Who’s afraid of middle school?  EVERYONE!  While elementary schools are cozy and nurturing, it seems as if middle school dumps your precious little one right into a minefield of hormones and horrific loads of homework.  Where you were once welcomed onto the elementary campus with open arms, it seems like you’re left outside giant metal gates at the middle school.  How do you find the right choice for your ten or eleven year old without going crazy?

A few links to help you find the right school:




611 thoughts on “MIDDLE SCHOOLS – HELP!!!

  1. Meet the (Middle School) Magnets will be hosted by Sepulveda Middle School in North Hills on Wednesday, November 12, from 6:30 to 8:30.

    In attendance will be representatives from:

    Columbus Math/Science/Medical,

    Frost Math/Science/Technology,

    Henry Computer/Math/Science/Technology,

    Holmes International Humanities,

    Lawrence Gifted/Highly Gifted/High Ability,

    Madison Health/Medical Careers/Science,

    Nobel Math/Science/Technology,

    Pacoima TV/Performing Arts and Computer/Math,

    Porter Gifted/High Ability,

    Sepulveda Gifted/High Ability,

    Van Nuys Math/Science

    I’m going to try to attend, but I have a conflict. But if anyone does attend, definitely let us know what you heard.

    • Hi all,
      Just wanted to say our son starts this year at Walter Reed Humanities Honors Academy. we live in los feliz and decided not to go to King, we were looking for one of these smaller learning communities, having heard of their success and coming from a private school , thought it might be a good transition and fit.
      we had no points towards magnets and feel lucky to have gotten in. they have a strong parent base and we’ll see, if people are interested in our experience, I’ll write again as time goes by and give details, let me know and i’ll be happy to share . good luck fellow travellers, annabelle

      • I’m definitely interested, Annabelle. Thanks for sharing. Your trek down this road will make it easier on the families that follow 🙂

      • My daughter just started Technology Honors last week at Walter Reed. After only four days, she said her world history/ geography and ancient history teacher is the best teacher she’s ever had. The place is huge and overwhelming, but I have high hopes that she’ll enjoy it. Only five girls in her class out of 34 kids though, the opposite problem with humanities honors. She’ll have this same class all three years so I hope she’ll make good friends.

      • Hi Annabelle
        I have a son who will be starting the Humanities Honors program at Walter Reed this Fall (at least I hope that’s what we learn). He tested as gifted in elementary school and has always done quite well on his standardized tests.
        Academically, I am not concerned about him at all, but do want to know that the classes are relatively small (30-35) and that the assignments provoke collaborative work, rather than lecture and worksheets. Since he goes to Riverside, most of his friends will be going to Milliken, so I have no one to ask. Thanks!

    • Any families out there who can tell me about your experiences at King Middle school ? We just got in to the film/media magnet. still on wait list for the gifted arts/tech magnet. Would love some perspective! We are coming from a small, privileged private school so it will be a big change. thanks!

      • Hi. I’ve never replied to a post before (!), but I spotted your question and thought I would pipe in. My son is in 8th grade and has been at King for his entire middle school experience. For the most part we have been THRILLED with King. The teachers care, they have energy and passion, the work has meaning, the kids are engaged in projects, requiring creativity and imagination, thinking through things, thinking outside of textbook repetition…there are trees on campus, feels woodsy and pretty…This is not a high school, it is a dedicated Middle School, which we also like, for its developmental sensitivities…that’s important. My son is in the Arts & Tech program and for many reasons, we admire his over-all experience at King.

        • Jody: Thank you so much for your reply! That is so helpful. In the end my son felt he really wanted to finish sixth grade at his current school where he’s been since kindergarten but we will be applying to the Art & Tech Magnet again this year for 7th and 8th. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. I still haven’t met any parents from the Film/Media magnet, so that’s a question. We are hoping to get in to Art & Tech but lost all our points accepting and then declining, not realizing we had officially accepted. I’m hoping it won’t be too shocking a transition to go from a small (200+ kids) private school to such a large public in the very hormonal 7th grade if we get in.
          Thanks again, it really helps.

    • Is there a website that rates magnet programs separate from their resident schools? Sort of like Greatschools.com, but provides test scores, comparisons with other schools and performance information for the magnet itself?

      • Not that I’m aware of. LA Times did one for awhile, but the data would be antique at this point. LAUSD loves to use the data to obscure neighbhorhood results, so unless you tour, you won’t see the results in print.

        Any magnet will happily show their scores. Sometimes they will compare to nearby schools. Just be super careful because I have seen fairly good programs try to ‘diss’ nearby higher performing magnets by comparing subgroups inappropriately (entire school to magnet, for instance). I walked out of that presentation in disgust. That’s NOT how schools should recruit families.

    • Hi…we were accepted into the Holmes SAS and the Holmes Humanities Magnet (and due to the SAS acceptanc, into the Honors program with in the Magnet). Ultimately I’d like my son to go to Cleveland Humanities Mag for HS. Which program should we pick??

      • I would pick the magnet just because you get 12 magnet points upon graduation vs maximum of 8 you could otherwise incur by the time you will be applying for HS.

    • can you apply for a charter school now and then later apply for a magnet school as I want to research more magnet schools before I choose but I know I want to apply for milkier performing arts academy

      • You will want to apply to all schools now. Assuming you mean affiliated charter, it’s the same application. While magnets do offer a late application, there is little chance your child will get into most popular magnets after the long wait lists. Do your research, and apply to the one magnet you think you’d like now. If you are referring to real charters–their application is not part of the echoices program, and you’ll want to check for deadlines.

  2. I went on a magnet tour in the West Valley today and a few questions to ask or things to listen for:

    Do they cluster the 6th graders? Specifically, do the 6th graders take PE together alone? Do they let the 6th graders out for lunch early for a week (or two or three) so they learn the difference between the cafeteria, the hash lines, and other ways of finding sustenance? Are the 6th grade classes in one specific area of the campus (or even the entire magnet)?

    Do they “core” the English-Social Studies and Math-Science classes so the kids have only two teachers for four subjects?

    Do they keep their home room teacher for all three years?

    Do they get to choose their electives in sixth grade or are they forced to take an “exploratory” set of electives unless they take up a musical instrument?

    Do they share a bus with another magnet?

    I’ll post some more but this is a start to the conversations.

  3. Anyone loaded w/info on Walter Reed? Would love to know the difference in the IHP verses SAS programs or the Honors Humanities Academy.

    • There are basically three smaller learning communities at Reed: IHP which is only honors, humanities (there’s a regular and honors) and technology (regular and honors). The girls tend to go to humanities and the boys flock to tech. My daughter just started tech this year as a 6th grader and is only one of 5 girls out of 34 students. The SAS program is basically in the main Reed academic area, but scored higher on state testing. They aren’t in any of the smaller learning communities. It’s all very confusing!!!

  4. Hi Marie,

    I have friends with kids at Millikan, but not Reed. I’ll probably make time to go on one of their tours later this school year, or early in the choice season next. Please,report back what you hear.

  5. Angel,
    Am happy to report back after the openhouse on Jan. 14th…am touring the IHP that day and probably the SAS academy on Jan. 28th. Happy New Year! xo.

  6. Hello, I read an article about all the research you have done regarding the LAUSD and navigating the complexities that come with it. I also live in the Valley in the city of San Fernando and I have a 9 year old daughter (Eva). As you can imagine I am frazzled trying to figure out what I’m going to do when Eva goes to middle school. Do you have any suggestions for middle schools here in the valley? While not identified as “gifted”, Eva is considered a “high acheiver” and was placed in the gifted 4th grade class. I would really appreciate any insight or guidance. Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.
    Elena Hernandez

  7. Hi there,

    I am happy with my elementary school but want to start accumulating wait list points for middle school.
    In the FAQ of Magnet Angel you write:
    “Wanting to keep options open for middle school (GRADE 6), some parents start applying to magnet schools in GRADE 3 (picking schools they’re unlikely to get into–i.e. schools with many more applications than openings…”

    So, do you mean apply in Jan. when my child is in 2nd grade FOR a 3rd grade spot in a magnet school? Or wait until he is IN 3rd grade going into 4th????

    Alexis Curry

  8. Alexis,
    I wish there was a way to make a chart or graphic, but the easy answer is you start applying in 2nd:

    Second grade for third grade (get rejected–4 points next year)
    Third grade for fourth grade (get rejected again 4 more points/8 total next year)
    Fourth grade for fifth grade (get rejected again 4 more points/12 total next year)

    So when you apply in the middle of fifth grade you’ve been rejected three years in a row for a total of 12 points.

    Good luck!

  9. Hi Elena,

    The benefit we have in San Fernando is our proximity to the 118 Freeway. Go ahead and apply this year (fourth going into fifth) and apply to a school you can’t likely get into–perhaps Valley Alternative or even Balboa Gifted. The upside is that in the extremely unlikely even your child got in, Balboa would truly meet her needs as gifted kid.

    The much more likely scenario is you will be rejected. You will definitely have four points for the school being PHBAO (Predominantly Hispanic, Black, Asian or Other). You may or may not get overcrowded points, I’m not sure which schools in SF are giving points for overcrowding (you can ask the folks in your office). But by applying and getting rejected, you’d have a minimum of 8 points.

    Magnets to look at include Sepulveda in North Hills, Holmes in Northridge, Nobel in Northridge, Frost in Granada Hills, and perhaps Lawrence in Chatsworth. In addition, depending on where you work, you might find that Millikan in Sherman Oaks or Walter Reed in North Hollywood are all options. All are just 15-25 minutes away by car. Since the brochure applications are due January 9th, the tours are mostly over, but you can find out when their open houses are in the spring to get a feel for them.

    There are plenty of kids from San Fernando that have been to virtually all the schools I’ve listed, so your daughter won’t be the first, will likely not be the last, and she may find several of her classmates making the same trek.

    Good luck, and if there’s anything that needs clarification, please holler and I’ll do my best. Good luck!!

  10. LAUSD Board Member Tamar Galatzan Invites You to her First Ever!

    East Valley Middle School Night

    Featuring presentations on:

    Madison – Millikan – Reed – Romer – Van Nuys

    Wednesday, February 4th * 6:30pm-8:00pm

    Madison Middle School & Medical Magnet Multi-Purpose Room

    13000 Hart Street, North Hollywood, 91605

    (North of Vanowen St & Ethel Ave)

    The transition between elementary and middles school can be scary for students – and parents! The purpose of this event is to expose parents of 3rd to 5th graders to the many programs their neighborhood middle school has to offer. We will have presentations on local Middle Schools: Madison (North Hollywood), Millikan (Sherman Oaks), Reed (North Hollywood), Romer (Van Nuys), and Van Nuys (Sherman Oaks). Additionally, we will have District representatives on Magnet programs, Middle Schools Programs office, and Food Services. We are excited about the prospect of highlighting the things that make LAUSD schools fantastic and encouraging more parents to consider public schools an option for their children.

    Students are welcome!

    Refreshments will be provided. RSVP at (213) 241-6386.

    Hope to see you there,

    Denise Campos
    Director of Community Affairs
    LAUSD Board Member Tamar Galatzan
    Board District 3
    333 S. Beaudry Ave. 24th Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90017

    (213) 241-4588 direct
    (213) 241-6386 main


  11. Hi Gang,
    Found the Walter Reed tour to be truly amazing…think the IHP gives a great deal of private school attention in a public school environment. Warning…does look like a heck of a lot of work for our wee 6th graders but, I have to say, every class I went into? The kids were joyful, talkative, and bright. We went to the humanities tour two weeks later and couldn’t get a feel for the “Real” teachers since they were all in conferences! Saw a bunch of subs who were testing the kids. I do have friends that have kids in that program and love it. They also differentiate between honors and regular classes in the humanities small community. Gosh, certainly a lot to wade thru and think about, isn’t it? Good luck, all, on your searches!
    Oh, one more thing. I’ve heard a lot of folks talk about the point system? We have been collecting points since our daughter was in kindergarten, thinking we’d need them at some point. I’d recommend to everyone to apply EVERY Dec. whether it seems likely you’ll need them or not. How ironic. Walter Reed we’re ZONED for!
    Take care!

  12. My son graduated from Walter Reed’s IHP last year and had a blast. The work was challenging, but not overwhelmingly so. He didn’t have a lot of homework because Reed doesn’t seem to believe in busy work, but he did have to learn to budget his time. The projects were meaningful, and he had to learn to put thought into his work, especially in language arts. IHP kids do learn to write, even the ones who are more interested in math and science. Because the kids take three academically oriented trips, one in each grade, they tend to bond and make lifelong friends. The benefit we didn’t expect was the music education. Reed has long had an outstanding music department led by passionate teachers, and my son came away learning how to play three instruments. What he missed was a chance to play team sports with his classmates. Now that Reed is back on a traditional school year, I was hoping they’d bring back sports, but with all the budget problems in the LAUSD I don’t know. I have a 5th Grade daughter who’d love the IHP, but I’m not sure what lies ahead. Anybody know how smaller learning communities will be impacted??

  13. Hi Marie!

    Thanks for doing the legwork and reporting back! It sounds like you’ve got your choice made.

    Still waffling if I want to go to the Tamar Galatzan thing tonight, but I have a few years before middle school and with everything so up in the air, I might just wait.

  14. Re: #12

    Linda – the IHP program has long been admired by parents… indeed a few years ago, I went to an evening meeting to learn about it prior to having to make the middle school decision. It turned out that our kids were accepted into the gifted magnet at Palms MS which was pretty much on par with Reed’s IHP and music programs.

    LAUSD is moving towards replicating the Small Learning Communities (SLCs) in the middle schools. You will be hearing about these changes soon – keep an eye out for information on Personalized Learning Environments (PLEs). Why they couldn’t just call them SLCs for middle school is beyond me but SLCs have had their challenges. The Board of Ed passed a small schools resolution awhile back but the budget woes are likely to have an impact upon that plan even if Superintendent Cortines sticks with the SLCs.

    One thing I’d like to see is a clear pathway to an IHP high school program for students at Reed’s IHP (and Emerson’s, too). There is a plan to develop several International Baccalaureate programs at a few LAUSD middle and high schools. I’ll post more when I know.

    Bill Ring

  15. Hi WSE, don’t guess. Contact the magnet coordinator and ask: “Last year, how many points did it take for a (insert race)(insert gender) to get in?” The numbers may be different for white/minority and boy and girl.

    If they hedge on answering, then rephrase it, “in the last few years, typically how many points…..”

    Most coordinators will tell you when asked directly.

  16. Hi wse,
    I actually went to the openhouse for LACES and the coordinator was completely forthcoming w/the points info for previous years. We ended up with a different choice so I didn’t write them down. Angel is right. Just call them…they were great at the openhouse.

  17. will do. this is all about next year for my son… we have 12 points… and i think our middle school gets us the extra 4…. looking at millikan performing arts, reed humanities, laces…

  18. Frustration! Considering the unfabulous economy, we actually are in a position to take advantage of other’s misfortune and move closer to potential middle and high schools. We have been in our Silverlake house FOREVER so it is cheaper than an apartment, but my kids got into Wonderland so now we are magnet heads. But where do they go next?

    Everyone loves Reed, Millikan SOCES and those Studio City North Hollywood private schools, so since we can, should we try and move closer? NO one in Silverlake keeps their boys here – they jaunt off to Pasadena for private school, or Ren Arts or??? Have a highly gifted and gifted kid and thinking we are going to end up at North Hollywood High. NO way the twins can both get in to LACES (no sibling points) and I will bust any move necessary to get my one science math geek, and super artsy creative kid into the same school. Why can’t we access the school admission boundary maps? How can I tell my real estate buddy where to look?

    • Geez, we suppose NO ONE in Silverlake has middle school-aged children, so instead of sticking to their guns and insisting on a GREAT Silverlake middle school option, fleeing is better? What if all the Wonderland people went on mass to the same Silverlake public middle school and insisted on the same excellence they experienced at Wonderland?

  19. For the record, the Wonderland parents also flee their middle school, heading for the valley. I believe it is Burroughs.

    A little history – we have been trying to move since it was twins instead of one, aiming at all the usual suspects; San Marino, La Canada and South Pasadena. These districts look great, on paper, to parents with unpredictable freelance incomes, but the price tag didn’t fit. We know LAUSD is a monster, but a many-tentacled one with lots of options for lots of different kinds of kids and I am sure there is something out there for my boys. It’s just that those teen years are coming, and they will soon be six feet tall and they are already boyish smelly, and hillside remodeling would entail nothing short of bankruptcy, and we could really use another shower. So what is the hardship with providing a little transparency and letting the public see those maps?!

  20. Gee everyone with boys I know in Silverlake (and I know a LOT of Silverlake parents) keep their kids in Silverlake. Silverlake HAS a great middle school- King. Have you even taken an honest look at your neighborhood school?

  21. Did the LA Parents Union thing and know that they are working on change, but in time? My kids are almost “special ed” in their needs – we do have an IEP – and I don’t think I can throw them into a student body of 2700+ kids.
    Again, no one will give you the exact number of students on campus…you have to dig for it yourself. LAPU has found that smaller learning communities of 500 students or less create the successes like Ivanhoe and Wonderland, demanding accountability of the student population, and giving teachers more power in the process. Though Reed has a 1000 plus students, the successes mainly come form the smaller learning communities. And Thomas Starr King has not met the basic standards for program improvement nine years running. I have done the research. I have met with Yolie Aguilar. I have organized others and demanded change but I’m not sure it is going to be enough and in time for my kids. I thought fellow bloggers could shed some light and inspirations instead of criticism and blind blithe commentary.

  22. Peggy, your information on King is way out of date and I’m sorry but your attitude towards neighborhood efforts and facilities comes across as a little elitist and superficial. We visited King, which will switch to the regular school calendar next year, has a very impressive new principal and a radically improved Magnet. We have applied to both King Magnet and Renaissance Arts, which we also found very impressive, in a quite different way. I don’t know what “almost special ed” can possibly mean but our normal, intelligent 10 year-old could do perfectly well in either of the above schools with the appropriate level of parental involvement in his education. I do not know anyone who is fleeing to Pasadena, resorting to private schools out of desperation, or who feels the need to leave the neighborhood in a fit of parental martyrdom to obtain a base-level standard of middle-school education for their children elsewhere. Your children are no more or less “special” than any of ours and most of us are content with the progress that has been made in the local educational facilities, while recognizing the need to remain always vigilant. I’m sorry but I suggest you update your research and calm down a little.

  23. We’re in San Fernando and my son did Lawrence for middle school (in Chatsworth, and that’ll be too far for you) and Verdugo Magnet for high school–teachers, counselors and administrators were VERY accommodating for a highly gifted kid vascillating between a math/science curriculum and a passion for (multi)media.

    Keep in mind that junior high sucks for every parent. I almost wish we could blow the middle school concept up and go back to K-8 span schools (like parochial schools without the uniforms and nuns). Too, I’ve had limited dialog with LAPU and small is better–to a point. When you have incredibly bright, quirky kids, too small won’t meet their needs. Just based on what it takes to fill out the “normal” electives and specialized math/science offerings, I almost swear it takes 2000 kids at a high school. SLC are fine, so long as there’s not some artificial barrier keeping kids from one community from taking classes at the other to accommodate scheduling.

    Junior high, you’re really looking for a school willing to differentiate/challenge your children without overwhelming them with gobs of homework. Have you thought of separating the boys, or are they a strong support network for each other? Have you looked at Millikan? I have a friend with a gifted son there and he’s thriving. You’re looking for the best fit possible and in your case it might be a slightly less than perfect fit for each if they’re so wildly different.

    I hope you did apply for a magnet, and you’re looking at a few SAS options and also a couple of charters if any are in your area. When you keep all your options open, the likelihood of getting into more than one and having the luxury of comparing “offers” will help you sleep at night. For what it’s worth, you’re just getting a head start on college applications. Having just gotten my son into school last fall, the skills and organization I learned over all those magnet years is what I needed to help him organize his college brochures, applications, acceptance offers, and finally the myriad of paperwork to get him enrolled and living on campus.

    Good luck, and hang in there Peggy. There were days I thought I wanted to just give up, but kids are resilient, and no school is PERFECT. The sooner you accept “great” or “very good” the sooner your kids will learn to love their environs.

    • Hi Angel,

      I see you are one of the few posters regarding Lawrence HG/HA Magnet. Our daughter starts middle school next year. Our home school is actually Noble, and we had all plans of her going there and being in there SAS program, but has now garnered an acceptance at Lawrence HG/HA. She tested for gifted in 2nd grade at her current school, but did not get the official designation. However, all her other tests scores show her exceeding grade level, she attains all 4s, and her teachers see her as gifted/high ability. I have been looking at Lawrence’s website, reading reviews, talking to another parent with a child there, and I am wondering your thoughts (or anyone else’s) on if you think placement in Lawrence’s program would far exceed what she would experience at a good school such as Noble? I was looking forward to her making social connection with other neighborhood kids at Noble, and getting a quality education there. However, now Lawrence has become an option. Magnet kids come from everywhere, and she might not be able to make those same neighborhood friends, but I understand that it is a program that may give her more challenge, excitement? Interested in your thoughts about whether Lawrence would be that much more of a better experience for her in comparison to SAS at Noble.


      Liza V.

        • Oh, and my daughter is also an advanced violinist. Privates since 2nd grade, LACESMA scholarship winner. Just more info to shape feedback. Thanks!

      • Hi Liza,

        Sometimes ‘choice’ is great, and sometimes it causes grey hairs, no?

        Please keep in mind my son graduated from Lawrence in 2004 as its second graduating class. We considered it highly for my daughter (who would have entered in 2012, graduated MS in 2015), so all my free advice is aged at best.

        That said, Lawrence and Nobel are actually not far apart. Students attend BOTH from all over the Valley, but generally from the West Valley more than the East Valley, but they both have kids attend from all over. There will be kids who live near Lawrence who go to Nobel and kids who live near Nobel who will attend Lawrence, so her friends will still be ‘local.’

        *Generally* speaking a gifted magnet (esp at Lawrence) would be more challenging than the SAS program at either Lawrence or Nobel, but they’d all be fine.

        You’ll have to check which has any strings programs at all. As far as I know, both schools have *band.* As a strong strings player who probably is already in conservatory, you’ll notice that juggling homework with all the lessons, rehearsals and practice will be a challenge, but she’ll have a better ability to organize than the kids who have had very little homework the last few years.

        Depending on what you choose for HS the question is, do you need points? If Granada is your home high school and you’re content with her going there, there’s no issue. If you’ve thought about the Humanities at Cleveland or the other programs such as Van Nuys, Reseda, or others, you might want the magnet points.

        My son LOVED Lawrence. Given that he started there 16 years ago, and it’s been 13 since he graduated, nearly all his teachers are still there. That kind of stability is rare. His former English teacher is now the magnet coordinator, and she’s on top of her game as well. It does seem to many that there’s an issue with the principal/governance at Nobel, but I’m not close enough to really hear through all the drama.

        If you have friends there that you trust, ask them their opinions. You might want to call each school and ask what they can suggest.

        Good luck. You really can’t go wrong with either scenario.

        • Hi Angel,

          Thank you so much for your reply and advice! I really do appreciate it! And yes, it is a good problem to have. The options are both good ones. We bought our house in Northridge two years ago and were very specific about it’s location because I wanted both Nobel and Granada Hills Charter. Beautiful homes off the list because they didn’t make the home school cuts! That said, I still did CHOICES to see…and now here we are with a decision to make! So yes, Granada Hills Charter is our home school as well.

          I spoke with the Magnet coordinator this week at Lawrence, and she was very helpful. I will take your advice and talk to Nobel as well. We were able to take a tour of Nobel, but unfortunately weren’t all to take one for Lawrence. I do hope to attend their open house to get a better idea about offerings and classrooms.

          Although both Nobel SAS and Lawrence G/HA would be great, I am taking into consideration the big difference in population. The 2500 student population at Nobel is daunting, while the 395 for the Magnet program at Lawrence just screams attention and individual learning at me. Not to mention all those interesting electives at Lawrence and the travel opportunities.

          Thanks for all the other insight. All very helpful!


          • Lawrence itself is indeed larger than 395 students–likely 1500-1800 total with the magnet.

            Good luck with your decision.

  24. Peggy I am sorry you found my responses to be “criticism and blind blithe”, but your blanket statements were very insulting to all of us who keep our kids in local Silver Lake schools (note: our daughter was offered a spot in Wonderland when she was in 1st grade. We decided to keep her at Micheltorena because well it is a great school and we value neighborhood, community and we like the idea of allow our kid to walk to a friend’s house instead of driving to a “play date”)
    Truth is, based on your pre existing bias, King would not be a good place you. I wish you and your sons luck.

  25. For the record, leaving this fantastic community was the most difficult aspect of switching to a magnet, but we have made great efforts to keep up with our Silver Lake friends. Yes, it takes a lot of work to organize play dates with those in your bus and school community.

    And as for King, my immediate neighbors send their boys to Poly, Mayfield, Wesley, Ren Arts and the Lycee. They all attended Ivanhoe, and one has a son at Marshall, but not a single parent on my street opted for King. And I live on a tiny street with 8 families total, (the others are singles and long time residents of the neighborhood.) So, that’s my sample.

  26. I’m not going to try to mediate this discussion, but I live in a community I love–it’s walkable, it’s dynamic, and we have our own small-town police department with a 2 minute response time. I have been a city commissioner, and my son speaks out regularly at City Council meetings.

    I also send my kids to schools outside my neighborhood. Oddly enough, my daughter’s best friend at that school (roughly 8-10 miles away) lives maybe 10 blocks away, so her parents chose the same for her. My son’s friends always came from his sport pursuits, not school. My daughter has friends through sports and through school.

    We all want what’s best for our kids, and some people pursue that goal differently. There are all kinds of ways for a family to identify with a school community (or a church, or a sports organization, or you name it).

  27. Thanks, Angel.

    So maybe this is the real discussion:

    Anyone actually at Middle School? Anyone happy with their public Middle School? Why? NOT happy – why? What kind of school is it – neighborhood, magnet, charter, public with application process, etc. How did you cope with the admission process?

    Just a horror story to share regarding the above. When the Middle Schools came to present at Wonderland, one brave magnet parent asked the following question:

    I have a smart kid who has not distinguished himself in any particular way. He does his work, he has decent grades, but he’s not a cello prodigy, or a thespian, or a spelling champ, or a chemist, or a black belt in karate. He’s your basic student, and he is not incredibly motivated beyond being just a kid. Do any of you have a program for him, that will motivate him to be his best?

    Not one of the “specialty” schools (charter, magnet, admission process) stepped up to the plate. It was a very uncomfortable silence, filled only by the home school that has to take the kid. They said they would “work” with him. YIKES!

    These are questions best answered by those already there, and those who have been there, sharing their knowledge and experience, helping those of us who have to survive the parent rumor mill, the stressful “admission process” and tours that only “show and tell” what the school wants to reveal.

