After months of searching for a Mar Vista-Venice area location, organizers of a pilot school are happy that they have been accepted at Playa Vista Elementary School for 2013-14.
“I’m very happy,” said Sujata Bhatt, a teacher at Grand View Elementary School in Mar Vista who designed the so-called Incubator School. “I’m looking at the magnitude of work ahead of me, but it’s very exciting.”
Pilot schools are a combination of charter schools and traditional public schools. They have the freedoms of charter schools but are under direct school district control. They tend to focus on a particular theme and the Incubator School’s is geared toward entrepreneurship.
The Incubator School has received hundreds of letters of support from parents of potential students and Bhatt hoped to originally set up shop on the campus of Venice High School.
The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education approved three pilot schools March 9, including Bhatt’s. But an amendment by LAUSD Board Member Steve Zimmer, who represents District 4 schools, made sharing the campus with Venice High possible only if the school-based management group, parents and teachers at the high school voted in favor of it.
A deadline of April 2 was given and the school-based management group could not reach a quorum March 29, leaving the Incubator School to search for a new location.
“We are so grateful to Playa Vista. They have been so open and welcoming,” said Bhatt, a nationally certified teacher.
A large contingent of parents at the high school were opposed to proposal for the Incubator School, described as a “21st century learning community, engaging both students and teachers in active learning designed to address the dynamic complexities of the world in which we live.”
Bhatt will transfer from Grand View in order to be at her new school by August.
“I am also so grateful to our parent community for their outpouring of support and their help in securing our new facility,” she said.
The Incubator School will be at Playa Vista for only one year, which is why Bhatt’s search for a more permanent location has not ended, she said.
“Our goal is to be in the Venice-Mar Vista area,” she reiterated.

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