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1-5
Public
Northridge, CA
Students enrolled: 748
Before care: No
After care: Yes

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17020 Labrador Street
Northridge, CA 91325

School website
(818) 349-4801
(818) 993-3470
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Map of Balboa Gifted/High Ability Magnet Elementary School address.

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August 20, 2014
School cherry picks students based on three-questions on Choices brochure completed by prior school teacher. Test scores don't accurately reflect teacher/admin efforts. Parents do a lot of the sent home projects. In 9 years, I felt my concerns were NEVER addressed by teachers or admin. Agree with "brick wall" comment and 5/22 & 8/27 posts. No transparency. Lots of fundraisers. Annual donation request was $300 per child when we started at school. Now up to $1,000. Parents allowed to make monthly payments. Felt pressured to give. Donor's named published. Do your homework. There are other great area SAS/Magnet programs with responsive teachers and admins. If you are a parent who wants or expects concerns addressed or needs to feel heard, this place can leave you feeling frustrated and helpless. Ask around. Ask if teachers are required to do annual training to stay fresh and grow. Ask for SPECIFIC examples of how admin addresses discipline issues (bullying online and off). Ask how school notifies parents about issues (head lice) that can be costly/rampant/perennial/frustrating when parents are unaware. Ask about carpool safety. Nice office staff.

- submitted by a parent
June 23, 2014
This school goes above and beyond expectations. We are thrilled to have our son there.

- submitted by a parent
May 22, 2014
We had one incredible teacher at Balboa, but that teacher would be a star anywhere. If you are considering Balboa: 1) It's a "10" but the kids are gifted/high ability, so the score is skewed. Students are already 'brighter' than most, i.e., not an accurate reflection of teacher/admin efforts. 2) Teachers may or may not "challenge" your child. Each teacher is different, quality varies. GREATLY. 3) Balboa has over 750 students, four grade levels. If you meet with principal and magnet coordinator, they'll smile, but likely you won't get what you want. 4) Don't even think to request a specific teacher from administration. Again, almost 800 children here; you are talking to the wall. 6) If you and child's teacher are on different wavelengths, tough luck. (You don't like it? Leave, says magnet coord.) 7) If your child has social issues you are on your own. Forget about asking for socialization programs. The focus is competition, not empathy, and 'high academic achievement' is everyone's goal. 8) Playground is scary if your child is at 'psychomotor', recess or after school. Yard aides need to teach conflict resolution, supervision is wanting. Result: This school falls short.

- submitted by a parent
November 02, 2013
Best school ever! Thank you for the best 5 years of my life! There are no bullies at this school , the kids are as close to angels as they can possibly get! The teachers are amazing, sweet, and they help a lot! So send your kid there to the best elementary school in the world!

- submitted by a community member
September 17, 2013
This is an exceptional school. The kids work hard and are prepared for middle school. The parent volunteer is above and beyond. The teachers care for the children. Office staff is great too. I can't say enough about this school. My son has been there for 3 years now and he loves it so much!

- submitted by a parent
September 17, 2013
Balboa Magnet is truly one of a kind. The administrators, teachers, parents, and students work together to create a school that operates in perfect harmony. Students are valued for their individuality, as well as for their unique and creative contributions to the school community. Lifelong learners are cultivated at Balboa thanks to the support of the families and staff. I love being a part of such a hard-working and loving team!

- submitted by a teacher
August 27, 2013
my daughter just graduation from this school. we had a really bad expireince with his 5th grade teacher mrs Convirs....She used to lower my daughter grades until I let her know that she needs to be fair with every child that color and religion..... it's a different topic ... she try to changin but I was counting for the last day of school I hope that we never going to see her again.... not good teacher she has preferents.... too bad....

- submitted by a parent
August 18, 2013
I loved Balboa. This school definitely helped me excel because of their high standards. I'm not saying middle school was a breeze, but I definitely did not struggle as much as the other kids. Thank you to all my teachers who made my elementary years amazing.

- submitted by a community member
August 04, 2013
There's a reason that Balboa Maget has ranked number one among LAUSD elementary schools -- it has an excellent teaching staff that's supported by a wonderful principal and administrative team, as well as a very involved parents organization.

