Sherman Oaks

Sherman Oaks area elementaries (for instance, Sherman Oaks, Riverside, Dixie Canyon, Colfax) are generally considered “good.”  For an initial discussion of Chandler–plus local options for middle school and beyond–check PARENTS SEEKING SCHOOLS Comment #5 and subsequent replying posts.

Millikan Middle School has both a Performing Arts Magnet and Academy. Magnet students apply via the echoices application, and can have no prior experience in the Performing Arts. The academy students will apply via a separate application and will require an audition (singing and learning a short dance routine). Musicians will audition with a short musical piece. Math Academy is another option that provides for Accelerated Math pathways.

The Science Academy was previous an academy at Millikan, it is now its own magnet school. Please visit http://www.thesciencemagnet.org/

49 Responses to Sherman Oaks

  1. Leslie says:

    Kester Elementary/Kester Magnet (Gifted) was left off the list, probably because greatschools.net lists it in Van Nuys? Not on your Van Nuys list, tho’.

    My twins are in 2nd grade here— one in Magnet, the other in Home School (with some special needs). We’re pretty happy w/the school, though sometimes I have pangs of guilt (well, I am Jewish) that my one twin in Magnet gets “enriched” activities like woodworking, learning recorder, performing in the Magnet musical, and several field trips, while her twin gets little exposure to these activities (1 field trip per year, no musical instrument, less art, no woodworking, no drama). The “enrichment” should be for ALL, not just the kids deemed “gifted” (a subjective appelation, since kids entering from K and 1st are not tested for high ability!).

  2. Tiffani Roshan says:

    I am trying to find a gifted school for my soon to be sixth grader. We are willing to move to accomodate his needs, but can not find a suitable school. Suitable as in not a bank breaker, does any one have any recommendations? Thank you

  3. Lisa W. says:

    We live in Sherman Oaks (formerly Van Nuys) just north of Burbank Blvd and just West of Van Nuys Blvd. and I am trying to figure out if the schools in our area are good enough that we can put our daughter (who is now 2-1/2) in public school from elementary through h.s. Some parents in the area say “yes, the schools are good,” but these are not parents whose opinions I know I can trust. Other parents (people I worked with and trust) tell me that the public schools are not good. Obviously, I need more information. My husband and I work freelance and are not rich, thus, we will not be able to afford private school. Looking for advice on how to evaluate the public schools in our district. Thanks!

    • magnetangel says:

      Hi Lisa,

      There are several things you can look at. Test scores. Like it or not, a school in the 900s is probably more desirable than one in the 700s. Sites like GreatSchools.org use a 1-10 scale with 10 being highest to rank schools based on their test scores. Secondly, you can read parent reviews on sites like GreatSchools.org to get a feel for what people like. When you know which school is actually your school, you can also tour that school and see which schools in that area offer open enrollment. The list changes every year, so pace your research. No reason to get your heart set on a school that won’t have openings.

      The schools in the Valley vary wildly–Kester is a 9, and Chandler is an 8. Just a bit north of those two, Sylvan Park is a 2. So people saying schools are good or bad are both right.

      The thing to remember is that test scores alone won’t make a great school. You’ll want to know what the parents organization is like–what are the extra curricular activities? Does the school have art and assemblies? How does the principal work with the PTO? with the school site council?

      Only you can decide how much work you want to put into this search and which schools you want to focus on. Start with this interactive map and go from there: http://www.greatschools.org/school-district-boundaries-map/?lat=34.1789379&lon=-118.43383449999999&level=e&q=91411

      Good luck.

      Good luck!

      • Karla says:

        Hey Lisa, I also live in that area. I *think* you are in the Kester district, but you would have to check at school finder on the lausd website. I live in the chandler district. I have heard great things about Kester. The cons are: it’s huge, large class sizes. The pros: great teachers and good parent involvement. Also, if you are in the Sylvan Park area you can always take a tour. if you don’t like it apply thru the magnet program or try to do open enrollment, charter, etc for other schools. Good luck.

        • magnetangel says:

          Thanks for the feedback Karla! It’s important to note the class size is a district issue, rather than a school by school issue. School PTOs might pay for aides or for one teacher for class size reduction but nothing is going to make the class size tiny like private school (and even some private school classes rival public schools).

  4. dressagequeen42 says:

    Thank you.

    I am fortunate to have an “in” at Hesby Oaks (public elementary) in Encino. My biggest concern right now is high school—a few years away, I know…but I’m uncertain about Van Nuys H.S. for my daughter. My own experience of public h.s. in a suburb of Manhattan was mixed—o.k. In grammar (K-6), horrid in JR High (7-9) and so awful in H.S. that my sister and I fled to an all girls’ Catholic school though we were not Catholic. A girl had been murdered in the public H.S. the year before I would have attended and given the horrible bullying I endured in J.R. H.S. I feared I would be the next casualty if I attended New Rochelle H.S.

