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School Updates Thursday, July 21st, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Ocean Charter School Seeks Community Input On Proposed School Project

Inspired by the growing success of arts-integrated Waldorf Education in private schools, a group of Mar Vista and Venice neighbors began organizing over a decade ago to create a public independent charter school in the Mar Vista neighborhood with an innovative arts-integrated program based upon the principles of Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf Education.

In 2004 Ocean Charter School was born with a commitment to achieving academic excellence through creative learning, sparking imagination and fostering critical thinking.  Ocean Charter School initially opened in a rented church space on Culver Boulevard near Beethoven Street. The school has since expanded and in 2006 transferred students in grades 4-8 into classrooms co-located in temporary buildings on the Walgrove Elementary campus, now home to 208 Ocean Charter students.  The two schools have collaborated together in areas such as planting and cultivating a community garden, providing arts programming in the school auditorium, a reading buddies program across grades and a Friday morning “Reef Cafe” potluck-fundraiser.

On June 21st of this year the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) School Board voted to approve leasing a two-acre portion of unused space on the Walgrove Elementary school campus to a charter school.

The Ocean Charter School Board has announced plans to submit a proposal for LAUSD consideration that would transfer its remaining 252 students in kindergarten through third grade to co-locate on the Walgrove Elementary campus – and replace its temporary space with construction of several new classrooms and facilities.  The school has announced it is seeking community input on its proposal and expanding its community outreach effort to engage with key stakeholders.

Ocean Charter School Board President Fran Montano said, “OCS is strongly committed to developing plans that incorporate the needs and concerns of neighbors, Walgrove staff and parents and the community at large.”

Ocean Charter School has long sought to reunite the elementary and middle school onto a single campus in order to realize the school’s mission of a combined K-8 community experience.   Having a single campus is expected to reduce overall traffic congestion by eliminating the need for parents to shuttle siblings between the two campuses, and it would promote more walking/biking options for neighborhood families.

Over the last several months Ocean Charter School parents, administrators, and Board have been sharing with numerous stakeholders the school’s vision to build a new “residential style” learning space that highlights the school’s arts-integrated curriculum with a sustainable, eco-friendly design and multi use grounds.  The school is also exploring plans that will include a joint use community park co-located on the campus.

During the proposal process, representatives of the school are meeting with community stakeholders to gather input on the school’s proposed plans.  Community members are invited to get in touch with the school at communityrelations@oceancs.org with any questions or comments regarding the school’s proposal.

LAUSD has yet to issue the detailed information required to submit the proposal but is expected to do so in the coming weeks. In addition to the Ocean Charter School proposal, LAUSD is expected to consider other charter school proposals to co-locate on the campus, though the entire process of selection and construction is expected to take approximately three years.

About Ocean Charter School
Offering an innovative arts-integrated program based upon the principles of Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf Education, Ocean Charter School (www.oceancharterschool.org) is a public independent charter school within LAUSD serving K-8 students. Established in 2004, Ocean Charter School is committed to achieving academic excellence through creative learning, sparking the child’s imagination and fostering critical thinking.

  • Troy

    As a parent of two children that attend Walgrove Elementary I have to say that our relationship with Ocean Charter is strained at best. There is little collaboration between the schools and a lot of animosity. Both Walgrove students and teachers find them rude. Ocean charter also has a terrible relationship with the neighbors because of traffic problems that they cause. When confronted with complaints they made excuses and did not change their behavior. Now they want to build a new building and are suddenly concerned with us? I have nothing against their school, but I am hoping that they will no longer be our neighbors.

  • Troy

    As a parent of two children that attend Walgrove Elementary I have to say that our relationship with Ocean Charter is strained at best. There is little collaboration between the schools and a lot of animosity. Both Walgrove students and teachers find them rude. Ocean charter also has a terrible relationship with the neighbors because of traffic problems that they cause. When confronted with complaints they made excuses and did not change their behavior. Now they want to build a new building and are suddenly concerned with us? I have nothing against their school, but I am hoping that they will no longer be our neighbors.

  • Troy

    As a parent of two children that attend Walgrove Elementary I have to say that our relationship with Ocean Charter is strained at best. There is little collaboration between the schools and a lot of animosity. Both Walgrove students and teachers find them rude. Ocean charter also has a terrible relationship with the neighbors because of traffic problems that they cause. When confronted with complaints they made excuses and did not change their behavior. Now they want to build a new building and are suddenly concerned with us? I have nothing against their school, but I am hoping that they will no longer be our neighbors.

