Students enrolled 322
School leader Nicole Sheard
Transportation options Yes
District Los Angeles Unified School District

Contact this school

22075 Topanga School Road
Topanga, CA 90290

School website
(310) 455-3711
(310) 455-3517
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Topanga Learn-Charter Elementary School address.

4 stars
Based on 48 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

August 31, 2014
We left. Too many issues, one after the other, that were never handled. And they blame you if you bring anything up, but this was the last couple principals. My child became full of learning anxiety and said she hated learning. Now she is simply thriving somewhere else. Horrible leadership, nice teachers but not exceptional in general. A weird defensive vibe from staff in general. We left broken hearted like so many other Topangans. Wish Topanga Elementary would finally start representing Topanga and its inhabitants better. It's very middle of the road. Terrible at handling any problems that arise. If you don't have any, it'll be fine. Parents have a great time. Nice ecclectic group.

- submitted by a parent
May 17, 2014
I have 2 years experience with Topanga Elementary and so far have found it to be a wonderful school. I am mystified by the previous review concerning a male kindergarten teacher. I have a child in that class and it has been a great year. I worked as a volunteer in the classroom and found the teaching to be fun and interesting. The male teacher is clearly very popular with the kids and I never witnessed any 'unkind', .' aggressive', or 'mocking' behaviour. I found him to be kind, funny, patient and nurturing. He does not tolerate bad behaviour, but I never heard him raise his voice. He is more likely to move a disruptive student quietly to another table. I believe the vast majority of parents are also happy with him and cannot understand this strange review. All three kindergarten teachers are wonderful for different reasons. The outgoing principal has been terrific and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that a similarly approachable and capable principal will be recruited.

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2014
This is a safe and nurturing school with mostly caring and involved parents. However much of the success of the school can be attributed to the active parent body and not to the generally weak leadership and staff. There are some wonderful thoughtful teachers here however my daughter was unfortunate to get a male kindergarten teacher who is not just incompetent, failing to teach the children anything except what they can absorb from endless drills from dull worksheets, but who is actively unkind: aggressively and overtly mocking children who do not fit into an average mold in front of other children and parents alike. Many other parents have told me that this behavior has gone on unchecked for years, therefore despite the safe environment and parents who manage to keep arts and music in the school even with the LAUSD budget restraints, I cannot give a school that allows one individual to damage so many anything but a one.

- submitted by a parent
August 23, 2013
My school is Topanga Elementary and it is a fantastic school. Lots of parental involvement and a terrific principal and teaching staff. We feel so blesses to have our child attend such an excellent school!

- submitted by a parent
August 22, 2013
We feel very fortunate to have had our child at Topanga for the last 5 years. He is in a very safe place and is surrounded by a principal, teachers and other parents who encourage him to be his best. Regardless of the challenges we have had with LAUSD funding, our TEP program seems to always make it happen each year for our kids, providing the additional enrichment they so need. Overall, it has been a VERY good experience.

- submitted by a parent
August 22, 2013
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Principal Nicole, all the wonderful teachers, the teachers aids, the office staff, the custodian Charles, the cafeteria help and all the wonderful parents that give so much of their time, love and money to our community and all the different fundraisers the school has throughout the year. My grandson has been going to Topanga Elementary school for four years and he has learned so much in these past years that I was amaze when he came home with homework on algebra in the 3 grade. I know for a fact that these teachers have their best interest at heart.. I know there is no school anywhere in the country that always has 100% ratings every year (unless they are teaching robots), so I can only expect the best from all concern. I love their academics. They have a great lab, art classes, computer class, math class and many more good learning activities. Our community is very close and we do look after each others children.. The way the world is now we have to protect all our children.. Thank you very much for having a great curriculum and for the love and security you give all our children. From a grandparent.....

