderland and Carpenter very good? We would be open to moving to these zones. We zeroed in on Encino due to its proximity to Westwood where we would be working. What other family friendly and affordable towns are less than 20/30 min drive to the Westwood area. Of course even Encino can be a long commute in bad traffic but based on Google maps we thought it would be the closest affordable town to Westwood. Any thoughts on both Wonderland/Carpenter and the most affordable/family friendly town near Westwood????

    2. Can one start at a local school in a regular class and move to their SAS program mid-year if the child is bored (confirmed by teachers)? Our child currently attend one of the top G&T school in NYC. We are very involved parents at this school and would continue to do so wherever we move. If we establish a good relationship with the Admin and are able to demonstrate our child’s needs for advanced curriculum, would they place us at the beginning or move us to SAS at least by mid year.

    • Wonderland has residential school program and gifted magnet.(No SAS class)

      Carpenter has residential school program and SAS.

      Both are reputable elementary schools, but they are very crowded and can be hard for you to get in during school year. Why don’t you call those schools with the questions you have?

      NNAT and OLSAT are achievement tests (not IQ test). My child’s school told parents that teacher cannot refer students for IQ testing until the child stay at their school at least one quarter for observation. IQ referral’s deadline is in April, the child likely be tested in Fall or Winter. It also takes a few more months for you to get a test result.

      Studio City is a good option for you. Walter Reed, NHHS HGM, Portola HGM, Carpenter are all good.

      It is not easy for your child to transfer to gifted magnet in just one year because of point system.

  199. If you consider Westwood, Westwood Charter is an excellent elementary school. From there kids go to private or the publics are Emerson and Paul Revere.

    • You will find excellent elementary schools anywhere near Westwood. Overland, Clover, Mar Vista, Fairburn and Warner are all great options.

  200. I’m in a pickle right now. I need help if anyone can chime in w answers to some questions re SAS. My son got called today for Sherman Oaks Elementary K SAS program. In general or specifically to Sherman Oaks Elem and Riverside drive:

    1) Is the class 100% sas or is a cluster in K? Do they have 100% SAS students from grades 1 and up?

    2) how do they teach SAS Kinder kids? Do they get 1st grade work?

    thank you in advance. What a maddening process.

    • Did you get answers to your questions? We are researching SAS vs Highly Gifted Magnet and are looking for similar answers.

      How different is SAS from HGM in 2 or 3rd grade level? Are the kids 1 or 2 grade level ahead? Is SAS at a very good elementary eg Lanai Rd in Encino same as a HGM?

  201. My son is going to a charter school that does not automatically test for gifted. A couple of parents, including myself, have requested our kids to be tested. After a lengthy struggle with the school and the district, two kids were tested. The psychologist tested both of them in 45 min and left. As it turned out, both of them got exactly the same score to the decimal, leaving them 0.5 points from Highly gifted designation. We have asked the district to explain how it was possible for two kids, from the same school, tested on the same day, to get exactly the same score – no answer.

  202. Hi, my daughter was identified gifted in second grade in her OLSAT test. She scored 98 and 97 % in Maths and Eng respectively. Now she is in fifth grade. Will she qualify for admission into a gifted magnet school, even though she does not have sufficinet magnet point ?You answer to this will be very helpful. Thanks.

    • No. In order to apply for a gifted magnet, LAUSD will verify your child’s giftedness before allowing you to enter the lottery. At that point, when all applicants are verified gifted, they go by points and race, points being the biggie. The kids who are gifted AND have the most points will get in.

      With that said, the number of points needed varies by school. Ask the magnet coordinator how many points a child of your race needed last year to enter. It changes yearly by number of applicants and their racial mix, but it will give you some ballpark idea. Good luck!

  203. So my son has the Highly Gifted Applicable label. I know that this means he is able to apply to the Highly Gifted Magnets and can only get in if there are spots available. I was wondering if this designation gives him a leg up when applying to Gifted Magnets or is he in the same boat as all of the gifted kids when applying to those schools. Basically, is he in some sort of weird, LAUSD, gifted purgatory? Thanks!

    • LOL, “LAUSDhurstmyhead” — love the name!

      That’s a good question. Technically I don’t believe there is any advantage of Gifted vs Highly Gifted for Gifted magnets. Non-technically, it is remotely possible the school’s principal/coordinator would want your child more and perhaps bump them up the list on the assumption s/he will help with test scores. But doing so wouldn’t be “according to Hoyle” and according to the LAUSD rules. So I believe the official answer would be “You have no advantage being HG applicable.” Good luck!

  204. The application for my son to take the gifted test has been submitted. His teacher says LAUSD is behind but he’ll be tested early next year. My son is in second grade at a magnet school, the school has a over 90 API. Is it better for a gifted student to attend a gifted school that has the SAS and the GATE programs, even if the school has a low API? Academically my son is doing so well, but I feel he needs to be more challenged, he is getting bored in his class and scoring low on his behavior and social skills. Do gifted school offer a more challenging curriculum than magnets schools?

  205. The psychologists can choose which test is age and situation appropriate based on your child. The Raven is most common for younger kids (4th grade or younger) and WISC IV for older, but I know first graders given the WISC and their are other tests they use as well. But it doesn’t matter. You can’t/shouldn’t study and should just ensure your child is well rested and fed. Good luck!

    • And I’ve known of a case where a child had been exposed to one of the tests (practice test online), and volunteered that to the psychologist, and the test was cancelled and rescheduled. It’s really NOT a good idea to put a kid in a situation where they have to hide something they don’t fully understand.

  206. Hi. I think you typed your sons schools API(90?) wrong. API scores are 3 digits not 2. There are different magnet programs. There’s a Math & Science Magnet, Gifted Magnet, Highly Gifted Magnet, Humanities Magnet, many more. My son was in SAS before transferring to Balboa and it was good. If your son gets bored easily try switching teachers and giving him extra work at home to work on and get him involve in sports and extra curriculars. My son was like that and I had to be strict because I didn’t want him disrespecting the teacher by not listening.

  207. My son was given the highly gifted test (finally!) this past Monday. I called downtown to find out when to expect results and was told that it can take up to two months. Can anyone tell me what time frame you’ve experienced for results? Does it really take that long?

    Also, I was not given any notice that he was going to be given the test on Monday, it just happened out of the blue. We’ve been waiting for two years. After reading the article linked in the comment above just now, I wonder if no notice is a security measure to stop kids/parents from prepping.

  208. Same here. I didn’t know anything about testing. One day I got a letter asking permission if the LAUSD school psychologist could test my child. I gave my permission and that was it. I think it’s better when you don’t know. Stress free for averyone.

  209. A few years back, the school sends home letters to certain parents in 2nd grade asking permission to test their child. They were no explanations and they were vague. I just said yes and one day they sent home results. I wasn’t aware about these things and it wasn’t talked about anywhere. I didn’t know you can ask for the test. No one really talked about it. I wish they were more informative.

  210. My daughter is attending a gifted magnet, but the magnet coordinator told me that I need to find a school for her because of her grades she won’t be able to attend the school next year. I’m so worry to lost the points and at this point is hard to find a magnet with spaces availables. She said that I have to go to a website after after the application window ( October and November ) has closed. Do you know if a magnet can kick a student out?. Need help please!!!.