Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)

Palisades Charter Elementary implements a research-based cluster model in our classrooms in order to support our students socio-emotional and academic needs.  The Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program is implemented in every classroom. It is in-class differentiated studies and deeper critical thinking within the daily curriculum. This curriculum includes depth, complexity, novelty, and acceleration.  For more details, you may speak to your child’s classroom teacher. 

Click here to see our latest presentation on LAUSD’s guidelines for identification in the High Achievement, Specific Academic Ability, and Intellectual Ability Categories.


The Pali Elementary Computer Lab, sponsored by Palisades Enrichment Programs (PEP), has come a long way since it began in January of 2004. At present, Kinder through grade 4 students attend classes in the lab, with the grade 2 and 3 students coming in twice a week and Teacher Valerie going into the grade 5 classes for 30 minute sessions once a week. With the installation of a SMART Board in September, 2007, the technology instruction improved by leaps and bounds, especially for the younger students. Interactive white boards enable students to understand directions much more quickly, giving them the opportunity to be more independent workers as they complete assignments and work on individual projects.

Students attend classes in the computer lab to learn the basics along with how to navigate and use the available programs. Technology instruction is provided by Valerie Belt, a credentialed teacher in the state of California, and her collaboration with the teachers enables the students to take what they learn in the classroom and then use technology to not only improve their knowledge of the subject matter, but have the opportunity to create alternative ways to present the concepts being learned. 

The students have access to programs such as: Read, Write and Type, Typing Pal,  Pixie 4, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Crystal Rainforest, Terrapin Logo, the internet, Starfall, Dreambox, STAR Reading and Accelerated Reader. The school-wide network, installed in the summer of 2007, provides a personal folder for each student and teacher where they can save their work. This allows students to have a technology portfolio of their work that can then be taken with them when they leave the school. This network also allows teachers to collaborate much more easily.

The computer lab uses the Windows 7 operating system, and the students then transition to the Macintosh operating system in grades 3 to 5 while using Macbook laptops in the classroom. Students who go all the way through Palisades Elementary leave the school having experienced both operating systems, a definite advantage which enables them to be flexible as they continue to expand their use of technology for school and work.

Pali Elementary’s computer lab has seen hundreds of students pass through its doors since its inception in 2004, and every year the students become more and more technologically savvy, enabling them to successfully address the fast-paced world of technology in which we all live.

For more information, check out Teacher Valerie’s computer lab website


Music in Kindergarten-3rd Grade

The Music program at Palisades Elementary with Teacher Lawrie Chiaro is funded 100% with PEP funds. Teacher Lawrie teaches classes to Kindergarten through third grade. Every class meets in the auditorium once a week. In the spring, grade level concerts showcase the skills they have worked on throughout the school year.

Teacher Lawrie practices the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education. Orff-Schulwerk is an internationally accepted approach to musically educating children in a group setting. The famous German composer and educator, Carl Orff, developed this approach. "Schulwerk" is a German word meaning 'work for the school". Today, the Orff-Schulwerk approach is widely used by music educators in private and public schools throughout the United States and the world.

Below is an explanation of how teacher Lawrie includes the elements of music - melody, rhythm, form, texture, and harmony - in her lesson plans.

1. SINGING – Every class includes a lot of singing. Besides group singing, there are opportunities for solo singing. Students cannot hear themselves as well singing in a group as they can singing alone. Solo singing gives each student a chance to practice matching pitch, and it gives the teacher a chance to work with them one-on-one.

2. BEAT/RHYTHM – In Kindergarten students experience the steady beat through feeling it in their bodies and playing the beat on different instruments. Then, in grades 1-3, the students build on their knowledge about the steady beat and learn about different rhythmic building blocks in music.

3. MOVEMENT – Moving to music is essential in a music class. The "feel" of music starts in the body, whether it's a singing game, a folk dance or improvising movement to a classical piece. Kinesthetic learners, especially, benefit from movement.

4. INSTRUMENT PLAYING – In music class the students play unpitched percussion instruments, like the drums or triangle, and the Orff instruments, like the xylophones. This gives them an opportunity to experience and enjoy ensemble playing – listening and waiting for their parts. In 3rd grade recorder playing is added to their repertoire.

5. IMPROVISATION – Whether playing an instrument, choosing a way to move to music or making up verses for a song, there are frequent improvisational opportunities for the children in class.

6. LISTENING – Through listening the students can develop a high level of discrimination for such concepts as high-low, fast- slow, soft-loud, etc. Also, the students learn to appreciate and enjoy different styles of music from classical to folk to an occasional rock song!