  • Troy

    As a parent of two children that attend Walgrove Elementary I have to say that our relationship with Ocean Charter is strained at best. There is little collaboration between the schools and a lot of animosity. Both Walgrove students and teachers find them rude. Ocean charter also has a terrible relationship with the neighbors because of traffic problems that they cause. When confronted with complaints they made excuses and did not change their behavior. Now they want to build a new building and are suddenly concerned with us? I have nothing against their school, but I am hoping that they will no longer be our neighbors.

  • Troy

    here is an email that I received from one of the teachers at Walgrove…

    Thanks Troy for keeping us informed! The OCS claims of collaboration through their existence at Walgrove is pure B.S. and could easily be debunked by all the Walgrove staff. I personally have been disrespected by their students many times and never acknowledged by any of their staff! To the point where I felt unsafe during my pregnancy because I almost go knocked down several times by their students that always run through common shared areas! We get also get mocked by their students when we try to speak to them. Their whole claim of “buddy reading across grade levels” was done with Zeena’s class maybe for 2yrs, not with anyone else. You could go up to every Walgrove teacher and find out for yourself within seconds. The whole garden thing… they have their area and we have ours. We don’t do anything together with that. We are forced to share the space and that’s it, same with the auditorium. We have bent over backwards when they’ve needed it during our scheduled time but they’re always rude when we need it. Ugh…. Ok I’ll stop because you know all of this and I know I’m preaching to the choir. I just really wanted to personally thank you for all your efforts and support of our school. I do appreciate everything you do!!!!

  • Gary

    Dear Troy: 

    I am a parent with two children at Ocean Charter School.  Our family helped open the school 8 years ago and our two boys have been educated their since kindergarten. My older son is going into 6th grade and my younger son is going into 3rd.

    My kids play soccer and hockey at Mar Vista Park, they play baseball at North Venice Little League and flag football and basketball at Penmar Park. 

    They are being educated by different schools on the same site but mine are kids just like yours, living and playing with Walgrove kids in this area, every day. In fact my son had a b-ball game at Penmar today.

    I am truly sorry you feel so negatively towards our school and it’s my hope that we can work together to solve the issues that you feel we are having. I welcome you to join me for lunch or coffee and discuss exactly where you see the problems lie and I will take your issues and concerns not only to heart, but directly to the parents, faculty and staff of Ocean Charter School and work hard to solve them. I am happy to give you my cell number if you are interested in constructive dialogue to effect positive change.

    Currently we are working to solve any traffic problems that have existed in the past. 

    When we were awarded the space by LAUSD, we were given one entrance gate right on Appleton Way. Unfortunately that left us no choice but to pull up and drop our kids off directly on the street. This issue is being taken very seriously and solutions will be put in place at the beginning of the next school year.

    A newly built campus will allow us to pull away from the street, drop our kids off safely and greatly reduce the traffic congestion and direct noise in the neighborhood. 
    Because we have so many siblings attending Ocean Charter School (our K-3rd grade campus is in Culver City), combining our K-8th grades on one site will help reduce the traffic as many of us will be able to walk or bike the kids to school. A majority of the students that attend Ocean Charter School are families that live directly in the area. We are long time neighbors.

    Like you, were are passionate about our children’s education and do not want our 200+ students, teachers and faculty that have been on the Walgrove campus for 5 years to be left with no place to go should another charter school be allowed to build on the site in place of ours. That seems like a giant step backwards in our educational process and will very negatively impact on our families that live in the neighborhood. 

    I hold zero animosity towards any school that is educating our community’s children and it is my sincere hope that we all choose to fix any problems that currently exist between Ocean Charter and Walgrove so we can both occupy the site in a safe and friendly way, educate our kids and be great neighbors. That is what we want.

    If we can all speak about these issues constructively we can make a positive change in the right direction. 

    Warmest Regards,

    Gary 

  • Dana

    Troy says a lot of things. What’s most interesting are the things he
    doesn’t say. For instance, he doesn’t mention that he is a founding
    member of the Green Dot school that is seeking to build a big new
    building and bring 500 teenagers to this site. Five hundred. Troy also
    does not mention that as a founding member, his children get into the
    school automatically, while everyone else’s kids will have to apply by
    lottery.  Troy doesn’t mention anywhere that he has a vested interest in
    another school kicking Ocean Charters kids out.  I wonder why he leaves
    that out?

