About the Book

BTB 2nd Edition Cover FINAL

Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools in Los Angeles (Second Edition) is a book written for parents who are about to embark on the ultra competitive process of applying to private elementary schools in Los Angeles. Written by Christina Simon, Anne Simon, and Porcha Dodson. Published in November 2013 by Fat Envelope Publishing.

Who better to write a one-of-a-kind insider’s guide to private elementary school admissions in L.A. than a head of school with more than thirty years experience in L.A. and nationally, a teacher who spent five years at a prestigious Bel Air private school and a parent of two children who currently attend a top L.A. private elementary school?

Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide to Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles Second Edition is written by Christina Simon, Anne Simon and Porcha Dodson, who together are uniquely qualified to help parents navigate the competitive and stressful race to get their children into top private elementary schools in L.A.

Written in a warm, friendly tone, the authors guide parents step by step through the process for applying to schools. With far more applicants than available spaces, applying for a spot at the top schools can frazzle the nerves of even the most laid back parents. The book provides a revealing glimpse into private elementary schools in LA and what it takes to get in. We share our own experiences and demystify the ways in which these schools assess parents and their children during those nerve-racking interviews, as well as how schools provide financial aid and seek diversity.

Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools in Los Angeles Second Edition provides a detailed roadmap for parents to follow as they navigate through the paperwork, deadlines and personalities at private elementary schools. From how to decide which schools to tour, acing your parent interviews, preparing for your child’s testing day, writing the applications, applying for a child with special needs, how to apply for financial aid, what to expect during your first year at private school and much more. Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles is an expert guide to help parents improve their chances of getting into the schools of their choice. Both reassuring and straightforward, this book offers techniques and strategies from the authors and other parents, all of whom have been through the admissions process–and succeeded in getting their children into the city’s best private schools.

The Second Edition (November 2013) is updated and expanded from the First Edition published in 2009 and updated in 2010. The Second Edition (Nov. 2013) includes more sample written applications, more letters of recommendation, a new chapter about creating a Family Message, a new chapter about applying to Pasadena area schools and more!

Questions? Contact Christina Simon at csimon2007@gmail.com


“Beyond The Brochure is a page turner!”

- Christine Cornsinita, Director, Brentwood Presbyterian Preschool


“Beyond The Brochure is really a must-read book and blog for any parent considering private elementary school in Los Angeles…If any parent inquires about schools, I automatically hand them this book.”

- Sara Perets, Director of The Sunshine Shack Preschool, Hollywood


“This is a great book for first time parents looking for the right school. Let’s face it, it’s a dance and this book has the steps.”

- Billy Bush, co-anchor, Access Hollywood, Today Show contributor, host of the radio program, The Billy Bush Show and Curtis School parent.


“It is all about what works best for your child. Beyond The Brochure is a must read because you will need help in sorting through the many choices and the fierce competition at this critical time in your child’s development. Beyond The Brochure is a tool that will definitely help you keep it all in perspective. We wish we’d had it when we were making these important family decisions.”

- Mark and Avis Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and his wife are the parents of twin boys who attended the Wilkerson Academy of Learning, the Pilgrim School, and Loyola High School, and they both recently graduated from the historical Morehouse College.


Beyond The Brochure is the perfect tool for parents like us getting ready to jump into the elementary school pool. Having grown up in New York, I was completely unfamiliar with the diverse selection of private elementary schools in Los Angeles. It is a relief to have a step-by-step guide to get through this maze of a process. The book offers strategies for having effective interviews and a clear understanding of the real factors considered in admissions decisions and financial aid. Beyond The Brochure lends a nurturing hand to hold as you search for the school that will help your child thrive.”

- Amy Levy, President of Amy Levy Public Relations. Amy and her husband, Chad Savage, are parents at Temple Isaiah Preschool.