(Note: Due to wiggly boundary lines, we suggest reading Eagle Rock, Echo Park/Silverlake and Highland Park together.)
Yes, at this point in time (fall 2008), people are moving to Eagle Rock for the schools. While the conventional wisdom of olde has dictated tucking one’s family away into lovely Mount Washington (“Ivanhoe East”–“the school with the 10”), there’s a lot of buzz about Eagle Rock Elementary (the gifted program). (Even Solano Avenue Elementary looks pretty amazing on paper, and is probably worthy of its own Harvard think tank study.)
And a particularly good example of a neighborhood-supported school is:
Delevan Drive Elementary
Great teachers have been joined with art grants, garden beautification, and a new orchestra and marching band. Your friendly super-mom/parental contact is Dani Stockdale (whom we can’t resist noting is married to longtime Magnet Yenta musician friend and theatrical composer-about-town Gary Stockdale)
On the preschool front, we hear raves in Eagle Rock about:
Westminster Child Center
Our mom friend Cindy Gravanese loves it and would be happy to answer questions. Contact her at:
I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and am looking for good kindergarten options for Fall of 2011. I’d love to hear feedback (both positive and negative) on Eagle Rock Montessori and any other kindergarten in the area. (Our local public elementary school is San Raphael, which we’re not too keen about, but I’d love input on that as well.)
It’s been a while since you posted, but hopefully you’ll get this. I had heard mixed things about ER Montessori, but sometimes life throws a curve and we found ourselves in an unusual situation last October where we needed to make a change very quickly. We can see ER Montessori from the window of our home, but hadn’t put our first son there because of the mixed things we’d heard. However, when my husband & I visited we really liked the director and the facility. We put our almost 4 y.o. son there and watched closely for signs of potential problems. There have been none. We love the place, we love his teacher, and in hindsight, I wish our first son had gone there too. They are nurturing but also make clear what is expected from each child, which is mainly to be self sufficient and a good citizen. The parents and children who go there have formed a nice little community and often get together outside of school. Since it’s more of a neighborhood school, most of the families live close by which makes it very nice also. Good Luck!
Thanks, Gwen. I’m still on the hunt so I really appreciate the input!
Hi Susan — This is very late, I am sure, but I wanted to suggest you tour Aldama Elementary’s Dual Language Program… Anyone in Highland Park, Mount Washington, Glassell Park, and Eagle Rock can attend… We are completing our first (the “inaugural”) year there and my boy LOVES it. He is learning in both Spanish and English (no Spanish going in…) and is loving the challenge. The teachers are phenomenal and the community is great. Despite all the budget cuts, our program is going strong and the teachers incorporate a lot of art in the day. And though the school itself is large, our program is small (2 classes per grade) and so you get to know all the parents and friends that your child will be with through 5th grade. Let me know if you have any questions about it! Good luck in your search…
Thanks, Courtney. Unfortunately, we are technically in Pasadena (one street over the border) so I bet we wouldn’t qualify. Do you know if Pasadena would be included as well?
I am not sure — but you can always call the Principal at Aldama (Joy Naval) and ask her… I know that Pasadena just started a Dual Language Spanish Program (I believe it is at San Raphael) and they filled that up fast… Might be worth a look. I think they are also putting together a Dual Language Mandarin elementary program as well (though at another school site). Hope that helps!
Does anyone have an opinion of Dahlia elementary? Thank you.
We have a son who started kindergarten at Dahlia Hts last year and will be in 1st grade this year. Our other son is at ER Montessori and will go to Dahlia next year. We are very happy with the school and love that we can walk both boys to school. The principal at Dahlia was new last year and I think there was some resistance to her, but in my opinion we need to give her a chance to succeed. She is a caring, hardworking, and concerned principal who has the childrens’ best interests at heart. There are lots of involved parents at Dahlia and we are committed to making it a better and better school. My husband and I are both very pleased with Dahlia and love the fact that all of our son’s friends are in the neighborhood. There is a strong sense of community at the school. If you’d like further info or have specific questions, please feel free to ask!
It’s been three years since your post. So, your first born must be in fourth grade now? And your second is in second or third?
Wondering how you’re feeling about the school now? My son would be entering 2nd grade for the 2013/14 year.
