Education information for parents of L.A. kids in junior high and high school.

Junior High and High School

stem in los angeles schools

Adding an M to STEM in Los Angeles Schools

Just who’s putting all this steam into STEM in Los Angeles Schools? Take a straw poll, and you’ll hear credit for the classroom technology boom assigned to a variety of individuals. Topping the list are the scores of ever-inventive teachers, principals and heads of school who are willing to experiment and generous parents and donors offering their time, expertise and funds. Finally, there are the students who – with their...

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college scholarships

College Scholarship Hacks: The Scoop on How and Where to Find Them

Funding college is an increasing struggle for families – especially those with too much income to qualify for financial aid, but too little to cover tuition. Scholarships and grants can help fill funding gaps, and your search for them should go hand in hand with your search for the right college. Scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid, and some organizations use the terms interchangeably. However, scholarships are...

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One More Month to be a Dodgers Reading Champion

Our Los Angeles Dodgers are red-hot right now, with the best record in baseball this season – 77 wins and counting. You can grab some of their winning spirit to turn your kids into red-hot readers with the Dodgers Reading Champions program. There’s just one month left to join the fun! The program, which runs April through August, is designed to motivate L.A. kids to read, and to help them...

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Our Breakfast-to-Bedtime Back to School Guide

Remember last year’s back to school photo? The kids wore big, happy grins and fresh haircuts. Inside their shiny new backpacks awaited orderly pencil cases and a homemade-with-love lunch filled with summer veggies and nothing processed. Cut to the second week: Running to the car five minutes late, the day’s completed homework forgotten on the kitchen table and cranky parents playing Rock-paper-scissors to see who has to leave work early...

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Bridging the Summer Gap to Prevent Learning Loss

Now that the academic school year has ended, students are ready to enjoy summer and all of the fun that it promises. Beach days, family vacations, swimming pools and waterparks; activities that bring fun memories, social time with friends and a highly anticipated break from the classroom. Unfortunately, with all of the fun that summer has to offer, the gap between the end of one academic year and the beginning...

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Four Reasons Educating Students With Learning Differences Matters

Have you heard the buzz about the on-the-job construction worker from Toronto secretly recorded while dancing to a hit song by Ariana Grande? The video went viral, boasting tens of millions of viewers, after his wife posted it on social media. Although this was a humorous and entertaining break from the onslaught of political banter we have been overwhelmed with, I long for a world where life-impacting concerns, significant to...

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school news

Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance Makes History in Gardena

Students, parents and teachers at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance (EPAF), a nonprofit public charter high school in Gardena, have reason to celebrate. As the school prepares to graduate its first class of seniors, it is making history. Not only will the entire senior class graduate, but each student has received early acceptance into a four-year college or university. The school is in its fourth year of operation. "This was the goal we’ve worked towards since...

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la schools

LAUSD Board Approves 2017-2018 School Calendar

The Board of Education today approved a new instructional calendar for Los Angeles Unified School District students for the 2017-18 school year, with classes starting in mid-August and ending in early June. The board’s decision, approved by a 5-2 vote, maintains a one-week Thanksgiving break and a three-week winter break. Overall, the new calendar includes 180 instructional days, as required by state law. Board members also asked Superintendent Michelle King...

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tech for kids

Anti-bullying App Saves Kids a Seat

Navigating the school cafeteria can be stressful. But for 16-year-old Natalie Hampton, who lives in Sherman Oaks and was verbally, physically and cyber bullied during middle school, lunch was one of the worst parts of the day. Being seen eating by herself didn’t help. “I felt vulnerable and worthless. I also think being excluded branded me as a target for bullying,” says Hampton. Her experience led her to create the...

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school news

Granada Hills Charter Dancer Trains in Moscow

Sana Suzuki, Granada Hills Charter Class of 2020, has packed her ballet slippers and moved to Moscow to attend the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, one of the oldest and most respected ballet schools in the world. Suzuki was invited to study full-time at the academy after demonstrating her talent during the Bolshoi Summer Intensive in Connecticut this summer. Her acceptance is a source of long-awaited joy and celebration for Suzuki and her family...