  28. King is in the midst of a gigantic overhaul. It is going to the regular school calendar, it has a brilliant, young, Harvard-educated new principal, it is dividing the 2800-student campus into four separate “pods” in order to foster greater intimacy, there is a large beautification program underway, its Magnet has been overhauled and the only contact the Magnet students get with the big, bad general poulation is at lunch and gym. Certain local demographic considerations, such as more middle- and high-school facilities coming online to the south have also proven helpful. If King had not done any of this, it would have been charterised, which would have cost the LAUSD a fortune, so local parents stand to benefit from bureaucratic self-interest, for once. I already mentioned, *we visited the school, attended Magnet classes, which were small-ish and very orderly, and met with the principal*. Have you visited King, Peggy? To rely on the “sample” you cite is preposterous because it does not take into account any recent developments and elevates ignorance of the facts to a credo. If you do not to your homework, how can you expect to avoid accusations of ignorance and elitism? If King is good enough for a large number of middle-class Silver-Lakers who would never have considered it a year ago (we certainly wouldn’t) what makes it so unsuitable for you that it doesn’t even justify due diligence on your part?

    • The only way to really evaluate a school is to visit, and talk to parents who send their children their.

      In my course of work, I have visited King M.S., yes, they have their share of boisterous children, but they have great kids as well! Yes, I am very aware that a lot of the people who live in the neighborhood don’t send their kids to the school. That’s a shame! Some of the cruelest children I’ve encountered have been at the so called “right” schools. Everyone wants the best for their kids, but please be more objective and open minded when evaluating a public school. By the way, I am the parent of special needs kids, and they go to public school.

      • Oops! Long day at work, I do have a University degree and finished in the top 5% of my school, excuse the “their” instead of “there” in my prior post. Best wishes to all!

      • thanks Flora for supporting King and us parents who are or will be sending our kids to king- my daughter will be starting there fall 2011. we are hoping to get her in the magnet (we will have 12 rejection points by then) but if not, we have heard great stuff from many King SAS parents.


  29. To Barry. et. al.,

    Which is exactly why I asked for information from people who have already enrolled their children at middle schools. But maybe you didn’t see that post.

    Yes, King is undergoing a change. Yes, people appreciate the Magnet. But I am in a position where not one but two kids have to win the lottery at the SAME time. What would you do to extend not one, but two childrens’ chances of gaining simultaneous admission? Sibling points do not apply. So moving becomes a realistic, and possibly necessary option.

    Also – is it such a good thing to have a divided community on campus? There is rancor in the canyon about FAIRNESS between home school opportunities and magnet opportunities. Not to mention that in Laurel Canyon, the distinction is hardly about class and race. So if it is a somewhat painful issue in the safe little enclave, I can’t imagine it could be so easily navigated as status quo at King. Maybe the divisiveness benefits the magnet kids, protects them from the big, bad world of the city they live in, but I am not sure it fosters a holistic approach to community. And isn’t that why many of us choose public school?

    I have the advantage of waiting to see how the experiment at King takes root, since my entry date is Fall 2011, and I will go see for myself. But my family has been trying to move (unsuccessfully!) for EIGHT years. Oh the houses that went to so many other lucky bidders or flippers or contractors…We need another bathroom and we can’t configure one in our current location. So my field is wide open. I just would love to hear from parents ALREADY at middle schools. And I did start this post based on the idea of a move, I was just put over the wringer because of it. Should have just asked for opinions instead of venting personal frustrations…

    • Dear Peggy,

      OMG, turn away for a minute and Silverlake middle school chat is heatin’ up the blog! I’m going to take a little time yet to carefully read through all this, but in the meantime I want to thank you, Peggy, for starting this frank and lively discussion– I think these are (in the end) productive and important exchanges to have in our city, to lift our expectations of ALL schools– And just as an FYI, I happen to know Barry is British, so while he’s a really good guy he never hesitates to use language that is well, er, colorful! Barry!

      Love and good vibes to all of you from deep in The Nuys,

  30. Peggy,
    I am not tring to harsh on you (in fact I wish I could say this to you email to email and not in a group seting). Its not that you asked about Silver Lake middle schools, its not that you are looking at all your choices, (all parents need to do that, even if it just leads back to the neighborhood school) but it was the words you used and the tone that you set right off the bat that pissed me off. You dissed us (parents who are or will send their kids to King) with out knowing us or knowing the school.

  31. My daughter, Lucy Madden-Lunsford, now a senior at Marshall High School in the Magnet, attended King Magnet for middle school after Wonderland Magnet. She loved King and she especially loved her creative writing teacher, Steve Abee, who is an incredible teacher…they also had an after school basketball program for girls, and she did the winter play one year. The kids also made movies that premiered one Sunday at the Vista Theatre. She got very involved in school leadership at King too. We were happy there, and I did some writing workshops for kids there too. Location was also really important with two other kids in the family. Our son went to Wonderland and then John Burroughs Magnet and then John Marshall (because King didn’t have a magnet then.) Our youngest goes to Plasencia Magnet in Echo Park. Lucy is going to Sarah Lawrence this fall, so I will be forever grateful to the LAUSD Magnet Program. Our son is a junior at UC Santa Barbara. My husband is also a teacher at Plasencia, so we’ve been LAUSD for 21 years one way or another…Thanks Sandra for being the Magnet Yenta!

  32. Doreet – And I tried to make the point that I had done some work on this, and that my neighborhood sample of all middle school-aged boys has fled. Yes, it is my sample and therefore incomplete, but not a single one of my neighbors has stayed for middle school. For the record, does anyone know if Tomn LaBonge’s son will be going to King? So I need information from people that do know what is happening locally and beyond, and it would be helpful to have someone who has experienced, is experiencing King as Magnet or home school to chime in. Or to chime in on Ren Arts, Millikan (anyone in the science program?) or Madison or the Nuys or Eagle Rock etc.etc. They could best shed light. And my intention was never to diss…just to to get information, to work the system as best possible to get my kids the best education I can (because we can’t afford to imagine private school tuition and wonder even about those almost evaporated college funds – sigh – too bad we don’t have a left-handed pitcher or a hoops prodigy.)All our kids deserve the best – Peggy

  33. Peggy,
    My kids are on both sides of middle school. My son survived his 2001-2004 term at Lawrence. I loved the magnet, wasn’t wild about the home school. My daughter is in 2nd grade, and I’m already looking. I’m not sure if I’d send her to Lawrence (I *love* that most of my son’s great teachers are still there), or if I’ll look at other schools in different areas for her.

    I worry about 2500 kids or more in a middle school. Frankly I don’t want my kids to attend a high school that big.

    I’ll talk to my friend with a son at Millikan. I’m not sure what program he’s in. I know she’s very happy with it.

    For my daughter, I’m leaning toward schools closer to the central or east valley–Holmes has my interest, as do Millikan and Reed (15-20 minute drive). Of course, she’s only turning 8, so I need to keep gathering information until I know where her interests lie.

    My only suggestion is to avoid stressing with the buzz of other parents. When my son went to Lawrence, most of his friends from Balboa went to Porter or Sepulveda. For high school he went to Verdugo–I liked the schedule and the size of the school above all.

    You just need to find the school that’s right for your boys. It will happen.

  34. Thank you, Sandra. You are a good blog prefect. In an English girls’ private school you’d have a little badge that says “Head Girl”.

    We experienced more than a few middle-class tremors upon visiting King, even with all the changes and some pretty impressive classroom drop-ins. It’s a typical, physically unlovely urban middle-school, not the adorable little educational nirvana that is Ivanhoe Elementary. However, I felt that it would be hypocritical of me to commit to a neighborhood as specific as Silver Lake, in all its multicultural glory, without giving this radically improved school a chance. We saw many local parents on the tour and, as I have said, nobody we know is fleeing the neighborhood in despair at local middle-school options. Yes, it’s true that Magnet children are “streamed” away from the general population (I’m using prison terminology with tongue planted firmly in cheek) but there is no way that my childrens’ social world will not be influenced by the experience of a place like King, so I do not believe that the Magnet streaming represents a breach of faith with the way we have chosen to live.

    Now, as for Renaissance Arts: We were blown away. There’s a caveat. Our son is musical (but no prodigy) and welcomes the opportunity to learn the violin, which is just as well as every student must play a stringed instrument and practice for an hour per night. My wife’s family is musical so having a ten year-old sawing away at a fiddle will be a less nerve rattling experience for Jenny than it might otherwise be and she will be able to supervise effectively. Latin is compulsory but I did eleven years of it, so that doesn’t intimidate us either and we welcome its rigor. Latin is unbelievably valuable. RenArts is not the most nurturing environment, however, and our sometimes feckless 10 year-old will get little sympathy if he shirks the academics. We welcome this. We have always thrown him into the deep end and he has always come through so far. PE consists solely of modern dance, so several heavyset dads could be seen walking away from the open house looking horrified. Not a problem for us or for our son. Our daughter may be a different matter and I can anticipate sending both children to separate schools, as she is a jock.

    So, in each case, we face a daunting challenge. At King, the challenge is social; our son will have to deal with a large, urban melting pot for the first time in his life. At RenArts, it’s academic; he will have to work his little butt off just to keep up. But it will see him through high school if he does well.

    It’s all quite scary, no doubt about it, but there is a tendency, which I’m trying to resist, amongst middle-class parents, to worry themselves into a frenzy, a component of which is a certain sense of entitlement. I’m far from immune; if I had the money I might go private and think nothing about turning my boy into Little Lord Fauntleroy. His (maternal) grandmother would love that. However, I do feel that we need to support neighborhood efforts, especially when the local middle-school appears to be walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

    As for Labonge Minor, he’s in my son’s class at Ivanhoe; I think he’s headed for a parochial middle-school. In the neighborhood.

  35. Hi Barry,
    Thanks for the heads up on Ren Arts. Before this discussion, I’d never heard of it before. It’s an interesting idea.

  36. It’s a very successful school, Angel, but a very, very specific vision of the middle- and high- school experience. Jenny and I were educated in the UK so we have no direct experience of conventional American middle or high schools but parents who are nostalgic about their own traditional high-school years might not embrace this for their own children. We await the results of the lottery. If we are successful it’ll be Latin, violin and modern dance for our son, along with rigorous tuition in math and science. Yay.

  37. It’s likely too far from our place to be a viable option, but I’d definitely want people to see it, as an option that balances those Math/Science concerns with the music and art that people want their kids to get.

    Does the school pay for the instruments as well?

  38. Barry,

    I visited Ren Arts last week for their final informational meeting this year. I was very impressed by the teaching approach and subjects taught. I especially appreciated the emphasis on practicing your instrument every night and allowing such by giving little if any homework. Ahh…the dreaded worksheets and plethora of projects that keep my daughter busy every night and weekend!
    Because we visited the school in the evening, I got no sense of how the school truly feels when in session. I would love some description since the environment is truly unique with all the students in one room. Thank you.

  39. Great website.
    My daughter auditioned for Millikan almost 2 weeks ago. We are on pins and needles about the results. There is no doubt about her vocal abilities but our problem is we are waiting to move to the valley from the south bay. She’s been in LAUSD Lawndale and she’s experienced 1) reverse discrimination, 2) getting jumped … you get the picture, it’s been traumatizing to say the least. She doesn’t even tell the kids at school she’s a singer because some kids are really jealous and cruel. So now we’re wondering if she doesn’t get in to Millikan what other performing arts middle schools are there in the valley. We are working with a real estate agent and our number one choice of a place to live is quality of schools. We’re looking at middle schools and high schools. Thanks.

    • Hi Peggy,

      I’m sorry to say I didn’t even realize that Millikan required try-outs for their magnet, so I’m of little use there. Did you contact them directly and ask how much longer you can expect to wait?

      As for performing arts, you can check the echoices website located here: http://echoices.lausd.net/Mag/MagSchoolList.aspx?Specialty=D

      The problem will be that you will apply in December for 2010-11.

      Has your realtor helped you focus on specific neighborhoods yet? Given how big the Valley is and how spread out things are, recommending the Performing Arts magnet in Pacoima might be a real haul if you’re in Sherman Oaks, and I’m not even sure where to start with some of the small learning communities.

      I’ll respond back if you can give us a little guidance.

      • Thank you so much for answering. Well we got the letter today and she didn’t get accepted. She’s put on a waiting list. So now we’re free to look in other neighborhoods to move and actually have an appt with a realtor this evening in Granada Hills. I know they have good schools but I still think we should try for a performing arts school. So you think Pacoima has a good program? I will check that out and if you think of any others near Granada Hills or have suggestions, I welcome them.

  40. Hi Peggy.

    There are great schools in the Granada Hills area for middle school–including Frost, Porter, Nobel, and even Patrick Henry. You’d have to check out Pacoima to see what it offers, and whether it’s going to offer enough for your daughter.

    For high school, you might want to start looking at CHAMPS charter high school in Van Nuys, because they are a Performing Arts school: http://www.champscharter.com/ But even Granada Hills High is known for it’s marching band, drama, and other programs (with 4000 kids, it’s got something for everybody).

  41. I just found this website tonight, and wanted to say thanks for the information. We were accepted off the wait list at Valley Alternative due to class size increases, and turned it down, losing our 12 magnet points. Now we have 0. I figure we may not get the middle school magnet we want, so are looking into SAS schools. In the north valley, I saw mention of Frost, Nobel, and Lawerence, but very little mention of Holmes SAS program. Does anyone have information to share about Holmes SAS?

    • Holmes is a rising star in the Valley middle school buzz. I’ve got my eye on Holmes as a possibility for my daughter, and I know that I have friends who will be looking at it as soon as next year. I’m not sure how long it’s been around, but the buzz is steadily getting better. I’ll be attending any open houses this fall with another family (my daughter has a few years, but I go for moral support and a little recon), so I’ll report back as soon as I hear anything.

      As an aside, since no one planned the class size increases when they applied to Valley Alternative, when did they call you? I’ve definitely had parents asking me about that.

  42. I’d love to hear any info you get on Holmes SAS.

    I got my call from Valley Alternative on May 22. Another family we know with more points got the call a week or two before that, so I was happy when I’d go a day without a phone call, but eventually it came. I had a long conversation with the magnet coordinator, she told me many families had turned them down. I was wondering how far down the list they had to go before receiving acceptances. How many points did the families have who did not get a call?

    • I’ll post back on Holmes, but it unfortunately won’t be ’til late fall, but I’ll definitely keep asking around.

      Regarding Valley Alternative, we were really curious, because magnet apps went in before the class size increases, and I wasn’t sure if the immediate acceptances reflected the new class-size numbers or not. Since Valley Alternative is the assumed turn down from first or second grade on, there were most likely quite a few shocked families. We had debated on applying to Balboa for third or Valley, and went with Valley, because there is a third grade class addition at Balboa, and we were concerned our daughter would get in there. In hindsight that concern pales in comparison.

      Our daughter had 8 points this year, going into third grade (applying during second grade). We are probably not going to apply to SOCES, but we’d like that as an option, if need be.

      Keep in mind as you’re looking at the SAS and some magnets, that the numbers have come down a bit, given the class size increases, and the no-longer automatic “overcrowded” points.

      Even with the high schools, I’ve seen parents apply to three or four and then have the problem of getting into all of them and having to go back and decide. It’s a numbers game, and if you’re in the North SFV, you have a lot of choices. You’ll see Lawrence referred to a lot, since that was where my son went, and to me, it’s still a golden opportunity. Oddly enough, most of my son’s friends went to Porter or Sepulveda, and I hear almost nothing about Sepulveda anymore.

      Hang in there. You don’t sound frenzied, and the longer you can maintain that composure, the easier the year will be. You do have options, and you’ll likely be able to get into at least one of them. 🙂

      • Judy/Angel:

        I have two close friends with their children at Holmes and another friend’s daughter going there this fall. They are very happy with the exception that they feel homework can be heavy in the SAS program. All were in SAS but some of them are moving over to the Magnet side this coming year, where they’ve heard homework is more reasonable. Obviously everyone has different experiences… But in terms of general safety, environment, etc., they seem quite pleased. The third friend entering this year didn’t want to just follow them and did all the tours at Porter, Frost, Nobel, etc. She and her daughter both ended up loving Holmes and are thrilled she got in. It is definitely something worth checking out!

  43. My son was at the Lawrence magnet from 2001-2004. Most of his same teachers are still there. He still goes back to visit many of them.

    We live in San Fernando, and SOCES would be a pretty long commute. I’m also concerned about the 4-12 concept, in regard to the limits it places on some extracurricular activities with the smaller upper grades–namely water polo. We have a friend who teaches there, and there is some drop off in HS because the kids have been there so long. And I’ve seen the summer required reading list, and I do a lot of enrichment with her in the summer, and I don’t want to have to compete with stuff from the school. It’s completely my opinion, and I realize I’m going against conventional wisdom, but I’m used to it.

  44. Thank you Rebekkah for your reply. You have definitely put my mind more at ease. You and magnetangel have been of great comfort. As you can see by my posting times, I am up some nights just trying to research schools. I think SAS is my only option as we lost all our magnet this year being accepted off the wait list at VAS, and turning them down. Do you know how many point your friends had had to be able to move over to the magnet?

      • I think the time is actually Greenwich Mean Time. I’ll look into it, but it’s always about 7-8 later than we post. As for homework in any of the middle schools in the early posts.

        Also, to address the homework load at any of the gifted magnets or SAS, it’s a very common complaint. The schools/teachers balance the needs of the gifted, along with the parents who want them to give tons along and the ones who’d prefer none. Unfortunately, it always seems the parents who are trying to get their kids in Harvard by 8th grade complain louder.

  45. “Unfortunately, it always seems the parents who are trying to get their kids in Harvard by 8th grade complain louder.”

    Actually, we experienced just the opposite in our SAS middle school program. My son appeared to have relatively reasonable homework burdens and only a few assignments during winter break in his SAS/IHP program. A few parents still complained that it was too much. When we asked them how long their kids were spending on homework, it was double and triple what my son was doing and he was getting straight A’s. When I asked my son, he said that the teachers were very explicit about how long to spend on one of the winter break assignments (“no more than 3 hours”) and yet the kids of the complaining parents had spent 20+ hours. Sometimes, I think the parents complaining about too much homework need to take a serious look about how efficient their kids are in doing their homework. You can spend an awful lot of time at a desk with a computer/phone/ipod etc and get very little done. Even if your child is working the whole time, parents need to help kids prioritize and not spend hours on parts of the assignment that should take minutes.

    • There were definitely kids that could turn the simplest projects into huge productions, and kids who goof off on the computer all night, but I happen to be one of the families that believes the break should be just that–a break.

      If a teacher wants to assign homework over the break, I hope they’ll be around to help answer questions. In my experience, that’s not what happens.

      I think middle school, too, at the SAS/Gifted Magnet level is where families realize their kids can be gifted in some subjects and not all areas. My son could plow through math and science at a blistering pace, but a writing assignment could be like pulling teeth. He knew what he wanted to say, but just couldn’t make it take pages.

      I’ve got a few years before I worry about it again with my daughter, but I will be looking at that issue most closely when it comes to choosing a middle school.

  46. Hi Everyone,

    I just found this site and am thrilled to have all this great information. We are moving to Sherman Oaks and my son will be attending Millikan Performing Arts Academy SAS 6th grade permitted. Not the magnet.
    His home school is Van Nuys MS. Last semester when my son was in 5th grade I applied for the magnet and was turned down. Shouldn’t I have 4 points for the 2009-2010 calendar year? I was just told that my son will get 8 points because VN MS is PHBAO and overcrowded? All of this is new to me so any in sight would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks so much,

    • Hi Terry, sorry I missed this until now. You will receive 4 points on the letter you’ll receive next winter. They don’t assume you’ve been turned down until you actually get to the next year.

  47. The coordinator and principal from King middle school (Silver Lake- Los Feliz- Franklin Hills community) Gifted/ High Ability magnet gave a presentation at my daughters grade school (Micheltorena Street School) today. WOW this program sound GREAT!!! They are offering tour’s to interested parents/ community members in November and December. Their contact info is (323) 644-6754.

  48. Want to be sure you all know about our middle school night in Local District 3. Wednesday December 2, 2009 from 6PM to 8:15PM. Webster Middle School Auditorium. Featuring presentations from LD 3 middle schools and information on the following: transitioning to middle school, grading, counseling, testing, enrichment, parent involvement and more. We’re working to better connect our school families on the westside and I’ll be sharing some information about that – hope to see you there.

    Bill Ring/LD 3 Parent Community Advisory Council

  49. Trying again (prior post didn’t take)…

    Attention: Westside Elementary School Parents
    Westside (Local District 3) Middle School Night
    Wed., Dec. 2, 2009
    6:00PM to 8:15PM
    Webster Middle School Auditorium
    11330 Graham Place, L.A. 90064
    Presentations from LD 3 Middle Schools. Talk with school teams and parents. I’ll also be sharing some information about how
    we are working to improve and connect our school communities.
    Hope to see you there.

    Bill Ring/LD3 Parent Community Advisory Council

  50. **Also posted under Magnets**
    (Info from Boardmembers Galatzan/Martinez)

    East Valley Middle School Night

    Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30pm

    Madison Middle School
    13000 Hart St, North Hollywood

    This event is a great opportunity for parents and their children to become better acquainted with Middle Schools in the community. Parents and students will have a chance to interact with Middle School Principals during the information fair.

    In addition to a presentation on the magnet school application, the following middle schools will be featured:
    Byrd – Fulton – Madison – Millikan – Reed – Romer- Sepulveda – Sun Valley – Van Nuys – Vista

    Bill Ring

  51. wow! such a great blog. my kids go to Mt. Washington Elementary and most of us do the magnet school dance. (unlike our silver lake neighbor, the percentage of families who can afford private schools are much lower.)

    We have some good choices in our neck of the woods (Eagle Rock, Ren Arts or King), but diversity is an issue. (I am very excited about King Middle School Magnet as a possibility.) I will be researching the racial composition of the above mentioned Middle School Magnets and will post soon.

    • Hi Angelica,
      Sorry to be a stickler, but I must point out that the vast majority of us Silver Lake families can’t afford private schools. All but one of the 9 LAUSD schools that serve the Silver Lake neighborhoods are title one and the majority of Silver Lake residents live in multiply family housing (i.e. apartments)

      • yes, i know that’s the case. i was reacting to Peggy’s list of private schools her neighbors will be attending. pretty impressive, but i know, not representative.

    • Hi Angelica,
      sorry if i came off strong; I am so use to educating people about the “two Silver Lakes”.
      So have you gone on the tour of King yet? I was so impressed with all the stuff in the gifited program and that kids can get into the SAS program if they don’t get into the gifited magnet

      • That the kids can get into King through SAS is excellent news. I need to look at SAS programs because I have very few points. (I had points, then lost them. Then, I thought I would rely on Ren Arts or charters when the time came. But my son is not interested in doing dance for PE and none of the other charters are doing it for me. He might still end up at Ren Arts.

        Anyway, truth be told, I put off dealing with the transition from our little neighborhood nest to the big bad world of middle schools and didn’t apply to magnets last year. Now I am scrambling and finding many options, which I think is the key. Also, if we don’t get into the magnet of our choice this year, we will accumulate points and my son will stay for 6th at Mt. Wash or go to Ren Arts til we do get into a magnet.

        Anyway, I missed the King orientation, but was told by a couple of moms here on the hill who did attend that King looked wonderful and I trust their judgment. I left a message with Carlos Hernandez and hope to at least have a conversation with him before Friday. Hopefully, I can have a short visit this week, too.

        I looked at Mt. Gleason MS Magnet in Sunland this morning. Seems like a great place – safe, nurturing and of course great academics, but its too far for my taste.

        At this point, I have narrowed my choices down to King Gifted Magnet or Eagle Rock Elem Gifted Magnet. Of course will apply at Ren Arts as well. I might throw down an application at Aveson in Altadena. I am considering Reed, but its too far. I want my kids to develop social relationships with kids who live nearby. CALS charter is ethnically homogeneous, so it is not an option. Ohhh, then there’s So Pas schools. I think their enrollment is down and they might be taking kids from other districts….

        Are there other amazing places to pursue?

  52. i have 2 doughters that have straight a’s for 6 years…..now we applied for magnet and they didnt get in can you recommend any school in north hollywood so it will be good education for them…i am cunsurned because we moved to north hollywood from glendale and my area is not that good

    • Nancy:

      I’m sorry your girls didn’t get into a magnet. But it isn’t the end of the world… there are options if you aer sure the local school doesn’t fill the bill.

      Are your girls officially labeled “Gifted” by LAUSD? If so, go here and see if there are any SAS schools in your area:

      Otherwise, go to http://www.greatschools.net and research schools in your area. Talk to other parents for recommendations (don’t be shy!). Show up on the playground after school or to a PTA meeting and ask! Ask about honors programs, which are classes for high performing students like yours.

      Your timing is good as Open Enrollment is just about to start. At the end of April the LAUSD posts open enrollment seats on the website — check daily. If a school has seats available for next year and is on the list, you can apply for your child to attend there. (Search this Yenta site for more info on that process.) Applying is NOT a guarantee — they hold a lottery for the spots and pull names from a hat. But your children could get into another school with a better program.

      Look at charter schools in your area… search “Charter Schools” on the http://www.lausd.net site. There is a directory of them. See what their application process is.

      In short — research, research, research! Go on tours! Talk to parents! It takes time but can payoff in the end. Good luck.

  53. i would like to know can i re apply to a magnet school after being released from the magnet program,if so how long do you have to wait?

    • Not sure I understand, Carisma (great name!). Was your child waitlisted (not getting into a magnet for which you applied)?

      If so, you have to wait until next November to apply again through the CHOICES application process. It only happens once a year and is how you get into any magnet program. The good news is that if your child was waitlisted this year, they will have 4 points for next year’s process.

      Once waitlisted you also can be called by the school at any time (even after school starts) and given a spot if one becomes available. So if your child was waitlisted, I would call the school and see what their “Waitlist Number” is. The lower the number (1, 2, 3) the greater chance your child will get in over the summer. If your number is quite high, you should think about other options or just wait to apply again next year.

      Good luck!

  54. Just a heads up for more Middle School madness. 3000 applicants for Walter Reed IHP – 60 spots available. Even if you have a highly gifted designation, it’s not good enough. One success story had perfect scores on California Standardized tests. So if you don’t have them, it doesn’t look like a sure thing.

    And lots of spots in Walter Reed SAS programs going to kids in their enrollment area, not many outside permits this year.

    • Please check your numbers. Last year there were 500 applications for ALL of Reed’s smaller learning communities. Last year’s IHP class had 74 spaces and all got off the waitlist. Keep in mind Reed’s IHP is an honors program with a few highly gifted designated students. The only true hg program is at Portola.

    • If there really is that demand for Reed’s IHP program and you didn’t get in, you might want to consider Ralph Waldo Emerson’s IHP program in Westwood. The school has generally made huge strides recently and is in demand from neighborhood kids, but they still have room for IHP kids in the SAS Program.

      • If anyone has experience with Emerson’s IHP, can you please let us know your thoughts? There is a tour Dec. 15th 2011 and i may drag my east side moms with me. The drive can’t be much worse than to Reed.
        Anyone have a child enrolled? Thanks!

  55. And one more thing – anyone know what is happening with Middle Schools given a mandate for keeping 6th at Elementary Schools by 2011? Will they stop taking 6th graders???

    Wonderland is going to have a 6th grade, but only for home school, in 2011. So where do the magnet kids go?

  56. Does anyone know things they can share about the special education programs at Millikan and Reed? Especially for incoming 6th grader gifted with Asperger Syndrome?

    Thanks in advance!

