I have become consistently more disappointed in this school as my daughter has progressed through it over the past 3 years. This year being the worst so far. We have heard from our child about teachers proselytizing marijuana usage, commenting on how pretty the girls look, telling students that reviewing assignments 'is not the teachers responsibility'. Both teachers and the administration has been completely unresponsive to our concerns. Administration is completely unreachable by email or phone. The school is split into multiple academies with different foci on skills. Academies are not treated equally, Sports receives by far the most attention and funding, while Arts and Media the least. There is literally a 5:1 ratio on Sports academy related student trips to Arts and Media. Our experience is with the Arts and Media Academy. In some respects the program has devolved into an embarrassing mess over the past three years, while others have become stronger. The plays have consistently gotten worse over the years. The choices for casting have become systematically poorer. The Speech and Debate program has been amazing though.
We are so happy at Emerson! After being hugely disappointed by the gifted magnet at Palms Middle school, we transferred our son to Emerson and are continually impressed by all the great things Emerson has to offer. The STEM program is unparalleled! My son is learning robotics and programing, and having the time of his life with the very charismatic Mr. Ezell! Overall, the teachers have been really supportive and communicative, and the principal is a very effective administrator. The campus is also green and beautiful, featuring classic mid-century Nuetra designed buildings, and we are looking forward to the completion of a very impressive new sports facility. The smaller number of students at this school makes all the difference in the world, as teachers and admins really get to know and care about your kid in a way they just can't at the larger schools. My child has made wonderful friends here, and his morale and academic performance have improved tremendously. It's such a relief to have a happy middle school kid!
Emerson Community Charter has been a fantastic school for our now 7th grade daughter. While she is a minority, being caucasian, she has made some of the best friends of her life at Emerson and is thriving socially. She's in the SAS/honors program at Emerson as she was identified highly gifted in elementary school. I was initially concerned (given the school's academic rank, how is that decided??) that she might not be academically challenged, but that has simply not been the case. She's never worked harder in her life, especially transitioning to the Common Core in advanced honors math. Her math teacher has been incredible in working diligently with her student, even tutoring them during lunch and nutrition, to facilitate the transition to this new learning model. My daughter loves her school and we love it too. And we're hoping more of the wonderful families in our neighborhood will give their neighborhood school a chance. Because it's not just a "good enough" school. It's just plain good.
In addition to the challenging academic program at Emerson for my 7th grade student, the school's new academy structure has created an amazing family-like dynamic on the campus where the students have an opportunity to interact with each other across grade levels in a mentor/mentee relationships that I believe are invaluable. My child is also actively involved in the school's speech and debate program and has participated in a number of competitions. I feel that these opportunities are preparing her not only for high school but challenging life situations. We couldn't be happier with the supportive parent and teacher community at Emerson.
Emerson is our neighborhood school. We were initially reluctant to send our daughter there as she did not score high enough on the CSTs to be considered for the SAS (honors) classes, and to be frank she is in the minority, being a white children in the regular classes. However, she has thrived and we have been very happy. The teachers have been good, and there are a wide variety of options for electives due to the academy structure. For her, the diversity of the students has been refreshing and fun, and any concerns we had have been replaced by true satisfaction and a relief that we do not have to commute any distance! She has enjoyed the FREE after school program offered by Team Primetime, through which she has enjoyed Mock Trial, Spanish classes, art (taught by UCLA students) and homework help. My only dissatisfaction has been in the lack of any band or orchestra, which I hear is being developed for the near future. This school is clearly on its way to being the great neighborhood school it can be.
I have mixed feelings about Emerson, and I suspect my experience there is reflective of other Westside public schools. The bottom line is, if you have the time and resources to be proactive, get involved and advocate for your child, then s/he will be fine and receive a solid education. I do have concerns about parents with less privilege, including those who are native Spanish speakers. In some cases, they and their children are on their own. I also think the school's assignments (particularly in history) could better reflect the multicultural student body. Mr. Watson is not a spectacular principal but he is an improvement over the one prior.
Our daughter entered Emerson in the 7th grade and is genuinely happy there. The teachers are communicative and make themselves available when we want to discuss a grade or learning issue. The size of the school, while much larger than her elementary school, is not overwhelming and is a great transition before entering high school. Principal Watson and Assistant Principal Muckenthaler are a great team. He sets the vision for the school, works with parents and stays in touch while Ms Muckenthaler is at on the yard with the students every day solving issues, talking with them and knowing them all by name.
This is our son's first year at Emerson and we couldn't be happier. Choosing and worrying about which middle school to send our son to was stressful, to say the least. We feel fortunate to have been accepted into the SAS program at Emerson and our son is thriving. The principal is personable, accessible, and genuinely cares about his students' success. The size of the student body is a perfect transition from elementary school and the Academy structure adds a different element for the kids that keeps them interested and excited to learn.
Emerson is a great neighborhood school. My oldest graduated two years ago, and my youngest graduates this year. Both were involved in programs that you won t find at most LAUSD middle schools. The Sports Academy, where my oldest spent a day at UCLA with a student athlete to better understand what it takes to succeed. The MESA program where he participated in several science fairs and took a full-day trip to the UCLA Brain Institute. The 6th grade trip to Yosemite, where both kids learned what it means to be part of a group working toward a common goal. Both wrote 20,000 word novels as part of NaNoWriMo. My youngest performed Shakespeare and understood the meaning of the words he was saying. He is on the Speech & Debate team, which has given him an increased sense of self-worth. The trip to Astro Camp he'll be taking later this year where he'll get hands-on science experience. I could go on and on, but I think Emerson should be a serious contender for your middle school student. I wish families that have had little to no experience with the school would take the time to learn what the school is really about rather than listening to unfounded rumors.