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education

Helping Quiet Students Soar

Support at home and in the classroom can help these thoughtful kids find their voice. In a loud world dominated by those who speak up, quiet kids can get overlooked, especially in school. These children are often highly observant and great listeners, which helps them collect information so they can succeed when it comes to written work and test taking. They often struggle, however, when group projects, presentations and class...

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parenting

The Push for Passion & Purpose in College Admissions

Parenting your child to build an honest college resume starts earlier than you think  to help your student stand out in competitive times  “We regret to inform you…” Those five words were enough to bring me to tears. I dashed to McDonald’s in the rain and drowned my sorrows with a Big Mac and Hi-C Orange. The rejection letter was from Rice University, the Harvard of the South. I cried...

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los angeles schools

A Peek Through the Portal

How online monitoring tools are impacting education and families Remember how your kids sometimes forgot to give you the Friday folder from school or pulled it out on Monday morning for a quick signature before you’d even looked at it? Or was that just my kid? Well, there’s a new Friday folder in town, the online student-parent portal, and families can access it any time they like. Do parents like...

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school news

Woodcrest Expands with Middle School Program

Woodcrest School has expanded its course offerings to include middle school, sixth through eighth grade. On Sept. 13, Woodcrest hosted the Encino Chamber of Commerce, Congressman Brad Sherman’s office, Assemblyman Matt Dabaneh, Councilmember Bob Blumenfeld’s office, local community leaders and parents to celebrate the official opening of the new middle school. Woodcrest Middle School’s Head of School, Rebecca Coen, told local dignitaries that the middle school students would be leading the ribbon...

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school news

LAUSD Magnets: Getting to the Points

If you live in the district, the right strategy could get your child into an excellent school. When my oldest child was 3, the director of our Montessori preschool invited us, with all the other preschool parents, to a symposium she was offering on how to navigate the Los Angeles Unified School District system known as e-Choices. I thought it was probably a little too soon to be worried about...

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los angeles schools

Perks for Private-School Parents

Local campuses offer a host of classes and activities for moms and dads of students. Cara Lisco doesn’t expect to become a top-notch knitter or dancer by taking weekly classes at Highland Hall Waldorf School, where her three children are students. The knitting and eurythmy classes are among enrichment activities offered to parents of students who attend the Northridge private school. They are designed to help parents like Lisco have...

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Choosing a School: It’s In the Details

Most schools offer a good education. Look beyond that to find a fit for your child.  The days of sending kids to an assigned neighborhood school, no questions asked, are gone. Today, Southern California families are fortunate to have many great schools to choose from, giving us the opportunity to find just the right school for our kids. But after the websites are combed, tours are taken and the big...

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Chat Room: Molly Newman: Shepherding Students Toward The Arts – and Beyond

Molly Newman was the kid who loved books, stories and writing. She followed her love for literature and started her career as a high school English teacher. As the Director of College Counseling for Idyllwild Arts Academy, she now helps students follow their passion for the arts to college and beyond. Idyllwild Arts, located in the pine-forested San Jacinto Mountains, is an internationally acclaimed residential arts high school with programs...

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Shop Talk: Geared Up For Class

Supply lists, lunch-packing anxiety, early bedtimes and rushed mornings. Yep, it's time for back to school. Here are some A+ products that will get you and your kids off to a great start.

Finding the Successes in Your Child’s School Year

You open the report card and there among the As and Bs is a big fat C in math. If only, you think, we’d spent more time this year with flash cards or graphing calculators. But hold off before you cancel adventure camp and sign up for Kumon. Because when it comes to assessing your child’s school year, grades are just a starting point. In fact, an obsession with grades...

