New Parents » Ask Palms

Ask Palms

Click or tap to reveal the answers to common questions below.

Send any other questions to askfriends @ Friends of Palms will try to get you an answer by email. Selected questions and answers will be posted here as well, without identifying you personally.

If your question is very personal or especially sensitive, we suggest that you contact a Palms teacher, counselor, or administrator directly.

The Honors Program is for advanced students in the Palms home school, meaning that they attend Palms because they are in the Palms attendance area.

The Gifted Magnet Program is for students in the LAUSD Magnet Program who have been admitted to the Palms Gifted/High Ability Magnet.

The admissions processes are different and the funding sources are different, but the Honors Program, SAS program, and Gifted Magnet Program are academically equivalent. Honors and Gifted Magnet classes are taught separately but have the same curriculum. Non-honors non-gifted-magnet classes cover the same material, but may not cover it in as much depth.

For more details see the Four Schools in One page, the Magnet Programs page, and LAUSD's Gifted/High Ability Magnet page.

For the Modern Media and Communications Magnet

Yes, you must apply to get your child into this Magnet School.

For the Gifted/High Ability Magnet

If your child can work at an advanced level, they can do so whether they are admitted to Palms as their home school, whether they entered through the SAS program, or whether they entered through the Gifted/High Ability Magnet program. Their academics at Palms will be the same.

Reasons you might apply to the Gifted/High Ability Magnet Program if you are not in the Palms home school area:

  • As the way for a gifted/high ability student to be accepted to Palms.
  • As a backup to an SAS application you have submitted.

Reasons you might apply to the Gifted/High Ability Magnet Program whether or not you are in the Palms home school area:

  • To retain previous magnet points, for use when applying to a Magnet high school.
  • To earn new Magnet points, for use when applying to a Magnet high school.

Students who live in the Palms Middle School attendance boundaries do not need to fill out an application. Honors/Gifted students will automatically be placed in the SAS/Honors classes.

If you are not sure if you are in the Palms attendance area, type your home address into the LAUSD resident school identifier to see if Palms is your home school.

Other SAS details, including application information and dates, can be found at the LAUSD GATE website.

You don't apply. Instead, parents of qualifying students are notified of their eligibility.</divp

See Magnet Transportation.

Sixth grade students have 5 teachers: homeroom, elective, P.E., and a 2-teacher team for Math/Science and English/History.

Seventh and eighth grade students have 7 teachers: homeroom, elective, P.E., and 4 academic subject teachers.

Students can talk to their counselors about elective choices and state their elective preferences, but they have only one elective period each day. See the Electives section and the 6th Grade Courses and Electives, 7th Grade Courses and Electives, and 8th Grade Courses and Electives pages.

Instrumental music students learning a wind or percussion instrument can take Winds & Percussion or demonstrate the skill to take Band. Students learning string instruments can take Strings or demonstrate the skill to take Orchestra.

Students looking for additional activities can participate in clubs or after-school activities.

Some students adjust easily to middle school life, while others need more time to acclimate.

The adjustments at Palms are made easier in a number of ways:

  • Teachers, as well as the Sixth Grade Counselor and the rest of the school staff, are experts at helping students make this transition. They look for ways to help them.
  • Sixth grade students have their own physical section of campus: the sixth grade bungalows. This lets them spend most of the day with they peers, with chances to mix with the rest of the student body during break, lunch, and P.E.
  • Most sixth graders have homeroom teachers in the same sixth grade area.
  • Sixth graders have one teacher for Math and Science and another teacher for English and History, so they have fewer teachers than 7th and 8th graders. The two teachers work closely together, including sharing parent conferences.
  • The transition to middle school is greatly helped by student friendships, and the Palms environment makes it easy for students to make new friends.
  • Many families find that parents have a harder time adjusting to their child's first middle school experience than their child does!

Most Mondays, Wednesday, Thursdays, and Fridays follow the normal bell schedule, with school starting at 8:00am and dismissal at 3:00pm.

Most Tuesdays are Professional Development Days, with school starting at 8:00am, periods that are 10 minutes shorter than normal, and dismissal at 2:06pm.

Students can arrive at school anytime after 7:30am. They must remain in the Main Building or on the central quad until the start of school.

The school day always starts with Homeroom. (Students are assigned a new homeroom teacher each year, to match their grade level.)

Certain days are designated as Shortened Days, with school starting at 8:00am and dismissal at 2:11pm.

The Library is closed after school on Professional Development Days and on Shortened Days.

See Bell Schedule.


Teachers know that students may change classes at the start of the year, so they tailor their lessons accordingly.

You can:

  • Email them: click the email link on the Teachers page.
  • Look for other contact information on the teacher's web page: click the website link on the Teachers page.
  • Make an appointment for a parent/teacher conference.

You'll also see your child's teachers on Back to School Night and Open House.

California requires that all public and private school students have proof of a tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap) booster shot before starting 7th grade. Incoming 7th grade students who do not provide proof of their Tdap booster by the start of the Fall semester will be excluded from school.

If your child entering 7th grade has not yet received the Tdap booster shot, contact your doctor, clinic, or the health department to get the shot. Then bring a copy of your child's immunization record (the "yellow card") to the Student Services or Health Office.

If you have questions, see our Medical Information page.

Friends of Palms and PTSA are separate non-profit organizations, although they share monthly meetings, both serve our school, and both have parents as members and seek volunteers. All Palms parents are automatically members of Friends of Palms. PTSA requires a membership payment and asks each member of your family to join. Friends of Palms and PTSA each have board members but they combine their meetings.

The focuses of Friends of Palms are:

  • Fundraising in support of the staff, students, and programs of Palms Middle School.
  • The sharing of news and information through this website.

The focuses of PTSA are:

If you decide to bring forgotten items, or need to bring them for health or safety reasons, leave them at the Student Services Office.

If a student can manage without the items, you can decide whether or not to bring them to school.

In either case, help your child learn to take responsibility for remembering what they need at school each day.

For details and the school policy, see our Forgotten Items page.

Right after school, no matter what time school lets out.

See the Bell Schedule.

When it rains, a pump removes the water.