I have two children at Micheltorena in the dual language program. They are thriving and most importantly, happy. They rush to school in the morning and when I pick them up, they don't want to leave. There has been a growing group of kinder parents and kids who hang out in the front of the school for a hour+; the kids play while the parents chat. We have just come from Pajama Day/Family Reading night. Great turnout, a storyteller in the library, free bilingual books, crafts, bingo - and happy kids. Tomorrow the kindergarteners are going on their second field trip. We are so glad we gave this neighborhood school a go. I drove myself crazy touring schools, doing charter applications, and trying to figure out how we could afford private school or drive cross-town every day. Now I look back on my ridiculous panicked self (thank you paranoia-inducing L.A. preschool culture for that), and wonder why I was so worried. The money we are saving by not scraping together every cent for private school will be used for travel. Yes, it is a Title 1 school, but right now that means the before and after care are free, as are the field trips, and the after-school enrichment classes. Title 1 schools receive more federal funding, which means the parents don't have to raise as much (yet). The low rank : M.E. was under-enrolled for many years and thus special ed kids were bussed in and their test scores are reflected in the data. As the neighborhood kids (and those outside trying to get into the DLP) are returning under Principal Furfari's leadership, these scores can only go up. (See the rise of Cheremoya for a similar story.) Micheltorena is engaging my children, engendering a positive relationship to formal education. In lieu of tedious worksheets, now homework is nightly reading; hopefully the result is creating bookworms (something Wildwood school does, too, BTW). My kindergartener does yoga in class. I toured the English track kindergarten as well and the new teacher Ms. Hansen is truly a find. Her classroom is bright and cheerful, so please don't think that it is the DLP or nothing. Soon we will have a huge green space and butterfly habitat where bungalows were demolished, which is in addition to the garden! We did have a choice - and we chose Micheltorena.
Principal Furfari has taken an underenrolled urban school of ill-repute and turned it into a welcoming neighborhood school that reflects the diversity of the city, and fostered a wonderful community of committed parents and educators who will not let the inadequacies of LAUSD prevent the kids from getting a great education .
this is a dual 50/50 spanish and english school. it is a new idea and started the program in 2012.At some point every school will be doing what this school does. Teachers and principal are strong, committed.
Came upon this sight only by accident. Although I have no children attending Micheltorena I attended that school many years ago. It was great then because it was a teaching school, we had two student teachers from Cal State every semester. This meant three teachers in the classroom at all times. From what I have read it's a better school now. What we didn't have however and it seemed to work well was English as a second language. Our non speaking students were from Europe and many spoke only Germanic languages.
My son is in first grade at Micheltorena. I am so happy with his school. The teachers and caring and attentive. There is a lot of dynamism from the parents and a willingness to be creative. The principal is magnificent and is always willing to listen to an idea, consider a new idea and show up for anything she possibly can with her tight schedule. My son is flourishing academically and socially. I love this school.
I have two kids who are currently attending this school and we love it! The teachers and staff are caring and friendly. The teachers have helped me to know how to continue the learning at home, with specialized homework packets, parent seminars, even videos and apps/games for the kids to play at home. Everyone at school knows my kids' names. The parents are a wonderful lot who pitch in time and effort to make the school beautiful and help provide for field trips, teachers' aids and extracurricular activities. Also this school has the LA's Best after-school program which is FREE and goes till 6 pm. My kids love it so much, it takes 15 minutes to get them into the car after school. The LA's Best teachers are really wonderful and dedicated, and have excellent communication with the parents. I wish the school had a lawn but it does have a garden (with chickens and a rabbit) that the kids visit every week. Not bad for a school on Sunset Blvd.
Pay no attention to Greatschools rating. The community is catching on to what a truly great school Micheltorena is because the proof is in the satisfaction of the parents and the spirits of the children who go there. My kid started kinder this year in the dual language program and is doing wonderfully. The parent community is involved and eager to help. The principal is an impressively effective, energetic and intelligent school administrator. The surrounding community is incredibly supportive of the school - one example being the community run school garden. Is there room for improvement? Yes! But the most inspiring thing about the school is how so many of us see the potential and are reaching for it and regularly achieving those improvements in concert with the principal, LAUSD and the community. I am so proud of this school and have no doubt that in a year or two people will be saying this is one of the best schools in LA.
I'm a parent of a kindergartener in the Dual Language Program at Micheltorena Elementary. We are very pleased with the leadership of the principal and her ability to make the school's successes sustainable. We are also so very amazed by the two teachers who co-teach Dual Language (Spanish/English). They are in concert with one another, are committed to professional development, specifically in Dual Language research, and having a straight forward dialogue with parents to improve children's comfort level, attention and focus in class, and general academic outcomes. They go beyond California standards and have easily adapted to the art integrated programming provided by Blue Palm. Each step in augmenting curriculum with the arts is carefully researched in terms of best practices and then planned with teachers, not as outside "drop in" events. For instance with kinders this past term, integrated arts programming brought movement, song and dance directly into the classroom to connect kids to language arts. It's amazing to see your child learn Spanish through dancing, singing and storytelling. Take a look at this fabulous neighborhood school.
It breaks my heart to see that this school gets a "3" based on numbers. Check out the school, the principal, the parents and teachers and decide for yourself. Both of my children have started this year in the Dual Language Kindergarten, and I am so impressed with the school. Despite funding cuts year after year, the school has partnered with groups in the community to make sure our kids still learn art, music, dance, gardening, ecology and more - in addition to teaching above standards. My kids, who did not speak any Spanish or read or write in English at the beginning of the school year, now sing and read and write and speak constantly in two languages. The two dual teachers are amazing, working so hard with all the kids. And the parents are so dedicated to making this neighborhood school a wonderful place for our kids to learn and develop that there are always volunteers in the classes, teaching yoga, helping out, organizing special activities and more. This is a wonderful school that I'm proud to have my children attend, and I'm thrilled to have been welcomed into the community.