    Trying to avoid a similar experience for my daughter.

    • magnetangel says:

      Hi dressagequeen42,

      So if you have a few years, you’ll have time to listen, observe and visit. If you’re in Encino, Taft and El Camino are only a few miles away, as well as numerous magnet and charter options. While no one can predict what happens at a school, all the schools in the Valley are relatively safe and bullying–while occurring at all schools–is not tolerated and usually is addressed quickly. For what it’s worth, private schools can have equal or greater amounts of bullying.

      Start here: http://www.greatschools.org/school-district-boundaries-map/ to get an understanding of what your options are. Good luck.

  5. Lisa W. says:

    Thank you very much!

    Sincerely,

    Lisa

  6. dressagequeen42 says:

    Thank you for that input. Yes, we are in the Kester elementary district and our high school would be Van Nuys. I worry most about high school, actually but am very good at worrying ahead of time about things I have little control over…

    My two and a half year old daughter loves art, music, dance, and playing on the swings/running around (like most children her age I bet.) We are living off of one income right now so hesitate to stretch ourselves with the cost of moving and taking on a bigger mortgage. Our little two bedroom house that I saved my hard-earned (union negotiated) wages for was supposed to be our starter home but may end up being our only home at this point. Ah well, we will make it work somehow. Thanks for the input!

    • magnetangel says:

      Hi dressage,

      You absolutely can not worry about middle or high school. At this point, in this era of dramatic change, I’m only giving you permission to start thinking about elementary school. The amount of change the district endures with budget cuts, governance changes (affiliated charters), principal/administration changes, you can’t worry about your middle and high school choices that are nearly a decade out or more.

      If you are in Kester’s district, I’d suggest asking to drop by one of their PTO meetings and see what’s going on. In the winter, visit their kindergarten round up. See what parents you can meet that are current Kester parents (not from 10 years ago, and not people from work who know people who used to know people who went there).

      You can definitely look at open enrollment at other nearby elementaries, but you need to see with your own eyes what goes on at the school your taxes pay for first.

      Good luck.

  7. dressagequeen42 says:

    Thank you very much. I appreciate your level headed reply.

  8. Kester ES parent says:

    We have began our 4th year at Kester and the school is not overcrowded or huge. Try Carpenter in Studio City for comparison. Our class size from kinder on has never been more than 26 students per class. The teachers are great, the PTA works very hard, although we tend to suffer due to median families income between Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys residents. We love the school and get involved whenever we can. No need for gifted or magnet. There is plenty of work and challenges.

  9. Lisa W. says:

    Good to hear. Thanks for that review of Kester!

    Sincerely,

    Lisa

  10. Kay N. says:

    Hi, I am trying to accrue points to ultimately get my 6th grader (currently in private school,) into a LAUSD Charter High School. Do you know what my Middle School is? I live in Sherman Oaks, 91401 (formerly Van Nuys.) Also, if the school is predominantly, Black, Hispanic, or other, how do I get the 4 points?

    ** 4 points if your home LAUSD school is PHBAO (Predominantly Hispanic, Black, Asian or Other)**

  11. Judy says:

    Hello,
    I would like to hear from anyone who has their child or a close connection at SOCES. We’ve done the tour, etc. but would love to get first hand information from some of the insightful souls who post here.

    • Mom2OJGH says:

      Nothing firsthand but have two close friends with kids there. Both are fine with it, happy there generally, but neither rave about it either. One friend has had hit or miss luck with teachers, some being great and others not so much. The biggest benefit is the ability to get all your kids (from 4-12 grades) at one location.

      • magnetangel says:

        I have a few friends with kids there, and know a teacher there, so I’ve put out a few feelers. I get the feeling Mom2OJGH is pretty dead on. Which will be like *any* school. I’ve never been affiliated with a school where every teacher was on the greatest hits list.

  12. Judy says:

    Thanks for the replies. That is exactly the vibe I have gotten from people there. It’s just that once you’re there, you’re pretty much there for “life”, not a few years. But, that can also be seen as a plus, too. I guess a lot will depend on the kid. My kids will never be at the same school because I didn’t choose that path for my oldest, but they are different children and now I am seriously considereing it.

  13. Kristine says:

    My daughter started SOCES in the 4th grade, and she’s in 5th now. I really hadn’t expected her to get in. I was just trying to accrue points for middle school. It was a difficult decision to make, but I ultimately decided that it was worth the sacrifice now to be set for middle, and later, high school. It’s a somewhat difficult transition to essentially start middle school in the 4th grade, but the school does try to make it as easy as possible. So far the teachers seem like teachers anywhere. Some are great, and some are not. This year my daughter has a couple teachers who assign a lot of homework, which is not something that I value. I’ve been told that it eases up next year, and we’re both looking forward to that. After this year, I plan to be more proactive about talking to parents of children in the next grade, and advocating for her to get teachers that seem like they will be a better fit.