7. NOTATION – Just as the students learn to read and write in the classroom, so do they learn to read and write basic melodic and rhythmic "sentences" in music class.

"Mostly, music needs to be a joyful and fun experience for each and every child.
hat's my overriding goal for all grade levels that I teach. "

 – Teacher Lawrie

Palisades Enrichment Programs is thrilled to have a passionate and talented professional like Teacher Lawrie be part of our enrichment programming.

Music in 4th and 5th

In the upper grades music is taught by Mr. Monty Turner. Monty Turner has been an LAUSD vocal music teacher for 24 years. Whenever he goes to the market, the movies, or just for a walk around the block, former students always come up to him and thank him and tell him how much they enjoyed his class. In 2005, Mr. Turner was ordained as a Rabbi. He has been with his synagogue, Makom Ohr Shalom, first as Cantor, now as Rabbi for over 30 years. His compositions and Jewish songs are sung across the United States.


Our school library is an amazing oasis for our students…a place to discover the richness that books bring to our lives.  Our children visit on a weekly scheduled basis with their classes. They are exposed to a vast array of literature and periodicals, both fiction and non-fiction.  In addition they are learning their way around the Dewey Decimal System so that they can enjoy libraries wherever their travels take them.  The library is open at snack and lunch for students to come in and read.

The Pali Bookshelf invites you to peruse our reading lists.  The list below, provided by our librarian, Jane Jaffe, lists authors and titles.  Don’t limit yourself by age and grade.  Just jump in and enjoy the experience!  Click here for the new Pali Bookshelf.

Physical Education

With the national concern for childhood inactivity and obesity, high quality physical education programs are as essential as academic programs. Physical activity is good not only for the heart, but also for the brain, feeding it glucose and oxygen, and increasing nerve connections, all of which makes it easier for children of all ages to learn. Numerous studies show that children who exercise do better in school. Studies suggest that such physical activity as running, jumping, and aerobic game playing have a definite impact of children's frontal lobe-a primary brain area for mental concentration, planning, and decision making. Children who engage in daily physical education show superior motor fitness, academic performance, and attitude toward school as compared to their counterparts who do not have physical education.


Children’s Music Workshop presently coordinates music programs in more than two dozen of the top Los Angeles area public and private schools. Founded nearly thirty years ago by Larry Newman, Children’s Music Workshop teachers are among the finest music educators to be found anywhere in the country. Currently available every Friday during our school year orchestra ends with a beautiful concert. To find out more about the Orchestra Program at Pali, click here.


We are fortunate at Pali to have a great drama teacher to instruct our children in the upper grades. Kiki Remsen, works on basic theatrical endeavors such as elocution, movement and stage presence. Through drama, students build self confidence and learn to work together as a group. PEP provides funding for this wonderful enrichment experience at Pali.


Diversity Training and Conflict Resolution 
Understanding & Sharing While Celebrating our Differences

TRIBES, Palisades Elementary's Diversity Training and Conflict Resolution program promotes community building and cooperative learning, student inclusion, and conflict resolution while building a safe and caring community. The program was named TRIBES for the social support, the respect for individual differences, and the sense of belonging that indigenous tribes are seen to have.

Click here for more information on TRIBES.


Peacemakers are 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students who volunteer their time to take extended TRIBES training during lunch and recess.
Peacemaker's work together as mentors to help younger students with the layout of the yard, learning new games, finding buddies and by modeling TRIBES behavior and the use of "I" statements during conflict resolution.

Extended TRIBES training and the experiences gained by being a Peacemaker, gives students the self confidence to speak up for themselves, the ability to handle criticism while equally respecting other peoples feelings.

The principles instilled through the practice of TRIBES, fosterers self-responsibility and ethical awareness that is valuable to the Pali community.

Waste Warriors

Pali's fourth and fifth graders are enlisted by the Green Team to become the school's "Waste Warriors".

The Waste Warriors work with teachers, other students, and parents to support Pali Elementary’s environmentally focused endeavors. They also support the Green Team’s current education efforts to “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” with a heavy emphasis on Reducing waste. Other Waste Warrior activities include:

  • Collecting the blue bins placed throughout the school and taking them to the parking lot where they are placed curbside for collection

  • Helping educate the younger students in recycling by demonstrating what can and can't be recycled in each classroom
  • Distributing prizes on Walking Wednesdays.
  • Participating in lunch time recycle projects.
  • Representing the Green Team at key events.
  • Serving as leaders and role models to the student body.

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