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Topanga Mountain School

Private | 6-8 | 35 students

 

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Living in Woodland Hills

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $355,300. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $2,060.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

5 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 18 ratings
2013:
Based on 3 ratings
2012:
Based on 1 rating
2011:
No new ratings

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28 reviews of this school


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Posted April 30, 2014

T.M.S offers an unique, inspiring education for adolescents that includes academic challenges and physical adventures where kids can learn about the environment, their roles in the world and most importantly, themselves! I am so grateful to the TMS staff because they invest themselves in each child enrolled. Truly a miracle in today's society!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 29, 2014

Topanga Mountain School is one of those special places where kids are respected and where they have the opportunity to discover and be who they are. The curriculum is interesting and appropriately challenging. The outdoor education program is amazing - hiking almost every week and three week-long camping trips where the kids are in charge of their own camping families. There are field trips almost every Friday to enhance what the kids are learning. Art, music and drama trimesters include all the kids in the creative process. The TMS experience has been amazing for my son and he will be so sad to leave when he graduates in June!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 29, 2014

My daughter has spent the last three years at Topanga Mountain School. There are 36 kids in the school overall. Instructors are super passionate about their subjects and work to connect and inspire each student. The school puts a lot of emphasis on spending time in nature and do weekly hikes, and field trips all while not missing an educational beat. There are three trimesters that are a focus of Art, Music, and Drama. Each culminates in an a show/performance that make you feel that anyone of these was worth the price of tuition (which by the way is very modest for an LA private school). The kids also learn social graces like dancing together, shopping together for camping food (they camp 3-4 times a year), and learn how to communicate their thoughts and feeling at council circle, and sit spots (where they journal). Kids have the option to work at a food bank, do aerial silks, Jiu Jitsu, learn the arts of being in a recording studio (recording or editing), automotive class, and/or pottery. I cannot sing the praises enough for Joy Taylor who is a legend among students and parents and will hold the torch for high morals, values, and community togetherness.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 29, 2014

Topanga Mountain School's most striking feature is that it's size, and very high teaching standards mean that its students are all getting a very high level of individual attention. It's wonderful to see how each new set of students come in to this unique enviroment, and are immediately given an insight in to what it means to be a part of an emotionally self-suporting, and self-nurturing community. The values that these kids are taught brings the virtues of respect into perfect focus. Respect of oneself and each other, respect of one's enviroment and respect for the school and it's curriculum. The fact that this is all driven by a strong sense of love means that it provides the perfect blue print for what it means to be a smart and inquisitive well adjusted adult.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 29, 2014

As a grandparent of an alumnus and a current student I have seen firsthand what an amazing educational experience my granddaughters have been blessed to have. The staff is nurturing and creative, the program is innovative and intellectually rigorous and the parent body is very involved. I would love for all my grandchildren to be able to have this experience.


Posted April 28, 2014

My son went there for middle school. He learned so much. Super head mistress Joy Taylor. The philosophy of passionate lifelong learners is present in every class. The integration of nature, nurture, earth awareness and camping. Was great for my son. He needed the attention and small class size. He was all the better for his experience there. An unusual school because use the run of the mill schools don't even come close to what TMS offers in life learning not just academics.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

Topanga Mountain School is a wonderful environment of caring sharing parents, teachers, mentors and director. We love the flow of the week with days spent outdoors. In this high-tech time, getting back to nature is so essential for the maturing child's soul!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

Topanga Mountain School is the perfect place for my child. They have small class rooms, focus on each child as an individual. They encourage each student to be independent, courageous, and curious about the world they live in. And they emphasize the outdoors!!! Camping trips without parents. Hikes on a weekly basis. These are activities that our child would never receive at a different school. We are very happy with TMS.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

I have three children who have had the distinct good fortune of attending TMS. What has amazed me is how truly this school prepares children for high school. And not just academically, but socially. I've seen my children blossom in self- confidence that has shown itself both in their academic life as well as their social life. With that confidence, I've watched my oldest take on some very challenging situations with trust in herself, and growing from challenges instead of being hurt by them. Additionally, I've watched her love of learning continue to grow.And this is the best thing a child can learn - because then they can spend their whole lives excited about education.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

We are thrilled for our son to be attending this amazing school. TMS is such a wonderful environment for learning not only academics but also important life skills. It's also great just for being comfortable and safe at this, quite more often than not, extremely awkward and sometimes very scary time of life. We can't think of a better place for oyr boy. Thank you EVERYONE at Topanga Mountain School! You truly rock our world!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

Topanga Mountain School provides an incredible learning experience for my two daughters. The teachers are dynamic, creative, and develop relevant and challenging curriculum that engages the students. There is a wholistic focus on developing the whole person mentally, emotionally, and physically. The strong focus on the arts fosters creativity and balances the academic subjects. The outdoor education program is not just good for fitness, it also teaches life skills and team building. And most importantly my daughters love the school and are excited to go every day!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