    Another thing Troy doesn’t say is that he is deeply connected to the
    people  who forced out the Walgrove Elementary principal because they
    did not like her. These same folks now have  the teachers at Walgrove
    too scared to speak their mind, for fear of losing their jobs too. What
    else, does Troy leave out? Well, how about the fact that his friends are
    the same group that tried to “takeover” Mark Twain Middle School a few
    years back so they could remake it in their image. When that failed,
    they tried to take classes at Westminster Elementary School. That also
    failed.

    Of course Troy also leaves out a host of other things including how
    there are people in the community trying to find an equitable solution
    for everyone so that every child in the district gets the best possible
    education.  But that doesn’t really surprise me. Why would he include
    any of that if it doesn’t directly benefit him? It seems like as far as
    Troy is concerned, it is all about what is best for him and his kids. Nice work Troy. keep it up.

  • Troy

    Gary,

    I understand that we are both public schools and I hope for the best for your school, but I do take issue with the fact that OCS is sending out press releases that tout the great relationship between Walgrove and Ocean Charter.  I find this disingenuous.  I believe that the majority of children, parents, staff and teachers would characterize our relationship as poor.  In fact, I know several OCS parents that would do the same.  To give examples such as a reading program that has not existed in years, a garden where OSC has half and Walgrove has half, a breakfast that happened once in 5 years, etc is stretching the truth at best.  To say that Ocean Charter parents can’t help double parking because you have to enter through one gate is false.  There is plenty of parking on the street that you enter (appleton way) and Walgrove parents do not double park on Morningside and we enter through a gate on that street.  To say that there will be LESS traffic by adding 200+ students is a bit of an odd argument.  

    I would be happy to meet with you so that you can explain how OCS is going to do it better next time, but it is not me that you have to convince.  You have to convince the rest of Walgrove’s children, teachers, parents, staff and neighbors. I would love for OCS to be better neighbors, but first you have to own the fact that OSC has not been a good partner in the past.

    If not me, please listen to the Walgrove first grade teacher that emailed me.  Read it and take it to heart.

    Cheers,
    Troy

  • Troy

    Dana,

    How do you think you know who I am?  You don’t know me at all.   I am not sure at this point if I want any charter on Walgrove’s campus.  I am still making up my mind.  I know that OCS has an issue with me being a fan of Green Dot Middle school, but that does not change the fact that I am a Walgrove parent and neighbor.  How dare you speak for me!!!!

    What are you talking about with the teachers?  I am friends with most of the teachers.   I had nothing to do with the principle. What are you talking about?  I am good friends with the principle.  Call her and ask her!

    A lot of your facts are incorrect.  No one tried to take over Mark Twain.  That is Mark Twain propaganda.  Show me any proof.  It was a flyer that they put out.

    Green Dot wanted to use 8 of Westminster’s classroom for one year and when they pushed back they moved on.  How is that any different than what OCS is doing?  If Walgrove Parents don’t want OCS on our campus will you move on?  If Walgrove parents don’t want any Charter on their campus will you move on?   If you are going to say that Green dot trying to co-extist with Westminster was evil OCS trying to co-exist with Walgrove must be just as evil.

    Please explain that argument.  Are you better than Green Dot?  Different?

    Once again I take great issue with you accusing me of looking out for only my kids.  How dare you!

    – Troy

  • anon

    Finally someone holding Ocean Charter accountable for their propoganda. They claim to have steadily rising test scores in a “range of 855 to 896 for years 2009 and 2010.” TRUTH: their test scores dropped from 896 to 855 from 2009 to 2010. Check out the LAUSD stats http://api.cde.ca.gov/AcntRpt2010/2010GrowthSch.aspx?allcds=19647330102335 . They seem to think no one looks this stuff up.

  • Matt

    Dana
    First of all Troy is not the only Walgrove parent that feels that way.
    Second I’ll admit Ocean Charter is not neccesarly how we would want our kids to be educated,even if our kids who live blocks away would even have a chance of getting in at middle school. Since they are in elementary at Walgrove and you have a direct feeder it’s highly unlikely.
    It’s very interesting how you have so much info on Troy.
    Good spies I guess.
    Relationship whith Walgrove nonexistent.
    Traffic disaster I can’t remember the time a OCS parent stopped for me at Appelton when I walk my two girls to school I think never.
    Finally Troy has his kids intrest first.
    Well yes that’s all that matters to me the rest is all secondary.
    So you can lump me in with that lot.
    One more thing Green Dot is not kicking OCS out if that happens it would be LAUSD and hopefully if that happens they will find you a new home.

