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  • LAUSD Magnet Schools: Other LAUSD Options

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    Non-Magnet LAUSD Options - chieffamilyofficer.com

    As you decide what magnet school program to apply for through the Choices application, keep in mind that magnet schools aren’t the only special program that you can apply for in LAUSD. The Los Angeles Unified School District offers other programs, including:

    Permits with Transportation (PWT) – Like the Magnet Program, PWT is a court-ordered integration program. PWT is available to residents who live near a PWT “sending school.” My understanding is that PWT “sending schools” are those that are designated as overcrowded. You apply for PWT using the same Choices application that you use to apply to a magnet school. It does not appear that you get to choose which PWT “receiving school” your child will attend.

    No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – Public School Choice – NCLB requires that schools who do not achieve the required test scores be designated as “Program Improvement” (PI) schools. Under NCLB, students who attend a PI school or school at risk for PI may ask to transfer to a non-PI school. Priority for NCLB-PSC is given to the “lowest achieving children from low income families.” The annual Choices brochure contains a list of PI and at risk for PI schools. You apply for NCLB-PSC using the same Choices application that you use to apply to a magnet school.

    School For Advanced Studies (SAS) – SAS is a program for students who have been identified as gifted, highly gifted, and/or demonstrate superior academic achievement. The program provides these students with instruction that exceeds minimum state standards. Learn more about SAS here.

    Open Enrollment – If a school has space available, you can ask to have your child placed in that school. Check www.lausd.net, visit any LAUSD school, or call School Management Services at (213) 241-8044 for a list of participating schools and the number of openings at each school in May. Note that you will have to provide transportation for your child.

    Romero Open Enrollment – Students at schools on a state-wide list of 1,000 low-performing schools may enroll at another LAUSD school or a school outside of the district. Learn more about Romero Open Enrollment here.

    Charter Schools – Many charter schools are affiliated with LAUSD (and many are not). LAUSD now has a Charter School Division. Each school has its own application process that you must follow. Learn more about charter schools here and here.

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Grant Cochrane.

    LAUSD Magnet Schools: Choices application for 2015-2016 school year available today

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    Choices Application 2015-2016

    The eChoices web site is now live with everything you need to complete this year’s application.

    If you’re ready to go, start here. This year, you will need to create an account to apply online.

    If you want a little more information before you start completing the application, go here and here.

    The paper version of the Choices brochure should be available at your local LAUSD school, Educational Service Centers and PCSB Offices, and Los Angeles Public Libraries (although I’ve been told that at least some schools have not yet received the brochure).

    Schools have been hosting tours, and you can find out about them by checking each school’s online calendar or calling their office. You can also check out magnet schools by attending the handful of scheduled Magnet Fairs.

    Don’t forget that the deadline to apply is November 14, 2014.

    Good luck!

    LAUSD Magnet Schools: The Impact of Parent Involvement on Schools

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    Importance of Parent Involvement - chieffamilyofficer.com

    This is the time of year when many parents start looking at schools, especially magnet schools in Los Angeles, since applications will be due in a couple of months. One important factor to consider is the degree of parent involvement at the schools you’re considering. Research shows that parent involvement results in:

    • Higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates
    • Better school attendance
    • Increased motivation and better self-esteem
    • Lower rates of suspension
    • Decreased use of drugs and alcohol
    • Fewer instances of violent behavior

    Thus, the greater the parent involvement at a school, the greater the number of high-achieving students you’ll find there. To assess the extent of parent involvement at a school, you can attend open houses, PTA meetings, and events at the school that are open to the public. (If the school doesn’t have a web site with a calendar, call the office to find out when various events will be held.)

    Once you’ve selected a school for your child, be sure to get involved. While you don’t want to overextend yourself, participating in school events demonstrates the value you place on your child’s education, which affects your child’s own determination of the importance of his or her education. Good places to start are by speaking with your child’s teacher, attending PTA meetings, and even making an appointment with the principal to discuss any needs at the school.

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Grant Cochrane.

    LAUSD Magnet Schools: What is Norm Day?

