US/ CA Mums

(22 Posts)
Emms86 Mon 26-Sep-16 01:41:13

We're moving to LA with our children within the next two months. I've tried to find the answer to this online but I'm not seeing it. I understand how to enrol the children into the local school i.e. Proof of address, vaccinations. If we were to move out of the schools 'catchment' after a year for example, would that mean that they'd have to move schools? Even if we only moved half a Mike or so away? Thanks in advance!

VimFuego101 Mon 26-Sep-16 01:56:09

Yes, if you move out of the school catchment you have to move schools. Your school district website should have a map with a list of streets, showing you which school you'd fall under.

mathanxiety Mon 26-Sep-16 02:24:50

Yes, no matter where you live in the US, you have to be in the district to attend the schools in it. They are usually extremely strict about residence and will charge you the rate for attendance if you are found to be in violation, after taking you to court. Your costs can run to many thousands of dollars.

The exception is private schools, as they normally have no catchment (though some may have religious restrictions, etc).

SofiaAmes Mon 26-Sep-16 02:54:53

I live in Los Angeles and am very experienced in the available schooling options here. My kids were both born in England, so had to deal with the whole vaccination records thing. You will definitely need proof of vaccinations (they have passed an even stricter law recently reducing the opt out to just a medical one). I registered with a Pediatrician in the LA area and brought in my NHS Redbook and they transferred all the information into their records and I brought that final comprehensive sheet to the school. It's not required, but it made it much easier. Also, there are extra ones here that aren't required in the UK like Chicken Pox and if your kids have had the BCG at birth, you must research whether you want to give them the TB test or opt out. Here's a link to the requirements for the Los Angeles School District (they should be the same statewide).
You are automatically entitled to a place in your school of residence (catchment area). It very much depends on the neighborhood whether they would make you change schools if you move. If it's one of the wealthy areas like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, they probably would. If it's Los Angeles proper (LAUSD) then probably not unless your child is so troublesome that they want to pull that card.
There are also Charter Schools and Magnet Schools and SAS (for gifted kids) Schools that have different entry criteria.
Relevant things to consider are: How old are your children and what areas are you looking at? Do they have particular interests (like music or science or art) or are they very good at school? Are your children white or of color (there are lots of school integration programs that mean that this can open up certain doors either way)? Do your children have any disabilities (health, ADHD, dyslexia) that require accommodations?
Happy to answer more questions here, or if you want to PM me, I'm happy to answer specific questions that way too.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 26-Sep-16 03:25:16

Sofia is right on.

There are some areas that will do 'inter-district' transfers but it's pretty rare. The 'new' district must release the student from their jurisdiction and the school in your 'old' district must agree to keep the student. This is most common in special needs cases, mid-year moves, and 'significant' years like 8th grade or senior year of high school to allow a student to graduate with their friends. I've also known of one that was granted in order to place the child at a school near a grandparent who had provided childcare since the child was a baby.

There are also 'intra-district' transfers where there are more than one school of a type in the district. Where we used to live there was a K-8 elementary school and also a K-5 elementary school that funneled its students to a 6-8 jr high school. We were in the K-8 'catchment' but obtained an intra-district transfer to the K-5, 6-8 schools as we liked the curriculum better and they had a much better sports program.

DeliveredByKiki Mon 26-Sep-16 03:30:46

Depends on how many children are in each year. Our school is LAUSD but is excellent and usually has out of area parents queueing over night for 48hoirs before submitting their applications in the hopes of getting a place but we're down on enrollment this year for K and 2nd grade so they're being much less strict

SofiaAmes Mon 26-Sep-16 04:15:44

Hey! Why don't we do an in-person meet up when Emms86 gets to town and we can help welcome her and her kids.

DeliveredByKiki Tue 27-Sep-16 04:43:34

Sure - a couple of us tried to a few ears ago, I'm in contact with one still and I think she's in contact with another, can't remember usernames

SofiaAmes Tue 27-Sep-16 05:23:31

Yes, I remember that, but was a little crazy with my ds being super sick. Now I can focus...I'll help organize.