- submitted by a parent
March 04, 2013
Adequate academic program. Lots of state-testing prep, which explains to a large degree its API. Principal is competent in running academic side of school, but woefully inadequate in dealing with bullying. Quite simply, she will tell you she'll "take care of it," but cannot provide any concrete details when asked for a follow-up. The bullying continues; she agrees to meet with you again and takes notes, but does absolutely nothing about it. By the third or fourth complaint, she'll begin to question if the victim is doing anything to trigger the bullying. Fundraising, while necessary, is far above normal. Your child will be the target of daily fundraising, from after/before-school sales of pizza, ice cream and hot chocolate to large-scale campaigns that happen almost monthly. They offer wonderful, unique field trips -- this is truly a highlight of their program. The only downside is that they insist on using a caravan of parent drivers for at least half the field trips. If you offer to drive, you must take on all legal responsibility for the children in your car and supply your insurance information to the school.

- submitted by a parent
September 27, 2011
Wow! We are amazed so far. We looked at all the great private schools for our Transitional Kindergarten son and now we are so glad we went this route. Our initial change of heart was simply to get our kids involved in the local community but now, we are impressed and excited about the learning ahead at this school. We are staying!

- submitted by a parent
September 04, 2011
This is a public school with a private school education. After being at private school for 5 years and spending a large amount of money onn tuition, donations and time I wish that we had skipped all that and just come to this fabulous school! The score even went up from last year to this year which is unheard of in public schools!

- submitted by a parent
August 17, 2011
My experience at Top Elem has been excellent. My four years there have been rewRding. The new and improved principal offers a breathe of fresh air to the school. I don't mind the fundraising. I feel it's the least I can do to help fund science, computer lab , art trek, aids, pe, and more. Fundraising is part of every school now. Even very expensive private schools fundraise. The teachers at Top Elem are creative and attentive, and caring. I think the school deserves 5 stars!!!

- submitted by a parent
March 07, 2011
We have one child at Topanga, and one at another public school and I can attest that the fundraising at Topanga is far more than normal. The parent fundraising committee funds programs that are not offered by LAUSD, but it's not clear what the money goes to when you give. I have heard a large amount goes to the 6th grade class in particular. At the other childs shool the fundraising is very light, and you never receive fliers guilt tripping parents for not giving. I understand the need for fundraising, but clearly Topanga Elementary has the tone wrong. We love the area, but are looking into getting out of this school unless things change. The parents who do fundraise are very heavy handed and have huge attitude toward anyone who doesn't agree with how they do things.

- submitted by a parent
March 04, 2011
My family loves this school. Our kids have spent a combined nine years there. Parent involvement adds an exceptional, vibrant and uplifting learning environment to an already excellent LAUSD Charter school. Is it perfect? No school can be for all students. But it has all the ingredients that allow parents to roll up their sleeves and express the unique Topanga qualities of diversity, creativity and self-reliance: an intimate and beautiful campus to keeps kids connected to nature; fun, competent, creative teachers to take care of the academics; a highly accessible, no-nonsense principal and last not least a caring, diverse and super-engaged parent body. Five stars in my book!

- submitted by a parent
March 02, 2011
I am not blindly optimistic about our school - on the contrary. We have had our difficulties for sure. But we never once considered leaving Topanga Elementary. Why? Because it remains the best choice among LAUSD public schools. At Topanga we have a dedicated science teacher and all grades have science class once a week. We have aides in all the classrooms. We have two 5th grade classes with 16 kids each. 16. EVERY school fundraises. We're asked to give $600 per student. I have never felt "shamed" for giving less. Our fundraising PAYS for the science teacher, the P.E. teacher, the librarian, a teacher's salary. Raising money is a reality of modern public education at every school. Topanga Elementary follows the LAUSD curriculum. Like anywhere, some teachers are more inspired and some less. But our teachers are able to do more with their students, I believe, than teachers at bigger schools with higher student-to-teacher ratios. My children get more at Topanga than they would at their local public school in pretty much any category you can think of. Topanga truly is an excellent school, in my opinion, and deserves a 5-star rating.