What kind of enrichment does the school offer? Band? Orchestra? Are teachers teaching to the test?
You can see my current opinion (from last Month) of Dahlia below in response to someone else. Bottom line – we love it more and more each year.
Do teachers teach to the test? Honestly, yes, they have to to some extent. But our teachers try to make it more interesting and hands on than just drilling test questions (although there’s some of that too). Not one of the teachers I’ve encountered at the school likes the fact that they have to focus so much on testing and they try to minimize the impact for the kids. But any public school (even charters and magnets) have to focus on testing or risk lower API scores which then make their school less attractive. Any school that tells you it’s not is lying and I have heard some horror stories about low achieving kids getting kicked out of certain magnet schools in our neighborhood right before state testing begins. It’s a real Catch 22 and a shame; our kids are the losers in this equation. Okay rant over.
There is a piece on the ER Patch right now about Dahlia Heights; check it out. My son is Axel Liljestrand and I’m very proud of him : ) In addition to being a whiz at science, he has severe dyslexia and dysgraphia, a processing speed disorder, and has been diagnosed as ADHD Inattentive type. The school has been absolutely amazing in helping him and supporting us as a family. As the head of special education said, “It’s not about fitting Axel into a box, but finding a box that fits Axel.” I believe this sums up the attitudes of many of our teachers. They are caring and attentive and they want all children to learn and succeed.
Good luck to you!
I;d like to hear more about Westminster Child Center ( their website isn’t working), Eagle Rock Montessori and the Garden Co op…on the hunt also for a good preschool:)
My Daughter has been at the school now Since September and she absolutely loves it. It’s a very down to earth school with great teachers and a wonderful outdoor play area.
I highly recommend it and am happy to answer any questions.
By the way I think the website is working again, although the director has changed, her name is Rhonda.
Hi MagnetYenta! I hope you can help! My son has attended Mt. Washington Elementary since 3rd grade and is now a 6th grader. We live in Highland Park and have no plans on moving, but need to get our son into the magnet program for Eagle Rock Middle School. Since we only moved to the area three years ago, we have no where near the “points” required to get our son into the magnet school of our choice except through lottery chances. We also applied to the wonderful charter – RenArts, landing on the wait list as number 36 in the lottery- no luck getting in as number 36. Any suggestions?
Also, if we were able to get him into the “regular” side of Eagle Rock Middle school, is it reputable? He is currently a GATE student- I’m not sure what kind of programs the “regular” school of ERMS has. Any and all suggestions/comments welcomed.
I wanted to encourage parents in the area to give Toland Way a 2nd look. They had a well-organized Kindergarten fair last night for potential enrollees, and I walked out with a different impression than I held walking in. There was a good group of parents checking out:
* A new PTA that’s only a couple years old and is looking for parents who’d like to get involved,
* A new principal who seems engaged and very supportive,
* A Transitional Kindergarten class for kids born in Sep-Dec, or who just need a little time to adjust to a school environment.
* A free afterschool program available for all-comers through LA’s Best, there will be no waiting list next year, they’re trying to increase enrollment.
* The afterschool program for Kindergarten involves organized reading time, snacks, arts, crafts, sports, dance. For upper grades, if I recall correctly, there is a computer lab, organized sports, and a drill team for the upper grades.
* Yes, they do have a GATE program.
We were going to try for Mt. Washington, but I think I’ve changed my mind… I spoke with a former Mt Washington parent whose kids were happier at Toland Way, and so was she. The conventional choice isn’t always the best choice for everyone. I saw a lot of potential here, the teachers impressed me, they seem to enjoy the latitude they’re given to work with kids of different abilities. I also met with the Kindergarten teacher who is likely to be cut if they don’t get enough enrollees, and she seems amazing, it would be sad to lose her.
Anyway, that’s my pitch. 🙂 Check it out, give it a try, it seems to be in the cusp of a turn-around and now would be the time to get involved, for those inclined. If they’d like more info, I’m at: tae[underscore]macias[at]yahoo[dot]com
I just posted in the Highland Park section, so apologies for the repeat. This page gives me great hope! Schools I might not have toured are now on my list.
