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!
Maestra Orosco is a fabulous Kindergarten teacher. My daughter had her for Kindergarten and was comfortably reading and singing in Spanish. The school itself felt like a larger version of my home--some things/people I liked, others I didn't like or understand, but in the end it's all family. I felt that my voice was heard and that I could effect change when I needed to. Could be more parent involvement.. but hay.. that's life.
Hello. I am writing a review because it was hard for me to find information on this school last year while I was looking. My child is in the Spanish program and I couldn't be happier. The school is amazing. In just a few short months he is already speaking. I love how non pretentious the families are and how friendly the staff is. My son is Caucasian, so he is a minority at this school. But I haven't seen any negative effects from this. He is thriving and I am thrilled. Don't overlook this school because of it's location, age, lack of information on the web. It is AMAZING.
I am a parent of a kindergartener at this school and it is an exceptional school. My son is in the Spanish dual-language program and is already speaking and reading in Spanish and English. Parent involvement is very high at this school. Just because a school is Title I, does not mean parents won't be involved, does not mean discipline problems, does mean low-quality education. Many people would rather El Marino to this school as they have been doing dual-immersion in Culver City for 30 years, but you couldn't ask for a better school, staff, teachers and parents than what we have here and, frankly, I think the high population of Latino's at this school and not wanting to be the minority is what scares many of the "locals" away. Simply put, that's really just the underpinnings of privilege rearing its ugly head, IMO. These are some of the most dedicate groups of parents I have ever seen and they want the same things that any loving parent wants for their child: stellar education, teachers, happiness and academic achievement for their children. This is true for the Title I, Latina, White, Black and Asian families alike.
My son is in the 2nd grade in the Spanish immersion program. Both his Spanish and English literacy skills are above grade level. His scores in math and science are terrific. I can't say enough good things about the teaching staff: They are incredibly attentive and experienced. They communicate and support one another. My son's teacher this year has already taken the class on a number of field trips that support in-class curricula. My son especially enjoys the math+music and jiji math programs. Parents are very involved and there are activities (e.g. family night, movie night) and fundraisers (fall festival, book fairs) throughout the year that support community building. There is a new principal this year who, so far, seems excellent. La Ballona is definitely a "great school" where kids can develop socially and academically.
We are so happy with the Dual Language program at La Ballona!! My son is in the 2nd grade which is the group of students from the first year of Dual Language learning at La Ballona. Every year we have to wait until early September to find out who they have hired to teach that year's Spanish immersion class and every year we are so deeply impressed with the wonderful teachers who have been chosen to teach our son! This year my youngest will enter kindergarten and I have no hesitation about sending him to La Ballona. I have found the teachers to be truly exceptional and dedicated, the principal to be a really great leader for the school, and the parents to be very involved both in the classroom and as fundraisers for the school. I love the international group of students and the fact that the school is heavily Latino. For our (non-native Spanish-speaking) son this means that he is truly immersed in Spanish language and Latino culture not only while he is in the classroom, but also in the lunchroom, on the playground, and during drop off and pick up as many of the adults around him converse in Spanish. I couldn't be happier with the school!