Monday, August 13, 2018

Have a Great School Year!

The 2018-2019 LAUSD school year starts tomorrow. You can view the official calendar for the whole school year here, although your school may have variations that aren't shown. It also won't reflect minimum days when your kids get out early, so be sure to check your school's own calendar too.

When it comes to applying for magnet schools for the 2019-2020 school year, you can preview what to expect here. There will likely be some changes to the Choices application itself, but the procedure should remain the same.

Have a great school year!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What to Expect: School Year 2018-2019

There's just a few weeks left of summer vacation, so let's talk about what to expect when it comes to getting into magnet schools during the new school year.

The first day of school is August 14, 2018. If your child is on a wait list, you might get a call between now and then if a space becomes available. In fact, you might get a call about a newly available space through Norm Day, which is approximately four weeks into the school year and the day the student population count is considered "official."

If your child is not on a wait list but you decide in those first few weeks that there's a magnet school you do want your child to attend, call that school's magnet coordinator. Ask if there's a wait list - if there isn't, it might be easy to get your child in.

The Choices Application for the 2019-2020 school year should be available in late September or early October. School tours should begin shortly thereafter. In fact, if you know what schools you want to tour, you can check to see if they've posted their tour schedule even before the application is released.

The Choices Application will be due in late October or early November. In approximately December, Confirmation/Correction letters will be sent, acknowledging receipt of your application. The letter will state the number of priority points you have - be sure to verify that the number is correct!

In approximately February, applicants to Gifted/High Ability or Highly Gifted magnet programs will receive a separate notification regarding eligibility or ineligibility for the program.

In approximately March, Notification/Waiting List letters will be sent.

The magnet schools application process can be daunting and confusing, but I've made it easier with my short e-book, LAUSD Magnets Handbook: A Guide to Getting Your Child into an LAUSD Magnet School. Learn how priority points work, how to decide where to apply, and more! The LAUSD Magnets Handbook is just $2.99 at Amazon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

LAUSD Community Meeting About Unified Enrollment

If you're interested in learning about the different enrollment programs offered by LAUSD, there's an upcoming information session that sounds helpful:

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 23 from 5:30-7pm at Northridge Middle School. Contact Local District Northwest for more info.

Monday, April 2, 2018

What to do if your child has been waitlisted

Notification letters went out a couple of weeks ago, meaning that you know by now if your child was admitted to or waitlisted at a magnet program for the 2018-2019 school year. If your child was admitted, you must accept or decline his or her spot in the magnet program by this Friday, April 6.

But what should you do if your child was waitlisted?

If your child is waitlisted, and that is the outcome you wanted because you're just building up points for the future, then you don't need to do anything.

But if you wanted your child to get in and you're now dealing with the disappointment and frustration of being waitlisted, there are some things you can do:

First, contact the magnet school's magnet coordinator and ask him or her to share the following information:
  • What is your child's position on the waitlist? In other words, how many children would have to be admitted before your child would get in? 
  • Historically, how far down the waitlist do they get before school starts in August?
  • Historically, how far down the waitlist do they get after school has started?
Next, consider what you've learned. If your child is at the top of the waitlist, his or her chances of being admitted are probably quite high and you may just want to wait for a call. As you make this decision, remember that magnet schools must maintain a specific ratio of minority students to white students, and therefore, the order in which students are admitted off the waitlist depends on the race of the students declining spots.

Another factor to keep in mind is that if your child is in the area of the waitlist that often is admitted around the start of school, you might get a call a few weeks after the school year has started, or around the time of the start of the second semester (December or January). If that happens, you will have to make the possibly difficult choice of whether to send your child to a new school in the middle of the school year.

If you decide that you need an alternative plan in case you don't get a call saying that your child has been admitted off the waitlist, you should check out the options for Continuous Enrollment. Even though you can't apply for next year right now, these schools are likely to have openings at the end of summer vacation/beginning of the school year and you may be able to get your child in right as the school year starts. 

You can also attempt to get your child into a non-magnet program via Open Enrollment starting in June.

Finally, check in regularly with the magnet coordinator at the school where your child was waitlisted. He or she can keep you updated on your child's position on the waitlist, and if your child is admitted off the waitlist, you won't miss the notification.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Check your portal! The 2018-2019 Notification Letters are Available!

The big day has arrived! LAUSD has sent out the 2018-2019 Notification Letters. You might receive an email about the letter, but you will still need to log in at to view the letter.

The letter will state whether your child has been admitted to a magnet program or been wait-listed.

If your child has been accepted, once you have read the letter, you will need to go back to the landing page, click "next", and then choose to accept or decline. You should receive a confirmation email of your choice.

If your child has been wait-listed, there will be instructions on how to proceed (usually you don't need to do anything).

In the past, letters have also been sent by snail mail. So if you don't have access to the application portal, you should receive a letter within a few days. If you haven't heard by Thursday, I would call Student Integration Services at (213) 241-4177 on Friday, since the office may be closed next week during Spring Break.

I hope you get the outcome you are hoping for - good luck!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Prepping for College: Debt-Free U (recommended read)

Although this site is about getting your child into an LAUSD magnet school, at some point you are going to start thinking about how you are going to send your child to college- and more specifically, how you and/or your child are going to pay for college.

The numbers are frightening. When my oldest son was little - about ten years ago - I did some math, and concluded that by the time he goes to college, it could easily cost $100,000 per year at many schools.

That’s why I was so excited to read Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents by Zac Bissonnette. I am now convinced that there is a way to pay for college without taking out loans. It won’t be easy, but it is possible. And that's why I'm highly recommending this book.

The author makes some excellent points, including:
  • there are different paths for getting to the same place (i.e., a college degree)
  • the absolutely crippling impact of graduating with student loan debt (or, for parents, of sacrificing your future lifestyle and retirement savings)
  • the value (or lack thereof) of “big name” colleges
  • how hard you work is far more important than where you go to school 
I don’t know how much I would have believed these arguments before I went to college, but my personal life experience validates his points:
  • I went to a very expensive, well-regarded private university (in fact, it's mentioned in the book as an example of how expensive schools are). The value of the school’s name had little to no impact on my career. Maybe it would have been different if I’d stayed in the region where the school is located so that alumni networking would have been more valuable, but that's definitely not how it worked out.
  • I had wonderful experiences in college but nothing that would justify graduating with a ton of debt.
  • I had above-average grades from a well-respected school, which was nice on my resume but fantastic grades from a lesser school would have been just as or even more impressive. And for purposes of getting into law school, what really mattered was my LSAT score, not where I got my undergraduate degree.
So based on my personal experience, I think what Zac Bissonette has to say has a lot of validity and is absolutely worth taking into consideration. 

Do I agree with everything he says? No, of course not. And although I think going to community college first is a fantastic option financially, I do really want my children to have the four-year college experience. That experience was truly valuable for me - it just didn’t need to happen at the most expensive school I got into (and if I could go back in time, I would spare my parents that expense for sure). 

Debt-Free U  helped convince me that it will be possible to send my children to college without either of us going into debt. And I hope it does the same for you.

This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for clicking through them! You can read LMS's full disclosure here.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

LAUSD 2018-2019 Calendar

The LAUSD board has approved the 2018-2019 calendar. It's very similar to the last few years:

  • School once again starts in August (the 14th to be exact)
  • Thanksgiving break is the entire week
  • Winter break is three weeks long 
  • School ends the first week of June
  • The major difference is that spring break is very late and starts on April 15

You can view and download the calendar by clicking here.

Hang in there! Acceptance/waitlist letters should go out next month!