Echo Park/Silverlake

While Ivanhoe Elementary has the stellar reputation, in a better world Silverlake parents would not have to: 1) Spend $200,000 to move two blocks  2) Lie about their gas bill  3) Worse to have a lovely local elementary to send their children.  So consider thinking outside the box.

For instance, our dear magenta-haired, rabble-rousin’ friend Dorit sent her daughter Liberty at Micheltorena and they love it.  While Micheltorena has more of a conventional Title One demographic (which some LA parents consider a plus), aside from rising scores, Micheltorena boasts:

1) An SAS (School for Advanced Studies) program
2) FREE before and after school enrichment programs for students of working parents
3) A computer lab
4) A science lab in progress (as well as a new playground project in progress)
5) A growing and gung-ho PTA and Friends Group
——-
Clifford Math and Technology Magnet in Echo Park/Silver Lake is a TK-6 magnet school with 160 students total. TOTAL. If you are looking for a small school feel in the big city, you will find it here. For more info, visit us on FB at https://www.facebook.com/CliffordMagnet or at our website https://cliffordes-lausd-ca.schoolloop.com/

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38 thoughts on “Echo Park/Silverlake

  1. Our son is in Kinder at Betty Plasencia Math/Science magnet at the edge of Echo Park and downtown. GREAT Kindergarten teacher. Good mix of races, religions, etc. Good parents. So far, we’re really happy.

  2. Up date on Micheltorena: We will be getting a Wonder of Reading Library!!!! We expect constructions to start this summer and the library to be open by winter of 2010.

    In addition, construction on the new playground will start this summer as well, with a grand opening Fall 2009.

  3. Would love any updates on this area–especially for Mayberry or Clifford. Micheltorena seemed great when I toured but we may be priced out housing-wise!

  4. I have been out of the grade school game for a few years now (my daguther is in middle school now). But I don know Clifford has always been a great little school with parents willing to fight to keep it great. I love the community Mayberry is located in and remeber it having strong parental envolvement.

  5. Hey Everyone on the Eastside—
    Please consider Dorris Place Elementary in Frogtown. There is an SAS program and a growing number of Gifted students which has compelled the advent of a Gifted-only after-school enrichment program. This year’s 3rd grade student body is 23% qualifying gifted children (via OLSAT and Raven).

    We are a Title 1 school with around 80% qualifying FRL (a designation that brings many benefits). We have an AWESOME parent organization called Partners of Dorris Place. podpartnersofdorris.org Our non-profit has fund-raised to bring a dedicated Youth Orchestra program that is taught school-wide. ALL students play an instrument! We are bringing back dedicated PE instruction and beginning to develop a line of after school enrichment activities. We have a fully renovated and stocked Library. We have a school garden and a brand new Million dollar park (with grass!) and playground.

    The school leadership is absolutely top notch. No bullying ever, EVER!! It simply does not happen. Its a small school (325) with pre-k through 6th in an exquisite brownstone building that has been featured in countless hollywood productions. Most classes average only 23 students.

    Come observe and check it out!

  6. I’m another parent who would love to see some more current (2014) information on accessible schools in the Silverlake/Echo Park area. My kid will be starting kindergarten in 2015, and at this point Micheltorena is difficult to get into if you’re not in the attendance zone (Ivanhoe remains impossible-to-get-in for neighborhood folks who live outside of the attendance zone). We’d love for our daughter to get into the dual immersion Spanish/English program at Micheltorena, but at this point it sounds like getting in through the lottery is about as likely as Larchmont Charter or CWC Hollywood. We are in the Mayberry Street attendance zone, and I’ve toured it – I really like the new Principal, Paulina Rock, and the school and classrooms are very clean, bright, and cheery, they are going through the process of starting up their own dual immersion program, and there is a concerted effort to bring back art programs into the curriculum. I have read some reviews online referring to bullying, and Principal Rock said there’s a current school-wide anti-bullying effort, but I have to admit, it’s something that greatly concerns me. I’m wondering if anyone else has any further information regarding Mayberry, because I’m really curious as to why it appears no people in my demographic (white, middle class) in this neighborhood are sending their kids to the “school down the street” – it seems like a really nice school! Just wondering if there’s some information I’m not privy too…

    We’re definitely going to look into Dorris Place Elementary, and also Delevan Drive Elementary, in case there’s any chance of getting into either of those schools through open enrollment, while holding out hope we get into Micheltorena, or an area charter school. Any additional information about schools in the area would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

  7. Thank you, Silverlake Parent. I am in the same boat. Our home school is Logan or Gabriella (charter) and we are considering Micheltorena as well. I fell in love with the campus and the orchestra program.