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essay contest

NuVision Essay Contest Offers Big Bucks for High Schoolers

NuVision Federal Credit Union recently announced the launch of the first annual Think.Tank.Challenge., an educational essay contest with $20,000 in prize money to be awarded to local high school students and participating schools. NuVision’s Think.Tank.Challenge. will take place at Carson High School, Lakewood High School, Long Beach Polytechnic High School and Schurr High School in Montebello. Kick-off assemblies are being held at each of the schools. The contest will challenge students...

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Archer School for Girls Hosts Launch of FabLab Science Show

On a crisp March morning at The Archer School for Girls in West Los Angeles, students gathered to celebrate the launch of “FabLab,” a STEM-inspired television show aimed at tween and teen girls. With females making up only 30 percent of the characters on kids’ TV, “FabLab” brings meaningful girl characters to the forefront. Four of the show’s five hosts are female, and the producers are dedicated to showcasing women’s...

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L.A. Mom’s Photo Exhibit Explores Student Stress

Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg’s photo exhibit, When Did it Stop Being Fun, is much more than an art show. It’s a personal statement from a mom on a mission. Mayers-Schoenberg, a Los Angeles-based photographer and mom of three kids ages 11-17, has witnessed firsthand the academic and extracurricular stress and anxiety that has become part of our children’s lives. Starting in elementary school, students now work to build a résumé that will...

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Rolling Robots Develops VEX Robotics Champions

Three teams of kids from the tech workshop Rolling Robots won awards at the 2016 VEX Robotics State Championship, which took place March 12 in Pasadena. Team 7700R won the Tournament Champion and Innovate Award in the high school division, while Team 7700B won the Design Award and were finalists in the middle school division. 7700W, the all-girls team in the elementary school division won the Judges Award. All three...

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Los Angeles education - Tutors LLC

L.A. High School Student Creates ‘Uber for Tutors’

Dillon Rosenblatt is a senior getting a Los Angeles education at Harvard Westlake High School, but he’s also a CEO. As the co-founder of Tutors LLC, he’s working to take the stress, inconvenience and high costs out of meeting with a tutor. In doing so, he believes he’s created the “Uber fortutors.” Students can log into the Tutors LLC app, then browse through tutors who have registered with the company,...

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Partnership Yields Success for L.A. Schools

When Santee Education Complex in South Los Angeles first became part of the Partnership For L.A. Schools in 2008, the campus was covered in graffiti. Fights, gang activity and drug use were common on campus, the teachers were threatening to strike and just 27 percent of students graduated. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, the campus had experienced a total turnaround. The graduation rate, according to Los Angeles...

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Santa Clarita Celebrates High School Artists

We love seeing young artists exploring their creativity. Kudos to the City of Santa Clarita for dedicating a Community Wall to celebrate local artists. The newest exhibit, at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, features a talented group of Valencia High School art students. Students gain valuable hands-on experience by installing the art themselves. They are then treated to a free reception hosted by the city. The art is rotated quarterly,...

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education - Greg Whiteley

Filmmaker Greg Whiteley: Focusing on the Future of Education

When filmmaker Greg Whiteley became a parent 14 years ago, he developed a “full-time preoccupation” with finding the best schools for his children. In his new documentary, Most Likely to Succeed, Whiteley examines our current education system through the eyes of students, parents, teachers and administrators. Documenting the experiences of students at the innovative High Tech High, a San Diego public charter school focused on project-based and collaborative learning, the...

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LAUSD Teacher Makes National Award Finals

Daniel Jocz, who teaches at Downtown Magnets High School and is a 2016 California Teacher of the Year, has been selected as one of four finalists nationwide for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year award. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the selection this week. “Daniel is a dedicated, passionate, and innovative educator who incorporates popular culture and music in the teaching of history and social studies in...

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Handling School Admissions Interviews Like a Boss

While private schools vary in curriculum, education philosophy and how many students they accept each term, they all share the same goal when interviewing prospective students. They use the interview to make sure the student is going to fit in well at the school, enjoy themselves and be able to thrive in the academic environment. “We are looking for families that would be a good fit for the mission of...