  • Gary

    Troy:

    I hear your concerns. Let’s make a time and place to meet and discuss the issues between our schools. I don’t know you, you don’t me so there are no preconceived notions of anything other than we are both concerned parents and want to do what’s best for not only our own kids but everyone in the community. I can meet you Tuesday – Friday between 9:30 am and noon or 8:30 pm and 10 pm. You pick the place and the time. It’s simple conversations like this that will lead to better relationships. We both need to spend some time in each other’s shoes in order to find solutions.

    Gary

  • Jaymie

    Hi. My son goes to OCS and last year was our first year. Being a parent yearning for alternative education for my children OCS is a great fit for my son who will be starting 6th grade in the fall.  I think when times get tough adversity is easy to rise to the forefront. Sometimes it’s easy to start picking things apart when change is on the horizon. Often times history is re-written- on both sides. I read the letter below that Troy posted from a Walgrove teacher- I don’t doubt her experience but poll people at OCS and I’m sure you may find similar sentiments also among some. My son says the Walgrove kids often tease the OCS kids and he asked me why. Everyone has a story. I’m really hoping instead of exploiting our differences we can work on our similarities. I want the emotional well-being of our OCS kids to be taken into consideration. It’s incredibly uprooting and traumatic to lose your community especially as a child. And OCS has been cultivating relationships between the kids for many years. I wish our educational system took that into consideration as much as they took money and political clout into the situation. It honestly feel prejudice to kick anyone out who has already been there. How would any other school be any better? There is no guarantee. I would rather see OCS and Walgrove mend their collective fences and be a demonstration of peace building, cooperative living, problem solving and overall civil neighbors sharing in the educational process. I hope this thread can maintain a positive tone based on solution and can be an example of the best we have to offer as individuals and as representatives of our respective schools.

    -Jaymie

  • Carolyn

     Anyone with their children in LAUSD knows the challenging year we are all facing as budget cuts are slicing deeply into the public educational system.   With scarce resources and struggling schools, times are more stressful than ever.  All parents naturally put their children first, and it is natural to worry if we will have the resources in coming years to create the schools of choice that we all desire.  I say this only to acknowledge that the stakes are high… so emotions are going to run high.  

    Charter schools, like all schools, are a work in progress.  I’m sure both Walgrove and OCS parents have stories they could tell about each other’s missteps.  That is part of co-location and sharing space.  Collaboration does not always look perfect, in fact it is often messy… but we keep trying because we believe that in community we will find our way.  Effective collaboration is an art and both sides must be willing.  For this reason, I question any finger pointing about lack of collaboration.  It is just as likely that either side has been unwilling, and we cannot ever know both sides clearly without having experienced the intricacies of co-location negotiation.  

    I ask that anyone with a stake in this – and that includes all of us living in the Walgrove neighborhood – get informed and get involved face to face.  Many of us have friends at both Walgrove and OCS.  We owe it to our Ven-Mar community to ask questions and listen to each other.  To me, the real conversation is… LAUSD is offering Walgrove as a site to build a charter school!  What might that look like?  How might it impact our neighborhood?  How long might it take? Who are the different schools applying?  How many students would attend?  What power do we have as neighbors to influence this process?

    To counter the anonymity of this thread – I am someone with numerous stakes and perspectives… an OCS parent, a Walgrove neighbor and an LAUSD teacher.  
     

  • Troy

    I believe that is all I am saying. OSC has a strained relationship with Walgrove and the neighborhood. I am sure that Walgrove has not been the most friendly either. I personally have done a thing to make the situation batter and I am good friends with kristy (OCS’s principal). All I am saying is own the situation and try and improve it.

    And honestly I am more concerned with Walgrove elementary and the neighborhood than my own children. They will graduate and be gone in two years and whatever is built on walgrove’s campus will not even be built yet. Then whichever charter is there will continue for decades. This should actually not be about the good of our children. It should be about the good of all children.

    (as you can tell I am a bit of a Berkeley hippy. Lol)

    Cheers,
    Troy

  • Troy

    I would be happy to meet for coffee Wednesday at 9:30 at abotts habit.

    Cheers,
    Troy

  • Troy

    That would be “not done a thing”. Lol. This blog does not let you check your writing if you it gets too long for their little box.