    I’ve heard Clifford Street Elementary and Solano are good local options to consider. Elysian Heights seems like a decent option, but they did not seem to be working towards any specific programs in the arts or otherwise
    Does anyone know if the Micheltorena non-dual language track is any good? Does it have a lottery too

  8. Why don’t you give Mayberry a try for Kinder and see how it goes? A good principal is PRICELESS and a solid group of involved parents really makes a school culture blossom. When you have a Title 1 school that also has a good fund-raising parent-body to pick up where the district drops the ball, its a winning combination (economically-speaking).

    IMO don’t bother with CWC, its a mess. We left (CWC Hollywood) after two years to go to Dorris Place and my child couldn’t be happier. Unlike the Charter, Dorris actually serves both gifted and special needs children; they have real specialists for every issue you can imagine, where the Charter has almost none. NO BULLIES or parent cliques at Dorris. Don’t let the numbers fool you. If they didn’t council out many of the “special” and ELL kids, a lot of charters wouldn’t have the scores they do. And, you won’t be “shamed” at your local public school into ponying up the $4000 per year that they “suggest” you donate at the charter.

    It really depends on what you are after, but there’s so many great schools on the Eastside you actually have many to choose from. FYI, if you are paying for pre-school, it may be worth it to check out the SRLDP option available at select LAUSD schools. The curriculum is top-notch and its FREE. You can petition-in if your local school doesn’t offer that program.

    If you really are considering either Delevan, Micheltorena or Dorris for Kinder you should tour both and get your app in early. When you tour these schools and talk with parents, pay attention to how the older kids act and interact.

    Good luck!

  9. Thank you so much for your info Frogtown Eastsider! That is some great and succinct insight into the charter world. Our plan is to try to get in to Micheltorena (or Dorris Place or Delevan), with Mayberry as a fallback. We drove by Solano Ave., and they are directly under a freeway overpass, and are undergoing a huge reconstruction project. That said, I’m still going to look into it…
    Echo Park Parent, in answer to your question, I hear good things about the non-dual language program at Micheltorena as well – I believe when you fill out the application for the dual language program, you can indicate whether you’d be open to the regular program. It sounds like we truly are in “the same boat” – we should talk! Let me know if you’d like to get coffee (or something stronger – this whole process is stressful!) sometime. My name is Sarah, and my email is sarelichase@yahoo.com. I would love to go over the area schools with you!! Please contact me if this interests you.

    • Hi Sarah – I’m curious to know what you ended up doing for elementary school for your daughter? We are moving into a house half a block from Mayberry and have a 2 year old son. The big mystery is whether or not he’ll be able to go to his neighborhood school. Would love to hear about your experience! Thanks!

      • Through luck (a great lottery number) and a lot of friendly, enthusiastic perseverance, our daughter just started in the regular program at Micheltorena while we wait for her number to come up in the dual language program. While we’d love for our girl to learn Spanish, she is loving her new school, her class, and her teacher, so we’re really relieved and happy where we’re at. We did enroll in the dual language program at Mayberry while we were waiting to hear from Micheltorena, but we weren’t extremely happy/comfortable with that, as the Principal (Pauline Rock) is been excited about last year was transferred to another school, and we just learned that the very dynamic Program Director who helped start the dual language program there has also moved on. With a couple of years before your son starts kinder though, I would definitely keep an eye on Mayberry, as a lot can change in a few years (as it did at did at Micheltorena, dramatically so!!). I’m wishing you lots of luck, and please feel free to contact me with any further questions. We really do love our neighborhood, and there are several options to look into, including Mayberry.

        • Thank you so much for responding to this! Good to hear what you ended up doing and we will definitely need to visit all the options in the neighborhood. Thanks again!