    There are some issues with being on a high school campus, but so far it hasn’t been anything I feel is too much. The small school really appeals to me. I like that we have nine years in the same place, with more or less the same kids, and the same teachers and staff. I would still make the same choice over again.

  14. Judy says:

    Thanks for that answer. It is good to know that you would make the same choice again. I have found it to be a difficult decision and I hope it’s a decision I to get to make. What are the issues you have run into being on a high school campus?

  15. Kristine says:

    I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. Nothing too bad. Some how I managed to get my daughter to 4th grade without knowing the F word. She learned a lot of new words last year. Thankfully she doesn’t use them still, but she hears them all the time now. I think that some of the kids there feel free to push the limits since they have more autonomy. Some of it’s language, some of it is just kids being jerks, saying mean things, etc. Until she moved to SOCES my daughter tended to play with boys more, but then at SOCES the kids seen to divide by gender, at least in her experience, and so she’s had to learn to navigate girls and the drama that sometimes goes along with that, if that makes sense.

    Another example is that she came home one day and told me that “Justin Bieber was raped.” Needless to say, we had a long conversation about what that meant, and why it was a serious thing to say. Later that night, after she went to bed, I found the school newspaper. There was an article about the 20 girl last year who alleged that she had his baby after a back stage encounter. Since he was underage at the time, it would have been statutory rape had she been able to prove it was his child. Thankfully I’m very open with her, so while none of these things thrill me, they’re all manageable so far.

  16. Judy says:

    Makes total sense. Thanks for replying. Sounds similar to what I dealt with with with my older one. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), it sounds typical of any school.

  17. Lisa says:

    Does anyone have opinions about Sherman Oaks Elementary vs. Roscomare Road? Roscomare is obviously much smaller, and has higher API scores. However, Sherman Oaks seems to have more “programs” (student performances, field trips, musical theater & chorus, science lab/teachers, full year of art, SAS program, bigger yard areas, etc.)

  18. Mommeeof2 says:

    I’m also interested in your opinions about Sherman Oaks Elementary vs. Kester Elementary. Any feedback from anyone? Thanks.

    • jrcma says:

      Kester Elementary is our home school but we got in on the lottery at Sherman Oaks Elementary, now I’m having a really tough time deciding on where to send my son. The pros and cons in the Babe when will you be here?reviews I’ve read seem to be equal. Any input to help my decision???

  19. Milla says:

    what grade does SAS begin at Riverside Drive and Dixie? will either take an SAS kindergartner?

  20. Does anyone have input on Hesby Oaks (the school I’ve been hoping to get my daughter into?)

  21. Karla says:

    You can get your child in for SAS at the kinder level. We got my son in at Riverside but choose to go to Encino Elementary while entering his K year. I have friends with kids as both Roscomare and Sherman Oaks. Our friends LOVES Roscomare, but it’s next to impossible to get in if you don’t live there. Last year I was told they had a lottery for 10 students into the school so tough but not impossible. Our friends also like Sherman Oaks but again it’s a pretty big school (to me at least). Kester has a pretty steller magnet school and an amazing kinder teacher (Mrs. Atkins). Our friends didn’t feel like it was a match for their daughter but I know lots of families that like it.

  22. Lisa says:

    We did the Roscomare lottery last year for Kinder. They let 10 kids in, then we were #2 on the waiting list and did not get in.

    We ended up at Sherman Oaks (our home school), and did not care for it. There’s a lot going on at Sherman Oaks right now, with a group of parents (and teachers?) who are trying to get rid of the principal. We got into Balboa for 1st grade, and are hoping for a better experience there!

  23. Lisa says:

    Update to my earlier post: the principal at Sherman Oaks Elementary has accepted another position, so the search is on now for a new principal to take over next year.

  24. dressagequeen42 says:

    Thanks!!!!!

  25. dressagequeen42 says:

    Thanks!!!!

  26. minou1 says:

    Hi folks— been a LONG time since I posted here. My twins are in 8th and it’s time for the big HIGH SCHOOL choice. Very unsettled about the high school choices in the Valley. I am leaning towards Cleveland Humanities Magnet. All the high schools just seem to be generally underachieving except for the small magnet or SAS programs. They are large and run down and overcrowded. Any suggestions of alternatives ? I am also looking at VIP Charter, Champs, and some private but we can’t afford that unless get practically full rides.
    Feedback on great high schools appreciated…………

    • magnetangel says:

      With high schools you will need to look at small programs within largers schools mostly. If you are coming from the south part of the Valley, the consistent buzz I hear is El Camino in the West Valley and certainly Cleveland mid Valley. Math Science kids may find solace in Reseda or Van Nuys and the creative types mention CHAMPS and some are willing to travel to LACHSA. Since some kids leave for a larger HS experience, SOCES makes sense for some people. I have heard of people looking at NoHo’s SAS as well.