- submitted by a parent
April 16, 2013
I am a student at balboa magnet and I'm in fifth grade. I have been going to this school for almost 5 years. I have loved it so far here. They challenge you while making everyday fun. For example, in fourth grade, you have pioneer day where you dress up like pioneers and learn about their daily life. The teachers always listen to you and get you ready for the next school year. I really reccommend this school.

- submitted by a community member
February 07, 2013
The Balboa STAR Ed. after school program is the best enrichment and care program I've ever seen. The kids are happy and do not ever want to leave early. Every day is an amazing enrichment activity including science experiments, art of the Masters, ecology awareness and animal interaction, music (rockstar bands or musical theater), sports/athletics... Homework is completed and kids are full of excitement about the day's activities. I could not be happier!

- submitted by a parent
January 17, 2013
I am having so much difficulties with my son's teacher. She only likes kids that do not cause any "issues". Kids get benched and punished there for every little reason. And in some cases they are not treated fairly. Some kids can misbehave and get away with it and some kids get noticed for every little thing that they have done wrong. My son got accepted this year. He is in second grade. His grades are high and he is working really hard to make it better. However, he is very energetic and talkative which is an issue for the teacher. The teacher doesn't want to deal with kids like this. She does not accept the fact that he is still a kid. She would not try to find the right approach to him. Instead, she suggested that he has a disorder and asked to take him to a specialist. My son has achieved so much in his learning and has never heard one positive feedback from the teacher whatsoever. But if he fails for once, the teacher would get him benched, send him to the office, and send me a letter pointing that she was right to think that he had a disorder. That brought so much and stress to may family and my son. He thinks he is not good enough for his teacher. This is really sad!

- submitted by a parent
October 02, 2012
This is a great school and it challegenges the students. Parent involvement is awesome. My son loves Balboa...

- submitted by a parent
September 17, 2012
I have a daughter 3.5 yrs old and would like to enroll her when she gets to first grade.

- submitted by a parent
September 05, 2012
We're in our fifth and final year at Balboa and have a wonderful experience from the start. Yes, the academic expectations are high, but they are reasonable. I think the best part of Balboa are the even higher expectations of behavior for everyone from the students, to the parents, to the teachers, to the administration. The people are just decent and respectful here. You can be as involved in volunteering as you want or not, you are not frowned upon. There are so many dedicated parents here the school runs like a well-oiled machine.

- submitted by a parent
July 09, 2012
I cannot say enough about my daughter's experience at Balboa. She just finished 4th grade. My daughter came to Balboa after leaving a very pricey "academic" school in the valley. Their curriculum, teachers and administration paled compared to what Balboa offers. Balboa's new principal is a dedicated and visionary leader whose door is always open to parents and kids. We are lucky to have her. The teachers are all fantastic. The kids are sweet and smart. The student population is wonderfully diverse. My daughter has made amazing friendships. The parents are involved. The workload is not overwhelming. She loves the longterm projects which allow the kids a more in depth exploration of certain areas. She participates in orchestra (great!) chorus. They do beautiful art projects and go on interesting field trips. Everyone is dedicated to the children's education and development. We are grateful for Balboa

- submitted by a parent
June 25, 2012
One of the best school. Excellent teachers. My kids love their teachers and school. Highly recommended.

- submitted by a parent
June 04, 2012
My son is finishing up 2nd grade and I can't say enough about the two absolutely WONDERFUL and GIFTED teachers that he has had so far. He has been attending Balboa Magnet since 1st grade and has loved it. The homework is completely reasonable (20-30 minutes/weekday -if that, plus any long-term projects) and each student has the ROOM to go above and beyond if they are so inclined to do so. The level of instruction and the extras (music, science labs, computer lab, PE, orchestra, field trips, virtual field trips, etc.) that they are exposed to is a huge bonus. Fellow students are also great, so the overall school environment is peaceful (no bullying whatsoever). We feel so fortunate to have this school for our son. He's thriving! Can't wait for our younger son to go to Balboa when he's in 1st grade, too!