  10. Lately I’ve been fantasizing about a situation in Silverlake where all Silverlake residents had to enter a lottery to get in to Ivanhoe/Micheltorena/Mayberry and they had equal chances of getting in to each school. Imagine the pandemonium! Would the schools “balance out” in terms of what they have to offer curriculum-wise, enrichment classes-wise and ethnic/cultural/economic diversity-wise, or would we ultimately just see more “white flight” to private, charter, or suburban schools? It just seems so messed up that within one neighborhood the public schools are so separate and unequal.

    • It’s always going to come down to property owners. No one is going to pay to live in an area, and then be told they have to enter a lottery to get into their home school. Conversely, I love my neighborhood, and the schools nearby are very low scoring.

      We’ve found through magnet and lottery how to navigate. It is unfair that kids have to commute to better schools outside their neighborhoods, but we’ve always been well received and grateful for the opportunities they provide.

      • I completely get it, I’m just really frustrated because our house is just outside of the Micheltorena zone, and I really love my neighborhood, and just want “the best of both worlds.” I know a lottery would never happen, but like I said, I was “fantasizing” – that our neighborhood school had more arts enrichment, a more diverse demographic, etc. etc. Perhaps over time it will, but my daughter will be in high school by then. We just have to keep our fingers crossed that we’ll be lucky and get into a school that’s a good fit for us, and relatively close-by, and that can be disheartening at times. I appreciate that you all at this site are here to assist in the rather complex navigation process!

        • I feel you. I do support my local schools. I’m not into uniforms. My kids needed specific classes not available. I did/do help out at their schools, but I do try to help the schools in the neighborhood too. I do believe that we are responsible to help create those schools, even if we can’t get them in time. But there are so many choices, you will find one.

          • Thanks so much. I completely agree, and also strongly believe that EVERY child deserves and should have access to a great education. Alongside that truth, we as parents will do everything within (and even beyond) our means to find the school that is best for our child(ren).

          • I completely agree that every child deserves a great education. I also understand that each child (and family) is different. There are some things available at a 4000-seat high school that are not available at a 1000-seat school. And some kids need a smaller school. Or a school with an arts program. Or different PE programs. Or music. Or science. So not every school should look the same. But what a great district this could be if choices were truly that–choices (that families could get into). And neighborhood schools that are solid options (maybe not specifically better for some kids).

            My kids have always attended school from 8-13 miles away since 1995. It’s been a sacrifice I was willing to make. There are trade offs, but I’m happy our path has travelled.

        • I’d like to chime in on the fantasizing part…. because the grass always looks greener, so they say. Lots of folks on this blog can tell you that Franklin, Ivanhoe and Mt. Washington weren’t always diverse, sought after schools with loads of fringe benefits. It was gentrification, parent involvement, staff collaboration and hard-core fundraising that helped bring these schools up.

          The “Friends-Of” non-profit organizations at these schools fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Franklin is about $300k, Ivanhoe is way above that and Mt. Washington is just under. Each of these schools have a direct appeal– meaning you are expected to give at the beginning and middle of each year an amount that the parent group sets as an expected per child contribution. You are also expected to participate in the many other fund-raising efforts. And, all those enrichment classes that you covet– those aren’t free! Each class costs about $25-$35 each time one child attends. The parent organization actually makes money off the after school enrichment programs, its one of the biggest forms of fund-raising.

          With those fund-raising proceeds the non-profit parent organization completes their “mission” of providing certain programs, special events for the student body, field trips, AND pays the salaries of certain staff members— usually extra TA’s or an Arts, Music or PE teacher that has been lost due to district cuts.

          Having said all that— there is an alternative to having to get into a school that can fundraise $300k or more. You can find a Title 1 school that has a fairly decent fund-raising program and a dedicated group of parents/teachers working toward bringing resources to the school. Title 1 schools have a majority of the students receiving Free or Reduced lunch, so they get more funding from the district– which really helps. However, its more difficult to fundraise within that demographic. All the benefits you are looking for come from money and resources. I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch, but here’s some Title 1 examples that I know of:

          Aldama — PTA fundraises to support TA’s and pays a full-time Playworks instructor
          Delevan– PTA fundraises to support TA’s, student field trips and performing arts instruction
          Castelar– fundraises for ETMLA youth orchestra program
          Cheremoya — Foundation fundraises for YMCA PE program, arts & literacy enrichment
          Dorris Place — Non-Profit POD org fundraises to pay for ETMLA youth orchestra, YMCA PE & after school enrichment classes.
          Micheltorena — Created partnerships with Full Circle, Bluepalm and the Silverlake conservatory to provide an integrated arts curriculum.

