I’ll probably have more on this later, but for locals, I just wanted to provide a link to the LA Times’ value-added teacher ratings. You can search by teacher or school, and some of the data appears incomplete – for example, the most recent data for a teacher at our local school was from 2006. The database only includes LAUSD teachers for grades 3 through 5.
The California economy is still doing terribly, and that has meant a whole lot of changes in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The budget apparently played a huge role in setting the dates for the 2010-2011 school year, which has been released online here. The first day of school is September 13 and the last day is June 24. Students will be off the entire week of Thanksgiving. Plus, there’s three weeks of winter vacation, one week of spring break, and assorted holidays including April 1, for the observance of Cesar Chavez Day. I’ve been asking all of my friends who work outside the home and have older kids how they handle all of the days off, so that I’ll know what my options are.
Today’s Amazon’s Deal of the Dayis DVD sets for CBS shows: $89.99 for seasons 1 through 6 of NCIS, $45.99 for seasons 1 through 3 of Criminal Minds, $63.99 for seasons 1 through 5 of Medium, and $64.99 for seasons 1 through 5 of Numb3rs (that was on for five years?!). Disclosure: I’m an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Christian Clippers explains how to get three greeting cards and a “desk accessory” (like a journal) for 97 cents at Vons.
Get 10 points at Pampers Gifts to Grow with code FacebookMay2010.
Stretching a Buck has this week’s Target deals.
If your CVS has a scanner, then you can do this Nivea deal to make $5.
A new month means new coupons at Coupons.com, including $1/1 Kleenex Hand Towels (which on sale this week at Target, where you can also use this $1/1 store coupon). Coupons.com still has the B1G1 SunRype coupons, and I finally found those in a free-standing unit near the refrigerated produce at Vons. Links via MySavings.com
Get a preview of tomorrow’s Harris Teeter ad.
Get a preview of the 5/7 Shaw’s ad.
Freebies 4 Mom has more Huggies Enjoy the Ride Rewards codes.
You can now get a 2010 Entertainment Book for just $15. Moneywise Moms reports that there are three coupons for $5 off a $50 purchase at Safeway stores, and when I looked at a copy a few months ago at Walgreens, there were several coupons for $5 off a $75 purchase at Ralphs. If you click through, you’ll be able to see the coupons in your local book when you enter your zip code. And you can also buy books for top travel regions, like Orlando and Hawaii. Links via Logical Media
The Los Angeles Unified School District Board has approved a budget plan that includes cutting 1,400 teacher positions. This is particularly concerning to me, because we’ve committed to an LAUSD school for next fall, deciding not to apply to any private schools because the ones we can afford aren’t significantly better than our local public school. I’m fervently hoping that doesn’t change during the next eight years, which is how long it’ll be before Tyler moves on to middle school.
For now, I’m cautiously optimistic because we live in a somewhat odd neighborhood, where many people have money, yet many don’t. That’s perhaps the ideal mix for a public school: More than half of the students at the school qualify for financial assistance with lunch, which translates into a hefty amount of government funding for the school. Yet there is an active PTA that’s raised enough money to supplement the government-provided bare minimum with a full-time nurse (most schools only have one that’s part-time) and additional classes like art and PE. Needless to say, I’ll be doing my part in the PTA to ensure the school’s high standards continue.
In the meantime, if you are planning to apply to a magnet school, for a permit with transportation, or the No Child Left Behind – Public School Choice program, don’t forget that the application deadline is December 18.
Previously: More about our public vs. private school dilemma
I’ve previously discussed the various public school options in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which most notably include magnet schools. Since Alex will be entering kindergarten next year, I’ve been monitoring the eChoices web site, which is LAUSD’s informational site.
Last October, there was an informational session at UCLA, so I kept waiting for the announcement about this year’s session. But October came and went without any announcement, and I had to conclude that the session was a casualty of the district’s massive budget cuts. In fact, the site remained unchanged from last school year.
Until this week.
For the first time, there was a new date at the upper right, indicating this year’s application deadline of December 18, 2009. That’s almost a month earlier than last year (when applications were due on January 9 of this year).
Applications were mailed to the homes of current LAUSD students on Friday, November 6. For those like me who don’t have any students enrolled yet, you can pick up an application at your local LAUSD school, Los Angeles Public Libraries, and at Local District offices in late November, or at the Student Integration Services office at 333 South Beaudry Avenue, 25th Floor, in Los Angeles (90017).
One thing to keep in mind about the magnet program is that each year that you’re rejected, you accumulate “wait list” points that can help you get accepted the following year. Several of the magnet schools start in the first grade, so my plan is to apply to one of the few kindergarten magnets with the hope of getting rejected. (You don’t accumulate points if you get in and then decline to attend.) Then if we decide that a magnet school is in our best interest come first grade, we’ll be in the best position possible to get into that school.
One year ago, I was agonizing over whether to send our boys to public or private school. In our area, most parents in our socio-economic class seem to have this debate. I’ve discussed it countless times, and in the last year, I’ve done a ton of research into the topic. I’ve learned about the public school options, researched magnet schools in particular, attended an information fair put on by LAUSD, attended open houses, sought out other parents, and generally became a sponge for any and all information on the topic.
The bottom line conclusion we’ve reached is that our local public school is as good as any private school that we can currently afford. The very best private schools, at $20,000 per year per child, are simply out of our price range right now.
We’ll be revisiting this topic as middle school approaches, because our conclusion currently applies only to the local elementary school. But for now, we’re quite at peace with our decision. Of course, the real test will be next fall, when kindergarten actually becomes a part of our lives.
In the meantime, for parents who are experiencing the same dilemma, I highly recommend being as proactive as possible. Reach out to other parents, read informational booklets and web sites, and attend any events that are open to the public. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased at how well-run the events at the public school were, and it gave me a chance to meet some of the teachers, administrators and parents. I’ve gotten to know a few moms whose kids are kindergarteners at the public school this year, and seeing their satisfaction with the school has been extremely encouraging.
One final note: I’ve been keeping a close eye on the web site for LAUSD’s Choices program, through which you apply for magnet schools and such. It appears there is not going to be an informational session this year, which I’m guessing is a casualty of this year’s steep budget cuts.
Image credit: School Crossing Safety Sign at Amazon.com.
Ads via MySavings.com