- submitted by a parent
January 25, 2012
I have twins in 1st grade; one here at Balboa and the other at Castlebay Lane Elementary (940 2010 API). Balboa has 5 take home projects for every one Castlebay project. Work hard, play hard. There has been a field trip every 1.5 months at Balboa, (Castlebay Lane has had no field trips by the 100 day of school) Balboa is organized enough so that the trips are partially paid for by the parents, $5 per kid and sometimes relies on parents driving the kids or even walking to places (fire station and Mcdonalds). The home projects are creative that really get the kids excited. They are graded on their oral presentation and quality of the information/props. Powerpoint is taught in the 1st grade computer class. It hasn't been required of the home projects....yet. The teacher, maintains her own website and emails a weekly update to the parents.

- submitted by a parent
May 20, 2011
High Expectations! High Standards! That's the environment I like to creat for my kids, but you have to understand they are still kids. The fact that this school is"Gifted/High Ability" comes with its challenges for teachers and administrators...they can expect to deal with challenging kids and personalities. Teacher should be prepared and properly trained to deal with such!!! Yet I have felt that some teachers are not willing to deal with such challenges and prefer a model student with no issues or problems. My son is able to keep uwith all the academic requirements and needs the challenge, but he has behavior issues and at times it seems that they don't want to deal with the behavior. It's part of teaching, don't you think??

- submitted by a parent
October 05, 2010
I agree with an early review that the school is great for independent workers. Unfortunately we didn't know this when our son got accepted and he is having a very difficult time adapting to the routine. Read on your own, follow instructions and complete work. For a third-week first grader? A bit much I think. Expectations are incredibly high. They should let parents know up front what the expectations are for the students so that the parents can either prepare their child or at least manage the problems when they come up. I have a conference with my son's teacher tomorrow - don't know what she's going to say. Half of me thinks she's going to tell me my son's an idiot and needs to drop out. My son is not an idiot and is incredibly bright. I fear that this will affect his self-esteem if it hasn't already .

- submitted by a parent
June 05, 2010
After completing 5th grade at Balboa, where do most kids go to middle school? I am searching for a middle school for my daughter. Thanks

- submitted by a community member
April 19, 2010
both my children have attended Balboa- it's a wonderful learning environment that is deserving of all the praise it receives

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 19, 2010
Absolutely love this school. The principal, teachers and fellow parents are so wonderful.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 13, 2010
An absolutely wonderful school for academically gifted kids! So lucky to have had our son attend....

- submitted by a parent
March 23, 2010
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- submitted by a student
January 26, 2010
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- submitted by a parent
no rating December 09, 2009
My son started here in 1st grade, and he is now in 5th. Our experiences here have been truly wonderful. His teacher this year, Mr. Brescher, is enthusiastic and inspiring. We will miss the community here at Balboa, most of all when we move on after this year. I know my son will be ready for middle school.

- submitted by a parent
December 07, 2009
My son went to this school from 2nd grade to 5th grade and he had the best experience there. His 5th grade teacher Mr. Brescher is the best. He is an inspirational teacher. All the kids loved him

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 20, 2009
All three of my children have attended Balboa and are continuing there Magnet School experience at Millikan Performing Arts Magnet and Granada Hills Charter High School. Balboa helped prepare them well.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 06, 2009
Balboa Magnet is a true community, where everyone, including teachers and students, pitches in to do whatever it takes to make the school the best it can be. From enrichment classes to neighborhood outreach, we are turning out young citizens, prepared to go far in their education and in life.

- submitted by a parent
October 06, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
no rating September 17, 2009
Great School with great parent volunteers. Children learn at an accelerated pace which leaves time for many wonderful extra curricular activities.

- submitted by a parent
September 14, 2009
1st year 2nd grader , Mrs Bierman is a Great Teacher, Lots of projects that Parents have to be involved in. My Daughter loves it, Enviroment is Do youre best all the time , Grading is Tough, If youre Child is not a Self Starter they will get behind,

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 31, 2009
Be wary about the 'hype' of this school. It is a great school for certain types of children. The children who do best here are ones that can work on an independent level and are self starters. There are home projects galore, some that even overlap. Unfortunately most parents complete these so that the work is not representative of what the child has learned. My experience is that parents tend to look at acceptance to this school as a 'feather in their cap' or as a symbol of status without first looking at what is best for their individual child. For some it is great, for others they are pulled along with the rest, but at what price? Fieldtrips and orchestra only go so far when you have students burned out at 10 years of age.

