Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Larchmont Charter TK-2 Students Start New Year at New Wilshire Blvd. Location

The entrance to the new Larchmont Charter campus at 4900 Wilshire Blvd. (All photos courtesy of Larchmont Charter School)

It’s a new school year, and for about 220 of Larchmont Charter School‘s youngest students, in grades TK-2, that also means a new school campus in the Brookside neighborhood, at 4900 Wilshire Blvd. (Wilshire and Longwood).

For the last 18 years, the original campus of Larchmont Charter School, housing TK-4th grade students, was located at its Hollygrove facility near Vine St. and Waring Ave.  In 2021, however, the school was notified by Pacific Clinics, owner of the property, that the facility was going to be redeveloped and there would be less space available to the school.  So a search for a new location began, and the school eventually found the Wilshire Blvd. building, former home of the Wilshire Private School. (The building is still owned by the Korean Institute of Southern California, which sponsored Wilshire Private School, and which also still runs Korean language and culture classes at the site on weekends.)

Larchmont Charter Executive Director Amy Held recently told the Buzz that the location was perfect because it’s still in the same general area Larchmont Charter was founded to serve, where it has put down roots for the last 18 years, and where most of its families live. Another plus was that the building was already configured as a school, while charters often have to make do with non-traditional spaces originally built for other purposes.

Held said the new school year, which started on August 22, is “going great so far” and that it’s “fun to see the kids there” after months and months of preparation.  During that time, she said, the school painted and refurnished all 13 classrooms and the multi-purpose room/auditorium, repaved and restriped the parking lot, upgraded things like drinking fountains, planted a garden, and more.

Now, said Held, it’s “such a sweet space,” and the new start in the new location seems to be reinvigorating the school community and bringing back some of the “founding energy” from the school’s early days. “We’re excited that we get to stay in the same general area,” Held said. “It’s exciting and breathing new life into the community.”

Held said the school’s original plan was to move the TK-2 students to the new Wilshire location, and have its 3rd and 4th graders remain in a smaller space at the Hollygrove campus.  But because the school’s charter allows for only four campuses, and it already has more TK-4th grade students at its Fairfax campus, 5th-8th graders at its Selma campus, and 9th-12 graders at its Lafayette Park campus, Held said they decided to move the 3rd and 4th graders to the Selma location while moving the younger students to the new space on Wilshire.

Held also said community involvement is one of the school’s core tenets, so it hopes to build strong relationships with its new Brookside neighbors, some of whom are already current and former school families. Held said the school sent a letter to neighbors early on, to let them know the new campus would be opening this fall, and that neighbors will soon be invited to a morning sing assembly at the school. The school will also have a presence at the Brookside block party later this month, providing a bounce house for the event, and neighbors will be welcome to join in the school’s traditional Thanksgiving basket drive (held in conjunction with Pacific Clinics), as well as its annual World Fair in December, an open-to-the-community, carnival-style event celebrating cultures around the world (though Held said they’re not sure yet which of the school’s four campuses will be hosting that event).

So Held says the school is now settling into the new location and expects to be there for the long term. “Though with charter schools,” she added, “you always have to be very nimble.”

Admission to Larchmont Charter, which Held says is “a diverse-by-design school,” is by general lottery and open to anyone in the state of California, though most of its applications come from this general part of the city.  Held said the school receives about 800 kindergarten applications at its two locations each year, and about a third of the available spaces are taken by siblings of current students. The application period opens in early November and closes in mid-February, and the admissions lottery is held at the end of February.

For more information about Larchmont Charter School and its philosophy, campuses, and programs, see http://www.larchmontcharter.org.

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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