Where to send kids for middle school is a big worry for many parents of elementary school (and even preschool) students in Rancho Park.
Tonight at an event at Overland Avenue School, parents, students and teachers from Palms Middle School gathered to tell a crowd of elementary school kids and their parents that they can stop stressing out.
Their message: Palms is a great neighborhood middle school where teachers are dedicated, music programs rival any in the state, PE is not a thing of the past, and most importantly, students are flourishing.
The night's headlines were a far cry from the negative LAUSD news we all hear so much about. It turns out you don't have to go to private school or drive across town to benefit from teachers who come in on Saturdays to give extra help to students, who open their classrooms for daily lunch clubs, who lead kids on three-day sailing trips to Catalina, or who believe their school is so good they happily send their own kids there.
Certainly the group of eight very poised tweens who returned to an elementary school auditorium to share their stories spoke loudly and proudly about their school. They talked of making new friends, finding inspiring teachers, pushing themselves to achieve and genuinely loving their school.
"No one gets lost," said one sixth-grade panelist offering reassurances to parents and students who might fear that children get swallowed up in a large middle school environment.
First of all, they give you a map. And secondly, the kids all figure it out, he explained.
However, what is getting lost is the fact that Westside public middle schools like Palms (and like Emerson and Webster) which serve local students from Rancho Park, Cheviot Hills, Westwood and Mar Vista are providing learning environments worthy of congratulation, not concern.
And that was perhaps the greatest lesson of the evening.