- submitted by a parent
March 01, 2011
With the assault on education over the last few years, TECS and it's fundraising body has gone above and beyond to keep the quality programs the community has come to love. I have 2 kids which have attended since K and they're now in 2nd & 5th grade. Over the years, I've learned that the staff really cares about the kids and the school, they all work very hard to do the best job possible. If the teachers teach to the test, it's because THEY'VE HAD TO to keep funding, that's not their fault! The new principal has brought a youthful, vibrant energy to the school which was exactly what it needed. The fundraising can be a real drag, but if it wasn't done, the schools programs and staff would be cut drastically and we'd lose the programs & people that make this school so special. I do not think the fundraising is much different at other schools. I am proud to say my kids attend Topanga Elementary, I would recommend it to anyone interested in a small, progressive, yet public school.

- submitted by a parent
March 01, 2011
We love this school!! I work with hundreds of schools throughout LA County and have not seen a school that would better suit the personality of our family. My children are challenged, energized and excited to go to school in the morning. Every teacher we have had so far has been a dream and our new principal has improved school communication 100%. LAUSD is in a lot of turmoil and this school is able to offer things many other schools can't. My kids feel safe and supported and the after school program is spectacular. Parents can be as involved or removed as they are comfortable being and while not everyone can afford to give a lot of money every year, there are enough parents who step up physically and financially that the community stays healthy. I am extremely proud to be able to send my children to this spectacular public school.

- submitted by a parent
March 01, 2011
We have been at Topanga Elementary Charter School for for 6 wonderful years! It is a beautiful campus nestled in the mountains of Topanga. It has the charm of a small country school and the quality of an expensive private school. The principal of the school is professional, dedicated, present and responsive to our every question and concern. There isn't a teacher there that I wouldn't want my kids to learn from...they have all gone above and beyond to make our kids experience rich in both academics and arts. The parent community is over the top with their support and involvement. They volunteer in classrooms, fund science, PE and art programs that, as a public school, we wouldn't otherwise have, fund additional teachers to keep class sizes reasonable, and share their creative talents to help the kids put on an amazing musical every spring. If you can score a ticket to this event, you will get a glimpse of the magic that is Topanga Elementary!

- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2011
Counting the days to leave the school. Bullying, teachers that don't teach, but are really nasty to kids. I would rate my child's education a D+. Homework is busy work. Science program is terrible. Bring back the old Science Teacher. The fundraising body charges for everything!! They charge for a Play Program, that should be free since it is a program that they promised at the beginning of the year. Roles always go to the same kids and they are related to the parents that are "producing it". TEP is charging us to buy our kids' artwork. I will confirm that they put out a "shame list" if you don't give - won't give because of it. New principal in only concerned with having warm bodies in the seats to get her money for the day, while the kids are brining every sickness possible to the school. The high API scores are only there because they are taught to the test 2 weeks before. Get out if you go here, don't waste your time if you are considering it.

- submitted by a parent
February 17, 2011
I agree that the fundraising seems out of hand. They are constantly asking for money,and fundrais weekly throughout the year by selling pizza and ice cream after school to the kids! I have also seen this shame list where they do try to guilt you into giving and I also have not given because I don't approve of the fundraising practices there, which seem without ethical guidelines. They also sent home a letter telling you how much money they lose every time your child misses a day. For an affluent area, they sure are constantly harping about money. And there are not a lot of extra activities. No foreign language programs I am aware of, only STAR after school for an additional $400 a month. Small and sweet, but costly without lots of benefits other than the small size.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 09, 2010
Very interesting school, gorgeous setting, nice kids and it follows the general tone of the community even though it is a public school

- submitted by a teacher
September 10, 2010
I have been a teacher for many years and have taught in several different schools. When I came to Topanga Charter Elementary School10 years ago I felt like I was finally home. The staff, parents and children are a close knit caring community that come together to support and encourage each other. I am so very proud to be a part of this l great school!!!