    Cheers,
    Troy

  • Scott

    Friends,

    I volunteer at the Reef Cafe every Friday morning at OCS. Together with other volunteers, I fllip pancakes, sell baked goods and serve coffee. The Reef is a community minded effort and I am an advocate of it being a force in building community.

    This year we invite Walgrove school to participate and the results were fantastic. I got to meet many Walgrove parents and kids and the spirit of the event was unifying. walgrove even posted a big thank you board the next day which was nothing less than heart warming.

    I am at our school almost daily and I have never witnessed the animosity expressed between the communities that have been spoken of on this board, but in my experience these comments are a bit overstated. In my view, the two schools have an opportunity.

    If we can come together and explore our options as neighbors, we can design our future as neighbors on a vastly improved campus. I for one am in favor of our doing so and I invite the parents and teachers at Walgrove School to consider this option.

    Both our interschool relationship and our campus need improvement. If we are proactive in solving our differences and in bringing our vision for a new, vastly improve campus together, both our visions can be unified and all may be resolved.

    This is said in the spirit of unity. Though we have apparently not found that unity in the past, doing so now would be to the benefit of all.

    Let’s come together and build something great for our kids.

    Thanks
    Scott

  • Gary

    I will see you there. Salt and pepper hair, glasses, tan (surf with my kids a lot). And thank you!

  • Melissa

    Hi Troy,

    I’m a recent OCS parent with a first grade son, so I’m not on the Walgrove campus yet.  I just wanted to speak to the impact of OCS adding 200+ students in comparison with a different charter school being awarded the space.  It seems logical to me that A) As Gary mentioned, uniting OCS’s campuses will mean that people who live locally will be able to walk or bike to school since they won’t have to rush each child to their own campus, and B) As a k-8th school OCS would have a much higher proportion of siblings attending than a 6th-8th middle school would, which means that those who do have to drive their kids to school will require fewer cars overall, as families will commute together.

    I also want to say that for the past year, every time OCS has sent a notice of an event at the Walgrove campus, they remind the community to be considerate and respectful of the school and the neighbors.  Since the school district’s intent to lease has come to light, and the community has had venues to share their experiences, it has become clear this has not been sufficient.  OCS is now sending much stronger communications to their families in an effort to improve our impact on the Walgrove community.  Hopefully all of the families at OCS will take this to heart, and the community will be open to noticing positive changes.

    -Melissa Atkinson

  • Lance

    Sorry for the odd layout. Lesson learned: do not cut and paste from a Word document. Lance

  • Lance

    Sorry for the odd layout. Lesson learned: do not cut and paste from a Word document. Lance

  • Lance

    If you are interested please
    read the commentary, but take a tour of Ocean Charter and draw your own
    conclusions. If you live near and have children you should seriously consider
    applying.

     

    Ocean Charter is the only
    school my children have ever attended, for seven years now. Along with mastering
    the basics, they speak and understand Japanese. They are competent on cello and
    violin, with no private lessons outside of OCS. I am so appreciative and perhaps
    surprised that such an effective and varied education is available at a public
    school.

     

    OCS has a dedicated parent
    body. We plan, dig, paint, plant, build. We write checks, we find grants. We tutor
    math, run the library. Our children are able to witness and value the work
    their parents do for their school.

     

    I am unclear on how OCS and
    Walgrove are expected to influence one another. Obviously they should not
    impede each other, impediments can be dismantled by thoughtful adults.

     

    When I park and pick my kids up
    I do so quietly and respectfully. Carmageddon was supposed
    to be July 15th, but it was really July 19th, when we got
    back in our cars. I live between a bar and a public park and some of the
    visitors to our street could be more considerate. Especially when the Browns
    play. Any design OCS implements will feature traffic mitigation.

     

    If Ocean Charter is expelled
    from Walgrove it would be disheartening, an unseemly mix of tragedy and farce. OCS
    is doing what a charter school is mandated to do; to successfully initiate new
    methods, to be a laboratory that the larger school system can benefit from.

     

    Such a unique institution deserves
    the support of the LAUSD and the community. It is a local treasure.