- submitted by a teacher
March 31, 2009
What a great school! My daughter loves it and we are so happy to have her there! Mrs. Conway is amazing for 1st grade! I want to thank her for being so wonderful with every student! Our daughter has learned so much this year, it is amazing!

- submitted by a parent
October 15, 2008
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- submitted by a student
August 23, 2008
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- submitted by a student
June 20, 2008
Best school! I love Balboa, it rocks! Ive been there for five years, and i left balboa in 2008. I'll really miss the teachers, parents, and everything.

- submitted by a student
June 10, 2008
This wonderful school is not just for those identified highly gifted. All the children perform at high levels simply because they are stimulated by teachers that can take the regular curriculumn and bring it to life. It is not overly academic. Instead it is one of the few schools that does give a well rounded and balanced education including hands-on learning, the arts and sports.

- submitted by a parent
May 23, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
May 21, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
March 05, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
December 09, 2007
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- submitted by a student
December 05, 2007
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- submitted by a parent
November 05, 2007
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- submitted by a parent
no rating September 01, 2007
My son attended Balboa Magnet. It is the best elementary school any child could attend. The teachers are extremely nuturing and innovative in their teaching style. Children thrive in this environment. It was a great experience for my son.

- submitted by a parent
August 20, 2007
Balboa Magnet can be a great environment for intellectual kids. Children enjoy learning because teachers hold themselves and their students to high standards. Teachers are warm and they enjoy their 'work' with children who are generally eager to learn. Many field trips, many opportunities including an orchestra and great teachers!

- submitted by a parent
June 27, 2007
Excellent learning environment with top notch administration and parent involvement. Staff and parents make everyone welcome and go out of their way to strive for excellence in all categories. Joe Kozul

- submitted by a parent
June 03, 2007
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- submitted by a parent
May 30, 2007
Great school and wonderful teachers! Many incentives at Balboa that are not the norm at other LAUSD schools. There is parent participation but with cliques among the various organizations, that makes it intimidating to volunteer. I too, feel we should be united since we are all parents in the same school and want to reach the same goals.

- submitted by a parent
April 17, 2007
So far, the teachers make this school for us, they are incredible and deserve much more recognition than they get from the top. Many more field trips and extra-curriculars than at other schools. Too bad the administration and office staff are so negative and reactionary to parents who want to volunteer and help... creates a disincentive to help out. Parent participation is very low, no wonder why! Too many cliques and walls between them (TAP, PTA, Spirit Club, etc.), we need a leader who can get everybody working together for the good of our school!

- submitted by a parent
March 16, 2007
The school is great, the teachers are great.

- submitted by a parent
September 13, 2006
We have two boys who attend Balboa and have been identified as gifted. They have both enjoyed their experiences at school. The Balboa Spirit Club provides funding for the PE Coach, the Computer Lab Instructor and many field trips. The teachers are all very highly credentialed, and mostly caring, except possibly a little too focused on API scores. We have had a little difficulty getting support for our oldest son, who is gifted and also has ADHD, resulting in some homework issues. We feel this is the best overall environment for our children, and have been happy to have the opportunity to attend such a wonderful school.

- submitted by a parent
September 10, 2006
It's impossible to say all the superlatives I would associate with this school, but I want to add my sentiments that I too feel 'LUCKY' both of my children were able to attend Balboa. An incredible school.

- submitted by a parent
June 21, 2006
Balboa magnet is known for its academic excellence and I do agree with that whole heartily. If you mostly care about a child's academic endeavors go head Balboa magnet is the best, but, I care more about his character development and learning in a more nurturing environment than academic excellence.

- submitted by a parent
June 08, 2006
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- submitted by a parent
June 01, 2006
Great schoool for middle of the road kids, not the best for kids with additional needs. Of my son's four years, his 2nd grade teacher was best. Many opportunities for orchestra and other electives. Much better than the GATE alternatives, this entire school is gifted high ability

- submitted by a parent
May 10, 2006
An excellent public elementary school. Mostly terrific teachers, great parental involvement, healthy social environment. No gangs, no drugs, no kids trying to be way more grown up than they are. And no tuition. My kids (now in 4th and 5th) have had a very positive experience here. I would recommend it highly.