- submitted by a teacher
September 10, 2010
Topanga Elementary is an amazing school. Both of my children went there with my last child leaving for middle school this year. Over the years many wonderful characteristics have made my children's experiences at Topanga quite remarkable. Teachers have been amazing in all grades (caring, fun, academically challenging, good school-to-home communication). In addition, the community feeling on campus and parent support is fabulous. The parent group, TEP, has repeatedly provided enrichments ranging from Science and extra art to upper grade reduced class size and a theater program. FIVE stars to Topanga Elementary especially due to the fact that the state/district budget crisis is making it very difficult to provide a quality public education!!!

- submitted by a parent
June 02, 2010
When my child was bullied earlier this year I didn't even bother going to the principle. I have many friends whose kids were bullied in the past and approached him. He did nothing to aid their children. I have one friend whose child was horribly bullied for years. They made many complaints and nothing was done to protect their son. This school really needs a plan on how to deal with this problem. Beautiful setting, active concerned parents. They try to keep low class but not sure how that will happen with buget short falls.

- submitted by a parent
June 02, 2010
My child's teacher if fine. Nothing above and beyond, but my kid likes her. I will agree with the last poster about the bullying. It is out of control! Lower grades and upper grades. I personally have gone to the principal about this problem, but no luck. Just say your sorry to each other was the solution, and the problem continues. I am sure this school will be on the news for some sort problem like this. I think the school needs an over hall, starting with the sarcastic and uncaring principal. His answer to everything is " if you don't like it, leave! We have others who want your place". Time to clean house!

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 10, 2010
It offers so much to the children. It has such wonderful and caring staff.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 06, 2010
This school is where my family goes and they get a great rounded education!

- submitted by a community member
no rating May 06, 2010
This school is a jewel within LAUSD: Great teachers + supportive parents = SUCCESS

- submitted by a parent
May 05, 2010
Great close community in an amazing setting! Dedicated teachers & supportive families make it all happen!

- submitted by a community member
no rating May 05, 2010
Topanga Elementary school is everything that is RIGHT with education! Our kids are able to experience learning the way it should be.

- submitted by a parent
May 05, 2010
Topanga Elementary Charter School is a wonderful blend of nature, nurture, love and learning. I love my position as librarian at the school, to share a story, a slice of life and a laugh...always followed by a smile.

- submitted by a community member
no rating May 04, 2010
Our school is a pretty special place up here in the mountains. It's a tight community that supports the school and the kids. The teachers and staff are committed to developing confident, lifelong learners.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 21, 2010
I love the close-knit community that this small school provides. The administrators know all of the kids by name and parent involvement is strong.

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 23, 2009
Our school has the warmest and most nurturing teachers, principal and staff. We were blown away by the beautiful campus, fresh air and amazing views. My child's kindergarten teacher is patient and supportive and she gets the same individual care in the after school program. Our family loves Topanga Elementary!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 30, 2009
the best principal, office staff, teachers, kids and location in the world!!!!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 28, 2009
I'm pretty disappointed about sending my child to Topanga Elementary School as I am a keen observer of the politics and hypocrisy that I've seen here. For all of the community service and peaceful setting the school advocates, I've seen a teacher enable her student to badmouth another colleague during a 6th grade ceremony and the parents act like they're back in high school with their cliques gossiping about other parents, and apparently so do the teachers. This is not the kind of value system I want to instill in my child if kindness is genuinely practiced-it should start out in our school yard. Topanga is very hypocritical, which is a shame since the woody setting is pretty incredible. The principal needs to reevaluate its school philosophy or more students will be moving to schools in Las Virgenes.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 28, 2009
What a wonderful group making sure the kids of the canyon get the best they deserve.