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    What is Norm Day? - chieffamilyofficer.com

    If you’re an LAUSD parent, then you may have heard the staff or other parents mention “Norm Day” and wondered what it is, since this school year, it was this past Friday, September 12.

    “Norm Day” is a day approximately four after weeks after the start of the school year that is significant to parents if you feel strongly about your child’s teacher, and to school staff for a number of reasons.

    On Norm Day, the student population count is considered “official” – that means budget determinations will be made based on those numbers.

    This has a greater impact on schools than most parents realize. For example, positions that are dependent upon the number of students enrolled – such as a general assistant principal – may be added or taken away based upon the Norm Day count.

    The number of classes per grade level is also fixed on Norm Day. So, for grades K through 3, the student to teacher ratio is supposed to be 24 to 1. Now, suppose there are three classes of second grade on Norm Day, but each class has ballooned to 30 students per class. Students will be removed from each class and a fourth class will be created. (I don’t think classes would actually be allowed to get that big even before Norm Day, but that might depend on the school and/or budget constrictions.) Conversely, if the number of students is below the 24 to 1 ratio, the number of classes in the grade level may be reduced.

    Because of the movement that is sometimes required after Norm Day, LAUSD does not guarantee the placement of your child with the teacher he or she has on the first day of school. And, schools generally do not accommodate a request to change teachers until Norm Day. If you like your child’s teacher, you may find yourself breathing a sigh of relief once Norm Day has passed.

    Norm Day numbers may also be used by LAUSD to calculate a school’s budget. So while as parents we usually don’t see the day to day work of the administrative staff, Norm Day impacts them greatly by determining the number of teachers, the number of staff, the amount of discretionary funds allotted, and so on.

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Grant Cochrane.

    LAUSD Magnet Schools: Useful Links

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    Useful Links re. Magnet Schools - chieffamilyofficer.com

    Here are some useful links to help you explore LAUSD’s program options:

    LAUSD eChoices – LAUSD’s web site for program choices, including magnet schools, No Child Left Behind Public School Choice, and more.

    LAUSD Resident School Identifier – Enter your address to find out your “home” school.

    California School Dashboard – Find out how your school is performing on test scores, graduation rates and other measures of student success.

    LAUSD Student Integration Services – This office administers the magnet and other programs.

    For a more detailed explanation of how to navigate the magnet school application process, check out LAUSD MAGNETS HANDBOOK: A Guide to Getting Your Child into an LAUSD Magnet School, available for just $2.99 at Amazon (affiliate link).

    For more information and regular updates, visit the book’s site at LAUSD Magnet Schools.

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Grant Cochrane.

    LAUSD Magnet Schools: Why the Meal Benefits Application is So Important

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    Importance of the Meal Benefits Application - chieffamilyofficer.com

    Now that the new school year is just a month away {no kidding!}, LAUSD has sent out notices that the Meal Benefits Application is now open. Children from lower income families can qualify for free or reduced-cost meals at school, which helps them get the nutrition they need to be able to learn, and the application is intended to identify those children.

    What you may not know:

    The percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced cost meals can determine how much federal funding your school receives.

    There is a federal law called Title I, which funds primary and secondary education for low-income students. A school qualifies as Title I if a certain percentage of students qualify for free or reduced cost meals.

    At some schools in LAUSD, there are so few students who qualify for free or reduced cost meals that the meal application is mostly irrelevant. But for Title I schools, the meal application is vitally important since so much funding hinges on the number of students who qualify for benefits. The threshold to qualify as a Title I school has been adjusted in recent years, meaning some schools that previously qualified as Title I have not qualified in some recent years. At these schools especially, it is more important than ever for families to get their applications in so as to maximize the chances of restoring Title I funding to their school.

    Even if you don’t qualify for benefits, it helps your school if you complete the application because the administration is looking to capture all of those students who do qualify, and they’ll only know that’s happened if 100% of the applications are completed. Unfortunately, it used to be that there was a box you could check to state that you are not applying for benefits, but the online application doesn’t seem to have that type of option.

    If you do qualify for meal benefits, you must complete the application in order for your child to receive those benefits throughout the school year.

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Grant Cochrane.