  57. School Dress Code- anyway to get around it?
    My daughter starts middle school in fall 2011. Everything about the school is great except they have a very restrictive dress code (blue bottom, white top, white socks/stockings, blue or white jacket. No denim, no prints/patterns). The only freedom a student has is in shoe laces (but no red). Shoes (no red) and earrings (but not too big). The kids don’t have to wear a “uniform” but just follow the colour schema
    Now my daughter is not a blue and white kind of kid. (And I think I will go mad if I have to see her wear the same colours every day).
    Two questions:
    Has anyone been able to get a school to drop a dress code or is it a LAUSD wide rule?
    Any advice from other parents who have gotten around a dress code (like if a kid is wearing the colours, can then dress in their own “style? My daughter has started designing outfits – think Betsy Johnson- using only blue /white).
    I know, compared to other issues the world is facing- war, recession, and childhood obesity- this is a small problem.
    doreet in Silver Lake

    • My kid is an 8th grader in a LAUSD middle school with a dress code that is virtually the same as the one you describe. There is no LAUSD-wide policy on this, but some schools have them. From our perspective, the uniform policy is either a positive or at least not a negative. Now, I have a boy, so perhaps it is different, but the parents of the girls seem to agree that while the kids resisted the dress code originally, they come to really appreciate it. Middle school is tough enough without kids trying to outdo themselves in clothing. It basically eliminates teasing based on clothes. It is kind of the great equalizer and some people feel it helps in the classroom too (I guess by focusing attention on the front of the classroom). Plus, it makes things easier in the morning and the kids do get occasional dress free Fridays as rewards. I don’t know what a blue and white kid is, nor do I know why you would go mad if your kid wore a uniform every day, but the kids learn to express their individualism in all sorts of ways beyond their appearance. This is particularly true in my son’s school, which is well known for its performing arts program and has lots of creative souls attending.

    • Hi doreet,

      I’m actively watching this issue (and any responses you get), since my daughter is in fourth grade, and I’ve been anti-uniform since my son started kindergarten in 1995. The middle school that many of my daughter’s friends go to has what your school has. I attended a meeting of the SAS folks last year, and asked the question regarding LAUSD and requiring uniforms. I got a very terse response bordering on rude.

      It was at that point I knew my daughter wouldn’t be going to that school regardless. However, I find very few middle schools where they don’t enforce some kind of color-based, collared shirt, no denim, dress code. It’s gone to the Supreme Court and it’s not considered freedom of speech, so it’s not likely that they’re going to have to defend themselves on this issue much.

      Ironically, my 9-year-old pulled me aside later and said, “Mom if a school is great otherwise, I don’t want to rule it out because of uniforms.” My son, who’s now 20 still has an animated opinion on it.

      I don’t find it’s an equalizer–it feels like a band-aid. Clothing from Walmart *is* compared against clothing from nicer stores. Kids still wear shoes of varying costs. And plenty of kids know the difference between Payless and Nike. Additionally, as my daughter has pointed out, if there is a fight, and all the kids are dressed alike, it makes it difficult to get the offender. And I’m not sure I want the world to know which school my child attends if we run to the grocery store after school. The added expense of more clothing isn’t an enticement either, because once these become “school clothes” kids aren’t going to wear them out on the weekends or non-school days. Since my daughter picks clothes out the night before, we’ve never had problems either.

      I’m prepared to keep at least an open mind, but I am pretty sure that our choices for middle school will be extremely limited. I know the school my son attended for MS still is what I support, but it’s one of very few: http://www.lawrencemiddleschool.com/students/dress_code.jsp

      • thanks Magnetangel- I am so happy I am not the only mom concerned with this (the other moms at my daughters current school think I am nuts to care, I will get no support for changing the dress code from them).
        We are set on this middle school and will deal with/ work around the dress code (my daughter can sew and makes some very outrages- but modest- out fits now. She plans on going nuts with the blue/white limitations’).
        I will keep you posted on any changes I am able to make.

  58. King Magnet school will be having tours for prospective students and parents. Call the school, (323) 644-6700 for info. the dates are 10-28, 11-4, 11-18, 12-2 and 12-9.

    • doreet did you you guys end up at King? We just got accepted and would love to hear your experiences. My son got in to the Film/Media magnet and is on waitlist for Gifted Art/Tech. thank you!

  59. My son is 15. He is in the 8th grade. I feel like our principal singles him out alot. My son is always in trouble for stupid stuff. I am at the school at least every other week and called even more than that. I know kids do stupid things and my son is no exception to that. How do I know if I am just being a mom or if my feelings on this matter are right. An example…you can walk through the middle school at any given time and hear a cuss word out of a kids mouth, my son coughed and said “horsecrap”and got in school suspension. We were told that could be persued as harrassment…how. Am iI being overdramatic and a mom or is this a problem?

    • This isn’t really a forum for school behavioral issues/concerns but… I agree with what Angelica said below. MEET WITH THE PRINCIPAL. IN PERSON. Show him/her you are a concerned parent and that will go a long way toward buying good will. Ask about his/her perceptions and get them from his teachers as well. If you can approach it in a way that doesn’t immediately put the school administrators on the defensive but in a partnering way (Let’s work together to help my son or solve this problem or figure this out) it will go better. GOOD LUCK!

      P.S. We are all Mama Bears when we feel our cubs are threatened. I say the above not to say feeling that way is wrong AT ALL! (I am a vicious mama bear!). But… I think taking the partnering/non-threatening approach yields more results… as hard as it is to do!

    • Hi carolyn,

      I published your comment, although I agree with Rebekka, this is not really the forum for it. We’re here to help people find a great school for your child. Just what you’ve said–your son is getting treated like a lightning rod. However, and it’s a BIG however, if he wasn’t in the wrong, he wouldn’t be getting treated that way. Other kids cursing is not an open invitation for your son to see what he can get away with. Kids often hear mixed messages when we go into “Mama Bear” mode and they think they’re blameless.

      I agree with others–have a sit down with the principal, and then make sure your son knows the rules, and that you expect him to follow them 100%. Not 95%, not 99%, and not even 99.9%. Because if after you meet with the principal, if you feel that your son needs to move and start somewhere anew, you need to make absolutely sure he’s not going to create the same situation at a new place.

      Good luck

  60. you left out a lot of information, so its hard to answer your question as you posed it. from what you did say, sounds like you’re in a position of reacting and have yet to figure out exactly what is going on with your son.

    sounds like the principal may have taken drastic measures because your son’s behavior was left unchecked or maybe as you suspect, he is being treated unfairly.

    in either case, you need to asses the situation in as a detached and objective way possible, then take proactive action.

    first find out from your son what is truly going on. the facts as much as he can offer them. then decide for yourself if you think his behavior is acceptable or not. be honest with yourself. sometimes there’s a little blame to go around… modeling the ability to take responsibility is a good one for our kids.

    then, if you feel he has some blame, YOU call the principal to make an appointment and let her know that you are worried about your son’s acting out and would like to work with her to help him get it in check. let her know what you plan to do and how she can support you.

    OR if you feel the principal is over reacting, then YOU call the principal and set up an appointment to talk about why you think he is unfairly being singled out.

  61. Does anyone know anything about Walter Reed’s Culinary Program for Middle School? We’re considering Walter Reed’s IHP, however, even though my son is highly gifted, he is not motivated or high achieving so I’m not sure if the IHP would be good for him. He LOVES cooking and I think he might be happy in the Culinary program if it is a good program. Does anyone know if the Culinary program is any good?

    • Liz,

      a rushed answer as I rush out the door. the culinary program is new this year at REED. i heard it was created by the principal in response to how popular the “Food” elective is at the school. Ms. Moore is the food teacher. there is both a mainstream and an honors culinary school.

      my son is in the honors culinary school and he has had an EXCELLENT experience. they have three core teachers, including Ms. Moore who the kids love. another teacher, Mr. T., is wonderful, particularly for boys. my son is so motivated. he does his homework in the car on the way home from school and takes lots of pride in what he gets done. he is self motivated and beaming re: academics.

      given that i am a single mother with an ex who is not very active in my son’s life, having a male teacher in my son’s life who gives him plenty of positive reinforcement has been a blessing i am immensely grateful for.

      as for IHP v. honors culinary. i was told by Debbie Vodhanel, the magnet coordinator, that some of the kids in culinary were originally accepted to the IHP, but chose the culinary school instead. so, for instance, one of my son’s 6th grade classmates, is taking 7th grade algebra, but is in all the other culinary classes…. so if your child is particularly gifted in one area, it might be that they are placed in an advanced class in that area and the rest honors.

      good luck.

  62. How is King Middle School Magnet working out for anyone who is sending their child there?

    My son is very, very happy at Reed and my daughter wants to go there next year, too. However, the notion of driving from Mt. Washington to Noho for the next four years….


  63. Shout out to anyone out there who has a child at the following middle schools (or friends whose kids are there): Sepulveda Gifted Magnet, Lawrence GM, Porter GM, and Palms GM.

    We are looking ahead as I have 9 1/2 y.o. twins (in 4th). Both are in separate magnet schools (don’t ask!), one is gifted, the other has an IEP. Looking for a good school that can accomodate both.

    Also interested in middle schools with excellent SAS programs. We are in the Valley (sherman oaks). Again, the issue is finding a school where both kids can thrive. A middle school that has 40 kids in a class would be awful for my child w/ADD. She needs a smaller, very structured environment.

    Advice please!

    • Palms Gifted Magnet has a decent program, but the gifted magnet and the SAS for non-magnet kids take up a pretty large percentage of the school. Not clear they devote much attention to kids outside of either program. It’s also a pretty long drive from Sherman Oaks, unless you are taking the 10 to work anyway.

  64. I am Tomas O Grady and I am the president of Friends of king
    visit our website http://friendsofking.org/default.aspx

    We are King and we are doing great.

    READ THIS RELEASE TO SEE WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON AT KING, the second most improved ms in all of los angeles last year

    News Release 10/14/2010
    Thomas Starr King Middle School will open a new environmental studies Magnet in the fall of 2011.
    King Principal, Dr. Kristen Murphy said the entire community rallied round to make the Magnet possible.
    “The community really came out in force to support us on this,” Dr. Murphy said. “We’re extremely proud and thankful for their support.”
    Heading the campaign for the new Magnet was parent and educational activist Tomas O’Grady.
    “This is the future of public education,” said O’Grady. “The Principal, the teachers, the parents and the community all working together to get the job done. Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things. No photo ops, no grand announcements, no politicians …we did it ourselves.”
    O’Grady’s grassroots campaign for the environmental Magnet began with a website: http://www.mindyourfootprint.org , which quickly garnered more than 350 letters to the board members of the Los Angeles Unified District asking for this second Magnet on campus.
    O’Grady is also the founder of Farm Feliz, a local green organization and President of Friends of King, the first 501-c3 non-profit Parent/teacher group organization in California with an environmental sustainability clause written into its bylaws.
    This is not the first time Thomas Starr King Middle School has been in the news recently. The ENTIRE school’s 2010 test scores (API) increased 59 points from 678 to 737, the highest increase of any middle school in the City of LA and four times the state average.
    O’Grady points to these test scores, after school enrichment programs and an organic garden as all proof that community involvement is the key to Middle School success. And he believes it can be duplicated throughout all of LA’s Middle Schools.
    “I have this vision of Middle Schools, that is not unlike a university campus,” he said. “ A place where students of all aptitudes, economic backgrounds and races can choose between different disciplines, Magnets, special needs, English learners and advanced studies, but mingle and interact all on campus.”
    “King is leading the way with an inspirational principal, dedicated teachers and hands-on parents. You just wait to see what we accomplish next.”

  65. Great info! Thank you for sharing and congrats on your efforts! It is always good to share updates with LAUSD families who are searching for a school. King sounds like an exciting place.

  66. Our child is in the 5th grade at an LAUSD gifted magnet. In late November I called the Student Integration Services office to double check on how many points she has and was told that she has 16 points, 12 for matriculating her current school and 4 because our home middle school, Walter Reed, is a PHBAO school. On receiving the news that she has 16 points we then applied to a middle school that makes it known that they really only consider applicants with 16 points and above.

    On Monday we received our child’s magnet application confirmation letter and read, to our horror, that our daughter only has 12 points. On calling the SIS offices I was told that when I telephoned in late November they were working to an old list of PHBAO schools and that they received their new list just this week, although maybe someone should tell Walter Reed because I went in to their office after receiving the confirmation letter and they were adamant that they are PHBAO.

    I had another conversation with an employee from the SIS office two days after receiving the letter and was told that there’s nothing that can be done for our daughter, and that we simply have to wait until June when the gifted magnet middle schools will release a list of any spaces they might have. She also told me that the employee I spoke to at the SIS office in late November should not have confirmed that our child had 16 points, and that I should not have taken this as definitive anyway because points can change. I asked the employee how parents are supposed to make a considered Choices application if we have no real idea of how many points our children have, and are warned off from contacting the SIS office because our children’s points (or more accurately PHBAO schools) fluctuate after the application deadline. Her response was that it’s a lottery. Well in my book a lottery has transparent, understandable and fair rules that don’t change at the whim of those running it after people have purchased their tickets.

    After touring many middle schools, listening, taking notes, researching and fact-checking we now have 12 useless points and virtually no chance of attending a gifted magnet of our choice. I’m furious and upset and wonder how many other families are in the same position?

    • Short answer: Probably lots.

      Example 1: A friend of ours applied with all her son’s precious points and her one application last year to a high school magnet; after CHOICES apps were due, the LAUSD closed down the magnet! Their one shot and all their points went up in smoke! Thankfully the school took pity on parents in her situation and let the kids into the school without the magnet but… stuff happens.

      Example 2: Despite the CHOICES brochure clearly stating rules of entry (“XYZ students get priority over ABC students”), one magnet school was caught allowing ABC students in over XYZ. When asked why, the principal placed ethnicity over the clearly-stated brochure rules. So despite the “rules” being in the brochure, LAUSD staff do call some shots along the way… much to our parental frustration and aggravation (and they wonder why we parents are crazy?!).

      I am very sorry for your experience and am not making light of it AT ALL. You, like the rest of us, are at the mercy of the behemoth that is LAUSD, a massive centralized organization that is, ultimately, comprised of those dreaded and error-prone “human beings.”

      A few thoughts. First, I wouldn’t give up all hope on your school-of-choice yet. Even though the school told you they only admit kids with 16+ points, that isn’t a rule, it is what has been past experience. They have to go in order of points and ethnicity (ethnicity trumping points usually). So first off, I would strongly urge you to talk to the coordinator at the magnet you applied to and explain what happened, express how very much you want your daughter to attend there, and nicely beg for charity. They won’t admit it to you or say yes but they might keep you in the back of their mind (humans being error-prone but also sometimes sympathetic). Keep your daughter’s name in front of them. Don’t give up all hope and keep expressing interest to them throughout the whole summer. You may get a denial letter in May but spots can open up over the summer and maybe you’ll be a lucky one who gets a “you got in” phone call a week before school starts! That happened to a friend of mine, so good things happen sometimes too.

      Second thought – now what? Well, if your home middle school is truly untenable (and I’ve heard very positive things about Reed and it seems pretty darn nice as middle schools go — have you considered the small learning communities there?), apply to as many middle school SAS programs as you can this spring (start researching and finding out application dates now). Also check the LAUSD site in late April for open enrollment information and you can apply for slots that way as well. More info on both options is on this site if you search. They are not gifted magnets but again, you can keep trying to get into one of those while meanwhile attending a perfectly fine alternative. Go back to all that research you did earlier and lay out plan B and plan C.

      Trust me, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. It helps me to take deep breaths and remember that my child will probably really be fine no matter where s/he goes (gun violence aside).


    • Sarah – I suppose there are several ways to console yourself. First, if Walter Reed was reclassified, this may affect the points of more than just your child and that may affect whether the gifted magnet you applied to will indeed be able to fill all of their spots this year with students who have 16 points. Second, the statement that you have to have 16 points to get in may not be as accurate as it sounds, despite coming from an authoritative source. All the school administrators technically are supposed to know is what it takes to get in off the waitlist because that is the part they control. The rest is done centrally to achieve the proper racial balance and a list of students (without points attached) is sent to the schools. There are plenty of schools where a student could get in with 12 or even 8 points in the first pass because they are the right race to meet the numbers, while the wait list is composed of all students in the “wrong” or “oversupplied” race and therefore they need 16 points to get in. Finally, if your home school is Walter Reed, I would seriously consider their IHP program as a backup. Many kids who would be qualified for a gifted magnet choose to go to Reed and then move on to North Hollywood’s gifted magnet for high school. I know you have done research and undoubtedly visited, but I expect you will find that Walter Reed has a rigorous program and all of the students in the IHP classes have to meet the same or similar standards for being gifted.

      Bottom line, I wouldn’t give up hope yet for getting into your first choice and I wouldn’t despair about your backup options either.

    • As Rebekka once again rocks it, I’ll just point out a few other silver linings:

      If Walter Reed is no longer PHBAO, that means ALL the children zoned for there are no longer receiving those points. Assuming that those kids are the same kids who would be applying at the magnet you chose, they’re in the same boat.

      Secondly, the IHP program at Walter Reed is truly where quite a few gifted kids choose to go. If it’s your home school, you’re in. End of story.

      It’s been my experience that the points are going DOWN lately. Schools that once required 20 to even have a shot from the wait list are now 12 or 16. And some schools can almost promise to get through their entire wait list by the end of the summer. And if you start to hear that class size is going to go up by a student or two (thanks to budget cuts), you just upped your chance of getting in.

      And for the record, we were in the same position, as my daughter’s once “overcrowded” school lost points between applying and getting the points letter. All I can say is this is there are other options, but don’t rule out that late August phone call. And having gotten into Balboa now two times when we didn’t want it, stranger things can happen. Good luck, and if you end up at Walter Reed, we might just see you there!

    • Gals!

      The kids at the IHP Small Learning Community (SLC) at Walter Reed are not gifted, they are HIGHLY GIFTED. The other SLCs at Reed are for gifted kids or kids who score in the advanced range on their CSTs – slightly different criteria, but same result – a rigorous program for gifted and high achieving kids.

      The best part of it is that the SLCs have nothing to do with magnet POINTS. My son did not get into the magnet school of our choice last year and Reed was our back up. Thankfully, I had lined it up as another option. Yay!

      Keep your options open! Apply to Reed as a back up. Go check it out. It just might become your first choice. The application is super easy and it is due on February 25th. You can download everything online.

        • Actually, you do not have to be highly gifted to get into the IHP program at Reed. You have to score well, but technically you do not have to be highly gifted as you would at an HG magnet school.

  67. Thanks for everyone’s constructive responses to my magnet moan!

    When we were touring middle schools we also visited the small learning communities at Walter Reed and the various academies and SAS programme at Millikan, both of which seem like excellent choices if the whole points problem doesn’t resolve itself.

    Our eldest son attended Reed over nine years ago, when it was a very different school, and I can really see the changes across the campus and classrooms, plus going to Reed would mean that our daughter would have neighbourhood friends and wouldn’t have a long bus journey, both of which would certainly be an added bonus.

    As for the ethnicity trumping points, unless being British is suddenly thrown in to the mix I think that gentle reminders of our child’s existence might be our only hope in the quest for a gifted magnet!

    Several friends have also suggested that we look at King as an option. I read Tomas O’Grady’s news update from January, but would love to hear from parents of girls who are currently in the magnet programme at King.

    • Actually, the “ethnicity trumps points” issue is not a one-way street. If the school is designated a 60-40 school (with 40% white), it is sometimes a lot harder to get the 40% white than the 60% black/hispanic etc. In other words, don’t assume that it is affirmative action in the traditional sense. It is integration and whether they need more white students or more non-white students depends upon the school, it’s location, and who applies in a given year.

      • Thanks, Anon.

        That’s actually the more common scenario. Even a school like Nobel in Northridge it was 12 points white & 16 points minority which surprised me. I always had been told that my son had an advantage as Hispanic. Always ask for BOTH numbers if there’s a chance you can apply for either.

    • Hey there Sarah,

      Here are more ramblings of a middle school mom who thinks about all this waaaay too much:

      We love Reed. My son is excelling and very happy. And by the way, the diversity there is fabulous and there is no cap for any particular ethnicity (about half are non-PHBAO).

      BUT, we live in Mt. Washington – very far – no magnet bus. I leave the house at 7:00 a.m and walk back into my house at about 8:15 when I drive in the morning. The commute makes life more complicated in many ways – the piles of paper in my house are getting taller and taller. My son, who should be learning how to be more independent, is completely dependent on rides, rides, rides. This kind of commute works perhaps if one is a stay at home mom (which I am not) or has to drive in the same direction as the school anyway (which I don’t).

      My recommendation, you would be doing yourself and your family a HUGE favor if you sent your kids to a neighborhood school.

      A family in my neighborhood is sending their daughter to Millikan. The girl loves it and the drive works for them (on the way to work). The kid goes home and interacts with her valley friends via Skype! virtual contact! I do not knock it as the kid is quite happy.

      In any case, circling around to King in Silver Lake. From Noho, I would say you have a one hour round trip. Anyway, King is our Magnet option this year (with Reed being the other option.) KING is much closer to us and they seem to have a dynamic magnet program which appears to be blossoming. (Also, last year the diversity was not great, but this year – much better.)

      FYI: today at King the kids in one block (there are three “blocks” or groups of kids) are going to mummify a chicken as part of their study of Egypt. pretty cool!

      • Great point. And no matter how far *you’re* willing to drive, your child will inevitably be paired up with partners in all group projects that are an equal distance on the other side (figure it’ll be my daughter and we’re in San Fernando). I can say this with absolute certainty since my son went to Lawrence in Chatsworth and most of his lab partners, group project groups, etc., seemed to be from West Hills–a 45-minute drive even with NO traffic.

  68. Hmmm, more points to consider! I do work and often have to be in situ by 7.30am or so, which has been helped by the fact that if necessary I can leave our daughter with friends at her current magnet bus stop at 7am. Our daughter has enjoyed (she swears she likes it!) taking the bus for the last three years and was active in choosing her magnet middle, even though she understood it would mean an earlier bus and a longer journey. However if the magnet we’ve selected doesn’t work out, Reed is just a 20 minute round trip and Millikan about 30 minutes, although if we are driving her to school each day, these two schools are our limits distance wise due to our work commitments, plus we do have other children to juggle!

    I am going to take a look at King because it sounds like the type of curriculum my daughter would enjoy and the parent body appears strong, but if we went there it would be as a magnet (if they have the space in open enrollment) and so we wouldn’t have to do the journey.

    Even though I’m still aggrieved at the way in which LAUSD can reduce points once the Choices application has been submitted, and I continue to hope that our daughter will somehow receive a letter stating that she’s been accepted in to the magnet middle of our choice, I do feel there’s a tremendous benefit to attending one’s neighbourhood school if it’s a good match for the child, and so we are fortunate that we haven’t been left without options.

    • Sarah,
      We will be sending our daughter to King next year and are very confident it will be great. They have a gifted magnet that has been around for years now and next year will have a brand new environmental magnet. In addition they have a great SAS program, music programs and a cool school garden.

      To be 100% transparent I feel the need to let you know that many middle class or higher parents in the community will not send their children to King. I have heard their arguments’ and to me it all boils down to too many non-white kids at King. This is not an issues we care about (my husband is Mexican, I am the offpspring of a Celt & a hillbilly and we call our daughter a Spik-Mic) our daughter’s current school has only 5 white kids and she has never had an issue.

      I wish you luck; I can tell by your writing you are ready to pull your hair out!


  69. Thanks Dorit,

    I’d heard on the grapevine that King magnet is ‘boy heavy’ and so I was obviously keen to hear from families with girls who are attending or considering King; I’m looking forward to our tour next week!

    One last query for all of you knowledgeable magnet folk: Has anyone heard of a child being accepted in to LACES for 6th grade over the last few years with only 12 points?

    LACES was the reason I initially phoned the SIS office in November, as I wanted to ensure my daughter had 16 points before submitting her Choices application. She understood that it was a long shot applying there even with 16 points, but we both felt that it was worth the risk. Am I correct in assuming that 12 points now totally rules her out of getting in to LACES?

    Are there any other schools I’ve overlooked?! She has applications in at Reed and Millikan, we are going to see King and I will check out the list of schools with space in their magnet programmes as soon as it’s made available. The SIS office told me that as my daughter is identified as gifted, gifted magnets with spaces would be our best option; do you agree?

    Thanks for everyone’s advice and humour over the last week. I’ve gone from ranting and wanted to move back to Blighty, to feeling like everything will of course be fine come September!

    Sarah x

    • I can never say never. There is a strong possibility that class size could increase. Even a bump of 1-2 per class changes the odds drastically, especially at middle and high school. A couple of years back when K-3 went from 20 to 24, there were tons of 5th graders getting in who weren’t expecting it. In addition, once you’re on the wait list, you can call, and cheerfully ask where you are on the wait list, tell them about the mix up (no blame, just explain) and say you really are interested in the spot. And keep calling back every couple of weeks until the office closes for summer and when they reopen. Offer to be there on day 1. The principal has more leeway the closer it gets to school.

      I’ve never heard of gifted magnets that weren’t full. It might happen, but I never saw it in my area. You have a few options and she will get in somewhere, and then its a matter of making the best of several really viable choices.

      Good luck.

  70. Good news! The SIS office left me a message this afternoon stating that the district has reinstated the Walter Reed PHBAO points for the 2011/2012 school year and that families in the Reed district will be receiving letters confirming this shortly.

    My faith in humanity has (somewhat) been restored (world peace would fully restore it) and the news has really made my day, as I’m currently sitting in ICU watching my eldest recover from surgery.

    Good luck in your childrens’ education and thanks to the Magnet Yentas for their advice.

  71. My son (5th grader in 2011/12) has been accepted to the new LACES ES so he’ll continue on to LACES for 6th grade if we want to send him there. If anyone out there has a kid who goes to LACES, could you comment on the nightly homework load, what type of homework (worksheets, thinking homework, etc). He’s been identified gifted, strong suit is language arts, but I’d like him exposed to more math and science. He’s not overly motivated to do a lot of homework. I also would like to know about the assessments that LACES administers to all incoming 6th graders, is it just for math or for language arts also? He enjoys free time to read and ride his bike around the house in the afternoons. My husband recently checked out Portola HG in the valley and while he was impressed with many things there, my son would have to be on the bus for a long time since we live just east of Culver City. I would shoot myself if I have to drive him to the valley everyday and I have 3 other kids that I have to worry about. Any other suggestions for middle schools? I’ve read a great deal about King MS here and that’s far too but the ride bus won’t be as bad as going to the valley and I heard the principal at a middle school forum last year and I was pretty impressed with what the kids are doing. Anyone know of a middle school in my area that have non-cored curriculum, so a teacher for every subject?

    • Hi Lisa,
      There is a great survey post by “Anon” about middle schools on the westside and specifically gifted programs at each of Palms, Paul Revere, and Emerson under Gifted Student Programs. If you are near Culver City, each of these schools would be closer than anything in the Valley. The Emerson IHP program is open to all students who place into it without going through the Choices selection and is one of only two IHP programs in LAUSD. There are separate teachers for all academic subjects and the IHP English and Math teachers also teach SAS English and Math class sections. There are no separate IHP classes for History and Science, so those teachers teach only SAS classes. I understand that Palms Gifted Magnet and SAS have cored curriculum in 6th grade, so that students have one teacher for both Science and Math, and a second teacher for English and History.