- submitted by a community member
no rating September 27, 2009
The focus on community makes Topanga Elementary special and being nestled in the Santa Monica mountains surrounds the kids with natural beauty and fresh air. Happy faculty, teachers and kids make it a great place to learn!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 23, 2009
We love Topanga Elementary because the faculty cares as much as the parents do. It's a wonderful place to learn!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 21, 2009
this year is when my son started kindergarten ..I as most parents was very nervous..well i cant tell you enough how much i have enjoyed his first weeks his teacher miss Handler is such a warm and wonderful person and the rest of the staff is well.....soo nice to see such a positive first experience for my child!!! Ann Lombardo:)

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 21, 2009
Great community based learning with excellent parent involvement and fundraising.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 21, 2009
The best environment and greatest group of parents and involved staff. Very friendly environment and beautilful campus. I feel lucky to have my child attend Topanga Charter Elementary.

- submitted by a parent
September 16, 2009
Topanga Elementary is an exceptional charter school in a beautiful natural setting, with teachers who have a fresh and visionary approach to education, in particular our son's teacher, Mrs Amy Weisberg.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 16, 2009
One of the few LAUSD schools to have developmental Kindergarten program. Situated in beautiful Topanga Canyon with amazing, administration, teachers, aides, parents, and students!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 16, 2009
I love the natural setting and the creative approach to learning!

- submitted by a parent
September 16, 2009
Our school has great teachers, great kids and a very involved parent community.

- submitted by a teacher
September 16, 2009
The teachers really care about their students - and about making the school better and better every year! And they succeed!

- submitted by a community member
June 18, 2009
My daughter just completed her second year at Topanga Elementary and it is extremely comforting knowing she is excited about school. This school and its community are very tight-knit and supportive and work hard to meet the individual needs of each student. The classes my daughter does not get during the regular school day are fulfilled in the Star after school program, a place where she feels comfortable and has made friendships and bonds with children of all ages. My only complaint is that while Topanga's campus is very beautiful, it could use a little maintenance and updating. There seems to be clothing and lunch boxes scattered all over the campus all year.

- submitted by a parent
October 22, 2008
My son has attended Topanga Elementary since kindergarten and is now in the second grade. This is an excellent school with experienced, caring teachers, a truly WONDERFUL principal, a small community environment and a beautiful natural setting. The school's small size enables the principal, teachers and staff to get to know all of the kids on a first name basis. The director of the after-school program is also excellent and the kids have a great choice of activities. I have friends whose kids are in a variety of schools on the Westside (private, charter, magnet, neighborhood public, etc.) and after three years of input, I honestly believe that we are getting the best all-around experience of them all.

- submitted by a parent
April 08, 2008
I have two children at this school and I couldn't be happier. I've also been a teacher for many years and I know this school is special. There is an outstanding faculty, loads of creative children, a supportive atmosphere, superlative academic standards and perhaps the most beautiful setting in LA county. Complainy parents are common (sigh), but such is the fate of schools where expectations are so high. Indeed, expectations are unrealistically high here, but the vast majority of kids succeed on so many planes. This is a magical place. We love it.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 15, 2007
When my child attended Topanga E.S., differentiated instruction and a GATE program was promised but not delivered. It created truly damaging problems for my child and ultimately I changed schools. I am happy to hear that others are benefiting from the result of my bad experience.

- submitted by a parent
May 07, 2007
I love this school! I have both a fourth grader and a kindergartener that attend. They have both had very positive experiences at this school. Academically, they have both thrived in their very different learning environments. The differentiated instruction that they both receive, has offered them avenues to feel successful and continue to learn at their own level. Socially, they could not have been exposed to a greater group of adults, children and community. They are both very happy and successful students! Additionally, as a result of the enrichment programs, exposure to new and different information is always occurring. As a family, we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend this school! Thank you Topanga Elementary!

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 13, 2007
My child has had such a negative experience and lowered self-esteem due to a less than patient teacher. They will not be returning to this school next year. Yet on the flipside my 5th grade child has a wonderful caring teacher that doesn't yell at the kids or say harsh words at them.