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Tackling Homework Procrastination

Do you often feel that you need to push your child to get started with homework? Are you finding that your child forgets to record certain tasks, books or schoolwork? Some schools start homework as early as prekindergarten, so our children are being challenged at an early age to learn responsibility, organization and multitasking. As children move to higher grade levels, they often find it more difficult to multitask multiple...

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Christopher Fulton, Ph.D.: Helping Anxious Teens (and Parents) on the Road to College

In the last two decades, there has been a noticeable shift in the level of academic and extracurricular expectations placed on college-bound teens. A 4.0 or above GPA and top SAT scores must be accompanied by demonstrations of leadership at school, volunteering in the community and “passion and commitment” to an activity. Pressure to be accepted into the “best” college has created a new type of education “hysteria” among parents...

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What You’ll Learn At School Open House

While searching for private schools for their son Kevin (now in college), Tony and Kristy Adler of Bel Air eagerly attended several open houses at L.A. schools with him. They quickly learned the do’s and don’ts of open-house protocol. “We were doomed at one school from the beginning when I grabbed our son’s name badge. Apparently, that was one of the tests, to see if a child recognizes his own...

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STEM Learning In L.A.

People can’t seem to talk about education any more without using four letters: S-T-E-M. STEM sounds much more exciting than when we used to call it simply “science,” “math” or “computer class.” And STEM topics are now being touted not just as school subjects for aspiring techies, but as life skills vital for all kids. “At its essence, science is a way for human beings to understand the world,” says...

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A Book Club Podcast Just For Tweens

For almost 10 years, Kitty Felde hosted “Talk of the City” on local public radio station KPCC. Part of the fun was attending the L.A. Times Festival of Books and meeting listeners at the KPCC table. Parents would bring their kids with them, and the kids would say they also listened to the station. Felde’s response: “You do not.” But the kids would always insist, “We have to. We’re in...

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Stress Busters for Students

There’s no question that academic expectations for students have become more rigorous in recent years. You may have heard that traditional kindergarten at most public schools is now academically equivalent to what first grade was a generation ago. And it doesn’t get any easier from there. While many students enjoy and rise to the challenge of mastering new subjects, the steadily increasing load of schoolwork, tests and homework can take...

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Helping Your ‘Average’ Student Thrive

Somewhere between the worlds of the trilingual 5-year-old concert pianist and the student struggling through remedial classes lies another student. This is the average student, the one who neither breaks scholastic records nor lives on the edge of failure. He can easily be overlooked by teachers because he’s not putting cherry bombs in toilets, nor is he solving the world’s food-shortage problems. He is just getting by. That’s not good...

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Why Kids Need Job Skills Now

Except for occasionally being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” most of us didn’t give much thought to our career options until our college years. Maybe. Our focus up to that point was on getting the grades to get into college. These days, programs are popping up that capitalize on our teens’ desire to do things on their own terms, channeling that drive to help...

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An Online School Snapshot

You can find out many of the most important things about a school with a simple visit. You can meet the principal and teachers, have a look at the campus facilities, learn about the schedule, sports teams and enrichment programs. But a new online tool from the California Department of Education offers a window into another layer of information about L.A. schools. It has a cumbersome name – The California...

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How Common Core Looks In the Classroom

In a fifth-grade classroom in Pasadena, students receive language arts and math instruction as part of a well-researched, artifact-driven social-studies lesson on Jamestown, VA. In the San Fernando Valley, third graders apply their math skills to figure out how many medium pizzas it would take to feed 72 people. And over in Santa Monica, fourth-grade students are taught to answer reading comprehension questions based solely on the evidence presented in...

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How Nontraditional Schools Inspire Students

If you walk into any classroom, you’re likely to find quiet students who turn in their work on time, but don’t necessarily challenge themselves beyond their comfort zone. You’ll also find bright students who become easily bored and distracted by repetitive worksheets and tests. Then there are those whose sketches in the margins of their notebooks reveal amazing artistic talent, but who might be perceived as lazy or unmotivated students....

