Recognized as one of the highest performing charter schools in Los Angeles, Larchmont at Fairfax is relentlessly committed to providing meaningful, challenging, differentiated and quality learning experiences for all of its students.
Founded in 2008, Larchmont at Fairfax opened its doors to 40 Kindergarten and 20 1st grade students boldly embarking on a path as a newly established school in West Hollywood. Today it stands 244 students strong and serves students in grades TK – 4th grade. The Larchmont campus at Fairfax houses 10 classrooms, each with a Lead Teacher, in addition to two full-time Academic Specialists, dedicated enrichment teachers, and other specialized staff. With a deep passion for educating the whole child using a Constructivist approach, Larchmont’s elementary program encompasses interdisciplinary instruction around the core academic subjects of reading, writing, mathematics, social sciences and science, in addition to a diverse array of enrichment classes in Art, Music, Physical Education, Gardening, Cooking, Improv, and Library.
Step through our doors and you will see the mission of Larchmont Charter School - academic achievement, diversity, and dedication to improving our world - come to life!
You will see it in Morning Meetings where students are given the opportunity to not only practice literacy and math concepts, but also to build cohesion as a community as they greet each other and share important life experiences.
You will see it during daily ELA (English Language Arts) instruction in the analytics of reading, literature appreciation, vocabulary development, and communication and writing skills.
You will see it in our use of the Everyday Math curriculum, coupled with the CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) math approach, as students work with hands-on materials to problem-solve using multiple strategies, thereby fostering true proficiency.
You will see it in our Signature Projects – one of the most important hallmarks of our school. Signature Projects propel students to be stewards of positive change as they participate in meaningful service to their communities. Based on principles of eco-literacy and social justice, each student embarks upon a 2-year continuum around a signature project grounded in a project based learning approach. For Hero Projects, for example, third graders research national heroes and then design and facilitate an action project in support of a beneficiary of their choosing.
You will see it in our weekly enrichment classes (art, music, PE, gardening, cooking, improv and library), which are not considered a luxury at Larchmont, but rather an integral part of child development and personal expression.
You will see it in our instructional model known as looping. Looping is where the teacher stays with a group of students for two full academic years – for example, teaching them all in first grade the first year, then teaching the same group in second grade the following year. Looping allows for teachers to more deeply develop relationships with students and families and to better gauge student strengths and needs.
You will see it every Friday morning during School Sing assembly when our entire community gathers together to sing and view student presentations.
You will see it reflected in our Edible Schoolyard affiliation with the Alice Water’s Foundation. Our Edible Schoolyard program teaches children not only to garden, plant and harvest food as part of our biological science program, but it provides a delicious and nutritious hot lunch prepared each day in our very own kitchen at the Larchmont Fairfax campus.
You will see it in our school field trips that enrich the curriculum and give children the opportunity to learn in real-world settings.
You will also see it in the way we complement our strong academic preparation with social and emotional development as we gather in Community Groups to bridge connections between our older and younger students; as we teach conflict resolution through the UCLA program known as Cool Tools; or as we highlight the pillars of our character education program, known as the ESLRs (Every Student Learns and Respects), in our classrooms and common areas.
Having been fortunate enough to be a part of the Larchmont vision for the past fifteen years, first as a teacher and then as a principal, I invite you to explore what it means to be a part of Larchmont Charter School at Fairfax. I am confident that when you do, you will recognize it as one of the premier educational settings, as I do.
Principal – Larchmont Charter School at Fairfax
Our English language arts program is connected to the notion that reading and writing are components of one process and that each supports the growth of the other. Writers deserve to write the kinds of texts they see in the real world. Readers need opportunities to read high-level interest books of their own choosing. Using the Columbia University Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop models, students spend extended periods of time reading and discussing literature, and have continuous, repeated exposure to the process of writing. In this manner we are building the skills and developing the interest and confidence needed to support lifelong readers and writers who demonstrate agency and independence, as well as the skills and strategies to ensure success in middle school and beyond.
At LCS we recognize that the “one-size fits all” model does not match the reality of students’ learning styles or needs. The Reader’s and Writer’s workshop supports the need for a differentiated curriculum. The workshop model:
Helps teachers address each student as an individual learner
Teaches strategies that can be used continuously as the child grows as a reader and writer
Supports small group work and conferring
Taps into the power of learning as part of a community
Builds choice and assessment-based learning into the design of the curriculum
Teaches students the writing process: rehearsing or planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing
Provides readers with opportunities to consolidate the skills they have learned so they can
use these skills with automaticity
Students also work on “word study” skills and conventions of English language. They are integrated in Reader’s and Writer’s workshop and also given a specific focus at other times in the day. In our TK/K classes, children practice these skills in their literacy groups. First and second grade meets with their leveled reading groups every day. The reading groups are homogeneous groups where the students are working at about the same level. The teachers are therefore able to focus in on the specific skills appropriate for each group. In 3rd and 4th grade, time is set aside for students to specifically work on spelling and grammar lessons.