        • Historically, LACES has had no feeder elementary schools. At this year’s orientation meeting, though, they said admission will be much tougher because they are planning on using a few of the local neighborhood schools as feeders and giving them priority admission status. It will be interesting to see if that comes to pass and how it will affect overall test scores.

          • I have heard of this and didn’t think it was true. Are there other middle schools that have feeder schools?

          • Well all non-magnet middle schools have feeder elementary schools, these are the home schools for those kids. What’s unusual here is that LACES is a full school magnet and its not clear whether the elementary schools that are being referred to are magnet schools themselves (hence anyone can apply and possibly have a new entry point to LACES middle/high school), or are neighborhood elementary schools that are for the first time going to have priority for LACES admission over the savvy parents who have patiently accumulated wait list points in the hopes of having enough to get admitted to LACES for 6th grade. The op referred to her son getting into LACES ES; its not clear to me if there is a single school that has been renamed LACES ES or how anyone would have been admitted to it for next year.

          • These are all great questions–and certainly a departure from the magnet application process. There aren’t a lot of magnet-only schools, but Balboa and SOCES come to mind. I’m curious what prompted this or if anyone out there knows what the ramifications are. If it’s a few spots promised, it will annoy the families who don’t get slotted, and if it’s quite a few, it will enrage the families who have been patiently waiting for a shot at a sixth-grade opening the old-fashioned way.

          • also, the elementary schools that are in LACES neighborhood currently feed in Emerson. If these are the schools that are being referred to, I will be very curious to see how this might affect Emerson.

          • Does anyone have a working relationship with the LD office or the school board member there? My contacts are pretty much limited to the Valley, but it would be very interesting to get to the bottom of this.

          • I realize that non-magnet middle schools have feeders, but that has no implication for the magnet middle school that resides on its campus. Neighborhood kids do not get priority into their “home school” magnet. Why would this be the case with LACES?

          • Late to the party on this one but FWIW – and setting aside test scores (grrr) for the moment – the District is embracing the “family of schools” concept all over again (e.g., stronger feeder patterns) but for those who are unfamiliar with developments, the District is also deep into the so-called “Public School Choice” plan which plays havoc with any feeder patterns, especially in parts of the District (unlike the Westside, for example) that have traditionally had well-respected feeder patterns. With all of the PI 5+ schools in LAUSD ( see Program Improvement), if current practice persists, I’ll soon be asking “what feeder patterns?”

        • Hi. I am a LACES parent. There is no “LACES ES” The school is: Mid-City Center for Enriched Sciences—which will replace the current kindergarten through 8th grade Mid-City Magnet at the corner of West Adams and Arlington. The school is one of four “Global Awareness Magnets” established by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and funded through a $3.6 million federal grant. Part of the fine print in the grant included making Mid-City a feeder school to LACES. When this was first presented to LACES parents 2 years ago, it was not well received, because it meant that 60 spots normally filled through the magnet lottery at LACES were now to be guaranteed to these feeder students. My opinion is that in the short term this will negatively effect the Latino and African-American LACES applicants, since the make up of Mid City Center is made up mostly of these groups. But due to the desire for many other groups to have children attend LACES, perhaps the demographic will change, parents will send their kids to Mid-City in the knowledge they are guaranteed a spot at LACES. Therefore, eventually all ethnicities will have a lesser chance to attend LACES then there already is!
          I feel that this concept takes away from the original intent of the 100% magnet schools, which always draw students from all over via a lottery and not preference to one school.

  72. Hello, I am looking for a magnet middle school(2012/2013) with computer technology/math/ science Theme for my oldest son in the valley. I am looking for anyone with experience at any of the schools. I am trying to figure out between Byrd, Pacomia or Van Nuys if one is better than the other. Thank you for your help and advise.
    Have a great day! Kelley

    • Have you toured them? I honestly haven’t been to any of those campuses. What area do you live in? I know Frost in GH is only minutes from San Fernando and Sylmar and has a M/S/T theme.

      • Hello Thank you for your response. I replied the other day but it does not look it like saved. I live in Shadow Hills. I have not toured, only have been speaking to parents who have their older children in Magnets. I will look at the Sylmar school. The Choices site lists 3 Computer Science schools. I am trying to find parents who have sent their child to a Computer Science Middle School magnet to see if one of them is better than the other. Peace, Kelley

        • Also look at Frost in Granada Hills. My son went to Verdugo Hills and my daughter went to elementary in GH, and we live in San Fernando, and the trip from Tujunga to GH is pretty easy–I don’t think Shadow Hills would be much worse. Frost is over 800–comparable with Holmes and Nobel and is a Math/Science/Tech magnet.

          • Wonderful. Did you son like Verdugo? I heard they have a great Magnet. True? peace, Kelley

          • My son graduated in 2008. We loved the schedule–getting out at 1:12 every day facilitated his community college courses, and even playing sports, he was home before dark. Kids take three courses a day for a semester then switch to the other courses. It does make taking AP courses a little challenging, but we preferred actual college courses. The magnet coordinator is great, and the college counselor was amazing. I realize you have a few years, but definitely go take a tour in the next year or two and get an idea of what it’s like for you and your son.

  73. I was at the LACES tour this year and Mary London did mention that as of next year there would be fewer spaces for the general population because an elementary school would be feeding in to 6th grade. I cannot for the life of me remember which school it is, but the implication was that it was only one elementary and not several.

  74. I’ve just remembered which school was going to ‘feed’ in to LACES! It is Mid City elementary and I think it’s a magnet school. Hope that helps!

    • That makes sense. Mid City is currently K-8, but according to its website they are phasing out 6-8 and it will only be K-5 as of 2013. So, they are basically moving the middle school program to LACES. Because Mid-City is 95-99% Hispanic and African-American, this will primarily affect admission to LACES in those categories only.

      • I think the impact is somewhat more dramatic than this since Mid-City is itself a magnet and at least according to this media report, all 5th graders “will matriculate” to LACES.

        For this year’s CHOICES brochure, it is simply listed as a new magnet elementary school for grades 1-5 without any mention of LACES yet the op referred to it as “the new LACES ES” so clearly it is already being thought of that way. Once the word gets out that these magnet students are guaranteed admission to LACES, it certainly seems like this becomes a new LACES entry point for anyone willing to make the switch while still in elementary. Especially next year when other 5th graders are applying I have to imagine that a reduction in the number of available spaces by 50 or 60 will affect the acceptance rates in both the minority and non-minority categories. On the other hand, if Mid-City Magnet is on the Open Enrollment list on Monday because it is so new that it didn’t fill up (and the LACES connection wasn’t something that anyone who hadn’t been on a LACES tour would have been aware of), it could be very interesting to see what happens to its character as a neighborhood school.

        • Mid-City was not on the open enrollment list released this week, so either people figured out that this is a way to get into LACES without having maximum points or this will simply be where they get 50-60 students for the minority category.

  75. Looking for comments on Mt Gleason Middle Magnet program in Sunland . I have a 4th grader and will need to start looking at Middle schools in the Fall. Looking for info to help me make a decision. Thank you, Kelley

  76. When is a child old enough to pick their own classes/ electives? We received the enrollment packet for the middle school our soon to be 6th grader will be going to next year. Along with the request for proof of address and immunization records, we were asked to pick an elective. Our daughter picked the one she thought would be the easiest (she is a high achiever but never works at it) we want her to take something that will change her. So when is a child old enough to make her own choices?

    • You’re at that threshold now, doreet. Be thankful she can choose. At most schools they dump them in this god awful “wheel” where they get programmed for whatever is available that period and make it available for additional intervention if needed. At those schools, the only kids who get to choose their sixth grade elective are the kids who pick orchestra.

      I let my son pick his middle and high school, so electives are way down the list. I’d always reserve judgement to discuss or veto any choices (office experience, for example), but starting in middle school, it’s a great opportunity to start having conversations about what you expect versus true free will.

    • My son did the elective wheel in sixth grade and it was great. He was assigned to computers, drama, and some kind of art class over the year. It forced/allowed him to take things he might not otherwise chosen, which in part led him to choose drama in later grades when the elective was not restricted. It also pushed him outside of his little cocoon in SAS classes with the same students and paired him with students throughout the school. He learned that many of those kids were a heck of a lot nicer and more genuine than the SAS kids. It also exposed him to more teachers. All in all, anything but a “god awful” experience.

      • Thanks for the feedback Anon and magnetangel.
        The choices at our school will be the Art/ Tech Wheel or Orchestra. Being that Liberty (my daughter) has been playing cello for 2 years, she could do either. Liberty wants the “Wheel” because she believes it has a robotics class and she thinks it would be easer (no caring cello each day). (Note- she likes playing cello and will keep playing at the local music school no matter what elective she is in).
        You both have thoughts on the Wheels; could I ask if either of you know much about Thomas Starr Kings Magnet school Wheel elective?
        We, the husband and I, have decided we will pick the elective. We are torn; the Wheel looks cool but we like her being part of something bigger then her, were she needs to depend on others and others need to depend on her and we (well I) believe we will find that in Orchestra (we have tried sports team and that did not work out).

        Any more feedback would be welcome!

        • I don’t know anything about Kings Magnet School or its wheel electives. My son had played trumpet for several years in elementary school, but the orchestra was weak in his school and it didn’t attract that many kids. So, he wasn’t that eager to do it. We had no problem with him choosing. My view is that part of middle school is teaching your child about independence and making decisions and it’s OK to let them make this fairly minor choice. I would simply make sure your daughter makes the decision with all of the facts. For example, it may be that the school provides a cello and allows students to leave it in their music locker each day. It seems crazy to make a decision not to do orchestra based on her desire not to have to carry her cello back and forth if that’s not an issue. I might also try to find a family who has an older kid in orchestra and connect your kid with their kid to get their views. Other than that, I would take a step back and realize that at 6th grade they can begin to make some decisions for themselves and that this is perfectly fine even if your daughter ends up regretting them. That’s the only way she’ll learn. It’s not like her 6th grade elective choice is going to matter much to her
          later life, especially if she keeps playing cello outside of school and could join orchestra in 7th grade if she wants to do so.

  77. Has anyone heard anything about the new magnet starting up at Thomas Starr King- the environmental magnet? I believe it is not a GATE magnet.

    • the new magnet is not GATE but open to everyone. they are taking 6th and 7th graders, everyone I know who wanted in got in. many of my daughters friends who are enrolled (my daughter will be in the gifited magnet) are excited and so are their parents. the teachers i met are excited about the program and have many years teaching experience.

    • My son, who is a Gate student will be attending the Environmental Science (ES) Magnet school at King as a 7th grader. I enrolled him after being reassured numerous times by Carlos Hernandez, who runs the Art and Tech gate magnet at King that there will be an honors classroom and a non honors classroom for both the 6th and 7th grade at the new ES magnet. I was told that many of the students on the Art and Tech wait list will be attending the new ES school. (this is my son’s situation). Those wait list students are all gate and they and any other kids with qualifying scores will be in the honors classroom at the ES school. There will be enough of them to create the honors group/classroom, according to Carlos.

      I have been told that Honors level classes are what gate children receive. Whether or not the new magnet is labeled gate, if the children are gate they will be grouped and receive the same level of rigorous academics tailored to their gate status – honors classes – same as gate. (sorry to be redundant)

      This is the way it works at the Reed small learning communities (slc). Reed is not a gate magnet, but the gate kids are grouped into an honors classroom. My son completed 6th grade at King in an honors slc. His classmates were all gate. Some were highly gifted.

      For what it’s worth, my daughter’s best friend is designated as highly gifted and will be attending the 6th grade at the new ES school at king.

      Not sure if P.E. will be all gate at king. I believe that period might be grouped by grade.

      • Thank you so much for all of the information. My son is not GATE but his scores will qualify him for the honors classes-which Carlos Hernandez has explained to me. I feel so excited to have this option for my son as we are trying to support local schools.

      • Hi there, Angelica if you’re still on this list, how was King?? We just got in to the Film/Media magnet, still on waitlist for GATE and Environmental … thank you!
        My ex is now having cold feet and doesn’t want him to go. So any experiences people can share about King would be so appreciated! Thanks.

  78. My daughter will be attending the 6th grade Art and Tech magnet at King in September and we are really happy she’s been accepted as it seems like a great program, even though it’ll mean her taking a pretty early bus each day! She was identified as GATE and attended a gifted magnet elementary, but from what I saw in the class rooms at King, the program is challenging and interesting enough to keep most students on their toes!

    I look forward to meeting you other King parents in September!

    • it is so nice there are going to be active and interested parents at King next year in both magnets! I look forward to meeting all of you.
      I was wondering, which grade schools is everyoen comming from? We are coming from Micheltorena (in the Sunset Junction part of Silver Lake)

  79. Mt. Washington Elementary, originally. I will actual have my 2 attending King. The 7th grade boy in the ES and the 6th grade girl in the Art & Tech.

  80. My son just started middle school in September. My husband and I had struggled with our decision to apply to Sepulveda Gifted Magnet, although scores were higher at Porter Gifted Magnet. In the end, because we had no points and only were given one “choice,” we thought we’d have a better chance getting our son into Sepulveda. The other two determining factors were that we were very impressed by the the principal and we practically fell in love with the magnet coordinator at Sepulveda. Well, both the principal and the magnet coordinator quit over the summer before school started.
    My son had his arm broken the second week of school. (The broken arm MAY have been an accident in gym class.) But besides that, he’s being bullied by some kid in the regular school, has had his bookbag stolen in the lunch area, and he hates the over-crowded, rowdy atmosphere of Sepulveda’s general school. This school, without the former principal and coordinator, is not what we were expecting.
    To top it off, the first week of school their website boasted that they still had openings. Of course they did. If we had known that spaces would be available at Sepulveda if he didn’t get into Porter, we’d have applied to Porter in the first place. But we didn’t realize that there’d be any back-up availability with all the talk of “waiting lists” during the open houses.
    So here’s my questions:
    1. Are other parents happy with Sepulveda GM? Maybe we just got off to a bad start.
    2. Is it possible to transfer to Porter now that school has started?

    • You can contact Porter, but after “norm” day in October, it’s highly unlikely that there are any spaces. Given your situation, I’d call because it’s worth the five minutes.

      The things you are talking about are exactly my concerns with Sepulveda. The magnet was *the* magnet to go to prior to my son’s middle school years in the early 2000s. Our neighbors sent all their kids, the oldest in his mid 30s and the youngest being 23. By the time the youngest neighbor attended and we were looking, we didn’t consider it at all. A quick read of the reviews on the school review sites gives similar stories to yours regarding issues in PE, the neighborhood school, and the area around the school.

      If you continue to question his safety, please look at SAS options this spring, and apply to Porter for 7th grade.

      I wish you the best.

  81. Hi,
    I’m not sure where to ask my question so I’ve chosen this thread since it’s regarding middle school.
    My daughter is in 5th grade. She has 12 magnet points. Her school, Hesby, goes through 8th grade. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep her there through middle school so I was accumulating points. I have decided to keep her at Hesby but will need the points for high school. What would be the best magnet middle school to apply to so she DOESN’T get in? So that she will have the points for high school. I am concerned that I have messed myself up and she will get in, loose her points and not be able to get into a magnet high school.
    Thank you.

    • You haven’t messed it up, per se, but there’s no where you can apply that will guarantee that she won’t get in with 12 points. You could conceivably apply to Nobel, since half the kids got in with 12 points, and half end up on the wait list–but you could still get in and you’d be stuck with none.

      Another option would be to NOT apply anywhere this year–you’ll lose your 4 oldest wait list points, but you could still have time to rebuild them. Keep in mind, you’d still be at risk to get in for 7th or 8th grade as well with your high point totals.

      This year is a real guessing game since there are many families who haven’t done the online application. If I were you, I’d sit out this year and then apply with 8 points next year to either Nobel or SOCES–knowing you still COULD get in, but it’s less likely.

    • I know I am responding to an old post, but we are considering Hesby for middle school and are interested in feedback. The info. I find on it shows very low test scores for middle school and those I have spoken to have said it is because the middle school has only been open for the last one or two years. Can you or anyone else provide additional information? Where do kids go to HS from Hesby?

      Many thanks!

  82. Hi.
    Thank you so much for your response, and so quickly too. I messed up, she has 8 points because she lost all of her points a few years back when she got into Valley Alternative. Do you still think I shouldn’t apply this coming year? Also, what about Valley Alternative as a school to use to accumulate points?
    Thanks again. You and your site are amazing!

    • 8 points is less likely to get into Nobel, if you want to try to use that. But remember, this year could be different thanks to the online application. And Valley Alternative is an option, but if something happens later in the year and class size goes up you could get in. And kids do leave Valley Alternative after 5th and 8th grade so you would be vulnerable to getting in.

  83. Hi, my son was given a psych test/gifted test in second grade at Danube, and ignorant of what exactly that meant school-wise, we decided to keep him there. He did qualify as gifted. This year, he’s in fifth grade, and after some thought and tours, we applied to have him go to the Magnet program at Patrick Henry. After reading all the posts about points, and going to the eChoices website to read up on it, I’m still baffled by this system. What are his chances of getting into PH, and if he doesn’t, what happens then? Apply to the SAS program there? Or at another school? Any response would be appreciated. I hope I haven’t messed up his chances with Middle School, if I didn’t take advantage f getting him into an ES magnet schoo..

    • You will likely have no problem getting into Patrick Henry, even with few points–but remember that’s not the gifted program. There will be an honors track and gifted kids in the program. He could have gone there even before he was identified.

      And yes, if you still want him at Patrick Henry, then apply through the SAS program there. Or to other SAS schools in the spring when the applications come out. Good luck!

  84. Hello, I am new to this points thing and pretty new to Los Angeles. My now 6th grade son has attended Los Feliz Charter Arts (his 2nd year there).

    There was a chance that Los Feliz was going to add a 7th grade, but now that is not going to happen. Now I have to figure out where to send him for 7th grade 2012-13.

    Where I live, I am zoned for Eagle Rock MS/HS 7-12. I am thinking about also applying for RenArts 6-12 in Eagle Rock. Anything else I should be considering at this time? He has always attended small, project based schools and he is a bit intimidated by the large campuses of Eagle Rock and King, but I say change maybe good.

    I am willing to move, but I work downtown and still have other children in Los Feliz so I want to stay close to Highland/Glassell Park/Eagle Rock.


    • My knowledge of that area is a little limited, but I do know people who commute from the heart of the SFV to go to RenArts and love it, so you’re not off track there. Definitely look at the schools, tour, talk to parents at pick up, and get a good feeling for it before you send him anywhere.

  85. Eagle Rock isn’t a bad place to end up. I know several families who are happy there. But to answer your question, keep your options open by applying to as many schools as you can that are interesting to you. You might have missed some of the deadlines, but apply late anyway. You might think of your options in categories:

    CHARTERS – Renaissance Arts Academy, CALS Charter, Santa Rosa (Ren Arts is very popular, so you can’t count on getting in. Apply to others as well.)

    MAGNETS – first question is: has your son been tested for “gifted”? This will determine which schools you apply to on the magnet brochure. If not gifted – I recommend the Environmental Studies Magnet at King or the Arroyo Seco Museum Magnet. If gifted – I recommend Art and Tech Magnet at King. (Re: testing, I think I’ve heard Los Feliz hadn’t been conducting the test, but will have to change that soon, as some of your son’s classmates all had trouble when proving their “gifted” status when applying to gifted magnets. You should get him tested, though high scores/teacher recommendation appear to be good enough when applying to gifted magnets.) You can probably get a magnet application at Eagle Rock Middle School.

    SAS (schools for advanced studies) – how are your son’s test scores? above average, advanced? If so, this gives you another angle to get into a middle school… Reed’s small learning communities are excellent, but a bit of a trek.

    Again, Eagle Rock is not a bad place to end up. It is an International Baccalaureate school and your son would have 8 classes, with a language and an elective (band, art) guaranteed. Very appealing.

    For myself after much angst, I chose King over Eagle Rock for my 6th and 7th graders. At King, the teachers are truly wonderful, energetic, kind and dedicated. The principal sets the tone for constant improvement and we have some outstanding parent leaders who are helping out. (You probably already know there are quite a few Los Feliz Charter grads at King.) Sometimes I lament the fact that my kids are not getting language, like they would at Eagle Rock, but our principal is bringing an after school Spanish class for next year.

    FYI: King has about 1,500 students, grades 6 to 8, half of which are in one of the two magnets located at King, while Eagle Rock MS/HS has over 2,500 students, grades 7 to 12. It is a very different atmosphere at each school, but both graduate many students who go on to college.

    best of luck

  86. Thank you so much for your help/suggestions/advice Angelica and Magnetangel.

    He has been tested, back in 3rd grade and it was not high enough to be considered gifted (we were in another state). His test scores, not impressive, but not a deadbeat either, just avg. to slightly above avg.

    When most of his friends went to King this year, I thought about moving him over there as well, but I admit it is easier to just trek to one school daily instead of two, I worry about getting to both King & Los Feliz in time after work. Since I live near Eagle Rock HS it is not too bad to get there after leaving Los Feliz, but I don’t even know if they have after school programs or what?

    Next year I know I have no choice, and I have to do it somehow. King had openings this year since it was a new program, but not sure if that is still the case. I will apply for next year just in case.

    Have you heard about how the IB programme at Eagle Rock is coming along in its first year? I cannot find any information about tours or even how to enroll kids for next year. Is there a time to enroll students for the next year? I know the application process for RenArts opens next month, so I am ready for that one. I will look into CalArts & SantaRosa, never heard of those.

    Thank you again!

  87. Just got a wait list for Nobel Middle School with 12 points (non-minority). Really bummed. Does anyone know if they end up accepting more kids off the wait list or if this is pretty final? Any advice on what to do would be appreciated.

    • Wait a week or so and call the school. Ask what number you are on the wait list. They do go down the wait list, but the reality is it’s not always that many. Good luck

  88. Does it matter what ethnicity you write for Lawrence Magnet Middle School? How many points do you need to get into this magnet?

    • When I toured the school this fall, they said that they get enough applications from both sides there isn’t a benefit to apply one way or the other. And for this year–the 2012-13 school year, 8 points got in for minority–I know because my daughter was accepted with 8.

      • Thank you for the info. Would you by chance know of any other Middle Schools to look at in the West Valley area? Charter,Magnet or any other school?

        • If you’re in the West Valley, there are plenty of options–Hale, Woodland Hills Academy, Nobel, Holmes, to name a few. Most have magnets and also have SAS. It really depends on whether you’re in the southwest corner, like Woodland Hills, or if you’re more centrally located. Families also love Millikan and Reed, if you’re closer to the 101. Others like Frost and Porter if you’re closer to the 118. It *really* depends on your location and your willingness to drive.

  89. We have been informed that our local middle school (Thomas Starr King)will be getting ride of the “home” school and will have 3 magnet schools starting next year (“Wall to wall magnet”). We already have a Gifted and Environmental magnet, the new school will be a film magnet. Has anyone else had experiences with magnet only campuses? How did the transition work out for the kids in the home school (especially for the students who are not interested in the new magnet subject matter?). My daughter will not be affected too much (she will be in 8th grade next year and is already in the gifted magnet) But i am concerned about her friends in the home school and for the families who still have kids in grade school

    • Hi Dorit,

      I was surprised when this came up at the school board meeting because I hadn’t heard your input. I would have thought the school had involved the active parents in this decision. Did the staff not tell parents what was going on?

      My son went to Balboa, which is all magnet. I can imagine it would be frustrating to have a gifted kid, live across the street, and not have a chance to attend. Indeed, Millikan created their Performing Arts Academy as a complement to their magnet, since kids who moved from other areas, and were attending the home school got hosed. And despite having a multitude of academies and SAS, there are some kids who choose to do none of them at Millikan.

      What my biggest concern is from local experience, when you have multiple academies/schools/magnets in one place is how do they maintain equitable programs? Do the programs share PE teachers, do they allow kids to blur lines, and take classes across different schools (what if a kid needs Geometry, but he’s in the film magnet and the Gifted magnet is the only one that has it–or has it in the period the kid can take it?)?

      You’re a vocal advocate, Dorit. I’d be there and asking hard questions before they get too far along. I’ve watched a really neat high school with four very different programs turn into ‘silos’ in that the Calc BC kids can’t take music or dance with the arts kids. As much as I’d like to endorse the school, that kind of internal segregation is not good for the kids–and heaven forbid there are only 4-5 kids in each school that need a specific class. While they could merge the kids and teach it, instead they’ll deny all of them that option.

      Good luck, and let us know what happens.

      From the presentation of the King program, current students will get first chance at all the slots at the magnet this year. It wasn’t clear when regular magnet regulations would kick in, or what would happen to the kids who want to attend a regular school (since they’ll have to be bussed out quite a ways).

  90. Dorit-
    We really gotta get a group of parents together on this issue to both support the staff and keep them accountable through the transition. I think like anything else, the more parent involvement the better.

    Also, I found that talking with Ms. Turcios about the issue was the most helpful. Ms. Milio did the best she could the other night, but I fear she may have left parents feeling less secure than need be.

    I’m waiting a bit as the staff sorts stuff out and then we should probably ask Mr Naulls what plans there are to get the word out, etc.


  91. Magnet Angle- I had no idea the wall to wall magnet was happen until after the fact. King for all its good parts, is horrible at communication with parents about anything except how we can help raise money or keep the campus clean. Very frustrating. I have talked to a few teachers over the past few days, all from the home school, and many feel they and the home school have been treated very badly in the process, that they are “bad” and they are the reason the “middle class” neighbors will not send their kids to King.
    Angelica- I tried talking to Ms. Turcios and she had very little info on how everything will work. I would like to see more parents working together (especially parents who are not following instep with the administration), for many reasons I have found making those connections much harder that when my daughter was in grade school.

  92. Last year, King parents were told of the possibility of the creation of a Film Magnet by our previous principal, Dr. Kristen Murphy. She was an amazing principal and sadly, she promoted to another position over the summer. Our new principal is Mr. Naulls.

    Because Dr. Murphy is not with us – to do her usual magic of explaining and reassuring parents, leading staff, and advocating for the students’ best interests – the decision did feel a bit top down. [I went online to look for the board minutes to gather more info and turns out Washington Irving Middle and Sun Valley Middle will be wall to wall magnets as well.]

    Mr. Naulls evidently mentioned the transition at a “Coffee with the Principal.” At a recent meeting, we were told that declining enrollment in the resident school makes it vulnerable to charter schools grabbing empty classrooms and this was one major factor for the transition to wall to wall magnet. We were also told that resident families would have the first bite at applying.

    Staff are gonna have their hands full getting the word out to resident families about the application process. Gawd, does the November 16 deadline apply? Also, I’ve heard that all resident teachers will have to apply to teach at the Film Magnet. Yikes.

    Anyway, “magnet angel” is right. Parents at the existing magnets should check in with their coordinators to see how this change will affect our magnets and well, the entire school.

    • Dorit and Angelica,

      Thanks for the follow up information. I definitely felt that the teachers from the home school were feeling more than a little left out. There was at least one teacher who spoke out against the magnet with concerns about neighborhood children–as did former school board member Jackie Goldberg. I’m all for choices, but there’s an even larger risk that since these magnets aren’t listed in the brochure they will have a harder time filling them up–same thing happened to a late elementary school addition last year.