We’re moving from NYC this summer and while we love Los Feliz and Silver Lake (toured Franklin Ave, Ivanhoe & Micheltorena) I think we’re priced out housing-wise and are looking in Eagle Rock and Highland Park now. Our son will be going into 2nd grade.
I’ve noticed most of the eastside schools don’t have much information online. Can anyone help us narrow down our search for where to tour when we’re out next?
And we won’t be eligible for a magnet since we’re relocating, right?
Also, our child tested into G&T (99% in NYC), but not sure if that will transfer over in the same way to LAUSD. How would I find that out?
We really believe in public schools and want to have our child attend a neighborhood school, but still get a great education and be part of the community.
Hi Dara – I hope your move from NYC goes well and that you have a smooth transition to West Coast living (my husband is a NYC transplant and loves it here). I wrote above several years ago about Dahlia Heights Elementary. We are still there and now have one son in 2nd grade and one in 4th grade. We still love the school and in fact I am more convinced all the time that we made the right choice for our family. In the time we’ve been at Dahlia, many positive changes have been made. The principal is a very hard worker and always has the childrens’ interests at heart. She has advocated for our school tirelessly and has managed to maintain many of our arts programs, including our orchestra program for the upper grades. Last year, Dahlia was designated as a CA Distinguished School. For many years, we have had the designation of a “School for Advanced Studies” which means we have a large number of GATE students (your G&T). Many of our teachers have been at Dahlia for over 10 years and we have several “Master Teachers”. We also have an organic gardening program and this year we are participating in the nationwide Science Olympiad competition. It is a small school that goes to 6th grade. The parents, teachers, and administrators all work together to make it a wonderful environment and experience for the students. We have one main tour in February which just past, but I’m sure if you call the school the principal will be happy to let you tour anytime. If you want, email me privately next time you’ll be here and I can help you set it up. The principal’s name is Rona Greenstadt. Be forewarned, she can have a brusque manner that some find off-putting, but trust me that deep down she is a caring, concerned person with our childrens’ best interests constantly at the forefront of her thoughts.
Hi Dara — Welcome to LA (soon, anyway)! While I love Silverlake and Los Feliz, too, I REALLY love Highland Park, Glassell Park, Mt. Washington and Eagle Rock; less congestion, cute homes with nice architecture, good restaurants, close to freeways and downtown… Northeast LA is a great option!
We live in Highland Park and are sending our two kids to the Dual Language Program at Aldama Elementary School (see the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aldama-Elementary-Dual-Language/199480777926). It’s an amazing option, especially noting all the benefits of biliteracy. The teachers are great and the community is strong. I know that Aldama has accepted a few kids after kindergarten who are monolingual at home (as we are, too) and those kids have done very well. It might be worth contacting the lead teacher, Angelina Saenz (firstname.lastname@example.org), about whether there would be space.
Eagle Rock Elementary also has a gifted magnet, though I know less about that and how one would get in (I believe they have a lottery, but call their principal). Mt. Washington Elem is also solid and I have heard good things about Annandale (Highland Park) as well.
Hope this helps!!!
Thank you Gwen and Courtney so much for the feedback and information. I’ll be following up when we know our exact tour dates this spring.
Also check out Delevan Drive
Hi, Steve! It’s been ages since you posted, but if you see this, I wonder about Delevan. I feel like I hear so much more about Dahlia Heights, but Delevan seems to rank just as well, at least on the website GreatSchools.com. I’d love to know about your thoughts on Delevan. Some questions: How is the PTA? What do you think of the parent to school communication? Do you like the principal? How is the parent community? Thank you so much!
I think Dahlia is probably better — we have friends with kids there. There is a new principle at Delevan who is not as good as the last. There is an active PTA but it is small and the school is big. There are some really great teachers but also some bad ones. Also the school is not pretty.
We have recently started at Friends Western a quaker co-op. Its awesome.
Thanks, Steve! Friends Western looks amazing. Unfortunately, it’s inacessible to us financially.
This is good info on Delevan. We are thinking of buying a house in that area and would hope we’d be able to send our son to the neighborhood school. I wonder if we could get into Dahlia Heights or Mt Washington if Delevan continues to decline by the time our son is ready to start school in a couple of years.
Hi. First off I have to say I LOVE your website! Tons of great information!
