The LA education system consists of twelve grades over twelve years; elementary school through high school is compulsory. Many people attend before and after these mandatory levels. There are some variations by school, especially when privately managed.
- Pre-Kindergarten: 4-5 years of age
- Kindergarten: 5–6
- Elementary School – 1st Grade: 6–7, 2nd Grade: 7-8, 3rd Grade: 8–9, 4th Grade: 9-10, 5th Grade, 10-11
- Junior High School (Middle School) – 6th Grade: 11-12, 7th Grade: 12-13, 8th Grade: 13-14
- High School – 9th Grade (Freshman): 14-15, 10th Grade (Sophomore): 15–16, 11th Grade (Junior): 16–17, 12th Grade (Senior): 17–18
- College / University – Ages vary, but often 18–23 (five years to complete four years of undergraduate education, referred to as Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years)
The school year usually starts in early September or late August after a long summer break. Please see “School Year Calendar” for more information.
Many schools put emphasis on extra curriculum activities such as field trips, seasonal events, after school activities that include sports, arts and other educational based interests. Some schools have extra language classes. They are all an important part of the school years. Encourage your children to play an active role in them to take full advantage of what the school system has to offer. Not only do these activities offer an opportunity to learn and develop skills outside of the classroom, but they help to cement friendships with children who have common interests which will add to an overall enjoyment of their school years.
The website for the Los Angeles Unified School Disctrict is http://www.lausd-oehs.org. The site provides answers and information to any relative questions relating to the LA area’s schools. The LAUSD safety inspection is conducted by OEHS (Office of Environmental Health and Safety). If there is any health and safety concern, OEHS officers can be contacted at (213) 241-3199.
Beverly Hills Unified School District: http://www.beverlyhills.k12.ca.us/
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District: http://www.smmusd.org
Las Virgenes Unified School District: http://www.lvusd.org
Glendale Unified School District: http://www.gusd.ne
There is no entrance exam for public schools. For private schools, SSAT (Secondary School Aptitude Test) or ISEE (Independent School Entrance Examination) are widely used from 5th grade to 12th grade in order to assess one’s academic levels.
In some cases, extremely advanced children may be suggested by the teacher(s) and the school to skip grades if deemed appropriate.
Class sizes vary, however due to the recent statewide budget cuts, class sizes in public schools are on the rise. This is one reason that private schools are popular with those who can afford the high annual costs.
Admission processes vary. For public schools, admission is determined based on the home address. Check the district website to make sure when the admission application needs to be submitted, where the application package can be picked up and for further information.
For private schools, the admission processes and criteria are different from one another. Results of the tests, essays and interviews, family history and connection with the school, recommendation from teachers and other aspects are thoroughly reviewed. It is very important to get all detailed information specific to your school of interest ahead of time as often there is a waiting list for the most sought-after private schools.