      I’d suggest attending the next school site council meeting and requesting a night time meeting of the entire school to allay concerns. Ask to get parents on the committees as this proceeds and make darn sure there is something to help parents fill out the applications (which I believe will still be due November 16). Get your school board member involved and your Educational Service Center Parent & Community Engagement person involved. Make a lot of noise now, rather than later. It can be a really good thing–BUT–it could backfire and give the charter an even better chance. And find out HOW they are going to divvy up the teachers. The biggest concern among the SAS/Gifted magnets is how people get along with the teachers and the perception that there are better teachers in one than the other.

      Please keep us informed on what’s going on.

      • I am on the SSC and regrettable they have meetings at 11:40 to 12:40 a very bad time of day and they change the meeting days with out letting all the parent members known (3 parents showed up to the meeting yesterday only to be told it was moved to today. I was unable to make the meeting today because i need at least a week to ask for the time off of work).
        I will take your other suggestions, thank you. And i am happy Angelica was on this list so I now know I am not the only parent who is concerned.

          • trans parent- thank you, i didn’t know we had the ability to file a complaint (I never thought of it, I was just going to drop out if it kept up). I must admit I am a little fearful of filing a complaint an dhow it will affect my daughter (who had a lot of trouble getting use to all the homework in 6th grade and if finely getting the hang of it). I will have to give it a lot of thought.

        • God, this is frustrating for you. It’s frustrating for me and I’m only reading about this.

          I looked, and you guys are in “East” This is who you need to talk to: http://lpcec-east-lausd-ca.schoolloop.com/ And start collecting other vocal parents and keep pushing for transparency. As parents, you’ll have a different perspective, and that perspective should be welcome. Good luck, and keep us up on what’s happening.

      • if you are in the EMS magnet you need to do nothing. I always thought only gifted kids were able to go to the art/ tech gifted magnet but i have found out 1/3 of the kids are not (I found this out at the art/ tech parent meeting Tuesday).

        • We were told that a child could be in the GATE program based on the “gifted designation,” CST scores or a teacher recommendation. It was asserted that one third fit under the last category.

      • We kinda dropped this thread… Seems like the school admin conducted decent outreach to the local residents so that their kids apply to the Film Magnet. The Art and Tech Magnet (gifted), as well as the Environmental Studies Magnet (mixed with honors offered) continue to do their thing very well.

        • Can any of you King parents comment on how it is now in 2015? Better? Is the Film/Media magnet local only? Sorry, the above conversation confused me a bit. Thanks.

  93. I have all the concerns you express!

    Yesterday, I mentioned the need for a parent meeting to explain the transition, but Ms. Turcios didn’t seem to think it was necessary. Okay, time to organize. And Jackie spoke against this? Time to organize.

    Magnet Angel, would you feel comfortable sending me your contact info off line? My original goal was to get board mtg transcripts from the board website, but it might be easier to talk with you directly, if and when you have a minute. Thank you!

    And yay that Dorit wrote to you and got this dialogue going. I am sure other parents are stirring on this issue. Thank you so much for the concrete suggestions. We’ll keep you posted.

  94. I am a parent of an Environmental magnet 7th grader. I heard the school was going all Magnet but do not understand. Does this mean we lose free lunch and afterschool care?

    • Free and Reduced Lunch is a federal program. Nothing will change there. And afterschool care will not change based on the magnet or not designation. Depending on how the afterschool care is funded, that could change based on the budget, but that could change whether it went magnet or not.

      • Thats good to know. So now if we want to remain in the environmental charter we do nothing or if we want to choose film we must apply? i guess the gifted arts charter remains the same and is still only for gifted students?. Thank you

        Sent from my iPhone

        • sorry to be picky. these are magnet schools, not a charter schools. and yup, the art and tech will continue to be a “gifted” magnet. I wanna assure anyone reading this thread that the art and tech is an excellent school and that my “highly gifted” daughter, who just got a perfect score on her math test, is being challenged, is learning and is loving the art and tech.

  95. Ms. Turcios assured me King would still be a Title 1 school (majority of students at or below poverty line, so free lunch). However, since the number of needy families is decreasing due the increased enrollment of “middle class” or non-poverty line parents in the magnets, the amount of money we get next year will likely change.

  96. I’m over in Mt. Washington, and considering the schlep to Walter Reed for middle school..are there any other SAS schools that people like for smart kids who like school? We have no magnet points, so that’s kind of a shot in the dark.

  97. I live in Mt. Washington and did the drive to Reed for my son when he was in 6th grade. I carpooled with an Eagle Rock family and a Highland Park family. It helped to share the burden, but in the end, it was not worth it to drive that far. So, I moved him to King Middle School, Environmental Studies Magnet, the year it started -tons of space, but had to push to ensure he received an honors level education. He is receiving it and we are very happy.

    He is currently an 8th grader at the King Environmental Studies Magnet in the honors program. His sister is in the 7th grade at the King Art and Tech Gifted Magnet. I highly recommend either magnet. Excellent teachers.

    If not, I know of a Mt. Washington family who is making the commute and can connect you with them.

    • just wanted to say thanks for sharing your insight. my son is in 5th grade at mt washington and we’ll be applying for the king tech/arts and environmental program. i feel like i needed some last minute assurances. 🙂

    • What was the deadline for the Walter Reed applications and which did you apply for? They were much earlier last year than the magnet and other (SAS) applications, in an attempt to get people to commit early. But they also had more than one ’round’ of applications.

      • I am very interested in your “commit early” comment. When a school asks you for a commitment, is it breakable if you get into a school you like better?

        • Yes, and no. If you pick one school now, and then you get in another school later, you can drop the first school. But the schools that are smart and start sending families email invites to school meetings, family get-togethers, etc., so it’s a lot harder once a family gets attached.

          From a common courtesy point of view, it’s also the right thing to do–not string a few schools along, causing the schools to scramble and then causing families to be accepted at the last moment.

          But if your child gets in to a magnet in March, and you get word about an SAS in May, you can rescind the magnet.

          They’re all irrevocable once you turn them down, so be sure.

  98. Hello. My daughter and I have lived in Inglewood my daughters whole life. She has gone to elementary school in Inglewood. I am in the process of buying my first home in Los Angeles… in preparation for my daughter going into Middle school, I applied for her to go to a performing arts school (1st-Marina Del Rey Middle , 2nd-32nd street and 3rd-Bancroft Middle) through echoices (using my new address). I’m so nervous that she’s not going to get in… I know it’s late now….but is there anything I can do to improve her chances of getting in? She has a LOT of energy and I really feel she needs to be in a performing arts school.

    • Hi Mya,

      You have done what you can do–you’ve applied. Since the entire system is a lottery based on points, you just have to sit tight for right now. In the meantime, where in Los Angeles will you be living? Have you looked at other options like open enrollment or perhaps an academy that allows you to apply by audition like Millikan? It will depend on where you live. Also if your daughter has been identified as gifted, you will be able to apply to SAS programs in April.

      Good luck.

    • The odds of getting into Marina Del Rey are far higher than 32nd Street (just based on the number of applications and acceptances), but if you haven’t accumulated points at all because you have been living in Inglewood, then it is certainly possible she will not get in.

      In addition to Magnetangel’s suggestion, if you are living on the Marina Del Rey side of town, you might consider Emerson Middle School’s music and performing arts academy in Westwood, which is called the Urban Entertainment Institute. They have non-SAS open enrollment spots at Emerson, so it wouldn’t even depend upon your daughter’s qualification for SAS. Five Emerson UEI students were recently selected to perform as backup singers for Sting and also sang with Mavis Staples and Zac Brown at the MusiCares Pre-Grammy’s Party on Feb. 8th. The drama program also has a long and storied history, with students performing two musicals each year. Both music and drama are in-class elective programs. I would consider it a stronger program than Marina Del Rey. It never became a magnet for historical reasons based on the preferences of the academy’s former director, but it operates like one (having not only the music and drama classes, but also classes like stage crew, costume design, and dance as an alternative PE class).

      You also might consider lottery-based charter school options, including Paul Revere, which has a good orchestra and a decent drama program. Most other charters are too small and lacking in performing space to have a performing arts program, though.

  99. We’re trying to choose between Portola HGM and Millikan Science Academy. My main concern about Millikan is that there is no high school graduates would matriculate to. And since Science Academy is not magnet, we won’t be getting 12 matriculation points to go to magnet high school, so their chances of getting into e.g. North Hollywood High are not very good. Did anybody have experience with this?

    • Experience doing it? No.

      If you were to choose the Science Academy, you’d simply apply to magnets. If you turn down Portola this year, you’ll be back to zero points, and you’d have at least 8 again when you got to 8th grade by applying to magnets you’re not likely to get into.

      Another bump I see, is that the magnet deadline to accept placement is April 19th, and I doubt you’ll hear back from Millikan that quickly.

      Good luck.

      • magnetangel, thank you for the quick response. My child already got accepted to Millikan, and we’re waiting for the response from Portola now.

        Can you please share your opinion about these 2 schools? I went on tours and liked both of them, so it’s a very difficult choice for me.

        • They’re completely different. I know another magnet mom can provide some recent info on Portola. As for Millikan we toured it, but the idea of three periods (well, two and a half) of science and no elective made it a deal breaker for my musical future scientist. Millikan’s science academy is small, too, like 40 students, so they pass through each class every day, and I think at some point that can be a bit daunting–or great depending on how many friends a child makes.

          They both are small communities on larger campuses, so they enjoy the support of the overall campus.

          And you either live in the Millikan boundaries, or admission to the Science Academy gives you the permit to attend? Otherwise, you’ll need an SAS permit to attend and that is the April 2-30th window I was referring to before.

          • We’ll need to apply for SAS permit to attend Millikan. I hope to hear from Portola by April.

            To my big surprise, my child seems to prefer Millikan, even thought I explained to him that there will be no elective and a lot of studying. Do you mind sharing which school you chose for your child?

          • For safety purposes, I’ve never said where my child attends when she’s attending. Once she moves on, I do.

          • Can you please also explain why you said about two and a half periods of science? I thought they have PE, math, English, history + 2 hours of science every day.

          • They have science. Their elective is science. And their homeroom is essentially more science. That’s the 2 1/2 periods. I know people who are REALLY happy with it, and others less so. It wasn’t our vibe, so I really don’t want to disparage it because it wasn’t ours. Other people think we’re nuts for turning down Walter Reed. It all depends on fit.

          • I’ve never even heard about Walter Reed until I found this site. Majority of kids from my son elementary school are planning to go either to Portola or Lawrence.

  100. if you have HG or HGA status, i’ve heard you don’t need to be concerned with magnet points for NoHo’s HG magnet. We agree, didn’t like the lack of elective at that Science academy. There are great opportunities for elective music at IHP Reed.

      • I heard that they will try to make a room for all highly gifted applicants with 99.9% even if the child don’t have magnet points. Then if there are some spaces are left, the seats will go to highly gifted applicable (99.5-99.8%),

        • This is true, but if your child is HGA then points become very important. @middleMAD said: “if you have HG or HGA status, i’ve heard you don’t need to be concerned with magnet points for NoHo’s HG magnet.”, so I am curious about HGA.

          • My son (6th grade) has been very happy at Portola. He likes all of his teachers and he is engaged and challenged without being too burdened with homework. We also have a friend at the Millikan Science academy who loves it there and is thriving.
            I would suggest trying to meet other parents and kids in the program to determine which one would be a better fit.

            Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  101. Paul Revere Charter has a HG program. Not many know about it and we chose Revere HG over Portola because the commute/bus stop location was better. No, the bus is not the magnet bus but there is a privately chartered bus that is managed expertly by 2 Holmby Hills/Warner moms and I HIGHLY recommend it. The stop is at the SW corner of the park at Wilshire & Comstock; one in the morning and a regular and late bus in the afternoon.

    Mr. Carnine & Mr. Hernandez are superior teachers. Last year there were approx. 75 kids split into 2 classes. It’s a beautiful thing to see your child engaged, nurtured and challenged in like company! We liked the surrounding Revere student population much better than the general population at Portola. Beautiful and spacious campus, fresh air, a farm where students hang out and hold rabbits after lunch…I could go on. It’s a school where it’s cool to be smart (not ridiculed).

    Revere has both a magnet and charter school. The magnet is the smaller of the two, but the HG charter group is a very small and pure academic experience. Check it out!
    (btw, my son was there just 6th grade and is now extremely happy at Harvard-Westlake.)

    • Just to clarify, most of the schools discussed in this space use the term “Gifted” and “Highly Gifted” in the magnet sense. There are strict criteria for a student to qualify for each of those categories under the magnet program. Paul Revere just has a program for its top students, which may indeed be good and rigorous, but it is not in any formal way limited to students who meet the Highly Gifted criteria in testing etc for magnet programs. In other words, a charter school can group its top students together and call the program whatever it wants, but it does not mean it actually is a highly gifted program either in terms of the students who are in the program or the materials taught. By law and under the terms of its organizing documents, the charter has to admit by lottery, whereas the Highly Gifted magnet can limit admissions to those students who qualify as highly gifted. It is more accurate to think of a charter’s HG or high honors group as a program for the top students at that charter school, in a relative sense, independent of where those students might fall on the spectrum of all school-age children. The experience can also change from year to year depending upon the quality of students who happen to apply and get admitted through the lottery at that particular time.

  102. My son is identified highly gifted applicable, and we are trying to decide between Walter Reed’s IHP and Porter’s Gifted/High Ability Magnet. He is very bright, passionate and loves learning. Under the right circumstances, he can be highly motivated and disciplined, but he can also be easily distracted and disorganized. I know both are good programs, but I’m at a loss as to which to choose. With Porter, I’d have magnet points, but with Walter Reed’s IHP, I would have no points for high school. Any help would be appreciated as I’m going nuts trying to decide between the two. Help!

    • I would suggest not making your decision based only on having points for high school – at least not until you think about what high schools you would be interested in and whether there are magnet high schools that you would even need the points to be eligible for admission. You can also start over accumulating wait list points in middle school.

      • To be honest, I haven’t thought that far ahead. The only two high schools on my radar are North Hollywood Highly Gifted Magnet and Van Nuys Math/Science/Tech, but I’m sure there are more out there that I’m unaware of. I don’t really want to have to make a decision based on whether or not we receive magnet points, but on which school is a better fit for my son. Thanks for your thoughts!

  103. So, we found out my daughter got into Paul Revere magnet (7th grade). Was thinking about applying to Emerson’s SAS (she’s in the GATE program). Any thoughts as to which school has a better academic program and ideas as to how to get a foreign language class? Was surprised that neither offers a language.

    • I’ll let other locals handle the programs, since that’s outside my locale.

      As for languages, a few things crop up. First, have you seen the middle school requirements? They get one elective in their schedule, and it’s typically one of two classes that are considered non-academics (therefore non-homework-y) along with PE. Languages require a lot of homework on top of a rigorous schedule. Plus, schools that offer a language have to keep faculty available to teach that language. At Walter Reed’s IHP, they were very proud of their 7-period schedule that required a Latin elective. Which is great, but since there were budget cuts pending, they couldn’t promise Latin would be continued. To me, I wondered what would be the point of requiring it, until you could no longer offer it? Either it’s important or not. It is great when schools offer Spanish in 8th grade, but that locks a kid into Spanish in high school (to get their 3 years for college), when maybe Italian or Japanese would better interest them. If you are really interested in getting a leg up on the language thing, check out the community colleges, and have your daughter take college level language in the summer (or at night) in a year or two. Classes are free to HS students–you’ll just pay for the book.

  104. Oh, the irony….the fact that Revere (and other) middle schools do not offer a foreign language was one of the fundamental reasons we created New West Charter Middle School. Although Mark Twain Middle is now becoming a foreign language feeder for Venice High’s foreign language magnet school (and there may another such MS/HS complex offering in the District somewhere), I would follow Magnet Angel’s advice.

    As to the academic programs, Emerson has had changes in leadership over the last few years but the non-SAS school draws the student body from a much wider socioeconomic footprint than does Revere (not including the magnet and charter students in this statement). That having been said, I would not recommend one over another prior to a personal visit to each school. Revere has always been sought after but not always by well-informed parents with a clear understanding of what they want for their children. We made a decision to send ours to the gifted magnet at Palms Middle years ago after the Principal at Revere responded to our line of questioning around how the sixth graders handle the transition by saying (paraphrasing here): “Just drop your kids off, we’ll take it from here”.

    • Thanks TransParent! I called Emerson and they no longer have an IHP, just honors classes. I did the Paul Revere tour two years ago and from what I remember, liked it very much. It is a huge campus, especially compared to Emerson.

        • IHP pre-dated LAUSD’s innovation of having SAS, which was designed to be a response to parents who wanted a gifted magnet program without having to leave their neighborhood schools. Honors classes are considered more challenging than regular SAS classes in some schools, but it is all just nomenclature. It is probably more accurate to just talk about the subjects covered in the courses where it matters. In Math, your kid can take Geometry in 8th grade. That is more advanced than taking Algebra, which is more advanced than taking regular 8th grade math, which is more advanced than taking remedial 8th grade math. Geometry and Algebra are part of SAS, while the rest are not.

          Some schools differentiate between honors and SAS because, contrary to the history of SAS being created to create a gifted program for neighborhood schools, SAS has become a permit/school choice program. if your kid qualifies as gifted, they can apply to go to any SAS program that has space. So, SAS is more of an admissions program and honors is the type of course offered to both neighborhood gifted kids and permit SAS gifted kids (alll taking the same course with the same teacher).

          By contrast, if you go to a gifted magnet, then only magnet kids can be in those classes and gifted kids in the neighborhood side of the school take different classes (although they may be exactly the same coverage and rigor).

          • Ahh, but here’s the rub. Magnet rules require only that 75% of the students in a magnet class be magnet students. Some schools use this to help scheduling. Also magnets are only required to hold three ‘magnet’ courses a day, so it’s feasible that a PE class, a science class, and a math class are the student’s ‘magnet’ courses, and they can take three courses outside the magnet and still be considered magnet.

            Confused? It is a bit, but a school can have SAS, magnets, academies and regular students all on one campus, and some schools blur the lines, and others are more like silos. Ask if you have a kid who isn’t neatly defined in one box.

    • Thanks, Transparent. Can you please tell us about your insight on Palms Gifted Magnet? I could not find any post related to Palms Magnet here.

  105. What are the best options for high schools for folks living in the Silver Lake / Mount Washignton / Eagle Rock areas. Thanks!

  106. my daughter has been going to King Middle School for a 1 1/2 and she loves it. She is in the Gifted Art and Technology magnet. I can’t speak on the other two school on campus- environmental magnet and home school (which will be a film magnet starting next year), but all the other parents i have talked to are happy with the education their kids are receiving. the environmental magnet goes on a LOT of field trips and has very enthused parents. I am sure if you reach out to one of them, they will give you the run down on the magnet (contact friend of king to find one of these parents)
    The 7th and 8th graders in the gifted magnet have spent the last 2 month working on a group project that encompassed the four core subjects. Last night at parents night all the project were on display and there were AMAZING. The 8th graders projects were high-school guilty.
    I will say that i don’t feel the school is as inviting to parents as i would like. The School Site Council is in the middle of the day and the day is always being changed (a big issue when i need to ask for time off of work to go to it). (there is the Friend group which is active, but I would rather have have input than raise money)

  107. This thread re: Magnet v SAS has another dimension I’ve been pondering lately. College applications. Has anyone heard or have direct experience with the notion that a magnet high school looks better on a college application than an SAS program at the same high school? (I am thinking about Marshall Gifted HG/HA Magnet v. Marshall SAS.) I was told that magnet programs are known nationally, but SAS is a Los Angeles thing. Thanks. (There’s a bit of rivalry between the two schools and this is one supposed area of advantage with the magnet.)

    • Hmmm, my son didn’t have much problem. He didn’t attend a gifted high school, not even an SAS. He was identified highly gifted. Between SAT scores, class rank, the class level accepted (AP/honors/etc), I don’t think it’s an issue. While magnets are nationally known, they aren’t all necessarily rigorous and there are kids from even the toughest schools that get accepted to Ivies.

      Sadly, I’ve seen this whole rivalry between magnet and SAS occur with parents and with staff, and for me it’s all about fit. SAS is all gifted. Most magnets have gifted and non-gifted classes. Classes are typically smaller in magnet–by a few seats per classroom. Some magnets have the better teachers, and some SAS have better teachers.

      • after visiting both programs at Marshall, we would rather our daughter go to the SAS not the gifted magnet.

      • Can you explain to me why there is a rivalry between SAS v.s Magnet on the same campus? I don’t understand the reason behind the rivalry.

        • I can’t understand it myself. In terms of staff, I suspect it is a case of supply distribution or how they’re treated. Magnet schools get certain funding and have slightly smaller class sizes. In return, they can be viewed as prima donnas. In terms of parents, there’s that ‘team rivalry’ mentality that my team is great, and anything else is less than. On the same campus, parents view their ‘camp’ as better than the others, and often openly disparage the other programs. I’m not saying it makes sense beyond that. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, and I’ve always felt my kids could thrive at more than one place. More importantly, other kids can thrive in places very different from where my kids are.

          The worst a parent should say is ‘not for me.’ But clearly people are heavily invested in their kids’ education and can’t get past that ‘team spirit.’

          Please keep in mind, this is not about a specific magnet/SAS that has been mentioned. It’s been the general concern I’ve felt talking to parents with similar concerns in the Valley. I’d assume it’s similar elsewhere.

  108. It isn’t too huge a rivalry, but it does seem that maybe the gifted hg/ha magnet director is coming from a defensive place because the SAS seems to be gaining popularity, so she is asserting that the magnet looks better on college apps. The SAS staff didn’t say anything about the magnet one way or another.

    I’ve heard good and bad about each and will be deciding between the two of them soon. If anyone has any thoughts or additional information, please weigh in!

    Here is my take on the two schools. I would love to hear from other parents.

    SAS POSITIVES: The Marshall SAS director, Larry Welch, is a charismatic and passionate teacher. When we toured the SAS and walked through his classroom, I was pleasantly surprised to see a casually dressed man in shorts joking with his students while leading them in an interesting discussion. Welch seems be a strong leader among the teachers in his program and there seems to be a fair amount of collaboration among teachers. Welch is known to push kids to their utmost potential and coaches the Academic Decathlon Team, which has done well and is comprised of all SAS students with the exception of one Magnet student. The SAS seems to have more student support built in to its program with an orientation every year and interventions when needed. As part of the application, students sign a contract that they will do their best and not let their grades slip. The peer pressure within the SAS is to get good grades. The AP chemistry teacher believes the SAS has a far more focused group of kids as compared to the magnet kids. He felt that “giftedness” was a quality that didn’t always lead to the ability to pay attention. (lol) The SAS kids have their nose to the grindstone. There is a parent organization that is trying to take off, but is still quite new.

    SAS NEGATIVES: no transportation. lack of diversity might pose social challenge. (My nephew graduated from the IHP at Reed is at the SAS and seems to be butting up against this problem.)

    MAGNET POSITIVES: more racial diversity, transportation, paid director position (new person will be taking over next year), maybe a more creative group of kids?

    MAGNET NEGATIVES: the kids did seem a bit goofier and distracted in the classroom, very little collaboration among teachers, no parent organization

  109. thank you garzapi for the rundown. My daughter is a 7th grader at Kings gifited magnet. we have been looking at Marshalls gifitd magnet and SAS program. we have been leaning toward the SAS program after meeting teachers and directors.

  110. I really learned a lot reading these threads!
    I would like to send my children to Walter Reed next fall. I have heard and read so the many different ways to enroll. However, I am confused about the testing.I have repeatedly asked my school to test the children for gifted , never even a reply. Any ideas? I also wondered about the Highly Gifted test and how to get that for my children so they may attend NOHOHigh HG
    program. All info will be so appreciated.

  111. After spending a few hours at Marshall High School and talking to various students, teachers and parents, I am leaning towards the Magnet, not the SAS. I am still mulling it over. Tough choice, but it seems like the magnet students become more focused as they become juniors and seniors in AP classes. The SAS does not have AP teachers in a few subjects.

  112. My daughter was accepted at Walter Reed’s Humanities Academy for 8th grade for the 2013-2014 school year. We were wait-listed first and I was really nervous but then I received word that she was accepted. I just want to say thank you to the Yenta’s that provided so much information. I’m moving to LA this summer and finding a good school aside from a place to live was my biggest concern. Trying to do this from another state is frustrating but after months of research and phone calls and getting information from this site we made it through.

    Now I’m on to the High School research. I’m going to get my daughter tested once we get to Reed for Gifted. I’m hoping she can be identified as gifted but if not what high schools could be our options? I was looking at CHAMPS Charter School. I’m not sure about North Hollywood for non gifted/magnet/SAS. I’m guessing the regular classes are not ideal. Other than CHAMPS and North Hollywood which is the next best thing for regular students or those not identified as gifted?

    • I’m zoned for East Valley High School but from what I’ve read and heard I don’t want my child going there. What are my options for getting my daughter to another non-charter high school?

        • Next year. She’s starting 8th grade next month. We just moved here from out of state so we have no magnet points.

          • OK, you’ll still have a chance at any open enrollment opportunities next spring, if she’s been identified as gifted, you can look at SAS, and many schools will have academies.

            Before you turn down East Valley, however, definitely go checkout the school and see what you can learn first hand. For every school there are supporters and ‘haters.’ You don’t want anyone to dissuade you from what might be a good fit.

            Assuming you live in NoHo or Toluca Lake, CHAMPS is in Van Nuys and is attractive to many families. It’s a performing arts charter, but it’s within that general area. You can see if there are any open enrollment slots at North Hollywood, and even Taft in Tarzana/Woodland Hills is known for having quite a few openings that do not require magnet points.

            Good luck.

  113. My daughter was placed on the wait list for Nobel she is number 29. A high number. I applied for the SAS and no luck either. She was accepted to Porter and Frost SAS program. I am having a diffictult time to choose one and I need to decide by the May 24. Please any advice!!

    • I have friends with children at both Porter and Frost, and they seem happy with their decisions. See if you can tour or sit in on a few classrooms.

      • Thanks for your quick reply. Transportation is an issue for me I have more options for Porter than Frost but I don’t want that to be my diciding factor. I never saw the change of her not gettin into any magnet school. I aplied to 3 and didn’t get into any that was an eye opener.

        • A few things to consider: You can probably get carpools to either of those schools, as well. There are families traveling from various areas. You still *could* get into Nobel by summer’s end. If you applied to three magnets, you really only had a chance of getting into Nobel if that was your first choice. Your points didn’t come into play for the other two. And Nobel has hundreds who apply and do not get in. See if you can get one of the PTO members from either school to contact you as well. They can tell you plenty about the schools. Or visit after school one day and observe pick up.

          • I have gone to both schools after school and during school and they boht have their good and bad. I think better than my home school wich is Olive Vista. I’m in the Sylmar area. One of the opinion I got for Porter SAS is that a lot of work and projects. They both seem equally good from what I observed. As far as neighborhood I think Frost is better it seemed more organized when school let out. I had 2 older boys that went to SOCES so I have never have to dealt with the dropping off or picking up from school. All 3 of them have been bused to and from school my work hours are 7 to 4 so it worked out forme great. It is a whole new expereince for me now.

