Looking for Elementary Schools?
Is your Child Graduating Preschool and Starting TK or Kindergarten?
The search for the right elementary school starts when your child is STILL in preschool! It is important to know your options and get organized. It can be confusing and there are many different deadlines to consider. Once the initial shock of your baby being old enough for “big kid” school wares off, the panic starts to set in. What am I supposed to look for in elementary schools? What is the difference between TK and Kindergarten? What is the difference between Charter & neighborhood elementary schools? Magnets & SAS elementary programs?
Take a deep breath. I feel ya! It can be overwhelming and daunting. Most local elementary schools may not be the best choices for your family, which makes things a bit more complicated.
But, I’ve got you covered.
My friend who is a mom of three, educator, consultant, & trainer, broke it down for me and I’m going to break it down for you!
Will your child be starting Kindergarten school next year?
Here are the options you need to consider and familiarize yourself with in the Los Angeles, California region:
Charter School: Free independent schools, that have a bit more flexibility than regular district schools. They have their own finances, curriculum, and governance. You must apply individually to each school. Application deadlines vary, many are in the beginning of the year for that following fall.
District schools i.e. Neighborhood Schools: free schools assigned by your address (LAUSD, Las Virgenes, Burbank, Santa Clarita etc.). They do have a lottery open enrollment, if you do not live within the district, in the beginning of spring. Preference is given to children who live in the area. You can apply to another school district as well, usually begins at the start of the year.
Magnet Schools: free schools with special integration program, depending on the type of magnet i.e. science, math, performing arts etc. For LAUSD, if you live 2 or more miles away, they provide free busing. You are limited to how many you may apply for. LAUSD does not offer magnets for TK programs
SAS Program/Gifted: This stands for School for Advanced Studies. You can find more information about this programs on the district websites.
Now that you are aware of the various options, You should look up schools within a certain radius of where you live. Look up the school ratings. Look at their philosophy. Most schools tend to be traditional taught schools, while some are project based schools. Figure out what you are are hoping for in a school; extra curricular? after school programs? dual-language immersion? project-based? school library and/or garden? their playground and facilities?
Once you have narrowed down what you are looking for and what you want out of a kindergarten or elementary school, begin the hunt. Call and schedule tours. Write down their application protocol and deadline. Keep track of dates and time frames. But really, when it comes to public elementary school, there is only so much you can do. Once you have applied, all you can do it is wait to see what elementary school your child gets into. To up your odds, you should apply to as many “good” elementary schools as you are willing to drive to. Note, with magnet schools, the application process works differently and uses a point system. To find more in-depth information about particular schools, TK, and Kindergarten programs, go to your school district website.