Topanga’s Proud Little Public School

Above, Topanga Elementary Charter School was called “The new school,” when it moved from what is now Froggy’s to the four acres where it has remained since its inauguration in 1953. Photo by S. Miria Jo

Messenger Mountain News welcomes the Leadership Parents of the Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP), the fundraising arm of Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS ), to this platform where they can update and inform the community about the school’s activities and events. TECS has been an integral part of the Topanga Community since it was inaugurated in 1953. While it is a small public school of about 300 students, it is acknowledged as a high-performing community school, offering a well-rounded education strongly focused on the arts and environmental science.

There’s another hidden gem in the canyon. One that’s been right under your nose this whole time, producing the next artists, scientists, builders, athletes, coders, designers, directors, inventors, farmers, therapists, teachers and entrepreneurs of Southern California and the world.

For some commuters, Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS) may be just another  thorn in their side that makes canyon traffic even more difficult in the morning, but to the families and staff who daily inhabit this small and inventive educational hub, it is a heavenly home where lifelong friendships are formed, where performances and scientific observations are made, where students of every learning style are championed, and where teachers, aides, parents, and support staff bring their best each day to inspire 300 canyon children to thrive.

TECS is a reflection of the community and the state park in which it is nestled. The students, families, teachers and staff care deeply for one another, for this community, and for the natural world. Thankfully, the Topanga neighborhood and community continue to be our partners in growth and learning.

Like all aspirational public schools, TECS strives to go beyond the dwindling basics provided by LAUSD, the second largest public school district in America. Many years ago, the parents of Topanga Elementary bonded to establish an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization known as TEP, or Topanga Enrichment Programs.

Each year the community pools hundreds of thousands of dollars through grants, corporate sponsorships, on- and off-campus fundraisers, and cash donations to provide items that you might recognize as mainstays from the public education of your childhood, including: a physical education teacher; a dedicated science teacher, teachers’ aides, a school guidance counselor, a school nurse, an art room and an art teacher, a computer lab with computers, iPads, typing and technology Instruction, field trips and buses for those field trips; plus a host of other enrichments that the teachers and families of Topanga Elementary jointly prioritize, like: a classroom-size-reduction teacher, a native butterfly microhabitat, a yearly school musical in which a third of the student body participates, an outdoor education program including edible gardens, writing and storytelling events like Story Pirates and Film Camp, coding workshops, and more!

We look forward to sharing information and event announcements here with you, in this new column, The Schoolhouse Scoop. For today, we leave you with an appeal from TEP and our appreciation for your nurturing support of Topanga’s proud little public school.


Topanga Elementary is kicking off its 2019-20 school year corporate sponsorship drive, with opportunities for business and service providers in and around Topanga to support our local elementary school, while getting their message in front of community members in a way that touches their everyday lives.

Sponsorship options scale from Small Business listings in the Annual Student Directory—the go-to guide for the parents of those 300 children who live, shop, and eat in and around Topanga Canyon—to expanded packages that include Directory ads, 10-foot banners and other means of making the school’s presence known at events, on- and off-campus.

Sponsorship Drive efforts are helmed by the all-volunteer board of TEP, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists solely to grow and improve programs to support the educational and classroom needs of our students and teachers.

“Our community donors are a vital part of the success of Topanga Elementary,” said Julianne Gorman, TEP President, adding, “We are beyond grateful to those whose contributions have helped put us on the map as one of the top-performing schools in the area.”

For more information: Sarah Gottlieb,

To advertise in the Student Directory:

For Sponsorship:



Andrea Shreeman

Parent Leadership representative for Topanga Elementary Charter School

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