    • They’re different. Even if you’re talking magnet to magnet, Lawrence is a gifted magnet which means it is solely gifted students. Nobel is a math/science magnet so they can take any student (there is an honors track and a regular track). Lawrence accepted students with 8 points back in April for 2012-13. Nobel was much higher. I can speak that most of the teachers at Lawrence are still the same as when my son was there and he graduated in 2004. Many people like Nobel, and it’s still likely the most sought after magnet in the Valley.

      What in particular did you want to know?

      • Lawrence is my home school. So Which is better between being a regular stdent at Lawrence or a magnet at Nobel?

        • Can’t speak for the home school specifically at Lawrence. Of those two choices, I’d aim for magnet at Nobel. It’s going to take quite a few points to get in.

        • I have friends at both Nobel SAS and the magnet, and Patrick Henry through open enrollment. Each loves it for different reasons. I’d definitely take tours, ask questions, and see what’s right for your child.

  114. Hi!
    My daughter was wait listed at her first choice magnet, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (SOCES) at #15, with her being highly gifted she was accepted into Walter Reed’s Culinary Arts Honors Academy. She is excited about the electives she was scheduled with which are Spanish and Cooking and is ready to start school this upcoming week. We received a call earlier letting us know that space was available now for SOCES. SOCES is really convenient because it runs through the 12th grade and would give my 2nd grader an easier advantage of getting in. But, Now I am confused. I know its a really popular school, but is it that GreaT?? Can anyone tell me which school is better???Any response would be appreciated. I don’t know why but I am now stressing myself out, hoping that I make the right decision.

    • Hi Marisa,

      It’s the time of year when this dilemma happens. You’ve got it right–SOCES will be more convenient for you in the long run, and you won’t have to think of one kid’s schooling again, and once your little one is in, you won’t have to play the magnet game again either.

      I know people at both who love it. The question becomes what school will you try to get her into for high school? And how will you be transporting to Walter Reed? What’s your home high school, and will you be willing to take your little one out at 4th grade before they can graduate with friends?

      All tough questions, but those will help frame your decision. Hopefully you toured both and really like both. At this point, include your daughter too. She’ll need to be part of the decision.

  115. I hear great things about Walter Reed (IHP), but I know someone from San Jose HG who did not get in, even w/ perfect CST scores and everything else (teacher recommendation, etc.) and I was floored.
    What do you have to do to get into the program???
    If you are gifted and have 12 points, can you get into gifted magnet like Lawrence for sure? Are their programs comparable to IHP?

  116. My son was one of the San Jose HG kids who did not get into Walter Reed IHP (2 years ago). They seemed to pick the “high achievement” kids with excellent grades as well as excellent behavior grades, work habits, etc. The kids from San Jose who did not get into IHP were extremely bright but were not the best students in terms of behavior, work habits, etc. We were very disappointed but ended up at Portola Highly Gifted Magnet and have been surprisingly happy there.

  117. My son was accepted into the IHP this year for 6th grade. I believe they consider more than just high academic performance. You don’t necessarily have to have a perfect GPA or perfect test scores (although they obviously want high peforming students), or even all 4s in work habits grades.
    It’s my understanding they are looking for successful, well rounded students who show the potential to grow and succeed in a rigorous and challenging learning environment. They requested previous report card grades, CST scores, a writing sample, and a teacher recommendation.
    As an example, my son would be considered bright on paper. He has good grades and good test scores, but he struggles with certain areas of work habits (something which started the first day he stepped foot in the classroom in pre-k). He can be easily distracted, disorganized, excitable, etc… , all behaviors that don’t bode well in a classroom setting. Despite his weaknesses in certain areas, he is very bright, eager to learn, loves being challenged, gets along with others, is well liked by his peers and teachers, etc… and I really appreciate that the IHP prorgram was willing to look at the overall picture of what my son can offer, rather than dismissing him because of his weaknesses in the classroom.
    You also have to take into consideration that there are only a few spots for IHP. Even though a child may be qualified for the IHP, and they would have been more than willing to take the child, there just may not have been any room.

  118. ” I am personally NOT advocating applying to multiple magnets because here’s how that works: they rank you by your first choice. If you don’t get in they look at your number two choice with NO points. If you don’t get in there, they move to three, with NO points. If you don’t get in there, they go back to ONE and put you on the wait list.” – magnetangel

    I found the above quote in the magnayenta archives while searching for info on the magnet process. I’m in the process of completing the choices application for 2014-2015. My daughter is currently in 8th grade at Walter Reed Humanities SLC and we have NO magnet points since we moved here this year from out of state. I’m looking at applying to LACES and CLEVELAND magnets but reading the above statement has me concerned now. If I am reading this correctly my home high school is East Valley which I believe is PHBAO so we would get 4 points. Those 4 points would be applied to my first choice (haven’t decided yet) and if I don’t get in those 4 points would NOT be applied to my second choice????? What’s the point of having 3 choices if the points cannot help me with multiple choices…I don’t get it. *popping some ibuprofen* my head hurts. Maybe I’m not understanding this.

    Oh and if anyone has any insight into LACES or CLEVELAND please share. I don’t know a lot of people here and have been surfing the net looking for info (greatschools, yelp). I’m also looking at CHAMPS and TAFT. I am signed up for tours at CHAMPS and CLEVELAND and LACES is open house at the end of the month.

  119. With 4 points, you’re going to want to look at some non-magnet options. Talk to the parents at Walter Reed and definitely attend their ‘high school night’ and be open to options.

    Cleveland has been getting tougher to get into. 16 was on the wait list late into the summer. I’m not sure how far they got. LACES starts in 6th grade, so I’m not sure how many openings there are for HS.

    Champs is popular among the Millikan families. And I’ve known families very interested in Taft’s neuroscience program. Champs is Charter, Taft would be open enrollment

    • Oh boy this is going to be tougher than I thought. *popping more Ibuprofen*

      1. Cleveland, LACES, SOCES – Choices Application – probably not getting in any of these with 4 points.
      2. CHAMPS – already submitted application – I just read about another school Valor Academy – a Bright Star school in Arleta. Apparently, CHAMPS lost 60 incoming 9th graders this school year to Valor as they just began a 9th grade class over the summer. I’m not too familiar with Bright Star or Valor Academy just read a little bit on the internet
      3. Taft – even though it’s now a Charter School they don’t have their own internal application process that I could find so we have to use Open Enrollment? Does open enrollment get you into just the school or one of the programs inside of the school or is that a totally separate application process? I perused Taft’s website and I couldn’t find anything on how to apply or any information on a neuroscience program.
      4. Valor Academy Charter High School – may be worth looking into
      5. North Hollywood SAS – heard this was a good program – not sure if I can pull this off – not identified as gifted
      6. Any thoughts about Palisades Charter High School?

      • Donita, you are looking at a LOT of geography. I need to ask where you live? We live in the far NE Valley (not terribly far from Valor), and I couldn’t pull off some of the drives you are looking at. Remember that you’ll be doing it 2-3 or more times a day.

        Taft is an *affilliated* charter. Think of that as charter light. It’s still completely LAUSD but they have some financial autonomy. They have a great open house for the community in the spring. And sorry, it was late. It’s NANOtechnology.

        • I’m in North Hollywood. I work from home so I’m pretty flexible in terms of commuting. I would also look into moving close to the school depending on which one she gets into. What do you think about Valor?

          • I have no opinion on it since I haven’t been there, but’s not in the best part of town. But go on the tour and see what you think.

      • Here is the wait list info for Cleveland Humanities Magnet, (2013-2014)

        When you contact us to find your place on the waiting list, we can tell you the page number of your place, but we are not allowed to tell you your precise number. There are 8 names per page, so with some simple arithmetic you will have a good idea of where you stand.

        For each decline that we receive, we will offer a placement for a student from the Waiting List. This process begins after April 19th (the deadline for those to accept placement by the district), and moves briskly, then halts once our office closes on June 7th for summer recess. It picks up again the third week of July when our coordinator returns and continues until the end of August, if necessary. For those who are deep in the waiting list but are determined to attend our program, hang in there! We will also offer placement to students who are willing to wait until after the first day of school in the fall. Inevitably, there will be students who register, but never attend our school.

        We have called students through page page 27 of the Wait List and will resume calling on July 29th.

        Application Facts:
        9th Grade Enrollment for Fall of 2012: between 240-250 students
        Number of Applications: 650
        Deadline for the first round of applicants to decide: April 19, 2013
        For those students who have applied for 10th, 11th, or 12th grades, we will begin admitting students as soon as we determine how many current students will not be returning.

        • Thank you Salsa! I spoke with the Cleveland magnet coordinator today. They have had students with 4 points get in and they have had students with 0 points get in. Although she cannot make any guarantees it was clear that I should be able to get my daughter in the magnet next year. We went over the magnet process and the moot point of listing more than 1 choice on the magnet application the way it’s designed…it still doesn’t make any sense to me. I guess we’ll see how it goes and I’ll be sure to post it here when I find out.

          • I called the magnet office at LACES again today and basically was told to call the downtown office of the department that actually puts the students names on the list.. The person that answered the phone was not helpful and was not the person I spoke with the other day who was more helpful. Today I was told that because my child is not enrolled in or will not graduate from a magnet school that I will have no points for next year.

  120. I can’t decide which magnet middle school to enroll my daughter in. Between Lawrence, Porter and Nobel. What are the pro and cons of each school? My daughter wants to go to Nobel because all of her friends are going. But as a parent and after doing the tour, I’m more towards Lawrence, Porter then Nobel. The curriculum at Lawrence is awesome in my opinion. They offer more than Porter and Nobel. Does anyone have any thoughts or comments or experience with these 3 schools?


    • I’m biased. My son went to Lawrence years ago, and he loved it. We looked at it two years ago for my daughter, and it was a top contender–far above most other schools. Because of our location and where we need to be most evenings, we went with a different school through SAS. It was no reflection on Lawrence whatsoever. Nearly all the same teachers are there from when my son went from 2001-2004. The electives range from horticulture to a science elective that’s akin to anatomy that includes dissection and all kinds of exciting stuff.

      First off, know your point counts. Do you have a chance to get into Nobel? If not, don’t waste the application. Lawrence is a little gem. I know people who are happy at Nobel and at Porter, too. But if you feel Lawrence is the best bet, then definitely follow your instincts.

      In addition, if your daughter wants to follow her friends, at Nobel, you’ll have a secondary heartache in three years if most of her friends go to Granada and it’s not your home school. It’s the top lament I hear from people who permit into Nobel and then realize their kids won’t be able to follow their friends.

      If you like a smaller, insulated campus, Lawrence is the way to go.

  121. For anyone who is looking at King I am in 8th grade there and I applied at the same time a lot of the messages farther up the thread were posted. Anyway, King is actually one of the best middle schools in LAUSD now and Silverlake parents should consider sending their kids here. The Gifted Arts/Tech Magnet is the best while the Environmental Magnet is also pretty good. The Film/Media Magnet is new and is mostly made up of kids who would normally be in the homeschool. I have been here three years and have never had a bad teacher. The counselors are great and have really helped with any problems I’ve had. The school is only 1600 kids now.

  122. Hi,

    Can anyone comment, please, on which school they would choose between the following two magnet programs: Porter Middle School (Granada Hills) and Portola Middle School (Tarzana) under the assumption that a child receives acceptance to both.
    Thank you so much!

    • You can apply to only one, so I’m not sure if you could ever be accepted at both. They’re very different programs. I assume you’ve toured them?

  123. Hi mangetangel,
    Thank you. I understand them. The question is, if you had a choice for enrolling in either one, which would it be?


    • Since I have never toured either school, I could not really recommend either one. Some of the children from my daughter’s elementary school chose Porter and were happy with it. Perhaps some of the parents with children at Portola can comment.

  124. My son has been very happy at Portola. The academics are strong, most of the teachers are great, the homework is appropriate and not too overwhelming. Portola is, however, very structured. I was worried this would be a problem for my son but he’s responded very well to the structure. They are not good with special needs. If you have a disorganized child with ADHD type issues then it could be a problem. The HGA and HG kids perform equally as well from what I can tell (you really can’t tell them apart). It is harder to get in, however, as HGA since Portola admits the HG kids first. My son benefits from being surrounded with the HG/HGA kids. It helps keep him on his toes (he doesn’t like to work very hard). My daughter, however, is also HG but may be better off in a regular gifted program. So it really depends on the child. But all in all we’ve been very happy with Portola. I don’t know anything about Porter so I can’t compare. Hope this helps a little.

  125. My son is a fourth grader at Van Gogh and we are looking into Gifted/SAS program for junior high but dont know what to do.

    In 2nd grade he scored 89.8% on the OLSAT and did not make the cut of 90% to even be considered gifted. His 2nd grade CST scores were Advanced in language arts and Proficient in math. Then in third grade his CST scores in both lang. arts and math were Advanced. We were waiting for him to take the CST in fourth to automatically qualify as gifted. However, this will not be possible because the CST will not be given this year.

    At this point we are not sure which school will be best for junior high, but we want him to be in either SAS or gifted. We are very confused how this all works. To apply for SAS does the student need to leave elementary with a “label” or will teacher recommendation and/or scores be enough? And how/when should we apply? Would this be the same if it’s our home school or a school outside of our area?

    Thank you in advance!

    • First what we do know for sure. Your home school SAS automatically accepts its gifted students. Other neighboring schools, assuming they have room, accept students AFTER they accept their local students. Assuming your middle school is Frost, gifted students would be accepted into SAS there. Families would apply to the SAS at Nobel or Holmes or Lawrence, and would be accepted if there were spaces remaining.

      Now, with no testing this year, I feel your pain. We have a 7th grader who will have no current scores when we apply next year for high schools. The good news is ALL schools are in the same boat. They will likely seek grades, they will look for teacher recommendations, and they might ask to see some school essays. Some schools might use placement tests (probably more for math).

      SAS season is coming soon. I’d go ahead and contact the SAS schools that interest you and see what they say.

      I’d check into some regular, non-gifted magnets (maybe Math/Science or say, Holmes Humanities Magnet), and talk to them. EVERY middle school has an honors track and a regular track, and you could easily convince them to place him in the honors track (which is essentially what the gifted label tracks them into). The good news is in high school, gifted/not gifted won’t matter. Kids choose their classes, and anyone can get into AP classes with the right grades and intestinal fortitude.

      Good luck!

  126. One more question. Do you think it’s worth trying to get my child tested for gifted while still in elementary school? If yes, how should I go about this? Thank you

    • You can certainly try, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high. Due to the budget cuts, LAUSD has not been allowing retests, and there’s the issue with affiliated charters since the district charges them directly for the testing.

  127. Can you please tell me the difference between SAS and honors in middle school? Does it make a difference for High School?

  128. Where do most Lawrence Middle School magnet kids go to high school? Do many go on to El Camino HS (our neighborhood HS)?

  129. Anyone Know anything about Ivy Bound Academy Charter in Sherman Oaks? We found out we were accepted there today for 5th grade. My son is currently attending our home school which has a gifted magnet but he was not accepted into it despite being HG. We applied for 5th grade to our home school magnet and have 8 points. We find out if we got into home school Gifted Magnet in April 2014.

    My choices are to start Ivy Bound next year, pulling him out of his elementary 1 year early or hope we get into home school magnet and get matriculation points if needed to go to HGM at Portola, or we just stay the course for 5th grade and then go to our overcrowded and low score home middle school if we cant get into Portola.

    Ivy Bound is literally a block from our house so that makes it very attractive but I am worried about letting go of magnet points for 4 years. There are also other drawbacks to the campus at Ivy Bound. Is it true that HG kids are nearly assured getting into a HG magnet no matter what points one has accumulated. We could go to Ivy Bound for 4 years and then to North Hollywood HGM.

  130. Does anyone know if applying as white v. minority, or vice versa, makes a difference in getting into LACES with 16 points? We can apply as either. I just want to (of course) maximize our chances. Thanks!

    • That is a question best asked of the magnet coordinator, and gently. As you probably have heard, it is an advantage to be one or another at certain schools. Typically, highly sought after schools it’s less of an issue, but go ahead and ask the magnet coordinator for the last few years of where the kids came off the wait list. Best of luck to you

  131. We are trying to decide between Porter Gifted Magnet and Lawrence Gifted Magnet. Any insight? My child is ADHD so I ruled out Nobel because I was afraid he would fall through the cracks. Thanks for your guidance!!!

    • My son graduated from Lawrence in 2004. It’s a long time ago, but I’ve stayed in touch and most of the teachers are the same (far more than other schools in the same amount of time). A big plus with Lawrence is the magnet has its own PE teacher. Small thing, I know, but a big thing to consider on some of the rougher campuses.

      That said, I know many successful families who went through Porter as well. Many of my daughter’s friends went to Porter and Frost, nearly evenly.

      Please make sure you tour them, and talk to the coordinators about your specific concerns with your child. If you feel a stronger rapport with one over the other, go with your gut.

    • Nobel is very large. I have an ADD child and that would not have been a good fit. Porter is a good choice, you might also check out the charter schools such as Valley Charter, IVY bound which are much smaller. If you are willing to drive to LA, City Charter School and New West are also great options with very small classes.

  132. Hi, I am applying for ms this year. I have a gifted kid very interested in science, math, tech stuff. I am planning to apply to reed hip, Millikan science or math academy, and also to submit echo ices with laces as the first choices and kings Starr as the second. Any thoughts? Thank you!

      • Millikan is terminating its Math Academy— I have this as inside information from a former Math academy teacher and administrator. You should check with the school on this to verify. The Science Academy is very rigorous, my daughter was in it for 1 year and not happy even though she likes math, science. Mr. Peterson who teaches all 3 years of Science Academy Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Geometry is very dry, like a college prof and some kids don’t work well with his teaching style. Still Millikan is one of the better choices, as it Walter Reed.

        • Thankfully the Math Academy will be taking on new 6th graders (thanks to a current parent booster for this info!) They are bringing on help for the math academy in the form of an administrative assistant. And I was under the impression that Mr. Peterson had retired. Millikan has filed a waiver to be able to teach Geometry to 8th graders, which is also an issue for quite a few parents of mathy-sciencey kids as well.

    • LACES has been requiring a very high amount of points. If you put that first and King Starr second, you could end up at King without a chance at LACES. If they are equal in your mind, great. Otherwise, the 2nd ‘choice’ isn’t much of a choice. If you don’t have a high point count, I’d choose one or the other. With LACES it would be a long shot, or knowing you had a decent shot at King Starr.

      Reed IHP has a new component this year–since there is no CST score, they’re testing. So if you liked what you saw on the tour, go for it. We found the very small class cohort size daunting. Without the 7th period schedule and the additional elective option, it would be a no for us. My daughter got in when it was 7 classes and we still went elsewhere.

      Like Reed, the Science Academy is small–right now the class travels alone. The kids don’t mix with other kids. I also have an issue with the fact they don’t have an elective, and the AP courses they are taking are essentially repeated in high school. No one could explain it to me that it made sense, but there are families who swear by it.

      Math Academy almost folded this year, but a friend emailed me and said they are taking a new 6th grade class afterall. The teachers on that tour seemed genuinely engaged and motivated. The kids get the full choice of electives and they do integrate with the entire school. That seems more desirable.

      No clue on echo ices. Sorry.

  133. I’m trying to decide between Porter Gifted Magnet and Holmes Humanities for my twins. We toured both, and kids said they liked both schools. I preferred Porter for a few reasons, but my kids want to go to Holmes mainly because many of their friends are going there, either through Magnet, SAS, or Open Enrollment. My husband wants kids to be with their friends since they will have a built in network of “good kids” to hang with during the horrors of middle school. 🙂 Both schools have uniforms which I hate, but Holmes is more strict with it. Holmes is a bit closer to us, but Porter easier by freeway. I’m really torn on whether to apply to both or just pick one. I promised my kids I would apply to Holmes (and I will), but not sure if it should be first or second choice. With the twin factor, I’m also a bit worried that one will get in and not other, or both to different schools.

    Any thoughts, either way? I think they will get a good education at either school, but I feel like this decision is hanging over me. Deadline fast approaching.

    • With twins, I’ll ask another question–which SAS program do you like better? I’d be very leery to apply to two magnets (1st and 2nd choices), because you will no doubt get one in to one school, and the second one will end up being admitted to the second. Of course, with twins you could have one get in to the magnet and one not. By applying to both magnet and SAS, you’ll have the back up plan of one getting in, one going SAS, and if a spot becomes available–even as late as norm day a month in, you can get the other in as well.

      I’ve known parents with kids at both Porter and Holmes that appreciated each program. Holmes kids often matriculate to Cleveland. So if you weren’t planning on Cleveland Humanities for HS, think that over before you apply there. Porter kids do end up at Cleveland as well, but also Granada, Van Nuys and other schools throughout the Valley. The kids I’ve seen from both have transitioned to high school smoothly and well prepared.

      Good luck!

  134. To clarify the comments about Reed IHP…a 7th period elective is still an option, if student chooses to take PE at 7:10am (Zero period). Most IHP students choose to take music as their 6th period elective. Are there middle schools still with 7 periods? IHP Tours start next week. With LACES, the real issue for not having available seats…the automatic matriculation from Mid City Magnet elementary. Not quite sure how that is acceptable within ‘magnet rules’ but this has shut out a great many families on the city side of LAUSD.

    • I know the LACES issue was discussed at length last year, middlemad. I’m sure an official at LACES could explain it and/or someone at the magnet office.

      • Thank you so much to everyone for the responses. If I put Kings a second choice, do they automatically send me there? Or only if I do not get into LACES. What is the upside of only putting LACES on the application? TIA

        • If you put down a second choice, they look at your first choice then if it’s full they run your application through the 2nd choice school.

          From April to August, MANY people get into a school via the wait list. The reality is many parents apply to numerous campuses through various channels and the kid will only attend one school. So while they apply SAS, charter, private, magnet, etc., they end up turning down many other spots.

          If you choose the 2nd option, you could get in and you’ll never get a chance to be on the wait list at your first choice. If the school currently estimates that it takes 16 to get in, they will have some kids with that number on the wait list and some get in. But but by mid summer they could be much lower on their point counts (again depending on school).

          So you can opt to put down that second choice school if in your mind it is exactly the same as the first choice.

          Good luck.

  135. If my home middle school is also a magnet school, how does that work? Admittedly, we are 5-6 years away from middle school, but as our school is improving and getting more and more buzz (Thomas Starr King), do we risk not getting admitted if we don’t start accruing points at a certain time? Do you get points toward getting into a school if it’s in your attendance zone? I’m probably being naive in thinking it’s going to get THAT sought after in 5-6 years, but this whole point system baffles me and I want to make sure I have all my “ducks in a row” when the time comes (plus it gives me something to think about besides worrying over which elementary school my kid will get into!). I’d hate to be in a position where there’s a perfectly good or even great local middle school and we can’t get in because we didn’t fill out the right forms at the right times or know how to “play the game.”

    • The earliest you’d want to apply is in 2nd grade…for third grade. Then again in 3rd grade for 4th. Then in 4th for 5th, which would give you 12 points. The danger is getting in somewhere unexpectedly in 4th or 5th. I’m not sure how Starr is popularity wise–how many points get in or how many get waitlisted. Since this is a recently converted charter, it might behoove you to ask questions of them far before you need to look. If more than one program interests you, that always increases the odds.

      There are no points for a neighborhood school with a magnet. Indeed, the whole purpose of a magnet is to move the kids around. Now if your child qualifies for SAS, the neighborhood school virtually guarantees admission (that’s what SAS is for–the rest of us are just lucky there are more spots than kids in the neighborhood).

      For now, talk to parents with older kids, go along to the extracurricular stuff at the middles and figure out which ones interest you. Maybe not a ton in third grade, but by 4th you should be attending anything at the middle schools that interests your kid to see the other kids and the parent involvement.

      Good luck.

      • Thank you! Am I crazy that I’m actually finding this all kind of fun?! (Or maybe I just have previously undiscovered gambling/gaming issues…)
        Regardless, this site is an amazing resource.

        • I find the touring and helping people get into the right schools for their kids ‘fun.’ Unfortunately, the ‘game’ can backfire, kids getting in when least expected, and when it actually is happening in a compressed 4-5 week period during an already jam-packed school year, it can be stressful.

          Having found the right elementary school and middle school for my daughter (both kids actually), I really feel pressure that her high school live up to the experiences she’s had so far. Keeping in mind, in just three years, she’s a very different critter than she was walking into middle school. So no matter what you think works now, there could be a big shift, too.

          Enjoy it, and in a few more years, you’ll be dispensing advice. And we need someone in your area, since I’m pretty much Valley centric.

          • I am also in the Thomas Starr King middle school district area and have a Kindergartener. After reading the above I am wondering where my child would go to school if she doesn’t get into King? Isn’t it the middle school for the neighborhood? Does she have to accrue points (or be SAS) to get in? I read somewhere that neighborhood kids get priority even after it changed to an all magnet school. Is that not the case?
            Thanks for any info about this!

          • With a kindergartener, I will say keep an ear out. SO much changes over time.

            With many of these magnet conversions, it has to do with recruiting enough kids to keep the schools full. Empty classrooms are vulnerable to Prop 39 charter co-locations, and by allowing first the neighbor kids in and then encouraging kids outside the neighborhood, they keep the charter schools at bay.

            Hopefully one of the current parents will reach out (or a recent alumni fam), but my understanding is that kids from the neighborhood do get priority. But as magnets (or academies), there’s no guarantee you’ll get your first choice (say Film over Environmental Studies). But if it’s your home school, you will get in if you follow the deadlines for application.

            In the meantime, talk to some of the parents at your elementary school, and I’m sure some of the families already have a middle schooler and can give you more details. Again, much may change in the next five years, but at the least you’ll know what’s up.

    • A quick question: Do you hope to have an elective for your child? Science Academy students do not have an outside elective. No band, no art, no film making. Walter Reed students will get an elective. One of the issues I had with Science Academy is that for all that science push, it’s hard to understand what courses these kids will take in high school–except to repeat the same AP classes.

      Both schools are relatively small. Currently Walter Reed is 2 classes, and the rumor is that Science Academy will grow from one class to two classes. Until now, Science Academy students moved from class to class together. With only 40 students, that is a pretty small circle of friends.

      We toured both a few years back, when Walter Reed had two electives and 7 periods a day. That was pretty attractive. With six periods, it loses that lead. Walter Reed has a new principal, Millikan has had the same leadership for quite some time. If you toured, ask yourself which teachers appeal to you more.

  136. I honestly liked both programs. My concern with Science IS the fact that there are no electives. At the same time they have classes that I know my kid would like. Somebody actually asked about what students will take in HS and the response was that they would probably be able to take college-level classes, if the school accommodates. I am torn – I know it is a good problem to have but still…

    • Call a few high schools and ask the magnet coordinators what they would do with students (Van Nuys or Reseda Highs have Math/Science magnets, and receive plenty of Millikan kids–they would know). I didn’t get the best answer when we toured (and ‘probably’ is a very weak answer). And I know getting into community college classes has gotten MUCH harder in the last few years. Also, is there someone who can drive him TO these college courses? The response we’d gotten was they tend to not take the AP tests at the end of the year, and merely repeat the AP courses in high school. That seems like a waste of possibilities to me.

      You have time, since you won’t know whether you got in likely for another month. If you only get into one, you have the answer. If you do get into both you will know what you’re dealing with.

      Also, think about where they will end up for high school. If one is a better choice for you, that might guide your choice as well.

    • For me, a huge part of that decision would be where you live, and who has to do the driving. There are no busses to Reed, and LACES will give you busses if you live outside 5 miles.

