We were excited when we received a place in SOCES. Almost immediately we were underwhelmed. I wish we'd followed our instincts & pulled our child from SOCES. The 1st breakfast w/ the principal was abysmal. She had no charisma which can be overlooked if she's a good leader. She isn't. (Many of the teachers speak freely about this). She went on about her lack of tech knowledge & how the school needs to update the computer systems, etc. Yet, she seemed disinterested. At Back to School night the school was a mess & bathrooms dirty. One of our child's teachers painted a very sad picture of the state of affairs at the school. She openly said she'd never been to a school w/ such horrible facilities. We were told it gets better in 5th grade. But it was worse. The level of teaching from one teacher to the next was shockingly disparate. One teacher lectures the kids (5th graders) during class time and sends home ridiculous amounts of homework not even considering what the kids get from their other teachers. Our child was stuck doing a state report that lasted over 6 months and was 42 pages long! Other classes had to do a poster board and a short report. One class even did a MOVIE for their state report. This was not lost on our kids who had to work for months. Other teachers in the 5th grade complained to our kids about the above mentioned teacher. "You think you have it bad? We've had to work with her for 15+ years?" Yet this is the teacher from SOCES who they nominated for teacher of the year? We were shocked to hear she was nominated until the principal said she was nominated because they were hoping it would finally get her to retire. Excellent leadership! The one saving grace at SOCES is Mr. Johnsen. Can't say enough about how much he loves his job and really cares for the kids. Here again the principal lets the school down. Of all the concerts we attended throughout the 2 yrs NOT ONCE was the principal in attendance. If by chance I missed her, she should've gotten up on stage & sung the praises of one of her best teachers. This is NOT a place for elementary kids. They lose the last two years of what little fun school still is. All their friends will be doing fun things at their elementary schools, and your child won't. Maybe if we'd stuck it out until our child graduated we'd sing a different tune. We're not willing to take that chance.
SOCES teaches your children to be independent, self reliant, hard working children. It is a huge adjustment for 4th graders and their parents who come from a small elementary school, but it really clicks some time in 5th grade. The transition to middle school is seamless and my children are now thriving. SOCES is not for every child. However, it is great for independent children who are looking for an academic challenge.
My kids have been attending SOCES since 4th grade. They are now starting their 10th and 8th grade. I'm very happy with the administration and teachers. I'm very supportive of teaching your kids to be independent. if you are a parent that is always babying your kids, this may not be the school for your kids, look somewhere else. I agree with another parent comment about classes being big in all LAUSD schools but SOCES is amongst the best so far. Parent, Teachers and volunteers try their best to provide and meet student's educational needs. SOCES is the best next to a private school.
At Back to School Night I was surprised at how dated this school was. They need to amp up on their technology BADLY. While most schools have smart boards this school is still trying to operate old overhead projectors. Also its dirty. Beginning of the school year, so many lockers were filthy. I was shocked. They had all summer to clean the campus up and it was filthy. There just is no excuse for dirty. They need someone new in charge of facilities.
My child got in for 4th grade and we were so excited for this experience. This school should not have an elementary school. They get completely lost in the size of the school. They are expected to move from classroom to classroom and carry all their books with them. My daughter could not carry hers and left it at home and the teacher got mad at her. The class sizes are huge and the teachers are not energetic about teaching. She had 4 teachers and did not like any of them, and my daughter likes everyone. She was not getting an of the attention she needed and the teachers got upset when she came to the desk. One of them, she said, was at her computer too much. We took her out and put her in a charter school with small classes. I don't know much about the principal but have heard that she is not approachable. The counseling office had a line down the hallway and my daughters counselor was no help, but basically said 'she will get used to it'. I don't want my daughter to be 'used to it'. I want her to love school.
We are finishing up our first year at SOCES. It's taken a bit of getting used to, although I'm very glad my son has gone there. Making close friends can be hard at first because of the commute, but some time after Christmas, he began to enjoy his experience there immensely. The main complaint I hear from disgruntled parents is that the admin here is horrid. I'll admit they can take some getting used to. The attendance office can feel a bit like talking to someone at the DMV, but the school's aim is to teach students to be independent thinkers and doers and perhaps this approach is necessary to chase off the hovering parents... When anything important has actually come up, the school has immediately become responsive. They just don't cater to demanding parents, which can be hard for those used to babying their babies! My son has already begun to show more responsibility and pride. Classes are large everywhere in LAUSD and while a school of 2000 kids sounds huge for a 4th grader, 200-300 kids per grade is tiny compared to the 1000-1500 kids per grade at most public middle and high schools! All in all, the school is doing a great job and we feel fortunate to be there.
This school is way too big for its own good. With 5 administrators you would think that this school would be safe and that your child would be cared for. This is not the case. My child became a number here. This school is not what it was 7, 8 years ago, academics are weak and bullying has become a huge problem.
Had my son at SOCES for 4-8th grade. In his time there he has only had one teacher that truly demonstrated that she cared about the students. Mrs Lincke. I kept him there and pushed him to do better but this school is not for the kids that "fall through the cracks" as one of the counselors put it. Just happy he got accepted to VAAS and Northridge academy. Were they don't fall thru the cracks.
SOCES is a great school. I can send my child anywhere and I choose to send him where he can not only acquire a tremendous education, but be in a real world setting where kids come from all different backgrounds - socioeconomic, race and ethnicity, culture, etc. My child has learned that he might have to work a little harder to stand out, but hey, that's the real world. I love that there's just the right amount of parental involvement and the right amount of feeling of community (for the parents). My child feels a strong sense of community. Great academics, great academic and social community, great school.