As a parent, you'll have plenty of options when it comes to schools and education in Los Angeles. Both the quality and cost of these options vary greatly, and you should conduct thorough research before making a decision.

On the whole, the city's private schools have a better reputation than their public counterparts, but it's important to remember that considerable variations exist among schools in both sectors. Reputation only counts for so much, and often doesn't accurately reflect the quality of education in schools.

Before enrolling your child at a particular school, calling the principal to ask for a tour of the school and a class visit is a good idea. Once you visit a school, you'll be able to gauge its suitability for yourself by judging things like class size, the types of resources available, and the programmes offered.

Public schools in Los Angeles

Historically, the Los Angeles Unified School District has struggled with high dropout rates, underfunding, and overcrowding. In recent years, the situation has begun to improve, making LA's public schools well worth considering today.

Two major advantages of public schooling are the cost (tuition is free) and the zoning regulations that require children to attend a school close to home. This means your child will interact with peers from their own neighbourhood. It's common for many parents to choose a neighbourhood based on its proximity to their preferred school.

Furthermore, if you're seeking immersion into American culture for your child, the public school system allows them to interact with a wider, more varied, and more representative group of American kids.

Charter schools

Charter schools in the USA are free-to-attend non-profit institutions that receive less public funding than regular public schools and instead receive additional funding from private sources. They enjoy more freedom in teaching methods than state schools and are often considered a better alternative.

There are a number of charter schools in LA. Due to high demand, many schools operate admission lotteries to ensure the allocation of places is fair.

Magnet schools

If your child is gifted in a particular area, a magnet school in LA could be a suitable option. There are numerous magnet schools to select from in LA, each institution geared towards students pursuing careers in specific fields such as languages, sciences, and the arts. 

Admission criteria can vary depending on the school's specialisation. For instance, music students usually need to partake in an audition. Not all magnet schools require admissions testing, in which case lotteries are used to place students.

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Private schools in Los Angeles

Private schools are funded by tuition and governing bodies rather than the US government. This allows teachers the freedom to customise their curricula and teaching styles, which can range from quite alternative to conservative and strict.

Choosing an appropriate private school is crucial and depends on several factors. It's important to remember that the competition for places in top private schools is incredibly stiff, often forcing parents to navigate limited space and selective entrance requirements. Additionally, many private schools in Los Angeles are religious (often Catholic) institutions. These schools are typically cheaper than non-religious schools but may have restrictions on attendance.

International schools in Los Angeles

There are also a number of international schools in LA, allowing your child to possibly continue the curriculum they started in their home country. Most expats in LA find it unnecessary to send their children to an international school, as their children can receive a good education at a fraction of the price at a quality public or private school.

Still, the option of an international school is well worth exploring, especially if you do not intend to stay in Los Angeles for a long period. International schools generally allow expat students to transition to life in LA with minimal disruption to their education. It's also a great way for both you and your child to meet similar families with shared experiences of relocation and living abroad.

The best international schools in Los Angeles offer a comprehensive education with curricula including the International Baccalaureate (IB), British and French systems. These institutions cater to a diverse student body, providing a global perspective and individualised attention to foster academic excellence.

Schools like The International School of Los Angeles (LILA) provide immersive language programs and preparation for the IB Diploma, ensuring students are well-equipped for global opportunities. Other schools, such as Lycée International de Los Angeles and Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, offer bilingual education in French, with cultural diversity and high academic standards.

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Special-needs education in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Unified School District offers a robust special-needs programme through the Division of Special Education.

More than a third of children with special educational needs in the district have a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) diagnosis. Speech and Language Impairment (SLI) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses each account for around 20 percent of students with special needs. Many mainstream schools can accommodate these students with extra support and resources. Particularly severe cases and conditions requiring more intensive care may instead be enrolled in specialised resource centres and special schools.

International schools often provide some support for students who need it, especially for mild learning disabilities or language proficiency, usually at an additional cost. The degree of support and the conditions catered for vary widely, so it's best to confirm with the school.

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Tutors in Los Angeles

For families new to LA, tutors can be an immensely helpful resource, especially for those coming from overseas. Tutors can help build English proficiency where needed or maintain your child's mother tongue if they're being taught in another language full-time. These services offer tailored instruction across a wide range of subjects and grades, including test preparation for SAT, ACT, and ISEE exams.

Adjusting to a new city also means adjusting to a new curriculum, and catching up can be tough. Tutoring can ease this process, with specialised assistance available for difficult subjects like maths or science. Additionally, teenagers preparing for graduation can benefit greatly from exam prep with a tutor.

Providers like Teachers Who Tutor LA and 310 Tutors focus on individualised approaches, ensuring that learning is both effective and engaging. Varsity Tutors and LA Tutors 123 are known for their flexibility, catering to busy schedules and diverse educational needs. For a broad selection of tutors, platforms like present various options, making it easier to find the perfect match for your child’s learning style.

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Expat Health Insurance

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