    • It’ll come down to which programs you liked better. Did you tour them both?

      LACES means you’re done. No more apps, no more magnet points. Done. Walter Reed does mean you have one more application period to deal with.

      We turned down Walter Reed because we just felt the program was too small to accommodate all the things we needed to deal with in her schedule. Never regretted it. Of course, many people are VERY happy with it.

  137. Thank you!. We did not have a chance to look at LACES. We did like IHP and turned down Millikan Science for it. We love the idea to be done with looking for schools. The only con for LACES so far is the travel…

  138. Our daughter was also accepted at Reed, Millikan and LACES. We chose LACES because we liked the school and loved the idea of not having to think about high school, however the distance became a real chore and our daughter transferred to another school in 8th grade.

    We live close to Universal Studios and our daughter had to wake at 5.30am in order to make the 6.30am school bus that transferred her to LACES from NoHo High. The early alarm became a real chore, but you should also consider the fact that friends will be dotted all over the city, and many classes set group projects that require the children to get together at weekends – if you choose LACES, make sure you’re prepared to drive to Westchester, Westwood and beyond!

    I honestly believe there’s a lot to be said for a local school, and if one’s child is bright and interested in the world and has parents who expose them to the many opportunities this city and state has to offer, then they’ll be fine wherever they end up.

    • Great points, Sarah.

      We looked at LACHSA and Hamilton, and thankfully my daughter ruled those out for similar reasons. She likes her sleep and didn’t want all her socialization on a bus. Even though I have two kids, and we only used our zoned school one year out of all the years so far (son graduated in 2008, daughter is in middle school), I really do encourage families to be realistic with the drives they are contemplating as not only are there the morning and afternoon, but also school functions, the dreaded group projects, and more.

  139. Our son is in the IHP. When we were first deciding on which school to send him to, we had concerns about it being a bit of a drive away. Fortunately, the drive hasn’t been too bad. We live in Sherman Oaks and it takes us about 15 minutes to get there, sometimes less. We are very happy with the IHP, but there are definitely days when I wish his school were closer, especially because we have a younger child attending a different school. Overall, we have no regrets, and personally it has been worth the drive to have him at the IHP.

          • Hi, ladies – curious to know if your IHP experience is still as good as you thought it was several years ago? We are trying to decide between IHP and Science Academy for our son. We love both programs – IHP for its well-roundedness, Latin and music, and Science Academy for its Robotics and Math, as well as other STEM opportunities – and frankly, because it has a bus. This decision is harder than I thought it would be!

          • See if you can find someone with an 8th grader about whether they’d continue with the Science Academy for high school and the pros and cons at that level. Given that the magnet goes to 12th grade, there are no matriculation or wait points if you opt to look at other high school options.

  140. My son got accepted to the Millikan Math Academy, and I was wondering if anyone had some thoughts/experiences they’d like to share. Also, where do you go to highschool from there?
    Thank you!

    • Millikan Math Academy is one of the few places where students can still get to Geometry by 8th grade. The kids also get an elective, where the science academy kids don’t get an outside elective.

      Kids from Millikan end up at Van Nuys, Reseda, Champs (Math/Science/Robotics) or Cleveland Humanities, NoHo magnets or SAS, and many more.

  141. What will happen if I accept two programs and then decline one? I am still deciding on logistics and cannot make a decision… One is a magnet, another is not?

    • It does depend on the programs. If we’re talking about a magnet and charter, you can probably get away with it. LAUSD’s MISIS program will not let students be programmed for two schools, so you’d run the risk of being tossed from one or the other.

      If you are torn, and do decide to accept both, please call to cancel the other spot as soon as you decide. As you can see from the comments here, there are thousands of people who are on wait lists and it’s NOT cool to throw people off their plans in August or September.

  142. I know it is not cool and would not do this unless I really needed more time to process everything. I am trying to see if we would be able to move and that takes time. One is magnet and another is a regular public, with a specialized program, both fantastic programs, that what makes it sooooo hard. When do the students get programmed in MISIS?

    • Off the top of my head, that won’t work. Say one is Walter Reed’s IHP and the other is Nobel’s magnet, they already know you have been offered by both.

      We were technically thrown off Walter Reed’s list before we were even accepted for an SAS program for our permit at my daughter’s first choice. We did eventually get the SAS we were waiting for, but it was scary knowing they decided we were out before we’d known if we were going to be accepted where we went.

      She was accepted at a magnet, accepted at Walter Reed, so we gave up the magnet spot. Walter Reed was her #2, but a solid #2 we could have been happy with. But they sent a nasty disenrollment email.

      So with your situation, please proceed with caution. Both programs will be in MISIS.

  143. Thank you so much for the feedback. They can’t through us out from both programs, right?
    You are right, it is IHP (how did you know :))) and LACES… tough…

    • I didn’t, except from experience. But the only LAUSD things out there right now are IHP and magnet. SAS only started taking apps now and open enrollment is going to be May.

    • Thanks.

      Have your kids 10 1/2 years apart, live in a great neighborhood but with not so great schools, and you too can amass this knowledge. 😉

      I appreciate the ability to answer the questions, and the other folks who share their experiences to keep this thing going!

  144. So sorry to take advantage of your knowledge and time but it is a really tough decision. WR is much more geographically convenient for us as we live in the valley but I am concerned about HS. The kid is designated gifted but not HG so North Hollywood High would not work. What did/would you do for HS?

    • There are a lot of options in the Valley once you start listening to parents. NoHo has an SAS program, and as for magnet, NoHo has the zoo magnet, Cleveland Humanities, Van Nuys, Reseda Math/Science, Van Nuys has Math/Science and Medical magnets, and there are plenty of other options. CHAMPS has a robotics program. Don’t worry about HS until you do get into middle school because no matter where your kid goes, the kids there will move on to a variety of schools. And depending on how close you are to ‘over the hill’ or ‘around the hill’ there are schools in that direction too.

      We looked at Hamilton, too, but it was just tooooooooo far for a kid who likes to sleep in.

  145. Thank you! It does give me some piece of mind. People around me keep telling that I hit the lottery with LACES and would be crazy not to take it. I feel bad for myself and the kid to have to commute for so long.

    • We have had our kids all over the Valley since 1997 when my son got into Balboa. That was the closest school for us, but we’ve been to three corners of the Valley. The *huge* downside, and I can not stress this enough is that the kids will have group projects (they all do) and you will have to schlep them back and forth. Murphy’s law says that for how far you are, the family they get paired with will live equally far on the opposite side. It’s a huge bummer for participation at the school, for activities like open house, or when the kid looks at you and flat out refuses to ride the bus.

      That said, for 18 years we’ve driven between 15 and 30 minutes each way, and we’ve made it work. So take into consideration which program is better for your kid and do what’s best for your kid. If you need a high school in three years, the upside is my daughter will be a junior and I will know even more about how the programs in the Valley are working (or not). And they do change over time.

      Good luck!

  146. We live close to Walter Reed and our daughter was accepted into LACES for 6th grade, along with various other charters, academies and SAS programs. We quickly decided on LACES because we also felt like we’d won the lottery, however the school bus left NoHo High at 6.25am, and after three years of getting up at 5.30am our daughter moved to a school closer to home.

    Consider driving across town for every 6pm parent meeting, concert and back to school night when making your decision, as well as any after school activities for your child because the late buses arrive back into the Valley pretty late!. There’s a lot to be said for keeping life local!

    • Great points. I wouldn’t have repeated them except I was chopping veggies. But glad to see we’re not alone. 🙂

  147. Sorry, I was posting from my cell as you were posting the same thoughts!

    We too have the 10 year age span and at one stage we had four children in four separate schools all over LA and realized we had to simplify our lives for the sake of everyone’s sanity! With the benefit of hindsight I would chose proximity to home and friends and go with my gut over whether the school has a good feeling about it and is a good fit for the child, and I probably wouldn’t agonize quite so much over which middle school to select as I’ve learned that school is not the be all and end all to a child’s success!

    • It certainly depends on what the home school situation is. Since we’re living in an area where the schools are GreatSchools rated 5 elementary, 2 middle school, and 4 high school, it’s definitely something to think about. But I do see people fretting over choices where all the schools are safe and successful.

      All we can do is offer our experiences, and watch what people choose to do. 🙂

      • We probably are neighbors cause we have the same horrible situation with middle schools – we are not even considering them. Thank you all so much for the time and willingness to share.

        • You’re welcome. Best of luck with your decision. I’m in San Fernando, and the first kid went to school in Porter Ranch, San Fernando (one year), Northridge, Chatsworth, and Verdugo Hills. The second one spent elementary in Granada Hills, and once she’s no longer in middle school I’ll share that too.

  148. Our son is in private school at the moment. We just put in the paperwork to have him evaluated for Gifted, which might happen next year (the evaluation). Based on the paperwork, he has been accepted into the SAS program at Patrick Henry (our home school). He will be going into 7th grade next year. I know that it is too late for Magnet, and I am not sure if other middle schools will be quick to take him into SAS before the evaluation is done. Thoughts about PHMS SAS program?

  149. I have a highly gifted son entering 6th. Torn between RenArts, Aveson, and sun valley biomedical engineering magnet. Thoughts on which of these is best for highly gifted kid?

  150. Hi,
    May I ask why you are NOT considering Portola and why you ARE considering the above three? Thanks.

  151. Location is the main reason. I’m finding it hard to be a part of a community long distance. Im considering Aveson because it addresses the whole child, especially since I have a HG kid who is sensitive and creative, but I’m afraid it may not be academic enough. He has a passion for reading,good at math and is challenged by science so that is why I’m considering Biomedical magnet but it’s fairly new and in a rough neighborhood and very different from his current school (charter school). I’m considering RenArts because it seems rigorous but it may be too focused on the arts he’s not into. So I’m having a hard time. I know there won’t be the perfect school but I’d like to hear about other people’s experience with RenArts, sun valley biomedical magnet, & Aveson. Thanks.

  152. Any Thomas Starr King Middle School Magnet parents here?? We just accepted to the Film/Media Magnet.. on waitlist for the Art/Tech Gifted Magnet which was first choice. My ex is now balking at the entire school and wants to leave him in the small private school he’s currently attending. I won’t go into the whole long list of concerns on my end, but the nutshell: I think my gifted kid will thrive in a larger community; King seems it might have stronger academics than his alternative private school; and I’m most interested in the combination of strong academics/test scores with real diversity. His private school has almost zero diversity and it’s politics are a problem for me. Ex is worried about the size of King, the pledge of allegiance requirement, dress code/uniforms, metal detector.
    Thank you for any experiences you can share about being at King.

  153. my daughter went to king art and tech magnet. she really like it and did well (well as well as a kid who did no homework can do). the student were kind, smart and hardworking. there is diversity – (it was the 1st time my daughter was in classes with white and non low income kids!). kids stay with in the magnet during academic classes, but at PE and elective they will mix with the other “schools” which we liked, because that is real life.

  154. i know one family who was very unhappy with the magnet. BUT the mom will be the 1st to say it was more about her child than the school.

  155. How many magnet points typically needed for Millikan Performing Arts Magnet (Grade 6)? I dont want to apply unless he can get in. (16 points/minority)

  156. Millikan has both a Performing Arts Magnet and a Performing Arts Academy. The latter requires no magnet points (nor does it require a Gifted designation) and is solely based on an audition (typically done in winter/spring, roughly Jan.-April). The audition requirements include a one-minute monologue, a one-minute song (both of these from a standard Broadway show–you are given a list to pick from, Fiddler, Pippin, Sound of Music, etc.), and finally there are some simple dance steps the student is asked to replicate. While Millikan boasts a nice (sprung wooden floor) dance studio and has a reputation for sending the most number of graduates to LACHSA, for many of us families who have been through it, it’s not the end-all be-all for performing arts in the LAUSD. Do tour, and explore, other middle schools as well.

    • And the orchestra/band audition is a bit different: simply playing a piece of music they feel comfortable with. There are three levels for strings and many ensemble options for band including jazz combos. Students coming in playing piano are offered the opportunity to play percussion or pick up another instrument.

      It is much more like a high school than a middle school including the 2100 students. For some kids it’s not the right fit. For others, it moves them head and shoulders above their peers.

  157. If my child has 12 matriculation points + 4 PHBAO points and applying for Grade 6 at LACES this October. If my child does not get in, how many points he will have next October? Is it 8 points?

    • Yep. 4 wait and 4 PHBAO. And 8 points in an off year isn’t a good plan. If LACES is your first choice, I’d encourage you to apply, but have a few iron-clad second choices.

      Good luck.

    • We LOST our 12 matriculation points applying to LACES. Make sure to check off the other options.They matriculate 6th grade students from one specific elementary school. There are now 60 spots less each year since they implemented this non-lottery matriculation. And kids who all know each other. How a magnet lottery system designed to pull from all varieties of ethnic and socio-economic groups is now legally allowed to do this boggles me.

      • That’s why I suggest an iron-clad back up if this is the absolute first choice. I don’t understand the reasoning, so maybe some day someone will have an official reply.

    • It’s new, and it’s not. The Science Academy is converting to a G/HG/HA magnet because LAUSD is requiring all academy placements to be by lottery. It will still be a lottery but it will no longer involve an interview or test scores (beyond gifted identification).

      • Questions about Millikan STEM Academy (and all Academies at Millikan in general) – If I have no points, and I don’t have an Intellectual Assessment done for my child – they cannot apply to the a Millikan Academy? (We were at a Charter last year called Calsteam that refuses to do the paperwork for an intellectual assessment so my now 5th Grader will probably not have one done in time.) I just know he cold get in based on grades and any test given…

        • I’m hearing the Science Academy is going to become a STEM magnet, so that will require points, and likely a load of them.

          The Millikan Academies will be math and performing arts. Call and talk to someone in the office, because there will now be random lotteries. Schools can take grades to show aptitude (there are other schools that do not test, for the record). And last year they had an additional random, open lottery.

          Tours are going on now. So if you choose, reserve a spot on the tour, and then drop by the office for academy questions.

          Good luck.

    • I think they can, but their priority was ranking students high to low and 3 years ago, they expected 600 in Math and a big 500 in ELA–with CSTs. Since the testing has changed, I’d call.

  158. My child is HGA, we are interested in Portola for 6th grade we will have 16 points. My concern is that the chances might be low since they will take all the HG first before any HGA. Does anyone know what percentage of 6th grade students at Portola are HGA? Thanks in advance.

    • The best information would come from the magnet coordinator him/herself. These numbers change, and while the overall point totals have gone down over recent years, you will want the most accurate information in making this decision. You also may change your mind as you look at some of the other programs which meet similar needs. Walter Reed is one, and now that Millikan’s science academy has had to become a G/HG/HA magnet in order to be in compliance with district rules on lotteries, that might be another option. However, you will only be able to apply to one magnet, and if you opt for Portola, then Millikan would be out.

    • I looked at Portola and got unspoken feeling that of course, HG priority and in bcz small pool of applicants, but probably very good chance for HGA bcz there’s room. First decide on best fit for child and commute (if not carsick, great use of homework time).

    • Thanks to all…. Portola is our #1 choice. My child had a lot of input in this decision, most of her school friends attend Portola or are applying for 6th grade. I looked into the schools mentioned and other Gifted Magents, since they are all great school we let our child make the final decision.

      • Great point. It doesn’t always work out, but we’ve been lucky since our kids each chose the same #1 as we did at each step of the way.

        It’s a lot harder when you and the kid don’t agree, but even that can work out.

        • It was hard for our child to leave the home school friends 2 years ago to attend the current HG Magnet school. The HGM consist of less then 100 students, they form such strong friendships. My husband and I believe our child will do good in any middle school. Making our child a big part of the decision process makes the transition easier and enjoyable from elementary to middle school.

      • Very, very wise-to listen to your child. Sounds like you have a good relationship with your child. Have to say that having friends there is a bigger deal than I had anticipated. He went to Revere (for Pali HS later) but was ALONE while most friends went to Palms and Emerson. He appreciated the awesome HG track (teachers and classmates), but had rough 6 months adjusting. Depends on how social your kid is, going somewhere without familiar faces. You have a lot going for Portola. Good luck!

    • My son attended Portola HGM for the last three years and my daughter is there now in 6th grade. A few years ago they had a waitlist and some HGA kids (with 12 points) did not get in. My understanding is that they added more spots (effective this school year). We also know HGA kids (with very few points) who got in off the waitlist for this year. With 16 points you will be near the top of the HGA list and I believe very likely to get in. (Of course, please verify with the magnet coordinator).
      I also wanted to add that the school was a good fit for my son but I wasn’t sure it would be good for my daughter. But she absolutely LOVES it there and is thriving. It’s interesting because the things/teachers that she loves are not at all what I would have predicted.

      • Thanks Katbrain & Elizabeth I really appreciate your input and all the information you’re sharing. I emailed Karen Perry, Portola’s Magnet Coordinator several days ago, no reply yet. I will be following up with a 2nd email or call and will also be attending the upcoming tour. My child’s magnet is also having a meet the middle schools next month. Hopefully I will get all my questions and concerns answered. Portola is our #1 choice but we are not ruling out the other middle schools.

        • Vanessa

          My child is also applying at Portola this year. (HGA/16 points) I have been told by the magnet coordinator that from the past years, all 16 points got in.

    • Update, I received the same reply via email and phone call, “… no guarantees but with 16 points ,… in good standing for being selected into Portola HGM next school year. We have 101 openings for 6th grade next year”.

      Only question they were not able/did not answer was what percentage of current 6th grade students are HGA vs HG. Has anyone gotten an answer for this question?

    • Walter Reed middle school is having their annual Meet the High Schools night on October 7th. Last year they had over 40 High schools represented.

      • Thank, Jenny. I actually have a very specific question about NoHo HGM, and I was hoping to find some parents here who have their kids in this program.

        I saw on NoHo HGM web site that they had some major faculty changes this year with some teachers hired when the school already started. I wonder what happened there, and how these changes affected the program.

        • Hi Alex,

          To be clear, Jenny is just posting information for inclusion in the magnet nights.

          For NoHo information, I would suggest posting to the North Hollywood section: https://askamagnetyenta.wordpress.com/schoolfinder-by-region/north-hollywood/ or Gifted Students programs: https://askamagnetyenta.wordpress.com/gifted/

          We have several parents at North Hollywood, so you might get an answer. On the other hand, we’re not always privy to personnel decisions.

          • Thank you, I will post my question there. I just want to get a feeling from parents/students if the program was affected. I toured the school last year, so seeing such major changes makes me uncomfortable.

        • Alex

          You should attend the Open House at NHHS HGM on October 12’2015

          Prospective Families Open House 5-7 pm

          No reservations required. We encourage everyone to take a Daytime HGM Tour. However, teachers and students will be too busy to chat during class, so we also offer this evening program.

          1) Start in Auditorium for an overview of our program
          2) HGM Students will escort groups to meet with teachers in different departments

          Please share the info with us if you decide to attend.

  159. Walter Reed middle school is having a Meet the High Schools night on October 7th I believe. If I remember correctly, they had over 40 high schools represented last year.

  160. Walter Reed middle school is having their annual Meet the High Schools night on October 7th. Last year they had over 40 High schools represented.

  161. Hi!

    We are new to the LAUSD system, and this is the first year that our kids are in the system. Now the it is time to apply to the Magnet programs, I have a question for those who know the system way better than I do. We do not have any points accumulated, and we have a 5th grader that will be going to middle school next year. From what I see, we would have 4 points as our local middle school (Patrick Henry Middle School) is a PHBAO school. Our older child is already at PHMS, so our 5th grader would have 7 points to apply to PHMS, and 4 points anywhere else. Any chance he might be able to get in any magnets with 4 points, other than PHMS?

    Thanks in advance,



    • Patrick Henry’s magnet is well regarded by many parents I know. It’s a smaller school that suffers from being smack dab between some of the more ‘name brand’ schools like Nobel. If you have a child there now, don’t discount that magnet option. Also know that SAS season will open in the spring, and those spaces are a straight lottery–and you can apply to as many SAS programs as you wish.

      It’s not uncommon for some schools to get students in with 4 points at sixth grade–SOCES it has happened more than once in recent years. That typically happens from the wait list and you likely won’t get the call until later in the summer, so it’s best to have a back up plan or an iron stomach.

      Also see which schools will have open enrollment in the Spring. But I understand wanting to opt for a magnet as well.

      Good luck!
      Good luck.

  162. HGA 5th grade child, 1st choice is Portola HG. We have research Portola, Millikan, Walter Reed, Lawrence, Porter & Nobel (my oldest attended Nobel a few years ago and they have a great Magnet & SAS program). We have narrowed our choices down to Portola, Millikan & Walter Reed and signed up for the tours/orientation.

    Did Millikan Magnet tour today with our child, still under discussion but do not believe its the right fit for our child. We were given a hand out were it indicated the Mandatory Math/Science assessment will be on Nov 17 from 2-5p.m, there was also a list of items they wanted us to provide at the time of assessment, 1) Recent report card 2) Recent test scores 3) Recent graded writing sample 4) Teacher Recommendation (if possible) and to top it all if the child passes the mandatory assessment we will still have to have conference/interview. Only then will they send a list of students to the district for the lottery.

    When questioned about how many points were needed to get in after passing their assessment, they continued to repeat that it was by lottery and not by points. We stated that we understood that the list that they send to the district was determined by the child passing the assessment and not by points, but once the district conducted the lottery priority points will be important. Again they replied with points are not needed its based on lottery. They also stated that if your child does not pass the mandatory assessment the district will notify us by the end of November and your 2nd choice will bumped to 1st and you will keep you priority points, is this possible? Left the tour confused when it came to priority points, can anyone clear this up for me?

    The 6th-8th graders are using 10th grade and College level text books and are assigned and elective that has to do with Science. 6th graders are assigned Computer Science (coding)/Robotics as their elective. We were told that most kids in the Magnet program breath and live for Science & Math.

    The Science Academy STEM Magnet is expected to have their own campus by Fall 2016, they don’t know the location yet but we were told it will be close to the current location. They also stated that they don’t expect to offer 9th-12th grades next year as part of their program but assured us it will offered by the time our kids go to 9th grade.

    We will be attending a private tour Portola will be having for our child’s HG school, Walter Reed’s Orientation on Oct 29, my child’s HG school is also having a Meet the Middle Schools on Oct 30.

    • Boy, oh boy. I was not a fan of this program when we toured it for my daughter for 2012, and am definitely not a fan now. If it is anyone’s first choice, be advised that this is all uncharted territory (test into magnet, moving off campus), and if you have a fifth grader and think this is your first choice, be very cautious. A decade ago, my son started at a new (second year) magnet. It was great for getting in–not everyone had heard of it yet. Unfortunately the promises we’d heard on tours about labs opening and other things that would be happening in the next year happened as he graduated four years later. And when we toured it for my daughter last year–some of those promises were still “working on.” Nothing in LAUSD happens overnight.

      I said it before. This is an acquired taste. Everything might fall into place beautifully. But if it doesn’t, I’d hate for kids to be left in the balance.

      • magnetangel,

        Are you able to clarify the whole point issue when it comes to applying to Millikan Science STEM Magnet?

        From everything I’ve read on eChoices.lausd.net and on this page, I understood that the LAUSD lottery for all magnets is based on points (& of course ethnicity/race) and that points are only applied on your 1st choice magnet. Did things change this year?

        • I haven’t returned to tour Millikan, and I probably won’t (as I went with friends to a different tour, so hopefully others can share their experience. That said, What Skahn said makes the most sense. They had to make this move to comply with the anonymous selection process that all magnets and SAS and other programs will need to comply with. In order to at least assure students were ready (because they eliminated interviews, they were going HG/G/GA magnet.

          The test thing is unprecedented.

          What Skahn said sounds right–assuming 80 spots for sixth grade, if they get fewer applications everyone gets in (this is the same for typical SAS or open enrollment spots). At 81, they need a lottery for everyone. Throw in the test, and assume 100 apply and 80 pass, then everyone gets in. Even if they ranked everyone from 23 to 0 points….it’s still the same, they get in. I’m assuming the magnet coordinator is new and the terminology is a bit foreign. I’ve found more than a few magnet coordinators misspeak when trying to answer questions.

          I’m curious if anyone hears specifically from downtown if they call and ask about this “magnet.”

    • I was there too today. I understood that after testing, if EVERYONE got accepted, THEN magnet points would count first, THEN after that lottery.

    • Hi Vanessa, we’re considering the same schools you had on your list for my current 4th grader who is HGA and at Wonderland Magnet currently. What school did you end up choosing? How do you like it? We’re looking at Portola, IHP and Millikan Math. Thanks!

    • Hey, it happened! Very exciting! The Science Academy STEM Magnet is now a flourishing school with their OWN campus area and many electives. Their students are very satisfied with the education they are getting and if they are struggling, other students are sure to help them. What has been best about Science Academy is how it acts as a family with the principle and administrator supporting each student individually. Their robotics team has advanced to the Worlds championship almost 12 years in a row and they have started a Science Bowl Team that is annually competing head-to-head with North Hollywood High for Nationals. Although they had their struggles becoming their own school, they fulfilled all of their promises and I am excited to see how they expand in their future ( they are planning on adding a high school year each year).

  163. We will not be applying to Millikan STEM Magnet, but glad to get confirmation that the Priority Point System applies to them as well. Mr. Carlos Lauchu the Director of the Science Academy who was one of the two people who conducted the tour was a guess speaker at my child’s 5th grade class at San Jose HG Magnet today right after he finished the tour at Millikan, unfortunately parents where not allowed to attend. After attending the tour and Mr. Lauchu’s visit to the class my child assured us that Millikan is not an option.

    Now it’s between Portola & Walter Reed : )

    • And you get two shots–one magnet, one IHP application. We’d love to hear the update with the application process at Walter Reed since that has clearly changed since the loss of the CST scores.

    • Thanks, Glenda, for this information.

      As an academy, it makes sense. I’m curious if people go through with the magnet application what happens to children not ‘selected’ through the testing process. This is a very different way of doing things.

  164. We are planning to apply to LACES with our 16 magnet points and audition for Milliken’s Performing Arts Academy. We really want LACES but feel Milliken is a solid backup if we don’t get in. I just called Milliken to find out whether we can apply to both Performing Arts and Film academies (they said yes) but then the school added that as of a week ago, there is a new way for non-resident students to be admitted to the academies. It’s just not auditions; it’s a test and a lottery. Are you aware of any changes? Sounds like it will be hard for non-resident students to get in. We would prefer not to apply to Milliken as our second magnet choice and risk not being put on the wait list.

    • In previous years, the academies at Millikan (and elsewhere) allowed students to test/audition and be accepted before the SAS period. Students inside the boundaries were essentially in. Students outside the boundaries had to apply for an SAS or a very limited “Z” permit.

      The district is no longer allowing for academy students to apply for SAS and have any priority.

      There will be open enrollment spots. If you’ve talked to Connie Covert at the PA academy/magnet office, you have the most accurate info.

      I would definitely go speak to her at a tour or in person to get the most up to date information.

      Last year they had the academy lotteries and then they still had open enrollment lotteries. I’m confident there will be spaces, but it’s very hard to guess how the changes will affect families.