Our goal for mathematics instruction is to produce students who recognize and appreciate the mathematical components of their world and the important role that mathematics will play in their future. We strive to develop student fluency with numbers supported by a strong mathematical vocabulary and solid skill base. Challenging projects that implement skills and concepts support the development of mathematical reasoning and algebraic thinking building confident problem-solvers throughout the grades. Our early focus on the application of skills readies our students for increasingly challenging math curricula.
At Fairfax we use the Everyday Math curriculum. Everyday Math is a constructivist curriculum that was developed by the Chicago School of Mathematics Project. It focuses on developing children’s understandings and skills in ways that produce life-long mathematical thinkers.
The Everyday Mathematics curriculum emphasizes:
The use of concrete, real-life examples that are meaningful and memorable
Repeated exposure to mathematical concepts and skills through a spiraling curriculum to
Developmont of a child’s ability to recall knowledge from their long-term memory
Frequent practice of basic computational skills to develop mastery of procedures and quick
Recall of facts, often through games
Use of multiple methods of problem-solving strategies to accommodate different learning
Styles among the students
In addition to Everyday Math, we also implement Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI). CGI is not a math program in itself, but rather an approach to teaching mathematics that both supports and enhances our Everyday Math curriculum. CGI is a student-centered approach to teaching math. It starts with what your students already know and builds on their natural number sense and intuitive approaches to problem solving. It is a way of listening to students, asking strategic questions, and engaging with their thinking—all with the goal of uncovering and expanding every student’s mathematical understanding. CGI provides an opportunity for all students to engage in the math lesson each day at their level of understanding and development.
We consider our social studies curriculum to be an opportunity to promote a culturally sensitive historical perspective and to inspire civic-minded participation through community service. Our social studies curriculum is aligned with California State Standards, following core content expectations. Instructional delivery is focused on guiding questions and projects as we build student understanding of various historical perspectives, providing opportunities for students to explore, analyze and deepen their understanding of community, diversity and multiculturalism.
In kindergarten, the curriculum focuses around the idea of interdependence and what a relationship is. This is broken down into smaller units—Relationships to and within the community-what is a relationship? What is a community? Who works in our community? The unit ends with a Community Impact project- what problems do you see in our community? How can we take action to help solve some of these problems? How can I inspire others to take action?
The big idea for first grade is “What is our place in the world?” The main idea is “All Around the World” which includes a study of the continents, mapping, culture, language and food, history and language, cultural literacy and American symbols, icons and traditions. This will culminate with a World Fair Market which will include some beginning studies in economics.
The essential question in second grade is “How do humans impact the world?” and “How do heroes make a difference?” The studies of the year will cover Geography and Mapping, Family Heritage, Government Institutions and Practices, and an introduction to Economics.
The focus in third grade is on becoming an advocate for the community and the Earth. The major units of study are Government: What the US Constitution is and why it is important?; Geography: Why the Native Americans settled in California?; How the community has changed over time and Economy and Resources?
Fourth grade looks at Stewardship and Responsibility to the global community. The essential questions they address are: How can I advocate my ideas to others? How do I evaluate and understand different opinions? How do I make an impact on my world? This will be accomplished through a study of California, researching the physical features and regions, early California history, the Gold Rush and the shift in populations after the Gold Rush, a look at the Federal Government and a study of Martin Luther King Jr.
Social Studies and Science
At Larchmont the curriculum is driven forward by the California academic content and performance standards and CA CCSS (Common Core State Standards) and structured through our constructivist approach. Signature Projects at the TK-4 grade levels embody our inquiry-based approach.
The K-8 Signature Project sets the theme for the year through the principles of eco-literacy and social justice to provide a meaningful structure through which to learn the standards in social studies, science, English language arts, mathematics, world languages, physical education, and the visual/performing arts. Signature Projects consist of multiple smaller units and lessons, connected through their thematic consistency and focus, and includes two approaches to teaching and learning:
Content/skill-based lessons are provided in which students develop a knowledge base and refine the academic skills to utilize that knowledge, and
Action-based lessons are provided in which students become active agents in life-based activities in order to learn how to put their knowledge to work.