     

     

  • Sandi

    We live right next door to Walgrove and Ocean Charter and I can tell you first hand that we neighbors have had nothing but problems with Ocean Charter staff members and parents ever since they moved in 4 years ago. Having lived here for 12 years I can tell you that I never once had a problem with any Walgrove staff members or parents. Most OC kids do not live near the school and are driven in from various areas all around LA and do not care about the neighborhood or the neighbors. We have spoken to the principle there many many times to no avail. I believe she tries to get the message across but some parents really don’t care. Every day we encounter speeders, double parking, blocked driveways, parking in red zones, parking in alleyways where neighbors are trying to get in or out of, loitering, excess trash in the gutters and front yards, etc. OC has no parking spaces for staff and even though there is plenty of parking around the school on Appleton and Maplewood, lazy staff members and volunteer parents choose to park on the side streets in front of our homes making it impossible for the people who live here and work here to park.

  • Walgrove Parent

    what is going to happen when 700 apartment re-open in Walgrove’s school zone? What 300-500 more students at Walgrove Elementary?   LOL

    Los Angeles, developer reach deal to preserve Venice’s landmark Lincoln Place apartmentsThe 38-acre complex —a stylish example of post-WWII affordable housing — would be reopened to 83 evicted households. Nearly 700 units would have rent control.May 26, 2010|By Martha Groves, Los Angeles TimesAn epic landlord-tenant battle in Venice has ended with three legal settlements that would preserve the postwar-era Lincoln Place apartments, return scores of evicted residents to their homes and add hundreds of below-market-rate units to the housing-starved Westside.The Los Angeles City Council is expected Wednesday to ratify the city’s pact with AIMCO Venezia, the owner of the 38-acre complex. The agreement, disclosed Tuesday, was reached earlier this month after 18 months of negotiations.

  • Sandi

    Ocean Charters proposed plan would create an even worse traffic nightmare for the residents by adding an additional 500 students (k-8). I know they saying that they only have 350 students but the proposal by lausd is for 500 seats so once that site is finished they will most certainly fill it and if they do not then lausd can fill it with another charter school (according to prop 39 and it’s amendments). Walgrove will also still be subject to co-locating with another charter as lausd is required by law to offer any available space to all charters who apply, which could mean 3 schools being housed on that campus. After the free standing classrooms come down next year per a state mandated law there will still be 3 classrooms available. A charter only needs 80 kids to apply and be offered space.

    OC supporters are going around the neighborhood now trying to get a petition signed and telling people that their poor students will not have a place to go in a year if they do not win this proposal. Seriously? That is ridiculous! Everyone knows it will take at least 3 years to build and if they do not have a back up plan for where they are going after next year then how do they expect parents to have any faith in their abilities to run a school?

    I, and many of my neighbors, are adamantly opposed to any charter school being built on that campus at all. It is demeaning for the students of Walgrove having to look over at a brand new campus while their own campus still needs work. I do not agree with our taxes being spent on building a new school while our neighborhood schools still need so much work. Lets upgrade what we’ve got first and make our current schools better.

    It’s much easier for lausd to sit back and collect the rent from the charters rather than make the effort needed to make necessary changes. That’s why there are now more charters in lausd than other school system in the country. It’s not time to give up our schools to charters, it’s time for change.

    Read about the high turnover rates at charter schools in the newest LA Times article here: They are not without problems either.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lausd-charters-20110725,0,7483783.story

  • Sandi

    According to Jefferson, your schools co-principle, there are 160 kids on Walgroves campus, not 200+.

    Also, those students will be needing a temporary new home regardless of whether they get the Walgrove lease or not as the process of building a new school will take at least 3 years. The environmental review process alone will take over a year so by the end of next year (when the free standing classrooms are scheduled to be removed) you will be looking at driving your kids to another location. I hope for your sake that your school administrators have a plan.

  • Sandi

    Wow, so we may get 1 year of parents behaving better toward the neighbors. Then what? When OC gets the space all bets are off again and it’s business as usual. What’s to stop all the double parking, honking, speeding, parking in red zones, blocking driveways, rude parents, etc. that will continue FOREVER when (and if) this goes through? Are you planning to come over every day forever and make sure the neighbors are treated respectfully? No, as long as you get what you want right now that’s all that matters to you.

  • Karen

    There is so much unsaid on this blog; it’s like a typical Ocean Charter meeting. First, it’s run by an Ocean Charter parent, James Brennan. That disclosure seems important. Also, OCS parents are taking acception to neighbors “taking it upon themselves to post negative comments about OCS. This is a public process and that’s not a comfortable setting for OCS.

