Van Nuys (“The Nuys”)

Dear Fellow Nuysians,

Please don’t listen to your hysterical Sherman Oaks neighborhoods insisting you move south.  Yes, Van Nuys is largely working class, but it’s home to some of the most recognized magnets in LAUSD.

Kester Avenue Elementary alums do well at a variety of middles and high schools.

And Van Nuys High School features three magnets (Medical, Math/Science, and Performing Arts). The school treats all magnet students the same, so your aspiring Math major can have dance for PE. Your band geek can take an excelerated math program and finish Calc BC as a junior. And a medical magnet student can land a major role in the spring Musical. Did I mention pit orchestra? Students working with the LA Master Chorale? Two dance teachers? AP Camps in the spring? A auto-tech class that wins national awards every year? Van Nuys currently boasts the highest AP pass rate in the district, the most AP course offerings, *and* more sections of those courses so your child won’t have to choose between APs in many cases. VNHS is also showing huge improvements among its residential student population and ELL students. The school is in a quiet neighborhood, with a church on three corners and the high school on the fourth. If you have a kid who doesn’t fit into one simple box–TOUR it and see if it’s right for your child.


14 thoughts on “Van Nuys (“The Nuys”)

  1. Sandra, I live around the corner from you in the circle or glorietta on Katherine and Archwood and my kids went to Van Nuys Elementary and we loved it. It was many moons ago but we all have very fond memories and they both did extremely well. Off they went to Van Nuys Junior and Van Nuys High and both went to great colleges and I love our little neighborhood. I am organaizing a Farmer’s Market in the Van Nuys Civic Center Courtyard for Thursday afternoons. The fifteen thousand government employees will soon be having a wonderful venue for lunch and shopping. We will also have the Valley Symphony performing along with the very talented students from Van Nuys Performing Magnet and Champs Magnet School on Van Nuys Blvd. Hopefully the “Boulevard” will start to be a wonderful place to walk and shop………….working hard to keep it our wonderful little oasis. If you ever walk over this way stop and visit. 6753 Katherine Ave. Two story house in the circle. Later Penny

  2. Dear Penny,

    What a thrill to have such a Community Goddess in our neighborhood! The Van Nuys Civic Center area does seem a charming venue. . . Paying a recent traffic ticket (argh!) I was pleasantly surprised. The library is also nice–we’ve taken our kids there for story time. I have walked with my kids by your charming house on Archwood many times (have we come there for Halloween?).

    While I’m travelling a bit right now now, I’m beyond excited you are doing this (and with our new Fresh and Easy supermarket up on Vanowen? it’s the NEW Nuys). . . I was just talking the other day with the owner of Big Kid Toys on Hazeltine and Burbank who has long wanted to close down the parking lot he shares with Nat’s Early Bite and show a retro Valley drive-in movie like “Son of Flubber”! He has had some difficulty working out the permits, but perhaps as our local Van Nuys civic pride and activism lifts…?

    Please keep me posted here (I’m also a huge fan of Robert Eisenhardt, musical director at Van Nuys High, I don’t mind mentioning I “contributed” to Van Nuys High’s maiden voyage guitar program). . .

    Feeling the wonderful rush of oxytocin,

  3. Sandra, I just came upon your reply. I didn’t realize this was even here. Please come by anytime. So many come here for Halloween that I don’t know who everyone is anymore. Walk over any evening or weekend and try to get to the Farmer’s Market. I just spent the afternoon at Children of the Night and will be donating food from the market to help them out. Looking forward to meeting you. Penny

  4. Anyone have any information on Charter High School of the Arts? Does the school equally focus on Arts and Academics? I know they had some issues in the past but I cannot find any information about what’s going on now.

  5. We are in the Columbus ave Elementry, and do not want to go there 2014 year. Any suggestions on better Elementry schools somewhat in this area. We are going to try for chime, but I know that is a long shot. Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa –

      I stumbled on this comment and am currently in the same boat. We’re zoned for Columbus ave elementary but don’t want to send our kids there! We’re curious what you did! Trying to follow someone’s lead in our situation!