I’m starting to look at elementary schools. My son won’t start until 2015, so I’m a little early. Eagle Rock Elementary school is our home school. I don’t know much about the school and am hoping someone can chime in with their opinions on the school. And Dahlia Heights (heard lots of good things about it), since our home school is Eagle Rock Elementary how could I get my child enrolled in Dahlia Heights? Is this a possibility?
Hi Jessica, you can permit into Dahlia Heights through their SAS (School for Advanced Studies) program. You’d have to demonstrate that he is gifted (I believe that you can do this at the kinder level by collecting work samples & a letter from his preschool teacher) and there is an interview.
Hi! It seems like this might be the right place to ask my question. My 2nd grade son is very high functioning autism/adhd/dysgraphia AND gifted with areas of highly gifted (he scores 99.8th% in one area.) He is currently at Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts which we LOVE but he just got into Eagle Rock ES Gifted/Highly Gifted magnet for next fall. He doesn’t require an an aide but does need a certain amount of tolerance for his particular quirkiness. He’s an avid learner but has his own way of doing things. Is Eagle Rock Gifted Magnet accommodating of special needs? I know by law they HAVE to be, but some schools work with you more than others. Opinions?
Hi R – I didn’t see your message until just now. My son has very similar diagnoses to yours. We have been at Dahlia Heights and they have been great, but next year he goes into the ER Gifted Magnet Middle School. He will be the only one with an IEP in his grade level, but I have heard that there are others in other grades. I really believe that “gifted” in the LAUSD generally is code for “high achieving” which makes it difficult for kids like ours to succeed, but I have also found that communication with the people who are actually working with my child (instead of the administrators) is KEY. I know this doesn’t really answer your question, just wanted to throw my support your way. Good luck!
Are there any parents who can share their experiences at Eagle Rock Gifted Magnet MIDDLE SCHOOL? Thank you!
No experience yet, but we are about to get it as our son is entering the program next year. As noted above, he has an IEP so what is commonly referred to as “twice exceptional”. I have heard many good things about the magnet. We have good friends with an older son in the program and I know they’ve been very happy. Do you have a child who will be attending there next year?
Hi there, thanks for your reply. How has it been? We just got accepted for 7th grade to the Eagle Rock Gifted Magnet Middle School. If you can connect us with any parents who would share their thoughts/experiences we’d be grateful! Thanks.
skahn – did your child attend ER MS gifted magnet? We’re in ER ES G/HA magnet and trying to decide our middle school path. Thanks
Yes, he just started 7th grade this fall. Did you have specific questions? It really depends on your child, whether they’ll like it or not. It’s a huge school.
Most of my son’s peers came from ER ES GA/HA and he says they all seem to like it there. He says he hates it there. He’s having a very hard transition, but he came from a different school (small private alternative school he had attended since K). So he misses his friends and says ER HS has a “bad vibe, no one is happy, everyone is rushing around, there’s no playing, no art up anywhere and no time to do anything but eat lunch then get to your locker. There are over 40 kids in every classes so you can’t get to know anyone much and there’s not much time for discussion.” He says kids who are coming from public seem used to all this and don’t seem bothered by it. This is coming from an 11 year old who is going through a huge change from small, intimate play-based child-led learning to a lot of structure.
He doesn’t complain about the work load, and seems challenged in a good way and is learning a lot. He is making new friends but I can’t tell yet when or if he’ll adjust and feel better. The English teacher and History teacher seem great, engaging.
You should take your kid on a tour there and see how they feel. My son went on the tour and said then that he didn’t like the vibe. But we needed to try it anyway. I am hoping he can adjust and feel better emotionally there. He’s learning good work habits and good information.
skahn – thank you for reply and detail on your son’s experience. (for some reason I have to reply to myself)
I hope ER works out for your son. Our daughter went to Mt. Washington 1-4 and is now at ER ES GA/HA, and doing well. She is very focused and does well with structure. ER HS is our preferred school, though we have a year to go. This decision is really about passing up middle schools that start in 6th.
Hi there. I’ll try to remember to update a reply to this thread later in the year as he (hopefully) adjusts. The transition has been particularly hard on him. While I also think the class sizes are a major problem in the magnet (40+ kids is wrong!), there seem to be good things too, so we’ll see.
Hi D Allen. Can you share your experience with ER MS G/HA?
