Since my children started this school in kindergarten I have never once had to persuade them to go to school. They love it so much they are never sick, and in fact, many of their schoolmates compete over how few sick days they can have. I suspect even the parents who had problems with this school would say the same thing. Elementary school should be a joyful place of learning setting up the adult to be curious and intellectual for the rest of his or her life. This is LFCSA. I drive an hour and half each way every day for this experience and its totally worth it!
I positively reviewed this school last year and was not part of any paid program to do so! My children thrive here and my older child scored in the upper 90th percentile on her math and english state tests. There are some growing pains with the new facility, an overwhelmed principal and some teachers who didn't take to the new environment and moved on. But overall if you're looking for a non-test-centered, developmental education where the whole child is educated and are willing to trust the system this school is where it's at. Despite the growing pains this place has more passion, dedication, creativity, nurturing and care than I've seen at any other school - including some private. And we've been at several since starting Kinder.
Some of these negative reviews seem so personal and angry. We have been with the school from the beginning and our children are happy, confident learners. My eldest scored 100% in math on her state tests and I can't get her to put a book down. While we have had a great experience, I can understand how some folks may have frustrations with the lack of communication by admin. Personally, I share this frustration and can understand how that can unfairly tarnish one's view of the school as a whole. In my opinion, that has generated most of the negativity. Our current principal has seemed overwhelmed with solely handling the rapid growth of the school. Admin short-staffing and unclear delegating has created a shaky infrastructure.The board also needs to roll up their sleeves and seriously get involved. That being said, the teachers are amazing and dedicated. The curriculum is innovative. The children are engaged and happy. The community is strong. I am hopeful that once the long search for a new Principal and Director of Operations is final, LFCSA will embark on a smoother path and make any few disgruntled parents, heard and helped. This is a unique and wonderful school.
I loved the idea of the school, and readily supported it, but over the years I have found the vision of the school to be disturbingly myopic. We doubled in size last year, and our "rent" went from $24,000 to over $500,000. Instead of fundraising for programs, and more teachers/smaller classrooms, we are packing in as many kids as can be allowed and hitting up parents for rent money. I'm worried. How long can this go on? The original plan got hijacked, and the quality of education has been held hostage. New parents are not drinking the kool-aid. I believe there is a great idea, and great potential here still, but it needs serious rethinking and rescuing. The school is worth investing in- if everyone acts truthfully about where we really are. Right now, too many of us are either goo-goo eyed or in denial.
There are approx 78 reviews from new parents from start of 2010schoolyear that were part of A CONTEST to win money--they don t reflect the truth, just giddy, new parents/family/friends posting away. This last bunch of reviews show the tip of the iceberg of a LOT of disgruntled parents (enormous student & teacher turnover at this school!) who see that their kids are not getting an education, just a learning experience. A year lost for a child can be devastating. Teachers dote on extremely verbal kids and leave the others to wither w/o self esteem. Reading just right means some are ahead, some on grade level, and a whole bunch BELOW GRADE LEVEL and no one bothers to help them get anywhere up to speed. Teachers do not have the support they need. DWOK is supposed to be used as a SUPPLEMENT to a curriculum. There is no planned curriculum. This may be fun for K-1 kids, but upper grades are way behind their public school counterparts. I honestly don t think that the parents of kids who ve been here for many years really understand how far behind their kids are. 8 teachers (almost the entire teaching staff!) left this year. 54 kids per class space (2 classes in one area)=mayhem.
I sadly must agree with most of the comments made by the parents who feel that LFCSA let our children down. As a parent of 2 children who left our supposedly good elementary hoping for a positive change this was not the answer. I begin by saying I don't believe that the teachers are disinterested but they don't buy the program...no phonics, no homework, no handwriting. They where "overwhelmed" by the new site with no walls, class sizes jumping from 22 to 28, and a huge communcation gap (8 of 18 teachers left some with no new prospects). Here is the truly sad part, in 1 year my kids have lost so much ground we where advised to retain them in a local private school. The reading program was a train wreck and the kids didn't learn anything about pride in delivering quality work. We are seeking outside support thru afterschool learning programs to get them back up to speed. Infact it was suggested that they would be behind even entering a conventional LAUSD school! The old guard isn't interested in opinions voiced by new parents expect to be shut down..." maybe you should consider another school we have a long wait list!" LFCSA is an example of good intentions going off the rails.