My daughter has been attending this school for two years and she absolutely loves every aspect of the school. She is advanced placement and the teachers tailor a curriculum for her. The class sizes are averaging about 10 kids. The teachers are truly enthusiastic inspired educators. The kids do a lot of outdoor education including aerial silks, car mechanics, go-kart building, ceramics, hiking, kayaking, outdoor science, camping. The arts program is unsurpassed including: music production, band, drama performance, choir, photography, fine art, drawing. It's incredible. And the Principal is a caring, personal, inspired leader that cares for the kids like they're her own. Seriously, this is the best middle school in Southern California. The kids are happy!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

In short, my daughter woke up at 6am the day after spring break and couldn't wait to be taken to school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

Topanga mountain school,is everything you've always heard it was: a miraculous support system for delivering your child into young adult hood. I cried when I first went to the open house because I had never dared to believe there was a school as in line with my hopes and dreams. Three years later, I can honestly say that my daughter's experience there has been everything I hoped it would be. My deepest gratitude goes to Joy Taylor and her teamof inspired and inspiring staff for three years of awesome education and guidance.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

Topanga Mountain School is an amazing alternative, small private middle school in the west San Fernando Valley. This school is a breath of fresh air where the education focuses on the whole child and prepares the students wonderfully for success post middle school. The entire faculty is passionate not only about their core subjects but also about each student and the larger school community. The faculty work very closely together to create an exciting and engaging integrated curriculum rather than rely on boring text books that usually don't have a lasting impact. This is a school where children can be who they are and not try to be someone they are not. The faculty really knows each student well and the learning groups are shifted from time to time in order to create the right balance between student needs and curricular needs. We have one daughter who has graduated and one currently there and we would never do middle school differently than TMS!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 28, 2014

I read through the reviews posted by the other TMS parents and believe that all of the key points have been covered. I imagine that any prospective parents/students would be skeptical that a school can truly be so great. Those who have found their way into this small, dynamic, creative community of learning and living are truly a fortunate bunch. Thank you to Joy, Liz, Tressa, Sam, Andrew and Katie for all you do to build worlds of meaning for our children - and for us.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 22, 2014

Adolescence can be such a painful, awkward time in kids' lives, that our society has sequestered students in their own private hell for 3 years. TMS is the opposite of what middle school in America has become. The teachers are real people who care about the students and have time to get to know them. Academics take a back seat to a focus on adventure, philosophy, the arts and nature. Students learn a ton of real life skills, such as orienteering, map/compass reading, working in teams, self-expression, responsibility, family building, and joie de vivre. The school goes camping 4 times per year; they put on an art show/coffee house/drama production; they volunteer their time in the community; they hike, introspect, support one another, and practice all sorts of physical and mental exercises. There are traditional school subjects taught in a distinctly non-traditional manner, with very little homework. Despite this, I am happy to report that TMS graduates easily transition to public high school. The greatest recommendation, though, is that our son is excited to head off to middle school every day. How many people can say that?
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 2, 2014

Topanga Mountain School provides a loving, unique environment where my daughter can safely explore who she is while being completely supported by her peers and school staff. The teachers are brilliant, engaged and passionate about what they're doing and the kids they are in community with. The director is heart-centered and constantly tuned in to the changing needs of each student and the group as a whole. Everything is done in consciousness. The academics are solid and in many cases my daughter is well ahead of her peers in mainstream schools. TMS is a well-rounded education, teaching independence, responsibility and healthy group dynamics. The kids go on to flourish in any type of high school because they have themselves, solidly. My daughter is absolutely thriving in this environment. If you are a parent who is very steeped in patriarchal models of learning, with rigid schedules and expectations, this school is not for you. If you want your child to love learning in a fun, loving, supportive environment, check it out.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 21, 2013

My son has flourished at TMS. While it's true that the curriculum is not as structured and narrowly defined as in a traditional school I have found it to be rich. My son has much less homework than his friends at other schools but he is academically on par with them. More importantly, my son loves to go to school. He loves his teachers. He is excited about what he is learning. He is an academic high achiever and TMS has provided plenty of academic challenge. The camping trips and out door eduction program are amazing. I love how my son has grown as a person in this environment and the values that have been nurtured. I am so happy we found TMS and I know my son will thrive wherever he ends up for high school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 23, 2013

I agree with the most recent post. In regards to the "teaching" faculty, most teachers have no credentials or certifications, some have no official training in education. The school lacks organization and the director is prone to fits of frustration that students bear the brunt at times, as well as staff. With such a small and flexible environment, there is no excuse for this school to have the problems of a larger LAUSD school.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 91% 26%
Two or more races 6% 3%
Hispanic 3% 52%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Black 0% 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students None
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Photography
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing and written arts
  • Dance
  • Drama

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:15 am
School end time
  • 3:30 pm
School Leader's name
  • Joy Taylor
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Phone
Gender
  • Coed
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Fax number
  • (818) 346-8356

Programs

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • None
Transportation options
  • Buses/vans for students only
School facilities
  • None
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Basketball
  • Coed teams
  • Flag football
  • Judo / Other Martial Arts
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Coed teams
  • Flag football
  • Judo / Other Martial Arts

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Photography
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing arts
  • Dance
  • Drama
Media arts
  • None
School leaders can update this information here.

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School culture

Parent involvement
  • None
School leaders can update this information here.

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5920 Shoup Ave
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Website: Click here
Phone: (818) 346-8355

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