Mid-Wilshire/Miracle Mile

This area of town is a buzzing hive of incredible parental boosterism, a kind of flourishing Super-Grow garden we may consider the legacy of the first famous Beverlywood, or Canfield moms (who began knocking on neighbors’ doors around 1998).

Some beloved elementaries in this area include:

Canfield Avenue:

Of the many great things going on here, our wonderful writer friend and political activist sister “Burning Mom” Erika Schickel (http://www.erikaschickel.com) has helped helm an astonishing theatre program (vaudeville!).  Learn more at:


For parent-to-parent questions re: Canfield, contact:

Elizabeth Owens



Carthay Center Elementary

Gorgeous historic campus, jaw-dropping gardens, extraordinary staff, amazing parents, we could go on, we don’t have space.  Although Magnet Yenta Sandra is always amazed that at their prospective parent events, Carthay gives out GIFT BAGS.  Learn more at:


Or for person-to-person info, contact:

Susan Nickerson



Castle Heights:

Of the many great parents who are here, we have to give out special huzzahs to Maria von Hartz, who co-spearheaded (with Victoria Hurley) the incredible Mother’s Day MOMS Unite to STOP the Budget Cuts march on Wilshire on May 9, 2008.  But if marching alarms you and you are a shy parent just looking for more info on the great things going on at Castle Heights, you can still contact:

Maria von Hartz



Hancock Park Elementary:

Oh forget the magnets already.  A high-quality school in one of our lovelier LA neighborhoods, what’s not to love about Hancock Park Elementary?  You friendly live parental contact is:

Tracy Balsz (Booster Club President)


(213) 705-7201




But wait, mid-Wilshire families, have you thought about up-and-comer:

Wilshire Crest Elementary

Our good mom friend Liz is excited about the school (her son will be starting at Wilshire Crest next year).  If this is your neighborhood school and you’d like more info, contact:

Elizabeth (Liz) Fuller


(323) 939-6193


Re: questions about middle schools in the area, we would also direct you (again) to Carthay parent and a co-founder of the New Los Angeles Charter Middle School (http://newlosangeles.org):

Susan Nickerson



12 thoughts on “Mid-Wilshire/Miracle Mile

  1. Happy New Year Magnet Yentas !

    I wanted to ask your advice on applying for a magnet for the 2009-10
    year . We live in the miracle mile area and I noticed there are not
    a lot of magnets that start at Kindergarten . I dont expect to get in
    but wanted to turn in the app for points . So ,, just wanted your
    opinion on the best one close to me anyway . I was thinking Community
    Magnet – I am new to this so any ideas would be great and helpful ,

    Thanks – its great that you guys are doing this …


  2. I know everyone wants to send their child to a school that has a huge well-oiled parent involvement team, but even a small group of enthusiastic parents can make a difference. It starts small and then snowballs…I am so passionate about sending our children to our local school in the Mid Wilshire/Miracle Mile neighborhood, Carthay Center Elementary, that I started a blog about it. High API scores feel good, but they are not the full story.
    Check it out!:


    • Hi Naomi,

      After two kids, the younger being in middle school (the older graduated college this spring), I do agree people should look at their neighborhood schools first. But you can’t discount things like large numbers of ELL students, really low test scores, and frankly when you get to middle and high school, the safety of the kids. I would love to send my kids to our neighborhood schools, but my kids’ needs would not be met.

      After reading the blog, I’m happy you found a place to call home, but remember, each of us comes to this decision ourselves–as do parents who choose private schools, parochial schools, or other religious schools.

      Very happy for you. Good luck.

