Pro: Honors courses and gifted magnet, 8th grade I-Search. Con: Large school/class size, uneven teaching quality even at the Honors level. However, my daughter emerged well-prepared for high school and had a handful of excellent teachers. Still the best middle school on the Westside.
In general, Palms was a clean, well-kept school. The staff seemed to be overworked or at least have that attitude. I was not impressed by the teacher's unwillingness to think outside the box or encourage the students to stretch their minds. The guidance counselors are very dedicated to reaching out to the kids. The principal was a stern yet very fair man, who impressed me as a man who was genuinely interested in his school. A small percentage of children in the school are the 'bad seeds' and when they surface are quickly dealt with. All and all (academically) I was not impressed, especially pertaining to what I deemed to be a questionable grading system by the teachers. However, my child remained in the school for 3 years because it is one of the better middle schools out there.
Like all LUSD schools, there is no language elective till 8th grade. Some of the teachers are good and some are not. The Honors program and Gifted magnet are better than the regular school.
Excellent teachers that go beyond the 3 Rs and reach the students as 'people' in an encouraging way, not 'buddy, buddy'.
I never thought that there was a school in the Los Angeles District of such high quality overall. My child has a slight learning disability and when I asked of her counselor for an assessment it was planned and scheduled immediately. Afterward the teachers that my child had in her past three years of attendance were very helpful in giving me tips on how to keep my child on task through her disability. I also liked the fact that the students were given two copies of each textbook used for each class,one for the classroom and one for home (no toting heavy books all day or forgetting to take them home for homework)! The security of the campus was secure. Parent involvement is very high. My only negative is that I wish there were more clubs for the students to be involved in. My daughter loved going to this school.
My daugter is graduating June 2005. The academic program in the magnet has been excellent and challenging for the most part. Some of the old guard teachers are still active and challenging the kids as they were in the 70's. Biggest problem is that the admin is not as open to parental support and involvement as they should and could be-- parents are eager to be more involved in supporting academic and cultural programming but admin is resistant and disorganized in this regard. New principal is more focused on building issues and discipline than on academic achievement and school suffers because of it- PE program is terrible and rigid, kids running on concrete, unwilling to think creatively.
The activities and projects required for my seventh grader are very interesting. His history, english, and art teacher make his subjects very interesting. The parents are involved in at least two to three fund raising activities for the school constantly.
Palms is a terrific middle school. The principal works hard and our son has been both in the honors program (6th) as well as the gifted magnet (7th & 8th). The work is challenging and the teachers he has had are very good. The 'council' program created by Joe Provisor, one of the English teachers, is an exceptional one. Students meet each week in small groups with a facilitator to discuss matters of the heart and soul (I know this sounds very touchy-feely but it is truly wonderful and the kids love it). Our son has had two years of computer instruction as his elective and now uses photoshop, dreamweaver, etc. with ease. The History and English teachers have been so exceptional that he wants to continue that and has been accepted into the Hamilton Humanities Magnet for high school.
Was really impressed with the 'I Search' all students do in the 8th grade. My daughter learned so much about the research and writing process. It was also just a really great experience. She ended up spending the day with a photographer from the LA Times. I also really liked the 'Council Project'. My daughter's last year we moved about 25 miles away and I continued to drive her to this school because of the 'Council Project.'
I am a student at Palms Middle School. As a 6th grader it is my first year and I can proudly say I absoulutly LOVE it! Great teachers, great people, an all around great school. But there are a FEW downsides. These include dirty bathrooms, overcrowded, and conflicts between students. Although there is the occasional fight, they are ended by our wonderful administration immediately. It is a semi-rough campus coming from a neihborhood elementary school but I think that has taught me responsibility and having good judgement regarding the 'right' and 'wrong' crowds to be in. I feel I am learning alot from all of my 6th teachers whom I adore. Each and every morning I walk into Palms with a smile on my face and enthusiasm in my heart. Please feel free to email me with any questions, concerns, and comments: LoveDoveDani@Yahoo.Com.
My daughter is a sixth grade honors student at Palms. So far I have been pleased with the quality of the academic program. I do have some concern about the amount of absences one teacher has had. I would also like to see more extra curricular activitites offered to all students.
The Gifted Magnet program is entirely overrated. My son has not written a second draft or done revisions (editing only) all year. The teachers consider lots of work to be equal to rigor. Projects are assigned at a teacher's whim (think last minute,like I've got to keep them busy), and most of them have no connection to students grasping the concepts of the discipline or mastering the standards. Mindless projects include travel brochures, volcanoes, and other art projects for serious disciplines like English and Science. The school is safe and boasts high test scores because of the kids and their parents involvement. Yes, kids are smart there in spite of the mediocore teaching, not because of it. There are, however, pockets of learning. The librarian is one of the best in the city, and their PE department is strong. Upper grade classes have some outstanding English, History, and Math teachers.
My son assisted this school for 3 years. We had a great experience. Even though is a big school with many kids, the teachers managed to stay on top of their needs. They were always open to help parents who were involved and cared about their kids.
The magnet is ok. Some of the teachers are good, some are not. The children don't have lockers so they have to carry tons of books in their backpacks.
The gifted magnet is great. My daughter, who previously attended private school, graduated from the program three years ago, and my son now attends. Teachers are excellent, the environment exceeds most public schools and a high percentage of students are committed to their education.
Above average middle school for the area. Safety is good. Most of the teachers are there to teach, and care about the students. Student diversity within the school is high. The school needs to do a better job at promoting better parent involvement with the students education.
My daugher just graduate from Palms and like all other schools there were a few problems but the overall experience (academic & socially) was very good. It's a difficult age and the counseling staff was exceptional in handling every conflict especally with the budget cuts & given the amount of students they are responsible for. I am happy that my son will be attending this September.
My child just finished 6th grade at Palms. Academically, he had a great experience in the Magnet portion of the school. The teachers and administrators are responsive and care. Unfortunately, the student population as a whole is rude and wild. There are not enough adults on campus. LAUSD took the police officer away and has yet to replace it. The LAUSD Board representative ignores Palms because she also oversees Eastside schools and perceives Palms as not needing any attention. LAUSD is constantly taking away things like adults on campus, counselors, money for the library, etc. Palms never got its Prop. BB funding. I am very frustrated with the LAUSD failures regarding Palms. Unless you have a thick-skinned, street smart child, Palms does not provide the warm and safe environment that schools should offer. It is my personal experience that the LAUSD powers don't care about Palms or its students.
I personally think that if a parent is looking for fair teachers and an overall population of nice children, then they should definatly apply their children to this school.
My daughter attended Palms Middle School last year, 2003. As an educator myself, I was extremely disappointed with the dismissive attitude of the principal and supporting staff of my daughters concerns. I had scheduled several appointment that were not kept and difficult to reschedule. I am so happy that we are now in a school that is warm and caring and communicates with the parents. The entire experience was disappointing for our entire family. I know a new, strong principal who will spend the time and interact with families will serve that school better.
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