      • Dear Dave,

        Explore LAUSD “Choices” (easy online applications due Nov. 9):

        LAUSD Magnet Program

        Our Van Nuys kids attended Valley Alternative Magnet for elementary, Millikan Middle School (science and performing arts academies), and Van Nuys High (Performing Arts and Math/Science Magnets). It has been great.

        Courage! – Sandra

  6. This is from Sandra, our fearless leader:
    Van Nuys has some interesting options if Columbus seems daunting. Quite frankly, many Valley (and Los Angeles) LAUSD elementaries have both uniform (in a good way), rigorously accountable academic programs, AND high Hispanic and English-learning populations. In our home elementary, Van Nuys Elementary, at the time my daughter was entering kindergarten, the percentage of Hispanic students was 97% and the PTSA sign out front was in Spanish (at least on one side). Seems a similar case with Columbus (although proximity to Fresh ‘n’ Easy is a plus). Conventional wisdom (which still seems to stand) suggests two routes: 1) Get a magnet application and apply to Valley Alternative Magnet (easier to get into than the numbers suggest, and we found it an EXCELLENT elementary particularly) 2) Then in spring sign up for all the open enrollment available (Kester and Chandler are ones to try, Hesby Oaks, Dixie Canyon, Sherman Oaks, etc. can be harder to get into due to Ventura Boulevard proximity, but all are good). An unsung gem seems to be Valley View.

    Lots of great teachers out there (probably even at Columbus, good teachers are everywhere). Your child will land in the right place regardless!

  7. My son starts kindergarten in 2016 since he was born in mid October. A lot of his pre-school buddies are heading to pre-k at their home schools which has really got me thinking about options. Home school is Hazeltine and my game plan was enrolling him at Pinecrest which no longer exists. I’ve lived here my entire life and went to Hazeltine Avenue in the 80’s and am sad that the school is a 3. I am wondering about Van Nuys Elementary, Riverside Drive Elementary, Rio Vista and Chandler. I will be applying to Valley Alternative but it’s the opposite direction and getting there to pick him up will be pretty near impossible as I work in West Hollywood and my husband takes the train to downtown LA. Any assistance would be great as I am now officially worrying! Thank you in advance for all you do!!!

  8. Good friends of mine REALLY like Riverside Drive. I had some major issues with my special needs child at Chandler Elementary and ended up moving out of the school zone to different school so we didn’t have to deal with them. I think there is a really great charter in WeHo if you are thinking of having him go there.

  9. OK, I know this is a long shot, and I should have discovered this site a year ago…So I won’t be offended if I hear crickets on this one…
    My son is turning 5 in the middle of September of this year. My homeschool is Kittridge. Sending him there is not an option. He would be a transitional kindergartener. I’ve called charter schools like Dixie Canyon, Sherman Oaks Elem, and was told that TK is the only grade not offered an open-lottery. You have to be a sibling or in their districted school zone. I’ve looked at COV, sunny side (too expensive), toluca crossroads (too expensive), jane frances on Victory (too many hours, too much blacktop), valley montesorri (too little and inexperienced for a 5 yr-old), and probably countless of others. I was told that he doesn’t qualify for the LAUP program because they take kids who were born after October 1, 2010 (What???).
    So I’m looking for a TK class, this year, hopefully 3 times a week, for 3-4 hours, that is under $500/month, that does a lot of learn through play.
    I know, I know. It’s crazy. But maybe someone knows of some great option I have overlooked?
    Thanks is advance,

    • You’ve probably found a solution by now, but my daughter has been in pre-K classes through the Burbank Parks n Rec dept and now the NoHo Parks dept. I love the teachers, she loves her friends. Right now she’s in a small class with 10 kids and is learning tons. Might be an option? $200 month, M-Thurs, 9am-noon.

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