Two of my children attended this school and for the most part we loved it. Every teacher with the exception of one 5th grade, Immersion teacher, was dedicated to meeting the students where they were in order to help them grasp the concepts they needed to learn for the year. All the other teachers prior to this one were standouts who really went the extra mile with their students. In addition, there are parents here who are incredibly active and involved with both the PTA and the Booster Club. I only wish we hadn't had such a horrible experience with our son's teacher during his last year there, as she was the only thing that marred our view of La Ballona and how the administration handles complaints of their teachers. Fortunately, he was moved to another teacher's class - though we did have to leave the immersion program in order to do so- and once again my son thrived. So there are some bad apples but ultimately it's a great school!
We started our son in kindergarten here and there was no reading program at all. Then there was a lottery for the Spanish immersion class and they only took 1 student from his grade for the program. Then, when he got to 2nd grade, the common core requirements did a 180 turn so not only is he struggling with the new math teachings but he is also behind in his reading process even with our help at home each day. The parents are now expected to learn a whole new way of doing math in this elementary which will be nothing like how he will be taught in middle or high school.
We are actually zoned for one of the higher ranking Culver City schools, but I choose to put my daughter into this school because she is loved here by the PTA, teachers, staff and other parents. There is such a diversity among the students that I feel she is getting a real-world, cultural, and moral education. Not only my daughter is excelling in her studies, but so are her class mates. I'm shocked and overjoyed at how well they all read for 1st graders. Like all Culver City Schools, be prepared for a 1:45 dismissal on Wednesdays and aftercare is difficult to get. I believe before care is available although not listed above, but availability is very limited. There are some 8am extra curricular classes available to the students
I am not opposed to homework but my child is 5. As a dual immersion student he gets a book we need to read twice every night as well as written homework. Again, he's 5. One sheet of homework a night (10 minutes of work) is plenty. When it's more than that, it's just a race to finish it.
That said, there is no homework on the weekends. That's a solid choice.
My child is in dual immersion kindergarten. He had no Spanish when he started. Watching him slowly grasp the language has been awesome and frankly, a lot of work (for both of us). That said, he's come a long way in a short time and I'm very pleased.
His teacher is great. She's calm, respectful and excited about teaching. She clearly cares for her students.
The principal, Ms. Slabbinck, is a true educator. She loves the children and the children love her. She's personable, positive, interested, curious and will go the extra mile to try to help though she is, like all principals, beyond busy. She is, frankly, the hardest worker I've seen in a long time.
The parents are, by and large, invested, friendly, willing to help out.
La Ballona is an all-around fabulous school. Our child entered Kindergarten this year in the Spanish Immersion program, and we couldn't be happier. The pulse of the school is incredibly positive, starting with the principal, Ms. Slabbinck, and continuing with the teachers, school staff, and other parents. I think the perception/reputation of this school is sometimes a little misguided and inaccurate, as compared with some of the other schools, but I think that has been changing steadily over the past few years. I would highly recommend this school hands down!