    Lance, your comments are obviously sincere but you don’t mention that you, like dozens of OCS parents, withdrew your children from OCS after 5th grade. The community is looking for an alternative MIDDLE school. OCS should at least demonstrate an ability to do a respectable job of being a middle school. But it fails by numerous measures and before millions of dollars in resources are given away by the district, it’s important to evaluate their track record and not just whether their kids are polite to neighbors.

    The school leadership has ignored serious, documented problems with the middle school year after year and it does a disservice to the public discourse to fail to acknowledge that at a time when OCS is asking for substantial public resources. I wish OCS had dealt with those matters in meetings with OCS parents, but now it’s relevant to this broader community discussion. 1)OCS misrepresents the situation by claiming in their neighborhood flier “steadily rising test scores in the range of 855 to 896 for years 2009 and 2010.” The test scores DROPPED from 896 to 855. Even if test scores are not the only indicator of academic achievement, I have yet to find ANY westside school that has failed on that scale. 2)OCS lost nearly half their teachers last year. That would be scandalous at most schools. 3)OCS claims to do a good job with special education. TRUTH: Many families of students with special needs have been counseled out, even those that are cheerleading this RFP. 4)OCS has couched severe budget cuts as just another school facing budget cuts. But an entire 7th grade class was eliminated for next year because so many students withdrew, including mine midyear. That lost revenue surely has an impact on OCS’s overall budget.

    Ocean Charter could be using this public process as a reason to clean house. Instead they’re spinning information to make it look like they’re the best candidate, and showing no indication that they’ll fix things. But no amount of spin can take away the actual track record of a school that’s been open for 7 years.  

    Finally, OCS–and lots of charter parents–would do well to recognize that while we were reforming outside the system, plenty of teachers, administrators and parents were reforming from within our public schools. Rather than begging the neighborhood to come and visit OCS, OCS parents should be visiting other neighborhood schools. You might be very surprised!

  • Karen

    I don’t know why it’s not posting my name: Karen

  • Lance

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    This is why my family is leaving Ocean.

    OCS ends at 8th grade. The schools we are moving to continue through 12th. Archer School begins in 6th grade, we felt we had to apply now. We made the best decision we could for our family. If Archer, Wildwood, Crossroads, New Roads had denied us we would be returning to Ocean. We will forego the next three years at OCS because we need look to the next seven.

    Schools like these are very interested in OCS students. Ocean deserves my gratitude and enthusiasm. And the credit. My kids did well on the ISEEs. My kids will succeed because OCS prepared them. My superior parenting and amazing genes cannot take all the credit.

    This centrifugal pull from upper schools is an ongoing issue for OCS, we are all aware of it. The students who will take our seats at Ocean are fortunate. I speak now because I want the opportunity that my children had to be there for other children as well.

    If this is the Karen I believe it is, she took one child out of OCS, leaving another there.  Ocean Charter is not the right school for every child on the block, or every child in the family. There are folks who have one kid at Ocean and one at Walgrove. One family’s experience does not make it a poor school, my experience doesn’t make it a good one.

    But the STAR test scores are pretty strong. Especially considering the wide variety of experiences OCS children encounter beyond the basics. Ocean graduates do remarkably well in high school.

    Ocean Charter has instilled in my kids an appetite for learning. What a gift. It makes my life easier, it will make their lives greater.

    Yes, problems, problems, insurmountable problems. How dare we attempt to teach our children. I hope Ocean will have the chance to work out these challenges in a new structure on the Walgrove site, my experience tells me they can.

    Thanks, Lance

  • Karen

    Yes, my daughter will attend 4th grade at OCS and we are fortunate that she will have the same teacher for 4th grade that she’s had for 1st-3rd. I nervously wait to see if the administration can support this teacher’s transition to upper grades. But 4th grade is not middle school and the fact remains that the number of students who withdraw before middle school indicates severe problems, and they need to be looked at before the community relies on OCS to fulfill a middle school role. Perhaps I would be as satisfied as you if my son had left after his 6 wonderful years at OCS. Instead, he stayed for 6th grade and had the same experience that many other 6th graders had, with the administration and board doing NOTHING to address consistent, serious complaints among more than 3/4 of parents in his class.

  • Andy

    You might want to consider required parking permits for your streets.
    Also you live by a school that up to 7 years ago was not even half full. I’m sure it was less crowded before, but the fact is you chose to buy your home next to a school. Be glad you’re not under the flight path.