          Most of the above schools are fundraising in the range of $15-$40k per year, not $300-500, but there is more funding available from the district due to Title 1.

          And, I’ll finish by saying, be careful what you wish for. I’ve been a parent at a school where we had to raise $500k (CWC Charter) and now at Dorris Pl. where we’re lucky if we raise 5% of that. I’m much happier working hard to get the programs going than I was stepping into a money machine that already had everything mapped out and didn’t want parents involved (except to write checks). Also, parent organizations can get very political and often be at odds with administration when they get powerful, have their own agendas and deep pockets.

          If you want to step into a well-honed machine and pay up then try and get in to Franklin on a SAS. If you want to be part of a movement to bring something great to a Title 1 school, look at one of these above. If you’ve got the juice, stay where you are and get it going at Mayberry. Every school is going to be missing something that you’d like to have– don’t stress out over that. There’s plenty of art classes, creative writing, music, tennis, gymnastics, soccer, theater and dance right here in the Eastside. What else do you have to do on a Saturday? Lol!

          • Lol – Yes, we have nothing but time on our weekends – hahaha! There are so many layers and levels to all of this! As I’ve said before, I think our family, and most importantly my daughter, would be quite happy at Micheltorena, and we love what they’re doing there, incorporating neighborhood businesses into the fold, becoming a true neighborhood school. The school seems diverse, eclectic, and just a little “rough around the edges” in a GOOD way. I already know many of the parents and kids, and I’d be very comfortable being a part of any and all school improvement efforts there. As for Mayberry, I still have research to do in regards to what the parent-involvement efforts are there, and as a full-time working mom, it would be unrealistic and over-ambitious of me to attempt to spearhead any school-improvement efforts, and I have no idea whether the parents already there feel there are things to improve (or whether the current parents would even want some overly-eager, somewhat nerdy white lady coming in trying to “bring change”…). I grew up in Berkeley where the public schools truly are (or at least, were) truly socio-economically, culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse, and I’m completely ignorant as to what it would be like to be literally the ONLY white family in the school (currently Mayberry is “.3%” white), and speaking frankly, I’m not confident we would fit in there, given the demographic reality. I do realize my kid is going to be a minority, and even an extreme minority, at many LAUSD schools, and I actually think a good thing in many ways. I’m just being honest that I’m not completely comfortable with her being the token white kid – I’d hate to see her get left out, or even picked on or bullied, because of the color of her skin. So, I still have some research to do, and I’m open to hearing what each area school has to offer, and to finding out whether what WE have to offer a school is in line with that school’s mission. Like all parents, I just want my kid to be happy, feel comfortable and safe, and to continue to love learning as much as she does now.

  11. Hey Frogtown Eastsider, Dorris Place sounds intriguing. Is the Gifted program a magnet? Just curious also if the class sizes are still small.

  12. Gifted program is not a magnet. It involves special assignments, theme projects and homework that adds additional questions for GATE kids. Also, language arts is grouped by reading level, so all GATE kids are in the same group reading a more challenging text and providing analysis. The GATE theme is not limited to only those who “qualified” as GATE. Any child that is willing/able to rise to the occasion is included.

    Class sizes are still small for primary. 4th grade adds 6 to the room. Come check it out. Fall Fest is October 24th. It’s our biggest event of the year where we do the bulk of the fundraising for the school wide orchestra and music program. .we have games, jumpers, food, music, hands on art projects, raffles for all sorts of goodies, etc. podpartnersofdorris.org

  13. We were admitted to Melrose Avenue Magnet for Kinder, but when I went there I found it so dreary. Our local school is Micheltorena. I realize we are in a much better situation than we could be, but does anyone have their kid in Micheltorena and can tell me about it? I will go on a tour on Friday. Also, anyone have their child stay an extra year in preschool and then go into first grade and skip kinder?

