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Old 02-13-2017, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Philly
53 posts, read 32,878 times
Reputation: 44

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I posted a thread last year about our move this summer to LA. As a follow up to that thread... and after doing a lot of research, we have nailed down a few towns based on their middle and high schools.

The ask is... for parents who's kids have attended or attending either of these schools to provide their feedback about academics, AP courses, culture, athletics programs, etc.

Mira Costa (Hermosa Beach)
Palos Verdes Peninsula (Rolling Hills Estates)
South Pasadena High
Agoura High
Redondo Union
South High (Torrance)
Westlake High (Thousand Oaks)

We left out San Marino because it's just too expensive to buy or even rent.

Please share your experiences.

Thank you!
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:58 AM
 
4,498 posts, read 2,765,220 times
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I don't but I have friend who's kids all went to Westlake. It's a very good school. Don't forget to budget for club athletics and stuff. My friends kids were/are all athletes and he spent at least $10k/year on each kids athletic careers
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Philly
53 posts, read 32,878 times
Reputation: 44
In my last thread someone suggested that Westlake has good athletic (baseball) programs. I'd also like to know about their academics.

Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanms3030 View Post
I don't but I have friend who's kids all went to Westlake. It's a very good school. Don't forget to budget for club athletics and stuff. My friends kids were/are all athletes and he spent at least $10k/year on each kids athletic careers
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Old 02-13-2017, 03:40 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,271 posts, read 10,510,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmreel View Post
In my last thread someone suggested that Westlake has good athletic (baseball) programs. I'd also like to know about their academics.
Here's a thread I did on it:

Why schools are a draw to east Ventura County
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Philly
53 posts, read 32,878 times
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Wow.. interesting piece. Says a lot about that school. Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Downtown Los Angeles
992 posts, read 500,471 times
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South Pasadena is the only one on the list that is in an area Is consider living in. South Pasadena is very nice and upscale and safe, but it is also centrally located, walkable, charming, and has a metro station (huge plus.) And the high school is good.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Philly
53 posts, read 32,878 times
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How would you rate Westlake Village safety? Or even that of Rolling Hills Estates?
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:35 AM
 
942 posts, read 1,176,214 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmreel View Post
How would you rate Westlake Village safety? Or even that of Rolling Hills Estates?
While both are safe communities, the commute to downtown LA would be miserable. It's possible to catch the train from Westlake, it's still a long haul. Of course if the area suits you then it's worthwhile.
South Pasaden would be a good choice. Great schools, nearby metro into downtown and a very nice community.
Good luck with your search!
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:52 AM
 
7,031 posts, read 3,747,193 times
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Forgive me for asking if you've already done this, but have you reviewed each school's School Profile, the report that high schools send to colleges when students apply to college? If not, call the school's counseling offices and ask for a copy (some put the Profiles on the school website, usually under the counseling page).

If not, the Profiles will tell you about the academic and extracurricular programs, including things like the AP courses offered, the AP test pass rates (all h.s.'s have AP classes, but the pass rates tell you if the AP classes are well taught), SAT/ACT scores, graduation rates, how many students go on to 4 year colleges, and where recent graduates have gone to college. The Profiles will also give you an overview of the demographics of the school and their educational philosophy (if they have one).

Be sure to also get the Profile from the high school where your child/children already attend, or would attend if you didn't move. That way you'll have a baseline for comparison.

Also, call the counseling office of each high school, explain you're a prospective parent, and ask if you can speak to a counselor who does college advising. If so, describe your children's current academic and social strengths and weaknesses (all kids have both!) to the counselor and ask about how the school would fit and serve your child's needs.

Counselors can also often tell you about the campus culture from their perspective. (I know that some people here will probably say that school counselors are useless or don't know anything, but in my experience, they know more about how a school functions than people think. )

Sadly, in California our high schools have one of the highest counselor to student ratios of any state, so school counselors here tend to be very busy folks. So, you may not get through to one on the first call (try calling early in the moring or late in the afternoon). But, it never hurts to give it a try.

I would add that, regardless of whether you get to talk to a counselor, if you hope for your kids to go to college, you should also review the college counseling section of each school's website. It will give you a general idea of how pro-active the counseling staff is at helping parents and kids navigate the college admissions process. If you see a lot of college planning info and events for parents and students, that is generally a good sign.

Finally, if you are moving here from another state, I'd suggest familiarizing yourself with the University of California "a - g requirements." This is a series of college prep courses that are requirements for UC and Cal State admission, and which form the basis for the curriculum at most public high schools. Other colleges understand this when they get apps from Calif. kids and they generally will evaluate your child's future transcript with that in mind.

This chart gives a good overview of the a-g requirements (you can also find more info on the UC admissions website): http://admission.universityofcalifor...son-matrix.pdf

And, then, go to the site below and look up each school to see what courses they offer that have been approved as meeting the a-g requirements. That will give you a good idea of the strength of each school's curriculum.

https://hs-articulation.ucop.edu/agc...ch/institution

That way you will be comparing apples to apples and have factual informaton. Boards like this can be useful and reassuring when it comes to getting opinions from other parents, but keep in mind that most parents are a little biased (positively or negatively) about the high school their kids attend, and very few will have personal experience or knowledge with multiple schools on your list.

And, of course, no one here knows your kids like you do. What's a good fit for one kid might not be for another.

So, it's best to use a combination of factual info, opinions from parents, and your own gut instincts in making choices for your own kids.

Good luck with your move!

(P.S. you might also want to look into public Charter high schools, which might open up additional very good options. And, of course, there's always the private school option too. All will also have profiles.)

Last edited by RosieSD; 02-14-2017 at 10:21 AM..
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:36 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,271 posts, read 10,510,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Social Democrat View Post
While both are safe communities, the commute to downtown LA would be miserable. It's possible to catch the train from Westlake,
I think you are confusing the LA neighborhood of Westlake with far away Westlake Village, which straddles Ventura County. There is no train in Westlake Village.
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