GinIsCalling Tue 27-Sep-16 05:47:41

Emms86 do you know where you are moving to? I am also in LA and have just navigated kindergarten enrollment, but it will be easier to help if you know where you will be living. If you enroll your child in LA unified then moved to a different part of LA it might be ok. But if you enroll in Santa Monica or culver city school districts then move it will be harder to stay as it's very difficult to persuade LA Unifed to give you a permit out. Luckily LA unified is huge. But the better schools tend to be in the smaller districts, although there are exceptions.

Emms86 Tue 27-Sep-16 11:54:39

Thanks v much for all of that info! I hadn't given enough thought to vaccinations so that's really helpful. We'll be in LA unified, will be moving to the Glendale/Pasadena area, anyone else around there??
A meet up sounds great.

SofiaAmes Tue 27-Sep-16 14:54:03

Note that Pasadena has its own school district/system which is very good and hard to get into if you are not in area.

Emms86 Tue 27-Sep-16 14:59:25

Thanks, I'm looking more at Eagle Rock which is LA unified.

SofiaAmes Tue 27-Sep-16 16:13:57

I'm not sure the LAUSD schools are so great in Eagle Rock although I believe there is a good Charter there. I can ask around. Where will you and your dh(?) be working? Sometimes you can get into the school district where you work (depends on the school district).

SofiaAmes Thu 29-Sep-16 23:50:36

Emms86, the Magnet lotteries for LAUSD are happening soon (October 4 - November 10) for the upcoming school year. You should register and apply. It doesn't cost anything and doesn't interfere with local catchment area placement or Charter School applications and will just open up options for your kids. Here's the link. Let me know if you need any help/explanations. If you intend to remain in Los Angeles for some years, there is also an advantage to applying and getting wait listed (euphemism for rejected) as you accumulate points and it increases your chances in future years. Note: If your child is mixed-race, then in some (most) cases it's more advantageous to select White rather than a Minority race (you get to pick). It's a complicated game.

unicornlovermother Fri 07-Oct-16 14:01:01

Eagle Rock is lovely- and the schools are good there. I have friends with their kids in those schools. LAUSD gets a bad press but it does have some great schools in certain areas. You cannot tell a good school by its scores. You really need to look around the school and see if it is a good fit.

I have actually taught in both the UK system and the U.S system and honestly I don't see such huge differences in the quality of education. They do more math here earlier than in the UK. They give them a better general education in the U.S I feel than the UK. Of course the UK specializes at 16 which is great if you are ready for that but many kids are not. I do feel that the students are more respectful here in an ordinary school compared to an equivalent school in the UK. They are quick to apologise when you pick them up on something. I have been very pleasantly surprised how well behaved most students are in the schools I have experienced. Glendale has great schools- especially middle and high, up towards La Crescenta. The others are still good but in more urban environments. We have no regrets about putting our children through the U.S system, so far. Check out magnet schools also as you may find one that is a good fit and you do not need to be in that catchment area! Welcome in advance. LA is a fantastic place to raise kids!!

SofiaAmes Sat 08-Oct-16 05:16:23

unicornlovermother can you give her some specific recommendations for Eagle Rock schools. I live on the Westside and can give lots of info about the schools in my area, but am relying on friends' info for the Eagle Rock part of town, hence the negative comment.
I agree with you wholeheartedly in your assessment of the difference between the UK and US schools. Or at least the ones in California. I grew up in Northern California and finished high school a year early and did a year of A-levels in England (back in the late 70's). Then, many decades later, both my dc's were born in England and ds did nursery/pre-school in the UK and then continued with his elementary education here in Los Angeles. Ds is now 15, in 11th grade and enjoying being able to take a variety of classes (which he would not be able to do in the UK).
Yes, LA is a fantastic place to raise kids.
PS unicorn where do you teach? What do you teach?

unicornlovermother Sat 08-Oct-16 14:50:26

Yes- good point! Where are you on the West side?