- submitted by a parent
March 28, 2007
This is school has some really punitive, unfriendly, unhappy teachers in it. Parent involvement is large because it's NEEDED. (but some teachers are good). The principal is exhausted, generally unable to change what's wrong with the school.

- submitted by a parent
September 20, 2006
Our eldest is now in his second year at the school, just starting first grade. I have been very impressed with every teacher we've met, the enthusiasm the children show for their teachers, and the depth and scope of parental involvement. It is not unusual to see both parents for each child at every school event, conference, etc. The teachers and parents go a long way toward making up for what almost every public school severely lacks - consistent, daily Physical Education. TEP (Topanga Enrichment Program) and the parents who support it mention creating just such a program every year, but it would cost us parents a lot of money to make it happen. There are some extracurricular activities, and they tend to be varied (both arts and sciences) and imaginative. They also vary by semester. Still, there are no extracurricular or organized sports. But we love the school just the same.

- submitted by a parent
May 25, 2006
Sweet and stable, beautiful setting,

- submitted by a parent
April 21, 2006
Great community environment, beautiful campus and lots of after school theater with great parent involvement. Good balance of academics and art. Not strictly disciplined.

- submitted by a parent
January 19, 2006
This school is in an incredible setting and offers great learning opportunities funded by their incredible parent volunteers! Science, library, gardens, art, P.E. and more are enjoyed as well as aides in every class.

- submitted by a parent
January 17, 2006
The country setting is what differentiates this elementary school from others. An extra-curricular music program that begins in grade 1 is also a bonus. There are many commited parents in both time, creativity and financial support. For the level of socioeconomic position of the majority of the parents in this community, the academic programs could be improved. My child is in the GATE program, but it's not clear whether and to what extent the differentiated learning curriculum is offered. My other child is in special education speech and this program is quite valuable. The kindergarten program is solid with stability of 2 teachers and classrooms. Thereafter, at times, quality is hit or miss, although parent involvement serves to smooth out the misses.

- submitted by a parent
August 15, 2005
My daughter graduated from topanga elementary three years ago. Just after she left, the school got a new principal, so it is possible my comments are out of date! however, I must say that we are very happy we sent our daughter to te. Although the academic standards should have been higher, in our opinion, this deficiency was more than offset by the friendly 'neighborhood school' atmosphere. My daughter made friends who will probably last her through her life time -- and nothing beats being able to walk to school, which we were fortunately able to do. To counter the relatively low academic standards, we started math tutoring for our daughter in fourth grade, which paid off handsomely, as she was able to compete successfully for a place at a nearby, highly academic and competitive middle school.

- submitted by a parent
June 28, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a teacher
June 18, 2005
Fantastic school, creative teachers, wonderful environment.

- submitted by a student
May 01, 2005
My daughter loves this school. SHe has really grown academicly this pass year.

- submitted by a parent
April 30, 2005
I can only say that Topanga charter is a hidden jewel in the middle of the canyons. Great school!

- submitted by a parent
April 22, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
February 05, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
November 14, 2004
A unique community school. Isolated from the city. Lots of parent support.

- submitted by a parent
November 03, 2004
This is a great school. The teachers and principal are committed and wonderful, the parent organization funds teacher's aides in every class, a weekly PE program taught by the YMCA, as well as a science teacher and science lab. They are working on getting a computer lab up and running also. The school has a fantastic library with a great librarian. A semi-rural environment with a loving staff. The small size make for a school where everyone knows each other and watches out for everyone else. It's a place where you kid can just be a kid instead of a junior grown up.

- submitted by a parent
August 19, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
August 17, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
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Topanga Learn-Charter Elementary School
22075 Topanga School Road, Topanga, CA  90290
(310) 455-3711
Last modified Topanga Learn-Charter Elementary School is a Charter school that serves grades K-6. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Topanga Learn-Charter Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 68 reviews. Top