      Yes, they are all ‘run down and overcrowded.’ Unless you go to one of the newer schools, but those were built in Northridge and Granada Hills. Learning goes on IN the classrooms and while bungalows are normal, the kids navigate.

      Good luck.

  27. Ces Burbank says:

    Does anybody have an opinion on Walter Reed IHP vs Millikan Science Academy?

  28. Andrea C. says:

    Looking for some feedback on Chandler. I currently have a 2 1/2 year old and am starting to try to figure out the LA school system, points, lotteries, etc…. in order to ensure my child can get into the best school possible.

    • magnetangel says:

      If your child is 2 1/2, I have a few suggestions. Check the website and drop by for a “Chat with the Principal” one morning or a PTO meeting one evening. Visit during the school functions in the evenings and weekends.

      My daughter has friends who attended Chandler and turned out well rounded humans. They are in high school, so you’ll want additional info. But you’ll be able to gleen a lot more with boots on the ground since you have so much time. And a LOT can change in 2-3 years.

    • MMR says:

      We are having a positive experience at Chandler. With only 500 students, the school is smaller than most of the other public schools in the area and we feel very connected to the community. The majority of the teachers are really great and have brought out the best in my children. The principal is professional, accessible and works well with the PTA and the teachers. I love that there are two large grassy areas for the children to play in, many mature trees and a great gardening program funded by the PTA. The PTA is inclusive, down to earth, active and won the best PTA unit in the Valley in 2016. I would recommend taking a tour of the school and other schools in the area to find the best fit for your family.

  29. Jen says:

    Hi, my boy is almost 4 (Dec, 2011) and living in Kester Elementary district.
    I read about the E- choice and still confused. In order to apply for Kester Magnet 1) When do I need to start application process?

    • magnetangel says:

      It is confusing. If Kester is your home school you’ll be able to attend for kinder, but if you want the magnet in first grade, your best bet is to apply to one of the magnets that accept kindergarteners. If he’s accepted, and you decline, you haven’t really lost anything. If you don’t get accepted, then you have four extra points in the bank.

      Since he will not be 5 until December of 2016, he won’t be starting kindergarten until 2017. You’ll apply in Fall of 2016 for 2017-18.

      Good luck.

  30. RB says:

    Hi!

    My son will be entering TK in a few months (2016) and our home school is Erwin Street Elementary. As much as it would be the most convenient school for him to go to, based on online reviews, parent feedback, and a school visit, I am not sure it is the right fit. Having said that, we have entered (or in the process of) five school’s lotteries (Carpenter, Roscomere, Dixie Canyon, Sherman Oaks, and Riverside) and are anxiously awaiting the results. So far we have heard back from two and are currently #3 and #4 on the waiting list. Does anyone know if there is a list from previous year’s to find out how many children were let into the TK program at any of these schools? Also, if my son attends one of the schools outside of our home district, does that guarantee my daughter (just under 2 years old) will be able to attend the same school when she is old enough or will she need to lottery in as well?

    This whole process is very stressful! Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

    • Macy says:

      I am told by school officials that a sibling doesn’t guarantee admittance. They must enter the lottery as well.

  31. Anon says:

    Hi RB: no answers for you unfortunately, but curious if you don’t mind telling me which schools you’ve heard back from?

  32. Josh says:

    My daughter got into IHP and Millikan Science Academy, if anyone is familiar with those programs – what do you think are the pros and cons, how do they compare?

    • magnetangel says:

      Remember, this is the first year for the Science Academy magnet, so be very aware that some things will change. The Science Academy is looking for its own home, as it will be moving. It will grow to grades 6-12 at some point. Science Academy kids at Millikan were previously pretty isolated–they weren’t able to take electives with the other kids and had to tutor at lunch. They tended to keep to themselves.

      IHP kids might mix with other kids at nutrition and lunch and they were able to choose an elective.

      They’re both very small cohorts, so there’s not much ability to change a teacher.

      We’ve known families happy with both.

  33. Ella says:

    I have a kid in IHP and really like it; it is rigorous without being too much. The kids are wonderful – smart, studious, but still being kids. I do have friends in the Science Academy and they are happy as well. They are both fantastic programs. I think it is the matter of what works better for your kid. I feel that IHP is a wonderful program that provides good preparation in both humanities and math/science and is great for kids who are not set on their path yet while the science academy is great for kids who already know that they will want to concentrate their studies and career in that area. Another positive thing about Science Academy I think is that now it is going up to high school. Good Luck. Just remember, your kid is going to be fine no matter which program you choose, they are both great.

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