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New High School Offers STEM Curriculum for Students with Social and Learning Differences

STEM3 Academy is a new, innovative high school opening this fall, designed for students with social and learning differences and a passion for science and technology. The school, operated by The Help Group in the Valley Glen neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, offers a rigorous curriculum in science, technology, engineering and math to students in grades 9 through 12. “There is a growing realization that we are short of...

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Three Must-Have Tools For High School Students

High school students and parents are barraged with college and career-planning information via the Internet and social media starting on their first day of high school (if not earlier). It can be a challenge for families in Los Angeles schools to sort through these resources, and not all information is equal. I recommend three must-have tools that will help guide students through their high school careers and plan for their...

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ACT or SAT? Four Questions To Help Students Choose

As a private tutor in Los Angeles for more than 15 years, I have noticed a significant increase in the number of families we work with who choose the ACT over the more-traditional SAT exam on their path toward college admission. Scores from at least one of these tests are required for admission to most major colleges and universities, and every year thousands of students from Los Angeles schools have...

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The Parents’ Voice: Key To School Success

When my husband and I bought our house in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood in the west San Fernando Valley, we assumed our kids would eventually attend the local elementary school just down the street. But our tour a year before our oldest daughter was about to enter kindergarten left us feeling disappointed and panicked. Test scores were below average, enrichment programs such as art and music were not offered, there...

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5 Tips To Get You More Involved In Your Child’s School

When the school year began and you buttoned up your precious ones against the fall chill, kissed their cheeks and sent them off with the latest back-to-school goodies, did you make a silent vow that, this year, you would get more involved in your child’s school? More than likely, you’re next thought was, “What time is it?” Most days, after rushing to work and then home again, you can barely...

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Three Ways to Help Kids With Test Anxiety

The second half of the school year will soon begin, and for many parents that means a return to tests and the fear they instill in our children. Often times test anxiety stems from one of two areas: fear of embarrassment and fear of failure. The main idea is to look to the root of the problem. Use positive parenting and these three tips to help your child lower their...

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The Back-To-School Boogie: Tips For Teachers And Parents For A Smooth Transition

Regardless of whether you are a parent, a teacher, or a student, August marks the turn of the tides when school supplies, planners, and new-school-year jitters take center stage. It is an exciting time for some, and a dreadful time for others. Each parent, child and teacher is unique and has his or her own feelings about school starting, and that is perfectly natural and normal. Here are some key...

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3 Things Parents and Students Need to Know About the New SAT

By Steve Dorfman Since the College Board recently announced sweeping changes to its flagship SAT exam, parents and students have been in a frenzy to figure out what all the changes mean. Here are three things that all parents and students need to know about the new SAT. 1. The test is not being administered until 2016. That means for parents who have children that are currently in 10th or...

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Extracurricular Activities: What Colleges Really Care About

By Steve Dorfman Everybody knows colleges want well-rounded students. Kids are asked to volunteer, join sports teams, participate in clubs and be a part of student government. However, there are actually only three things that colleges care about when looking at extracurricular activities, and being “well-rounded” is not one of them. Consistency. The biggest misconception is that students should be involved in many activities. In reality, not only are colleges...

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Step Up Summer Learning! Seven Simple Ways to Help Prevent Summer Slide

By Patti Rommel, Director of Research and Development at Lakeshore Learning Materials As the clock slowly ticks down to the final ring of the school bell, kids everywhere dream of those long days of summer filled with endless playtime and carefree fun. However, while this break from the classroom gives kids the chance to relax and revive before the next school year, it can also have another, unintended effect, called...

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Viewpoint

Managing Middle School

Help Your Child Through the Big Transition With These Tips By Elena Epstein I’ll never forget my oldest daughter’s first day of middle school. There was the scariness of a new place – not unlike the first day of kindergarten – only this time we didn’t have a sweet teacher taking her hand to reassure her everything would be OK. It was hard leaving our neighborhood elementary school, where most...

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