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About Carthay

Carthay Environmental Studies Magnet is the only STEM-certified environmental studies school in LAUSD with a garden sciences program. Our curriculum engages students and gives them the skills and abilities they need to be active participants in improving the quality of life for themselves and future generations.


The school's garden, which began in 2006, is an integral part of our environmental studies program. Students receive multi-week garden science instruction* in our outdoor classroom and edible garden and gain hands-on experience understanding nature's many cycles. The garden expands their own tastes and access to fresh, healthy produce, and helps students draw connections between how food is grown, and the importance of caring for our environment. 

Carthay encourages critical thinkers who take action. Through parent, teacher, administration, and community support, our school has proactively achieved the following:

  • Removed over 5,000 square feet of heat-absorbing asphalt and replaced it with green space and edible gardens, seven raised garden beds, and an orchard with more than 10 fruit trees. ("Garden of Possibilities" - 2006).

  • All produce from our garden provides fruit and vegetables for students and families.

  • Received Environmental Studies Magnet designation (2013).

  • Reduced water consumption by converting the grass lawn in the front of our school to a drought-tolerant native garden. (This was a project spearheaded by first grade students in 2016. The garden is now a Certified Wildlife Habitat and provides a rich, healthy habitat for pollinators.)

  • Added an aquaponics system to the garden, which shows nutrient cycles and non-soil based gardening practice.

  • Added a chicken care program to the school garden. 

  • Taught the students and parents how to compost food waste that is being generated at our school. (Grant funding provided two large compost bins in our school garden.)


Additional programs at our school:

California Dance Institute (CDI)*

Gifted & Talented Enrichment*


Young Storytellers

Our students travel from greater Los Angeles, including underserved areas, to participate in our environmental studies program. Our families represent the diversity of Los Angeles and speak over a dozen different languages from around the world: Spanish, Punjabi, Filipino, Russian, Farsi, Hindi, Japanese, Amharic, Armenian, German, Korean, Hebrew and Rumanian.  

Carthay Elementary first opened its doors in 1924 to serve the immediate Carthay Center neighborhood, a subdivision in mid-city Los Angeles planned by developer Harvey J. McCarthay. The school was located opposite the famous Carthay Circle Theater, which hosted legendary movie premieres "The Wizard of Oz," “Snow White,” and “Gone With The Wind." Although the theater was demolished in 1969, the beautiful school building was preserved and remains an architectural centerpiece of the neighborhood.

*PTA-funded programs

We look forward to welcoming you to learn and grow with us!

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