As a teacher at LFCSA, I am constantly inspired. I'm inspired by the program, the families and most of all, the students. Our program allows me as the teacher to be an observer, a listener and a facilitator of knowledge. I am not the expert in every area, I am a side-by-side learner. I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish these past few years, especially at the new site and I cannot wait to see what's ahead. I am looking forward to an excellent year full of smiles, ah-ha moments and fun.
Not the kind of progressive school I anticipated - especially when it comes to attempts at behavior management. Kindergarteners are routinely given exclusionary timeouts, sent to the principal's office or sent home. Kids have been forgotten while sitting outside the principal's office waiting to be talked to. Kids are sent to the front office and then told they can return to class but not participate in DWOK (the social studies curriculum) as punishment... after sitting alone in a chair by the copier for fifteen to twenty minutes.
We came to LFCSA last year, after 4 years in a progressive, arts-based private school that we loved. I am thrilled with LFCSA. The school really sticks to it's philosophy. The teachers are loving, compassionate, creative and dedicated. My son's reading skills improved greatly. He used to hate reading, and now he discusses books with his friends. The arts teachers are absolutely amazing, and the writing instruction in 3rd grade is better than I got in highschool. The communication is much better than anything I have experienced with other schools- Regular e-mails from the principal, a weekly newsletter, parent yahoo groups, etc. It is easy to feel a part of a community because there are so many volunteer opportunities, and it is nice to be around so many like-minded, creative and interesting parents.
We left our highly rated public school only to find that many of the problem children at that school migrated to LFCSA. My son hates the incredible din of the "classrooms" and I can't stand the stand-offish behavior of the staff. Many of the teachers don't have the experience to handle these crowded classrooms nor the difficult students attracted to an alternative experience. We pray to get into Larchmont Charter but are happy to go back to our traditional but creative public school as well. We are done with this under-developed over-touted school.
Unfortunately, I found this school to be more about Students Last and Parents First. This school is simply a daycare center for parents in the entertainment industry who want to have a common place for networking...their kids school. It's more about making $$ for the school, (I guess...someone must be taking the $$; however we are never told how much is collected and where it is being spent...no "open accounting books" are found here....), then to ensure their kids are actually learning...at least the basics other than reading and writing. I do give this school credit that its more a good fit for those students being reared to become screenwriter/writers and or artists, etc...So much for having a well-rounded education...oh well...I'm guessing some parents don't care about that.
Our child loves to come to school, the teachers are all very dedicated, caring, talented individuals, we are making friends with parents and their children, people step up to support the school in so many ways, there is always so much going on to bring interesting and new things to the kids, and the curriculum focuses on teaching the kids to become life long learners. We are proud to be a part of this school.
This school has absolutely blown us away! My son is thriving there. He went into kindergarten nervous and not knowing how to read or write. He emerged incredibly confident, happy, writing his own stories every day and reading everything in sight! More importantly, he LOVES to learn. I was afraid his creativity would be stifled when he went to elementary school, but this school really, really values the creativity and individuality of each child and my son is even MORE creative now then he was at the beginning of the year. His teacher was the best teacher I have ever come across in my entire life, she has been with the school since it's inception and is an amazing teacher and person. The parents are very involved and it is a wonderful community. I LOVE THIS SCHOOL and cannot wait for my daughter to go!
I am shocked by the bad reviews. Sure, the school is understaffed and a bit chaotic at times. But what freaking public school isn't? My daughter is thriving here. She genuinely loves to learn and we attribute that to the curriculum and her amazing, loving (not to mention approachable) teacher.