Ok so.....Dahlia(sp?) is great as is Eagle Rock elementary- Mount Washington Elementary comes out no 1 most years in LAUSD ratings-beautiful location on top of a hill overlooking LA. I think I would try and rent in that catchment area if your kids are elementary aged as I think Dahlia may be lottery as it is Arts specialist. Both areas are pretty middle class but also diverse. Ren Arts is fantastic for later on- amazing curriculum if your kids are Arts interested.
Odyssey and Aveson are great progressive schools in Altadena if that is your thing- great for kids who may need more care with emotional needs as they have a very non punitive approach to discipline. They are lottery as they are charter and they are hard to get into. Los Felix Arts Charter is worth checking out. It is an amazing campus that reminds me of the Tate Modern - very much into project based learning and they have visiting artists /writers a lot.
I actually prefer the U.S system so far because it feels more like how it was when I was schooled in the 80's- lots of project based learning where the kids get to really think, engage and have thinking time- at many schools. I think the UK has gone very traditional in the last 15 years and is far more jump through the hoops/test oriented than anything I have experienced over here. The UK has the edge on the rigor at A level because kids specialise- but that is not always good for the kids who are less decided on what they are into. I would say that students are more respectful here- when I have to pick my kids up on something, most apologise fast and even the 'cheekier' kids are never malicious. However I worked in a great UK school( I trained in a tough school and it made me wonder how anyone stayed in teaching in the UK as the kids were so disrespectful).

I would also check out the La Canada YMCA- straight up the freeway in ten mins from ER area and they offer so many classes for kids- it is a great way to meet some people as is getting invo;ved in your child's school.Pm me for anything else. Moving here was the best decision we ever made- our quality of life is much higher that it ever was in London and we just enjoy life more here- less of a grind compared to the UK. The UK is great if you have money or can live outside London.
The weather here just makes it all better- apart from august and september when the heat is intense but 8 weeks of heat is a small price for living in May all year round))
Honestly I would not worry at all, just start looking forward to the new phase of life. Rentalgirls sometimes get houses on M washington- just call the school district to check any property is in the catchment area. I love Eagle Rock- loads of cafes and kiddy places. A sprouts has just opened for organic food- Target up the road. You are ten mins from downtown and all its cultural hotspots. Fast commute to many places. It is a great choice of location!!

unicornlovermother Sat 08-Oct-16 14:53:57

www.greatschools.org/california/los-angeles/2042-Eagle-Rock-Elementary-And-Magnet-Center/

www.greatschools.org/california/los-angeles/2020-Dahlia-Heights-Elementary-School/

www.greatschools.org/california/los-angeles/12397-Renaissance-Arts-Academy/

www.greatschools.org/california/los-angeles/2259-Mt.-Washington-Elementary-School/

unicornlovermother Sat 08-Oct-16 14:57:32

www.greatschools.org/california/los-angeles/2396-Solano-Avenue-Elementary-School/

Don't forget that every school in LA has language learners-( Hispanic or Armenian in that area) they bring scores down as the tests do not lend themselves well to kids who are learning English, but they are usually really committed students who work hard to progress,so add something positive to the culture and work ethic of a school.

SofiaAmes Sat 08-Oct-16 16:12:22

unicorn, I am in Cheviot Hills (in between Culver City and Beverly Hills). Both my kids are in the Performing Arts Magnet at Hamilton High School and we're pretty happy with it. Ds has some severe medical issues and has an IEP and I am sometimes frustrated by the rigidity of the system (LAUSD) and its inability to accommodate his needs (I spent a lot of time trying, but not succeeding to get a dual enrollment with LAUSD and homeschooling). However, I am sure this would be 10 times worse in the UK. DD is highly gifted but a total creative space cadet and would have really suffered in the UK system. She is thriving at Hamilton with a nice balance of academics and creative subjects and enough free time to pursue her own creative activities outside of school.

unicornlovermother Sun 09-Oct-16 04:02:45

That sounds great Sofia- yes special needs are never catered for perfectly. I do not know that area of LA at all- it is such a vast city, you end up knowing your own area really. Sounds like a great school though)

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