  • A neighbor

    I’m truly surprised at the snotty responses that grown people are making in defense of Walgrove’s … er … The neighborhood’s issues with OCS. I’ve seen only respect and concern from those speaking in defense of OCS. Any reasonable person should see a pattern here. Show each other respect already.

    Re: traffic
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there less students at Walgrove then OCS and there are 2-3 entries at Morningside that can be used which might explain fewer traffic issues on that side?
    Won’t another charter school have cars being driven by parents trying to get to work on time?

    All of your responses, Sandi, sound simply vindictive and not based on any desire to offer any reasonable solutions. You are not going to be able to close the entire campus down, so what is your suggestion.

  • Andy

    I used to live in those apartments. I continually heard of this “big agreement” and “development deal” 10 years ago when they paid us to leave. Whatever they end up building there it won’t be low-income nor have more than a handful of kids.
    Your Venice has changed, get used to it. Laughing Out Loud.

  • Walgrove parent

    That does not change the fact that someday people will live there. Maybe not next year, but someday in the future. Can you argue that? It used to have 700 apartments. Whatever happens with lincoln place, someday a lot of children will return. Do you disagree?

  • Lance

    2010 STAR Test Results

    ABOVE BASIC

    Sixth Grade CST English-Language Arts, percentage scores above Basic, (Proficient and Advanced):
    Ocean Charter School     84%
    Culver Middle School    66%
    Palms Middle School    70%
    Mark Twain Middle School    43%

    Sixth Grade CST Mathematics, percentage scores above Basic, (Proficient and Advanced):
    Ocean Charter School     79%
    Culver Middle School    55%
    Palms Middle School    66%
    Mark Twain Middle School    37%

    Seventh Grade CST English-Language Arts, percentage scores above Basic, (Proficient and Advanced):
    Ocean Charter School     72%
    Culver Middle School    62%
    Palms Middle School    70%
    Mark Twain Middle School    37%

    Seventh Grade CST Mathematics, percentage scores above Basic, (Proficient and Advanced):
    Ocean Charter School     64%
    Culver Middle School    43%
    Palms Middle School    53%
    Mark Twain Middle School    29%

    BELOW BASIC

    Sixth Grade CST English-Language Arts, percentage scores Below Basic and Far Below Basic:
    Ocean Charter School     0%
    Culver Middle School    11%
    Palms Middle School    14%
    Mark Twain Middle School    18%

    Sixth Grade CST Mathematics, percentage scores Below Basic and Far Below Basic:
    Ocean Charter School     4%
    Culver Middle School    16%
    Palms Middle School    17%
    Mark Twain Middle School    30%

    Seventh Grade CST Mathematics, percentage scores Below Basic and Far Below Basic:
    Ocean Charter School     14%
    Culver Middle School    24%
    Palms Middle School    22%
    Mark Twain Middle School    34%

  • Lance
  • Andy

    Sure, but that’s like saying “someday Los Angeles’ population is going to increase – what will we do about the parking?” I’m suggesting we will likely have more people as a result of the development, but it will be similar to the mixed-use projects being built on Lincoln and Maxella or even in Playa Vista; communities of there own with their own park, Starbucks and drycleaners to serve the young, childless people that can afford it.
    Some perspective, our old bungalow at LP is still there boarded up in it’s tenth year.
    BTW – I think I know you, Troy, but from that era before kids.

  • Sandi

    Lincoln Place Apartments is now a historical landmark and cannot be torn down. The lawsuit specifies that 680 (or somewhere around there) of them must remain low income housing and will be offered at 2005 rates. They can only be renovated, not demolished and not built up on. Feel free to look it up. You don’t have to take my word for it. There will only be 99 units at current rental rates. Those will be built in the space where 2 of the old buildings were torn down before the lawsuit began. There are 84 that have already been refurbished and were offered to the renters who were evicted. A number of them have moved back and at the rates they were when they left. That was part of the agreement. I don’t know how long that will be in effect for but that’s what it is now.

  • Sandi

    Walgrove Elementary has had between 300-350 students since we’ve been here (12 years). They have simply moved from having 20% community kids to now having 80% community kids and that is thanks to the fantastic group of parents who have kids at Walgrove who have worked diligently to make positive changes over there. Ocean Charter and co-location is a set back for Walgrove and a terrible situation for the kids from both schools.

  • Sandi

    My suggestion is to let Walgrove have their campus back and for NO charter school to occupy the space. I apologize for not making myself clear.


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