      • I just wanted to provide additional information about the new application process for Millikan’s Performing Arts Academy that I learned yesterday from attending another tour. After Millikan conducts the assessments for all their academies, they will conduct a charter lottery, Applicants do not need an SAS permit. If applicants pass their assessments and gets picked in the lottery, they will be placed into that academy if space is available. If an applicant does not pass the assessment but gets picked in the lottery, they can have a spot in Millikan’s home school.

        • Good to know. I will be relying on all the parents who do apply this year on how the process goes. I will hear some general things, but I am very interested to see how this is implemented for the next few years. Those who are the brave guinea pigs, we appreciate your blazing the way.

          • Not so brave. We submitted our choice application yesterday and ultimately decided to apply to both LACES and Millikan Performing Arts Magnet since we’re pretty sure we can get into Millikan with 16 points if we don’t get into LACES initially. Too many families told us they applied only to LACES and never got in. That’s too much uncertainty for us. Wishing everyone good luck with their magnet choices (except for LACES, because we really want to get in on the first try)!

  165. The kids do not have to be HG or HGA. They are looking at entrance test results, standardized tests, progress reports and teacher recommendation.

  166. Hi there. My son is identified as gifted in 2nd grade. He’s now in 4th grade. Any thoughts on great middle schools in the San Fernando Valley (Northridge area). I’m looking at Nobel & Porter. Any thoughts on these schools or any other middle schools in our area, please. Help. Thanks is advance,.

    • First off, the magnets are Lawrence (gifted) in Chatsworth, Nobel (math/science), Frost in Granada Hills (math/science) and Porter (gifted). If you have been applying to magnets all along and have accrued points you’ll have no trouble. If this is the first you’ve thought of it, Nobel is gonna be a reach with few or no points. The good news is Porter and Lawrence do admit students with few points, depending on race. You might also want to look at Patrick Henry.

      The other option will be the SAS programs. Schools for Advanced studies are gifted programs. They do not provide transportation, but carpools aren’t out of the ordinary. I’d look at the SAS programs at the same schools.

      You will need to tour them. Ask questions, and decide what makes sense for you. Some programs are larger, some smaller. Some are stricter, some more lenient (in terms of administration or dress codes).

      Good luck.

      • Thanks for the quick response! We do have just 4 points for PHBAO. I was just told our waitlist points expired and I did not submit an application for him this year. Lesson learned. 😦 I will check out the SAS programs in these schools. Thanks again.

        • He could conceivably get into Porter or Lawrence with four. But probably off the wait list so you’d want to have a solid back up plan. SAS is great.

          Also look at Holmes for the SAS. Magnet I don’t think 4 is likely.

  167. Does anyone have feedback about Walter Reed IHP from the last 3 years? My child just got in and we’re happy about it (and it’s really close to our house too!), but I know there have been changes in teachers, etc there recently. We realize it’s a rigorous program – but I’ve only spoken with parents of kid that were there 5+ years ago who really liked it. I’d love to hear from anyone with more recent experience. Thanks!!

  168. Thank you Emma. I really appreciate your feedback. I’d heard there were lots of changes at the IHP in the past few years (like a new, stern new teacher?), and that kids were getting swamped and stressed out. But I haven’t talked to anyone directly. I think my kid can handle the work – but just want to make sure its enjoyable too, and not overwhelming. If anyone else can tell of their experience with IHP I’d really appreciate it. We’re also considering Millikan Math Academy.

    • I can’t comment on the specifics of the current situation, but suffice it to say that one family’s ‘stern’ teacher will be another family’s teacher that gives ‘meaningful assignments.’ The “swamped” comment will be heard at *any* SAS or honors track for many families (especially if coming from an elementary that prioritized family time. You’ll always have to weigh your experience with your well-meaning friends (think politics, religion, or even yelp reviews on that matter).

      The principal did change in the last couple years and they did change the seven-period schedule back to six.

      I will say, looking back on two kids, the middle school selection is the most stressful. You won’t have the same stress in high school, at least not to the same degree. It does get better.

      • Thank you magnetangel. Great words of wisdom. It’s just sometimes hard to navigate all the disparate comments people have about a school/program. Just have to trust we’ll make the right decision.

        • Some of them will be spot on. A teacher from my daughter’s elementary retired the year after my daughter narrowly avoided her class. She should never have been in a classroom with children. Or even a bad fit for a particular kid. On the other hand, a dance teacher at my daughter’s middle school loved my daughter for her determination (she was brand new to the experience), and she and I were both surprised to find out many of the other kids found her ‘mean’ or ‘too strict.’

          We used “Rate My Professors” for my son’s summer community college courses and got pretty good at ignoring the comments that came from not wanting to work.

          There is a tremendous time management/organizational learning curve that comes in sixth grade, as mentioned by Emma. You might have to give them a pass on the five week progress report (report card), but for the first couple weeks, make sure they’ve exchanged phone numbers, and anything you can have duplicates of at home will be a HUGE bonus. IHP may or may not be for your child, but it could feel the same for almost any school.

  169. We got into both but picked IHP but I have heard nice things about the math academy as well. In terms of the IHP, it really depends on your child. It is more about time management than anything else. If she/he got in, then it means intellectual ability is there but they need to be able to manage their time well. The assignments are given well in advance.

  170. 2 out of 3 kids in our child’s class got into Reed IHP this year, but they are also aplying at magnet school and will give up spots at IHP for magnet. It is just a preference.

  171. Thank you Emma. Your comment about time management at IHP is very helpful.
    And eMma – Wow. 67% of your school’s fifth graders got into IHP? That’s pretty amazing. Not so at our school…

  172. We finished IHP recently and the admins-the principal, the dean, the VP are exceptional. This is an important aspect when considering a very large, very urban jr. high. The IHP students have the same core teachers for 7th and 8th , which some parents/students like and some don’t. It wasn’t something i considered
    early on, so i thought i would mention it.

  173. My son is an 8th grader in the IHP. There have been many changes to the program since he started, but it’s been a great experience for him and for us as parents. There is a lot of work, but they are given ample time and assistance to complete it. It takes my son a very long time to complete his homework, but that’s because he is easily distracted and has always had difficulty managing his time. If a kid like him can do it, I’d bet yours could too. 🙂

  174. Did anyone else have the experience of receiving another child’s acceptance/rejection letter from Reed IHP this year? Earlier this month, Reed IHP sent us an admissions notice letter meant for another family, complete with child’s full name, school information, etc. It took several hours for them to acknowledge they had made a mistake. Then another hour or two later, they sent the “correct” admissions decision letters out.

    • No, but we were convinced they had the files between my daughter and another kid with the same/similar name confused. Her teacher’s recommendation got lost not once, but twice and we had to resubmit all our paperwork. I wanted to tell them to check the file before or after, because after I watched the teacher fax it the second time, I knew they were misplacing stuff.

      That’s not to be disrespectful. Accidents are going to happen. Mistakes are going to go out. But getting the wrong letter for the wrong kid is pretty big on the uh-oh scale. Generally at schools you may have a few parent volunteers helping with the magnet office or the academy paperwork. Not all schools, but it can happen.

      • Any thoughts between SOCES and Walter Reed IHP? We are debating which school our son should go to. He’s very good in Math and Science. He was not identified gifted but his teachers in the current magnet school he’s attend strongly believes he is.

        • If he has not been identified as gifted, I’d not spend much time on thoughts of Walter Reed. The IHP is intended for Highly Gifted students. Up until a few years ago, it took a perfect 600 on the math and a very high 500 CST to in the English to get in. Has he already been tested–like back in second grade?

          • IHP does not require gifted identification. However, your child need to be able to function at a pretty high level. They are reading high school level texts and are two years ahead in math.

          • I realize they don’t need to be identified, but it’s the first indication. Without a few years of the new testing under their belts, it’s gonna be a pretty big stretch to apply and get in without identification AND no test scores. Not impossible, but not likely either.

          • My son actually got accepted to both – IHP and SOCES. Now, we are are trying to decide which one he should go to.

          • Assuming you have toured both, which one resonated with you more?

            IHP means you’ll need to figure out a high school component. Many kids from IHP attend NoHo HGM, but you’ll need him to be tested in time to apply. IHP is a VERY small cohort.

            SOCES is not necessarily as challenging, but it’s a smaller experience than most middle and high schools. Challenging course options might be an issue.

            Only you can make the choice knowing your child, and what he and you want for his experience.

    • Me too, they sent the IHP acceptance letter to incorrect email, so I did not find out about the result until almost 7 pm.

  175. Eagle Rock Gifted Magnet parents who can share their experiences there?? We just got accepted for 7th Grade, would love to hear how it’s been for people! I’m nervous about how huge the school is (we’re coming from a small private) and frankly didn’t get much of a sense of the culture of the program from the tour. Thanks for any thoughts!

  176. Can anyone elaborate on the pros-cons of the following Middle Schools: LACES, Burroughs MS, or Palms MS. Anyone attending any of these schools? Any feedback would be awesome. I think these are my kid’s options for middle school, assuming we don’t move. But I can’t choose between the three middle schools would be appreciated.

    • Burroughs/Palms Magnet or SAS or regular program? Which area do you live? It also depends on your magnet points, preference etc.

      • I live in View Park area, and my resident middle school is not an option I would consider. To answer your question, I am interested in thoughts/compliments/criticisms on both the magnet options or the SAS options at Burroughs or Palms. And how do those programs compare with LACES? Overall school environment? Academic intensity? Teacher quality? Test scores/API? Any comparisons you can think of quite frankly.

        • Hello All:

          I am just renewing my question from this thread that I posted a year and a half ago 🙂

          I have an elementary school kid. We are at an LAUSD gifted magnet school on the Westside that we love. Could not ask for a better elementary school. My kid is only not graduating anytime soon. But I am monitoring all the pros and cons of the LAUSD middle school options. The three middle school options that I have my eye out on are still Palms (Gifted Magnet), LACES and Burroughs (Gifted Magnet).

          For the past few years everyone has touted LACES as the premier option. I see everyone talking about LACES on this board, for example, but no one talks about Palms or Burroughs Gifted Magnets as middle school options. I’m still curious to get some insights, pros and cons, on those schools. Anyone out there?

          Also, has anyone recently seen the LAUSD report, releasing student achievement “data” that – for the first time- separates out the magnet program performance from the schools at-large? I think it is important data, because it gives us some achievement numbers that can compare across magnet programs, not just across school campuses. The data percentage of students who are meeting or exceeding state standards for math and ELA, and then there is an overall program ranking based on those math and ELA numbers. For example, in this data, you will note that LACES’ student achievement falls below both Palms Gifted Magnet and Burrough’s gifted magnet programs (although LACES’ student achievement numbers are above the non-Magnet school student achievement at both Palms and Burroughs Middle Schools). There are rankings and scores for everyone LAUSD school, and program/magnet program within the school. I found the data pretty interesting. I saw a link to the data on laschoolreport.com, if anyone wants to check it out, or see how your school/program ranked.

          So my first question is, has anyone here looked at that data and have any thoughts or comments on it? Maybe its telling information, maybe it is not. I was just curious to get everyone’s thoughts on that?

          My second question is again wondering if there are any parents out there who had to choose between these three middle school options on the Westside: Burroughs Gifted Magnet, Palms Gifted Magnet and LACES? Which did/would you choose, and why? Do you have kids at any of these schools now? If so, how do you like it?

          I am hearing some rumblings that LACES took a dip in student performance in recent years, so I am not sure if LACES was/is the “gem” of a school that it has been in the past? I also know that they have a new principal there starting this year. Any thoughts on LACES from folks currently attending?

          So any insights on these three schools would be greatly appreciated?

          P.S. I really appreciate reading the comments, advice and insights on this site. MagnetAngel, LAUSD should be paying you for this site as a resource! This board is so helpful to many. I do wish this board were more known to and informative about all parts of LAUSD, particularly the parents in the “underperforming” school communities. It seems that most of the board participants here are discussing the same few schools, and there is not a good healthy discussion of school options across all of the LAUSD options. But that, of course, is no one’s fault on here. Just a question of who can find this great resource, and who will take the time to look.

          Thanks again.


          • Hi, Marc.

            Thanks for the kind words. I’ve actually poured over the data here and other sites. About a year ago, the LA Times broke out the magnet data as well. And it did mean a lot to those of us who have long known that magnets can be used to obscure the neighborhood school scores or muddle magnet to magnet performance.

            As for the less popular, those conversations tend to happen here, too. Not everyone listens. My daughter got into Walter Reed IHP, and we turned it down–as we did with Balboa. She got into Granada and choose another path as well. I do share this regularly and do point out that diverse schools provide benefits that are beyond the bragging rights of “My child goes to *insert trendy school here*.”

            Unfortunately, as a free service, I’m only versed in Valley options because that’s where I live and volunteer. There are other school choice services who are more versed over the hill. I’m always happy to talk about the programs that are making a difference in the lives of kids in the the Northeast Valley. I’ve talked about SJHA more times than I can count.

  177. We live on the Westside and applied to LACES but are on the waiting list (which is unfortunate due to the short commute and HS option). Unfortunately, we’re not crazy about our home school and also applied to Millikan Math and IHP – both of which our child got into.

    We had considered Millikan Stem but was not impressed by all the talk of college entrance exams and what seemed to be a cult of personality with the director.

    I have questions about both Millikan Math and IHP.

    I heard recently that IHP has a new 6th grade teacher that has over-loaded the kids with work and limited constructive feedback (it’s the same concerns we had with Millikan STEM – there is so much more to educating children at this age).

    However, I didn’t get a good sense of the Eng. Science, and History at the Millikan Math Academy.

    Any feedback or knowledge re: these programs would be greatly appreciated – thank you!

    • Stem is new, and until it finds a home and gets a few years under its belt, it’s probably better to take a wait and see on that one.

      We have numerous friends with musical/mathety kids and the nice thing about a large school like Millikan, is they can be both. Math Academy teachers are generally considered the best on campus.

  178. We are currently in 6th grade of IHP and I do not see too much unnecessary homework. It is very manageable with appropriate planning.

  179. Just to clarify – we have heard many great things about both Math Academy and IHP, but those were a couple lingering concerns. I didn’t want to give just a negative impression of what appear to be terrific programs – probably the hazards of posting late at night with the pangs parental anxiety…obviously we want what all parents want – our child to have an engaging, stimulating, and fun middle school experience.

    • I can totally appreciate how gut wrenching this experience can be. We had to make the same choice, between the science academy, IHP, and LACES. We finally chose IHP and while we do not what the experience would be like at the others schools, we are content at where we are. The program is challenging but not overwhelming. The teachers are responsive and seem to care both academics and kids well-being. Pick what works for you – geographically, schedule wise, etc. It has to work for the whole family. And just know that your child will be fine no matter where they go, because they are all wonderful programs.

      • I completely agree with the schedule and geography aspects. Having driven to two corners of the Valley while living in a third, I will say it makes a difference. When it takes 30 minutes or more to get somewhere (or back) you may find yourself having to kill a LOT of time near the school, given that hte kids don’t drive. Depending on time of day, it tends to take about 30 minutes in one direction and fifteen the other. But we’ve found ourselves over the years having to drop off for school events (with earlier call times) and then getting to kill an hour or more before parents are expected to queue up.

        While the drive is a great time to share the day’s events with the kid, it will be tough when there’s a lot of homework or an expectation of picking up on a short day and returning for things like PTO events or academy meetings.

  180. Hi Archie – I’ve heard similar about that new IHP teacher, and asked on this board about it (we too were deciding between Math Academy at Millikan and IHP next year). What I’d love to know from current IHP parents – is Walter Reed administration aware of that teacher’s bad reputation, and of her issues in the classroom, and are they doing anything to address them? I don’t want to baby my kid, and a strict teacher can often be their best teacher, but do want my kid’s experience to be a good one – and an administration that really listens to parents reasonable concerns is so important.

    • Ms. Miller is strict but it looks like majority of the kids are doing fine in her class. They have a number of kids in their class with a perfect 4.0 GPA. The amount of homework is very, very manageable if you do everything on time. They get their assignments well in advance so they can be planned out. I only had a few encounters with her but they were all positive. But again, I realize that experience may differ depending on each child’s personality.

      • Thank you Ella. Unfortunately this is not what I’ve heard recently from other current 6th grade parents, who report they are having problems with this teacher who they say is overly and unnecessarily strict and burdens the kids with way way to much work, then hands out A’s. I just wanted to know if the administration was doing anything to help work thru parental concerns about her teaching methods.

  181. I would not know as this is the first I hear about these concerns. You probably need to speak with the family that was having problems as they would probably have more info.

  182. I have a son currently attending Walter Reed middle school in North Hollywood I recently moved to Tarzana and middle school there is Portola I wanted to know if I’ll be making a mistake moving him from Reed to Portola please help me determine how I can choose the right school for my son should I travel an hour every day to bring them to read or should I switch him to Portola middle school are they both huge differences of schools ?

    • i did the big mistake to change my kid from porter to portola , thinking was a better school , first semester done, and they already want to send my kid to honors because the history teacher says he is not cut for his class.
      he is been in hg schools since elementary and this teacher who doesn’t even give the kids extra credit homework or other type of help decides who stays in his class or not.
      compare to the other teacher who at least give the class ways to earn some extra credit to increase their enthusiasm, i made this big mistake thinking this school was the best. every hg kid is different , theres some who had hdd, adhd, etc, i seen cases, and teachers suppose to know all that , there is not perfect kid, but i guess this school thinks all kids need to be one way.
      my son is disorganized , that i can’t denied but between teacher and parent if theres help from the other side , kids can succeed , cause i seen it….i guess i was asking way to much, and now i am paying the consequences.
      so i learned , doesn’t matter the name or prestige of the school, at the end , is the teacher who matters for a kid to feel safe and happy. and you won’t find it in portola .
      i am trying to move him back to porter, wish me luck

  183. I just got a call from Balboa Magnet. They have a spot opened up. I like our current school and would hate to take my kid out but if I decline we lose points. Any input? Thank you.

    • This is always a concern. If you like your school, you certainly can decline, but you will lose your points.

      It will definitely depend on your reason for applying to Balboa in the first place and the grade level of your child. The closer to middle school, then you’ll have more concerns over losing the points. If your child is in 1st or 2nd, you can likely recover.

    • For others reading, 4th is a pretty challenging grade to apply to certain schools, ‘for points.’ As we see far too often people apply and don’t wish to move, so they move down the list quickly.

      Ella, in your case, you’ll need to start looking and touring now for middle schools, and apply next year to somewhere she can’t get in with 0-4 points That should be fairly easy for 5th grade.

      But with under 8 points, you’re going to be looking at SAS and academies more than magnets for middle schools.

      Good luck.

    • Ask a dozen people and you will get a dozen different answers based on location, your child’s interests, and your willingness to commute.

      Speaking from a Valley perspective, folks who like the humanities would find Holmes noteworthy. Millikan is high performing and offers a performing arts magnet. Math and Science kids could find Frost or Nobel of interest. If you want to be entirely done with the magnet thing for ever more, look at SOCES.

      I’m sure others will share their perspectives as well, plus once you mention where you are located, you might get more relevant info.

  184. Just wanted to throw a word in for Irving Magnet middle school in Highland Park – a coworker of mine just visited today (she has a fifth grader at Micheltorena) and she came back absolutely glowing. Apparently they got a big grant and went all-magnet with a STEAM focus a couple of years ago and now have a lot of great technology (including an award-winning robotics club whose leader is a girl), a full music program, honors classes, and highly engaged teachers. The kids are friendly and nerdy and enthusiastic about it. It’s about 650 kids now, you don’t need points to get in, and they are planning to grow to about 950 so will stay about half the size of King.

    • SOCES is a solid performer. You have two chances to get in–in fourth and sixth. Once in, since the school goes to twelfth, you’re done.

      Test scores are solid, course availability is solid (and kids can go to Pierce for additional options).

      The downside is that there are elementary school kids on campus with high schoolers, and they can potentially see and hear stuff they might not until older. Also the smaller overall grade size can limit the options of different courses.

      If you’re based in the Valley, check it out.

      • You can also apply to SOCES for 9th, right? I went to their open house this year and they said you basically have no chance to get in with 0 points if applying for 6th grade. Gonna set our sights on 9th if that’s the case!

    • In one word, no.

      However, giftedness can be determined on one day by a test. If your child is doing well in honors classes in middle school, she can reasonably be believed to do as well in high school honors courses as well.

      Gifted is a technical term. Your daughter might have been designated, so ask at her school.

  185. We found that giftedness can not in fact be determined by the psychological test referred to above. While LAUSD uses it to make a “gifted” designation, our son got in to a gifted magnet middle school with teacher recommendations. Most schools do not require the test and many are not allowed to require it since its shortcomings have been made clear (it shows a narrow range of “gifted” thinking: that which can find visual patterns in puzzles; it’s also easy to study for and to train a child to recognize the patterns. We met many families who had done just that.) Our son’s reading, writing, analytical skills, critical and creative thinking were clearly above grade level and he’s thriving with the challenges. His elementary school didn’t do standardized testing or have grades, so we had teacher recommendations. Most gifted magnets accept grades and test scores and/or teacher recommendations. A good gifted program will serve strong thinkers of all kinds.

  186. Agree that Raven’s Matrices (visual patterns test) is only one subset of Wechsler IQ test, and not a full representation of IQ. However, to my knowledge LAUSD requires some psych eval for access to Highly Gifted programs. Agree with you that ‘gifted’, is a more fluid, broad definition in terms of LAUSD’s array of programs. While called ‘gifted’, those programs often work best for high ability/above grade level rather than measured high IQ.
    MagnetAngel can better address access to ‘gifted magnet’, wouldn’t want to assume ‘most schools do not require the test’ without checking with the Gifted office downtown.

    • Since so much with what they will allow changes, and to be clear, my son is 25 and daughter is 15 and dealing with how many APs rather than addressing giftedness, I really encourage anyone with concerns to check with the magnet or GATE offices downtown.

    • Agree to always best check. However, since we just went through all this, I can tell you for sure that GATE office clarifies loudly: magnet programs are not allowed to require the test. They are aware that some of the gifted magnets in the valley are telling parents that they need the test. GATE office says this is not true and not allowed. The GATE test functions ONLY to: assure your child is place in honors or AP classes in a regular program. It can certainly help a child get in to a gifted magnet and for sure for a High Ability program, but the gifted magnets are must go by test scores and/or teacher recommendations.
      The GATE office does NOT know what each school is telling parents, so it’s best to consult directly with the magnet coordinator at the programs you are interested in. If they say they require the GATE test, contact the GATE office and they will look up that program and confirm with you.

  187. Has anyone seen multiple middle schools and feel comfortable weighing in on Portola HG versus IHP vs Millikan Math? This is for a kid who is HGA but isn’t necessarily the hardest working. He does what he has to do, and performs well on his SBAC tests, but if he doesn’t love a subject then he does just enough to pass. And when he loves a subject, and especially a teacher, he goes above and beyond. Thanks!

    • So my 9th grade son did 6th and 7th grade @ the IHP program and then transferred to Portola HG for 8th grade. Our 8th grade daughter is finishing up @ Portola HG now.

      We transferred our son to Portola because the workload at IHP was too much for him. He tends to be a “last minute” kind of kid and that was hard to pull off in the IHP program. English in particular was grueling. He found the workload at Portola more to his liking.

      The IHP parent’s group is far more organized than Portola’s and the Reed music program is superior, imo. That being said, the Portola campus is prettier and frankly both kids have enjoyed their time there. really, they are both good choices.

  188. My kid is in the IHP. They go two grades above in math and English, and the rest are probably at an honors level. It is not too hard but requires consistent work and excellent time management. We also have friends in the Math academy. It seems that it is a little bit easier to manage. Don’t know much about Portola. Good luck, these are three excellent choices.

  189. Hi,

    My 5th grader was accepted at Hale STEaM Magnet (our 2nd pick, 1st was Nobel) in Woodland Hills. This is their first year in the magnet program. I like their program, I like the school, but then we received a note that the school will not be offering transportation. My husband and I work full time. I work in the Valley and my husband in Glendale, so when I applied to their magnet program, I assumed there will be transportation provided so drop off and pick up will not be a problem. But that is not true now. So anyways, I also submitted an application for SAS to Robert Frost MS and he got accepted too. Drive time to both schools is at least 30 mins. each way, eventhough Frost is 6.4 miles away compared to Hale’s 12.0 miles. I have until the 28th to enroll at Frost and we’re torn.

    Any insight/advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • I’m curious how you would not qualify for bussing if you are 12 mi from Hale and it’s a true magnet. If this is a new trend, it’s not one I’ve heard of. Magnets require busses beyond 5 miles.

      It’s hard to believe that Frost is actually 30 min away, as there are several routes into the neighborhood and should not take that long. If that’s an option, I can point several ways in that will cut whatever drive you’re looking at.

      You can also talk to both schools about carpools. They’re common among families. Some families choose schools together to know there’s a carpool there, and then other families wait til they attend. Some schools have a ‘book’ of carpool people, others have a bulletin board. You can talk to both and ask.

      • Thanks so much for the reply. You really are an angel 🙂

        In regards to the bussing at Hale. I called Hale right after I learned about the “no bus”. They told me that it is true that they will not provide bus, then I asked them if this is something that will change eventually, and the lady at the office said.. “umm,,,as of now, No”. I went to the Magnet Transportation website and looked at Hale, it gave me a message that the school i selected does not provide transportation. That’s very discouraging because one of the main reasons I applied for the Magnet program is the availability of transportation.

        So then I called LAUSD Magnet. They told me the the district do not control the bussing, that it is up to the school. So I told them, on the Magnet Application/Brochure they should have a note right next to the schools that will not provide transportation. I wasted my points in applying and getting to that school.

        The 30-minute drive to Frost is based on my one-time drive there and the google maps directions. It shows that I have to take Balboa all the way up (from Saticoy). And Balboa can get really busy and slow with all the stops. Any tips/short cuts will be appreciated. 🙂

        In regards to carpooling, my son has a friend in his class now that will be attending Hale and the Dad kinda offered to take my son sometimes. So that’s an option but not really set. I will check at Frost about carpooling. After reading old posts here, I agree that it is very important to be in a closer school for group projects, school events. Granada Hills is closer, so right now, I am leaning towards Frost. Unless something else comes up to convince me otherwise 😀

        • This is a fascinating development. The district now creates magnets that do not provide bussing? I’ll be very interested to ask about this at the next district meeting. It does seem disingenuous.

          • Thanks, Michelle.

            While that list is availalbe, and actually does state that the magnet at Hale does not provide transportation to anyone, forty years of magnet experience is going to create a bit of disbelief for many families. Indeed, the difference between some SAS and magnet options is simply that bus.

            I’ll talk to some district officials on why they are suddenly creating magnets that are not viable for children living at a distance, and specifically lower income magnet students who would require busses. This certainly feels like a way to create a ‘magnet’ that is merely to fill classrooms to avoid co-locations.

  190. I would love some feedback regarding Middle School from parents with kids who have ADHD and an IEP – and also need some extra nurturing academically to reach their potential. We attended a public Charter school which was very supportive and loving- but I don’t see the Academic progress I would like. Considering a magnet school -preferably north of downtown- with really great Special Ed leadership and support.

    Thanks in advance.
    Maria Elena

    • I would love information as well. I’m in the SFV and my son has ADHD and a 1:1 Aide. He’s gifted in art and does well in math. He struggles with reading/writing and also with social skills. Any recommendations would be appreciated. He is graduati