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School's Out But The Work Never Ends
Posted by Joann Deutch on Jun 24, 2012 - 5:13:00 PM

LAUREL CANYONOne of the big decisions - pro or con - for living in the hills is school centric.  Do you buy a house in the hills and send your kids to the local public schools, or do you decide to cart your kids off to the private schools?  In the Laurel Canyon/Studio City area there is probably the largest concentration of prestigious private and parochial schools, where your children will get a great education.  Or do you commit to the public schools?  Would you be surprised to learn that many of the local elementary schools are the best ranked schools in the city?  From here kids get tracked into Highly Gifted and Magnet Programs in middle and high school.

Filming at Wonderland Elementary School

In the last few years I’ve come to understand that if you choose a local hillside public school, your kids will have playmates nearby.  If you elect the elite route you will be driving your kids back and forth to school, and 45 minutes to play dates.  That’s something to consider.  Will the local kids make up for the breath of friends in other parts of town when they begin to play park or club sports, or join the Scouts? 


I was surprised when I saw a flurry of invitations for this weekend for school events.  Yes there were graduations from kindergarten; elementary, middle and high school.  I am proud of the neighborhood kids who snagged spots in the freshman class of many prestigious colleges.  Didn’t seem to matter if the local kids went to Harvard/Westlake or North Hollywood High. If they were smart kids they got accepted.


But that’s not what grabbed my attention.  The school invitations where for the never ending fundraising activities that local hillside parents commit to so that their kids are exposed to a mind boggling array of enrichment programs.


I started Saturday with a stroll to Wonderland Elementary School. There had been a casting call for 50 kids for a Nick Casavettes movie. No SAG or AFTRA credits were being offered, but I was betting there’d be a mob of kids there. Could this have been his upcoming film Yellow?  The buzz is that the film is set to show at film festivals this year, but I haven’t seen it mentioned, so maybe it got pushed back?  The publicity for the film says it’s “a dark comedy about a young woman who comes to terms with her family’s shadowed past, featuring Sienna Miller, Melanie Griffith, Gena Rowlands, Ray Liotta and a breakout by Heather Wahlquist.”


Cost of next year’s art program covered? Maybe.


The next invite was for a fundraiser for a recently established pre-school, Wonderkids, which is a “Reggio-inspired” play school and preschool. It has a small enrollment with 2 locations, serving three months old to five year olds.  The school is the brain child of a group of local moms who had a vision.  Pretty unique and impressive accomplishment.


And Rock the Playground is scheduled for June 16th.  Another fundraiser for Wonderland Elementary School - this one geared toward keeping the school’s play yard open on Saturdays.  I’m told it’s play date central and THE place for birthday parties.


You won’t be doing a drive by to dump your kids at school. You’ll be developing a lifetime network of friends when you go the local route.


Cliffside Malibu




Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.