Signature Projects are continually assessed and revitalized. Faculty and staff take part annually in a process of self-assessment in which the content, design, and implementation of the TK-4 Signature Project at each grade level is examined and improved. Through the use of our Signature Project Rubric, Larchmont faculty and administration validate that the Signature Project is:
CA CCSS-based and grade level appropriate
Based upon the concepts and theories of eco-literacy
Use a constructivist approach to learning
Cooking, Gardening & Lunch
The vision of the Edible Schoolyard is to integrate gardening, cooking and lunch made from scratch into the core academic mission of the school. At the Fairfax campus, students classroom studies are also augmented with projects that use food as another lens to examine certain subjects. In doing so, we are pioneering Alice Water’s latest idea that school lunch is an academic subject. The Edible Schoolyard program promotes the tenets of eco-literacy by teaching children to garden, prepare and eat local seasonal food. In the process, they awaken their senses, learn about nutrition, help to build community, and begin to take personal responsibility for the physical earth and the social community.
All students at the Fairfax campus have kitchen and gardening classes. Students learn about science, math and social studies while learning how to compost, collect soil samples, read and create recipes and acquire basic knife skills.
The ESY curriculum is also evident in our innovative school lunch program. The lunch we provide is made from scratch in the commissary kitchen at Fairfax, using produce sourced from our local farmer’s market and meats that are humanely raised and hormone and antibiotic-free. The seasonal menu includes familiar favorites (like soups on Mondays and pasta every Wednesday) as well as a range of other cuisines and flavors that reflect the diversity of our student body and expose kids to new dishes.
The lunch program is also woven into the students’ experience outside of the lunchroom. Students participate in menu meetings, recipe contests, special meals that they help cook for the entire campus and other experiences that directly help shape our lunch program. We hope you will embrace this truly remarkable part of our school!
How can you help?
There are many ways to support ESY at LCS. You could:
Support ESY activities and fundraising throughout the year.
Volunteer to help serve lunch. Volunteers are an integral part of the lunch program. Many parents have described this as a, particularly rewarding volunteer experience because they get to see their children during the day and enjoy a meal afterward.
Support a home-school connection by growing your own garden with our children, encouraging adventurous eating by introducing new dishes into your regular rotation, and composting either as an eater or a gardener. You can add your compost to your green bin if you don’t have a garden.
Sign your children up for our terrific lunch program. If you give it time, and approach it in a matter-of-fact way, you (and they!) will be surprised by what they end up devouring.
Music, Art & Improv
At Fairfax, our constructivist approach focuses on students’ natural and varied approaches to learning and understanding. We recognize that students “construct their own understanding” through various activities and experiences. We therefore offer a breadth of enrichment classes at every grade level, and enrichment teachers also assist the teachers periodically throughout the week in core academic classrooms to support the integration of various learning styles throughout the curriculum.
All students take part in an active music program. The TK-2nd grade curriculum includes general music and songs, rhythm, percussion, instrument families and Glockenspiels. The 3rd and 4th grade classes begin with singing and rhythm. The students learn to play the recorder, study composers and world music. They are also introduced to the ukulele.
The visual arts program values process, exploration, and problem-solving. Students learn through experimentation and discovery, and they are encouraged to use critical thinking skills. The visual arts curriculum is carefully designed to integrate with the classroom curriculum. In TK-K the students explore line, form, color, texture and shape using a variety of medias. The 1st grade curriculum reviews shape and value and symmetry and introduces a study of abstract art. 2nd grade brings in geometric shapes in art, freeze dance abstracts, figure drawing and complimentary colors. 3rd grade adds a study of negative/positive space. 4th grade creates fiber art, is introduced to surrealism and culminates the school year with a Peace Parade art project.
Children learn social skills through natural and positive reinforcement and shared experiences using improv games. These team-building activities take students a step further by incorporating the language and understanding developed through improv games to create a culture of going with the flow, using kindness, staying on topic (conversation skills), and understanding empathy and perspective.
Our PE program offers opportunities for physical growth and development in team and individual sports. The goal is to introduce enjoyable activities and healthy concepts that will promote lifelong fitness and optima health. Through a variety of activities over their elementary school experience, students develop skills of balance and locomotion along with greater bodily and spatial awareness and an understanding of games, rules and strategies.
and Special Education
At LCS we believe that social and emotional learning is integral to academic success. A number of tools have been blended together to create an SEL program that specifically develops skills in self-recognition & emotional self-management, empathy toward others, conflict resolution and problem-solving.
Key components within Social Emotional Learning include:
mindfulness, which creates space for students, changing their impulsive reactions to more thoughtful responses.