Few teachers care unless you R the VIP crowd. THE BETTER TEACHERS WERE FIRED BECAUSE THEY HAD A THOUGHT & DID NOT FIT THE PUPPET MOLD. Education is below AVERAGE, 800-870 IS AVERAGE FOR THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW. We GOT OUT. Sadness for the children WE LEFT BEHIND, we love them DEARLY & MISS THEM. VERY BITTER SWEET. WE WANTED THIS TO WORK FOR OUR CHILDREN, OUR COMMUNITY. THERE IS NO COMMUNITY. PARENTS BICKER BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH SEGREGATION. 70% of the parents who HELPED start this school are GONE. More leaving this year. EVERYBODY LEAVES WITH THEIR POLITICAL ANSWER TO SAVE FACE. SAD THAT PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO SAY 'IT'S NOT GOOD, GET OUT!'. Do not be fooled by the beauty of THIS school. SHE IS STUNNING! THE NOISE POLLUTION IS HORRID. PARENTS NOT WELCOMED. THEY WANT YOUR $'S BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO RAISE THEM. LFCSA IS CONTROLLED BY A FEW, THEY WILL NEVER CARE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY OR THINK. THUS, BAD LEADERSHIP. IT HAS GONE ON FROM THE START. IT WILL NOT CHANGE. UNLESS YOU LIVE IN THE AREA OR YOUR PUBLIC SCHOOL IS HORRID DO YOUR CHILD A FAVOR LOOK ELSEWHERE. A WAR ON THIS SITE FOR YEARS & FOR THOSE WHO CAN'T ADMIT IT & KEEP GOING, BLESS THEIR SOULS. IS IT WORTH YOUR CHILDS EDUCATION?
Our daughter loves to go to school, loves her teachers (she started in Kindergarden and is now in 2nd grade), she loves to read and write and she is curious about the world. We attribute this all to the wonderful and dedicated staff at LFCSA who despite the current disaster in public education funding are able to make this great school work. Parents who complain should try to be part of the solution (the school makes a strong statement about parent participation to prospective parents) rather than complain. There is no perfect school, but LFCSA sure comes close.
Dont make the same mistake we did... do not put your child in this school. Teachers are uninterested, unmotivated and unconcerned to teach. While staff/administration/personnel are never available to answer a call. You cant even leave a message. I dont understand how this school is ran. Its a big joke. Even the principal is leaving now.. Im sure she wants out before it all comes out. BTW the principlal is hardly there. All the school wants is money and more money. Donations and sponsors. They should concentrate on the STUDENTS!
Mislead, saddened and ultimately defeated. Unsupported teachers, uncommunicative environment with administration and teachers. Large class sizes. 1 to 28+. Problematic acoustics. Positive note...the dance teacher. A remarkable pied piper ex circus performer who enchants and motivates the kids through dance.
We jumped in this year from our prior Charter school because it was closer to home. LFCSA is so very beautiful and the tour looked amazing. What a mistake we have made. The education is far below what the open house displays, not to mention parents are NOT WELCOMED WHAT SO EVER! Now we are looking for another school for the new year and we are hoping to be able to get back into our wonderful school. The most important element here is that the education is FAR BELOW what you will see while visiting. These families are wonderful but have nothing to compare it with. Since we came from a higher educational system, I see it differently. My daughter is doing things here she did two years ago, but lower in quality. The Principle is never on campus and if you need to call and get answers, good luck! Do NOT be fooled by this beautiful site, my daughter complains daily of noise pollution & walking in lines all day without being able to speak because if they do, they practice the kids until they DO NOT. LFCSA is financially in the hole and they have NO idea how to raise money. Do not make the same mistake we did. There are too many problems to list. No more space in this box.
It's a terrific school with great parent participation and a progressive principal (how's that for alliteration?) The best part is that my son loves going to school each day!
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