- submitted by a parent
February 15, 2006
Excellenct quality of academics, availability of music, art, field trips and other extracurriculr activities; high level of parental involvement

- submitted by a parent
January 24, 2006
My two daughters have loved Balboa! The teachers creatively teach a highly rigorous curriculum that really engages the students. The school spirit is tremendous and afterschool programs include everything from Karate to Claymation!

- submitted by a parent
January 03, 2006
We have been very lucky to attend Balboa all 5 years. The school is exceptional as well as the teachers, principal, staff and parent involvement. Our child was given the best education. Our child has done nothing but excel in this wonderful learning environment.

- submitted by a parent
October 28, 2005
Everything a private school has to offer...but it's free! The most incredibly talented and caring teachers; the hardest-working administration; a beautiful and clean campus; and every type of enrichment you could imagine. This place is a joy to be at every day. My son is so enthusiastic about school and we could not be more pleased.

- submitted by a parent
August 29, 2005
My son has attended Balboa since 2nd grade. The school truly offers an enriched curriculum. As with any school, some teachers are better than others. My son had fabulous teachers for 2nd grade and 4th grade.

- submitted by a parent
August 17, 2005
This is a great school with highly involved parents. My daughter could not have had a better 3rd grade teacher than Mrs. Felix. She was very nurturing and my daughter grew so much. For example, even though my daughter had a speech impediment, Mrs. Felix cast her in a large role for a play which did so much for my daughter's confidence. Although this was in 2003/2004 she will forever have a special place in not only my daugter's heart but in both my husband and myself.

- submitted by a parent
June 21, 2005
Excellent. By far the best school I have ever attended. Excellent teachers and staff who are willing to not only recognize differant types of learning but also implement differant ways of teaching.

- submitted by a former student
May 02, 2005
Excellent school, caring teachers, enhanced program AAA++++

- submitted by a parent
January 07, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
January 02, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
December 28, 2004
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- submitted by a parent
December 27, 2004
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- submitted by a parent
November 17, 2004
I cannot say enough good things about this school. Currently, I have 2 children at Balboa. A majority of Balboa's student body is truly gifted intellectually. They raise the bar very high when it comes to academics. The projects alone are similar to 2-3 grades higher than a regular non gifted school. The teachers on the whole (I have to admit that 1 or 2 are annoying, and way too demanding) have only the children in mind, and truly care about them. The field trips are great, the extra curricular activities could be improved, the level of teaching is outstanding. I would have to say that the principal is kind of meek, and should be able to stand up for her school more. But overall, there is no better school in town.

- submitted by a parent
September 15, 2004
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- submitted by a student
August 17, 2004
Over the course of 10 years, Balboa Magnet has provided my two sons with a strong academic foundation for future success. The program also provided opportunities for them to grow in music, art, computer literacy, and physical education.

- submitted by a parent
June 22, 2004
We have been at Balboa for 5 years and it has been an excellent eduational expreience. The teachers are excellent, mixing classroom learning with fieldtrips and other outside experiences. The school also has a standout administrative support staff. The PTA is very strong with fundraisers and sponsors a number of extra events like Math Night, Sports Night, the Book Fair and other activities for the kids.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2004
Balboa Magnet is what every school should be - nurturing, experimental and inovative. I have 2 children that have gone though the program and have valuabale life lessons to take away. Each teacher has his or her strong points and they teach to them. The enviroment is safe and exciting. From the California Eco-Garden to the Wonders of Learning library, all facets of the educational experience is addressed and expanded upon. I highly recommend this elementary school if you are able to achieve enrollment through the magnet process.

- submitted by a parent
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Balboa Gifted/High Ability Magnet Elementary School
17020 Labrador Street, Northridge, CA  91325
(818) 349-4801
Last modified Balboa Gifted/High Ability Magnet Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades 1-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Balboa Gifted/High Ability Magnet Elementary School Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 76 reviews. Top