Cool Tools (Safe Schools), a UCLA program which guides children in resolving conflicts by using concrete objects to teach abstract concepts. Cool Tools vividly teaches lifelong strategies for handling all forms of conflict through the use of a toolbox. These “tools” serve as prompts to help children explore, understand and remember behaviors and concepts such as responsibility, decision making, personal space, inclusion, consideration, kindness, integrity, empathy, fairness, patience, forgiveness and determination.
Zones of Regulation, a framework to foster self-regulation and emotional self-control in students.
SLO's (School-wide Learning Outcomes), integrated into all of our lessons and interactions with students throughout the day.
positive discipline/alternatives to suspension. We understand that students between the ages of 4-10 are still developing an understanding of school expectations, friendships, and countless other skills required to navigate a school setting. With that in mind, our discipline policy/student guidance plan, focuses on a restorative approach to addressing any negative behaviors which may occur at school. Restorative systems include: mediation, conversations, reflection time, repairs, community service, goal plans, and much more.
Anti-Bias Curriculum - LCS Fairfax utilizes the Anti-Bias Building Blocks by the Anti-Defanmation League in an effort to create even more inclusive classrooms where respect for diversity is a high priority.
The vision of Larchmont Charter’s special education program is to ensure life success and/or college success by providing quality instruction to all students with special needs in the least restrictive environment. While the co-teaching model is the ideal method in providing instruction for students with special needs, Larchmont Charter recognizes that given its student population and facilities challenges, it will take some time to achieve this goal. At this time Larchmont Charter implements a pull-out/push-in method in providing services for students with special needs.
Larchmont Charter also provides speech, occupational therapy, counseling, adapted physical education, educational- related intensive counseling services, recreational therapy, and behavior intervention supports.
Our goal for our students with special needs is to master strategies and skills to compensate for their unique learning profiles to enable them to demonstrate learning or proficiency/mastery of the common core standards with the end goal of being exited from the special education program prior to high school graduation.
Differentiation & Gifted Learners: The year begins with an assessment of each learner’s ability level, against which individual progress is regularly measured. This is coupled with high expectations for all students, enabling students at all levels to thrive. Larchmont Charter School does not offer separate classes for Gifted/Talented learners. Rather, within the auspices of our program, we utilize curriculum, approaches, and instructional methods which allow us to meet students at their level and to be able to provide differentiated and rigorous learning opportunities.
For more information regarding Larchmont Charter's Student Support Services and special education, please contact Myra Salinas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See additional resources below:
in education, refers to the practice of a teacher remaining with the same group of students for more than one school year.
Our first grade students stay with the same teacher and same peer group in second grade.
In third grade the classes are reconfigured and the students then stay in this new loop for third and fourth grade.
In Kindergarten, we do not loop students. That is a stand-alone year. We take one year to get to know students very well before placing them in a two-year loop.
The advantages to looping are:
Teachers gain extra teaching time. Classroom rules, routines and procedures only need to be quickly reviewed at the beginning of the second year.
Teachers increase their knowledge about a child’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses in a way that is impossible to achieve in a single year.
Long term teacher-student relationships have been noted to result in an emotional and intellectual climate that encourages thinking, risk-taking, and involvement.
Students develop a strong classroom community.
At Fairfax, we typically assign 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night, starting in Kindergarten, in addition to daily reading. We believe the purpose of homework is multi-faceted — benefits of homework as they relate to the LCS model include:
an opportunity for children to review and practice what has been covered in class
the chance for your child to prepare their mind for the next day’s class
the opportunity for children to extend learning by applying skills to new situations
Most importantly we want students to think of themselves as learners both inside and outside of the classroom while still recognizing the need for a healthy amount of homework and a balance with home life. In grades TK-2, the homework is assigned as a weekly packet so families have the flexibility to adjust the amount completed each night. In grades 3-4, there are some elements of homework that are nightly and other projects that are completed over the course of a week(s).
School libraries are an essential part of the school experience. More than 60 education and library research studies have produced clear evidence that school library programs staffed by qualified school librarians have a positive impact on student academic achievement. School libraries help to foster a culture of learning and literacy within the school!
At the Fairfax campus, students have the opportunity to visit the library once a week with our Reading Specialist/Librarian. At this time students are introduced to library skills, they read stories and have the opportunity to check out a library book for their reading pleasure. Our wonderful selection of library books is supported by our school Birthday Book program where students are invited to donate a book to the library in honor of their birthday.
You can help support the Larchmont libraries by purchasing a library book to be donated to a campus of your choice. Each campus has its own unique wish list for books.
View our library book wish lists on Amazon