Yes my son attended ERHS GM 7th and half of 8th before I pulled him out. Depends on your kid and what they’re accustomed to. He was coming from a smaller school and did not do well with the over crowded classrooms. Average class size was 45. Teachers stressed. My son said he felt lost, that were only super nerds or kids who didn’t care about school at all. He couldnt find the middle ground, the arty/creative kids. He founf the druggy kids.
He’s super bright humanities-focused kid. It was not a good fit for him. It really depends on your kid, what kind of learner they are (my son thrives with interaction, discussion, etc. there’s no room for that there with 45 kids in a class), what their interests are.
oops sorry for typos. was typing on my phone! i think kids who have been in large public schools and can focus well in a huge group and study on their own without a ton of teacher interaction can do well there. (he met nice kids there and made friends but also learned all about swearing and drugs etc.) we left and he’s thriving in now in a small private school. wished it could have worked.
Replying to mcdacctg:
Our daughter is in 7th at Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School, in the G/HA magnet program and so far it has been good. She really likes her core magnet classes of math, english, history, and health/science. The general school classes of PE, art, language, and study tech are ok. She is a very good student and very self-focused/driven and we can be pretty hands-off. The transition from elementary was briefly bumpy, mostly her getting used to the schedule with 8 teachers instead of 1, and the alternating 4 classes per day schedule and managing homework expectations. After the 2nd week she was comfortable and we’ve had no issues.
Does anyone have any insight on the new Arts-based magnet at Rockdale Elementary? My daughter still has a year of preschool, plus either a “bonus year” or TK, but I’m trying to get a feel for Rockdale’s Arts programs sooner rather than later. Also, does anyone know where TK is offered in Eagle Rock? We are in South Pas, but I would really LOVE an arts based curriculum. Thaks!
Call Rockdale and schedule a tour. They have them more than once a year — prob not during summer though.
Thank you. I will definitely do that!
For all those who did not get in to one of the Eagle Rock Elementary Magnet programs, I just found out the home school is giving permits for kinder, 5th and 6th grade. The Magnets are great, but the home school has an excellent program for kids in the GATE program. And most kids in the main school program get in to the Eagle Rock Middle School Gifted Magnet.
You can contact the main office, 323-254-6851. Permits are given out until spaces run out.
My child got a waitlist letter and when I spoke with the Magnet coordinator she said they had permits for the main school. This does not affect the magnet program options, but it does get my kid on the campus.
Hi.. Here’s an update about our experiences now that we’ve been at Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High Gifted Magnet for a year and a half. Subjective of course, every kid has different needs. My son is in the middle of 8th grade now. Started in 7th. As with any school, he likes some teachers and really really dislikes others. In the big picture, our main complaint is the huge class sizes and the lack of creativity. Most of his classes (magnet) have 40-45 kids, some with no desks who sit along side wall. With this many kids, it’s really hard to make real connections with teachers and hard for teachers to command that many kids, so some get frustrated and lose their tempers. The school is huge (2,400 approx). If your child has other friends going there, that will help. My son didn’t know anyone going in and although he’s very social and out-going, he felt socially overwhelmed and in general feels alienated there. He sees the culture of the school as “mainstream, macho, homophobic.” He gets called f-a-g a lot by high schoolers. He’s encountered lots of swearing, some fights and pot-smoking/drug-dealing. These things are at all high schools and some middle schools, but in such a big sprawling place, I wish he’d been more protected in 7th/8th grade. We are looking to leave for high school and trying to hang in for this last semester. He’s been unhappy there the whole time. I’m sure there are lots of great kids there and it could be a good place for someone who is into sports or clubs or can purely bury their head in academics. My kid is arty/intellectual, a skateboarding-and-literature kind of guy so it’s been a hard run. He has learned a lot in some of the classes, but overall it’s too big for us and not culturally engaging enough to keep his attention.
Hi, Has anyone have experience with ER ES Highly gifted magnet? My son is entering 3rd grade but I am not sure if doing the combination class with 4th graders is going to work for him. He is from a smaller school and is used to being a big fish in a small pond. We also have an option of going to either San Jose HGM (combination class is with 2nd graders.) So, we are torn about San Jose HGM and Eagle Rock HGM