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Three Schools You Can Only Find in L.A.

{ The author, braving El Niño and Friday rush hour traffic to attend a couple random school lotteries. (She didn’t get into any that day.) }

Question: Who is ready for my bestie Barbara King to write a book on navigating the madness of the Los Angeles school system?!? The multi-hyphenate actor//writer//blogger//mama is back with the latest in her series on motherhood in this strange City of Angels of ours, this time detailing some of the bizarre schools one might come across in the public school system…

Three Schools You Can Only Find in L.A.

by Barbara King

In navigating the LAUSD school tour inferno I’ve learned that:

  1. 1. There are some really good public schools in L.A.
  2. 2. There are some really bad public schools L.A.
  3. 3. There are some really bizarre public schools L.A.

As you may have guessed, Los Angeles is not lacking in the weird department when it comes to charter schools. Every school seems to have its “thing” that makes it stand out from the rest of the suckers. The All-Vegan school, the Yoga Garden school, the Curl Up in Blankets on the Floor to Read in Candlelight school. Most of the schools I visited I really liked but every school had both its list of pros AND cons.

Here are three of the schools that stood out on my tours as being fully and totally representative of the crazy city I live in. And except for the “code names” I’ve made for the schools, this is all real and true. Welcome to L.A.

Three Schools You Can Only Find in L.A.

{ On our evening tour, one of the Little German Village School classrooms had already been set-up for a child’s birthday ceremony the next day – rainbow bridge and all. }

The Little German Village School 

Oh, my sweet little German Village School. The classroom walls are painted in calming colors like pale worm pink and beigey-beige to embody the comfort of a mother’s womb. The overhead lights are draped with soft, flowing fabric, creating a soothing shadowy glow within the classrooms.  Nothing plastic exists within the walls of this school. I felt relaxed and comfortable and could easily imagine my daughter happily playing with her wooden toys while taking classes such as “handywork” and “games.”  Everything about the school (except perhaps the Japanese lessons that begin in first grade,) reminded me of a little village school I would find nestled among the Bavarian Alps. This is a school from a fairytale along the 405.

Three Schools You Can Only Find in L.A.

{ I never quite figured out what this was but I assume it’s an on-site cafe for parents to discuss the emotional color scheme of their 5-year-old’s science project. }

The No Homework No Textbooks No Attendance School

If you think you know what “progressive” means – you don’t unless you attend this school. This hands-on, project-based learning school takes progressive education to a whole new level.  There is never any homework. Teachers are called facilitators. Students are called learners. Learners lead their own parent-facilitator conferences. Mandarin begins in Kindergarten. Friday is a free day to take whatever classes the learners choose. Learners don’t have to attend school. Like, really – attendance isn’t mandatory. Last year the learners opened a pizza restaurant for a day. An actual pizza restaurant. By themselves. I think the self-motivated learners at this school will slowly and efficiently take over the world.

Three Schools You Can Only Find in L.A.

{ Art. }

The Met LACMA Louvre School

This school rivals a museum. From the moment I stepped inside I was mesmerized by the three-story high industrial space and the huge, fascinating art installations that hung from above. There is a dance studio in the school. There is a recording studio in the school. And there is lots and lots of art in the school. Math is taught using sculptures and reading comprehension is taught using painting. The school invites professional artists throughout each school year to take residency among the mini-artists. Is my child a Pollock or a Banksy? I found myself lost within the constant hum of children’s voices echoing off the metal walls and only brought back to reality with the bizarrely personal questions the parents kept asking about their household finances and child’s eating habits. Did I mention this is an art school?

For the record, I applied to the random lottery of each of the above three charter schools and alas was not accepted into any of them. I suppose my daughter will be stuck with plastic toys, textbooks, and 10-foot high ceilings, the poor girl.

Three Schools You Can Only Find in L.A.

{ The author’s school picture from her “normal” east coast elementary school. }

Barbara King-Wilson is an actress and writer living with her family in Los Angeles. Follow her @TheBarbaraKing and visit her at!

More from Barbara:

26 Questions To Ask On A School Tour

How I (Almost) Lost My Mind Applying to My Kid’s Elementary Schools

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

3 Signs You’re Ready To Be A Mom

Mommy Choices

2016 Resolutions Reality Check

My Minor Obsession with the PERFECT Holiday Photo

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