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.
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!
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.
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.....
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.
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!
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!
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!!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Very interesting school, gorgeous setting, nice kids and it follows the general tone of the community even though it is a public school
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!!!
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!!!
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.
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