    • Madeleine, I can tell you for a FACT that the principal and administration at Melrose Magnet does NOT take kindly to kids going into grades that don’t match their age. My kid is ahead a couple of years and they are refusing to honor his previous grade placement, and will only place him in a grade according to his age. :-/

      • Betsy for some reason I only just now am seeing your post. would you be willing to personal message me? I really feel alot of pressure at the moment and if you would give me your feedback I will be eternally grateful. My email is maddsstickss@gmail.com

  14. Betsy for some reason I only just now am seeing your post. would you be willing to personal message me? I really feel alot of pressure at the moment and if you would give me your feedback I will be eternally grateful. My email is maddsstickss@gmail.com

    • Your comment merely needed to be approved, Madeleine. Let us know when you make contact and we’ll remove the post so you don’t get unwanted spam.

  15. Hello Silverlake/Echo Park Magnet Yentas!

    This thread is long been unattended and curious if there is any updated info on East Side Schools.

    We are residents of Lexington Ave Primary then matriculate in 2nd grade (?) to Lockwood. Both look kind of dismal, can’t seem to get tours either….anyone out there have any experience with these schools? (rumor has it they both have “new principals”- seems like all the schools have new principals??)

    I have a 3 year old who could do TK in her preschool that we love, or perhaps we should use her TK status to get into an under enrolled TK program (or is this wishful thinking)?

    She has lots of Spanish exposure (mom is conversational in spanish) but certainly not an “english learner”

    She was born in 2014 so we are looking at a 2019/2020 TK start date….Walking to school would be a dream.

    Other schools we’re looking at are:

    Micheltorena – Dual Language? or just intra district permit?- walking distance, seems great. not sure how hard it would be to get in. New new principal (she came in after the big shake up I hear, but seems to be keeping much of the programs in tact)

    Franklin – we would have to get an intra-district permit, but we could walk there- going to a tour at the end of the month. Not sure she would qualify for SAS, but really not sure what that entails.

    Mayberry – why does it look great, but feels like NO ONE in the neigborhood goes there? What’s the catch?- also a baby dual language program. Title 1 school (so strange in that ‘hood) and what seems to be a very ambitious, committed principal (also new). Would have to drive…not sure it’s worth driving. I know test scores are lower bc of 30% special needs learners…but still not sure. Looks well funded(title 1, 90% school lunch I think). What gives?

    Clifford Street Elementary Magnet – this is a great little school. A little far but would it be helpful to get magnet points early on? We are also residents of Thomas Starr King and Marshall. (not clear if it would help us to get magnet points or not) Lots of LAUSD employees send there kids here….so that’s very interesting. Another new principal….I see a pattern here.

    We looked at two charters – Citizens of the World Silverlake (the campus is split across several schools) and Los Feliz Charter School of the Arts (looks really awesome, but not sure about no walls and it’s a bit of a drive for us). Also Charters in general seem to need lots of fundraising, and don’t seem to have one location to really create a community. Also seem to risk going broke…I’d hate to be scrambling to find my kid a school mid-stream.

    Thoughts and experiences are most welcome!

    Thank you,
    Katy

    • Hi Katy,
      I’m one of the Mayberry attendance-area parent who commented in this section a few years ago re. Silverlake schools. Our daughter has been at Micheltorena for 3 years, and loves it, and it’s a great community, with many families from the general area, which is one of the real plusses, as it is a true neighborhood community school. That’s also the main reason we didn’t end up being interested in Mayberry (our daughter got into Micheltorena through the lottery for the dual language program) – mostly because (at the time anyway) there really weren’t many (any?) kids from the neighborhood attending, and we really REALLY wanted our kid to go to a neighborhood school where she would meet lots of friends who lived nearby. And, as full-time working-outside-the-home parents, we just didn’t have the time or energy required to spearhead an effort to make Mayberry fit that bill. It’s sad really, because Mayberry is a perfectly nice, clean, lovely school, and I’m sure the teachers, parents, and Principal are doing all they can to make it a wonderful place for the kids who attend. I think the main reason more neighborhood families aren’t there is as simple (and dumb) as the fact that there aren’t many neighborhood families there – it’s kind of a self-perpetuating, “which came first – the chicken or the egg?” situation.
      As for the other schools you mentioned, I’ve heard good things about all each of them, and hesitated with the charters for the same reasons you are hesitating.
      I hope this was at least a bit helpful in answering some of your questions!

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