  3. Thanks for responding to my comments and I am glad we agree that the search should at least start at the neighborhood school. I don’t claim to judge anyone and everyone for not choosing their neighborhood school, there are too many personal factors (special needs, religious, seriously failing schools, safety or whatever) – and I do respect every parent/family’s right to advocate what is best for their children and their family. I am writing to tell about my own journey and perspective, which perhaps could allow some other people who are on the fence merely due to fear of the unknown, not the highest test scores, not the wealthiest student body, or whatever, to take a closer look at their neighborhood school before they automatically turn away and run to something more trendy or across town, just because their neighbors are doing that. Sometimes sharing your happiness is all that it takes to allow people to see things a new way. I think your website is a great forum for discussing these issues. Thanks again for all that you are doing and congrats on your college graduate!

  4. Carthay Center Elementary School will become Carthay Environmental Studies Magnet starting next year! The Environmental Studies program will build on the Garden Science program already in place, featuring Carthay’s celebrated Garden of Possibilities, described in Huffingtonpost and other media.

    Read more about it at http://www.carthaycenterschool.org .

    For magnetangel’s concerns: (1) I don’t really think having ELL students is a big downside, I like the cultural diversity, but for what it’s worth, the percentage of ELL students at Carthay is down now, I think to 20% or so. There are Spanish speakers, Punjabi speakers, Amharic speakers, Russian speakers, Korean speakers, etc. It’s like a little United Nations, we love it. (2) The average test scores at Carthay aren’t great but that has little or no effect on an individual student’s test scores. Our kids regularly score in the top 5% or higher on standardized tests. Carthay has been working with our kids to make sure they are placed in the best class for their needs so they remain challenged. Starting this year, the school will begin having a special pull-out program for kids identified as GATE. There have already been other pull-out programs such as book clubs for both high- and low-performing students. (3) Safety is not a concern at Carthay. Our kids are there from 8am to 6pm everyday and we have never had an issue.

    • Thanks for the update Tyson. My comments regarding ELL and safety were not directed at Carthay, rather at neighborhood schools in general. I’m in a totally different part of Los Angeles. Good luck to you!

  5. Got it.
    FYI, there are several other schools in LAUSD that were approved as new magnet schools starting next year. I tried to find a press announcement from LAUSD but couldn’t find one, you need to dig through 700-word+ minutes file from a June 18 meeting to find out about it. So LAUSD could really use some help with information dissemination. Hopefully the eChoices website will be updated next week or soon after. When it is, I think it would be great if you did a post highlighting all of the new magnet schools. Your blog seems very popular and that would really help get the word out.

    • Tyson,

      Thanks. We’re here because LAUSD didn’t always have the best track record for getting out the info. I’d love to do what I can, but remember this is indeed a labor of love. Another place to remind them to post about all those new magnets is the Facebook Student Integration Services page. As of this morning there are 18 people who are following it. With 650K kids or so, I think they have a ways to go, but it’s here: https://www.facebook.com/StudentIntegrationServices

  6. Is anyone familiar with the mandates regarding magnets? I ask because that 2010 surprise that Mid-City EL would automatically matriculate to LACES seemed inappropriate. It continues to take up about 40 spots for those looking to get in on the lottery at 6th. I thought magnets were invented for diversity based on lottery. How was this allowed? I don’t know where to research the rules, if anyone has any ideas.

    • I wish I could help, and hopefully someone closer to the decision will know more about it. I know it started a few years ago, but know nothing more about it.

  7. We are going to have to leave town for one year to deal with some family issues. My daughter will be going into 8th grade. She is currently enrolled in a Magnet middle school. What happens to her magnet points when we come back to town the following year for her in regards to high school? Will she be able to apply to a magnet high school or is all lost? My son is in elementary school and not currently in a magnet school but in a school I love. What will happen to his points as well?

    • Your daughter will not have matriculation points if she is coming from out of state for high school. It’s a safe bet your son will lose any accrued points as well. I would call the magnet office downtown and get further advice, as you will not even be able to apply to magnet schools while you are not living in the LAUSD jurisdiction in Oct-Nov during magnet enrollment season. Depending on what they say downtown, you might be looking at open enrollment and SAS options. It would be very helpful to know your situation before you go, or if you decide it’s more realistic to try to stay and fly back and forth a few times. Best of luck with a very difficult situation.

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