Making the Transition From Public to Private School for Middle and High School

Viewpoint Upper School
Viewpoint School, Calabasas, K-12

If your child is currently in a public school, but you’re thinking of applying to private school for middle or high school, here are tips to help you get started. Please note, we used the term “private schools” but many L.A. schools are called “independent” schools. The difference is that independent schools are non-profit and private schools are for-profit or may be run by a church or religious organization.

Getting started might seem a bit overwhelming, but if you approach the application process in an organized, step-by-step manner, you will be ahead of the game when it comes time to tour your first school!

Plan ahead. You will need to apply to private school one year before your child enters the school. So, if you are applying for 9th grade for 2018, you will start the process in September of 2017 or when your child is entering 8th grade.

Research schools you want to visit. You can go to the Los Angeles Independent Schools  to find a list of independent schools, but you may also want to look at Catholic schools that are run by the L.A. Archdiocese and we have a list of schools in Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools in Los AngelesIf you’re wondering why there isn’t just one big list, it’s because there are different types of schools that are not all governed by the same organizations.

Pay attention to deadlines. Each school has its own deadline various steps during the application process, but you can generally expect the following:

  1. Tour of schools (September-December)
  2. Written application (September-December)
  3. Parent interview (if required, October-February)
  4. ISEE Test is the Independent School Entrance Exam. Here is a great explanation of the ISEE test by Matt Steiner of Compass Prep. The ISEE is required for grades 5-12 at most private schools. Catholic schools have their own entrance exam called the HSPT. Because the ISEE has a high degree of difficulty, many families hire test preparation companies to help their kids prepare for the exam. Here are a few excellent options: Academic Achievers, Compass Prep, Learning Encounters and Team Tutors  The ISEE is administered from September-April. You should pay attention to school deadlines because the January ISEE may be too late for some schools.
  5. Child visiting/testing day (October-February)
  6. Transcripts, teacher recommendations (See school websites)
  7. Open houses, sports events, other school events (September-March)
  8. Notification of decisions (all LAAIS Schools notify on the same day in March. See school websites)
  9. Note: Deadlines are final and you must meet all deadlines. Schools do not make exceptions for late applications or other missed admissions deadlines!
Turning Point School, Culver City, Preschool-8th
Turning Point School, Culver City, Preschool-8th

Apply to At Least 3 Schools. No matter what grade you’re applying for, you should apply to enough schools that you maximize your child’s chances of getting in. Many schools receive far more applications than spots available, so you should consider applying to at least 3 or more schools.

Follow the school’s application rules. Even if the school’s admissions process seems cumbersome or just annoying, follow the rules. Pay attention to deadlines, avoid calling the admissions office numerous times to ask questions that could be answered by looking on the website, show up on time for interviews, be nice to everyone and that includes the people at the front desk, security, the tour guides, etc.

Be Familiar With Types of Private Schools. Determine the type of school you think will be best for your child (See our 7 part series about progressive or traditional educational philosophies here. Just like public magnet and charter schools, private schools differ in their mission and educational philosophy. Some private schools are a blend of educational philosophies, so it will be up to you to figure out the best fit for your child.

Tuition is expensive! Some of the top private high schools cost between $35,000-$38,000/year. Tuition typically goes up 4% per year. 

Apply For Financial Aid If You Can’t Pay Full Tuition. Financial aid is available and is based on family need. It’s not merit-based. It is a separate application process from the admissions process. Some schools will offer admission to a family irrespective of their financial aid needs. Other schools do consider a family’s need for financial aid and it may impact the admissions decision. But, if you cannot afford the full tuition, apply for financial aid!

Contacts/Connections Help, But Aren’t Necessary. You don’t need to know somebody at the school to get your child in! It can help, but it isn’t necessary, especially if you are a public school family and haven’t established those connections. Private schools understand that it is not the job of public schools to help your child get into private school.

Extra-curricular activities matter to private schools. Make sure to include your kid’s sports, music, theater activities. If they don’t have significant activities, look at the activities each private school offers. Would your child really like to get involved in the school newspaper or yearbook? Tell the school that! Let them know that’s one of the reasons you’re applying.

The Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs is a non-profit that functions like a school placement organization for minority families. Check out their services!

Educational Consultants. If you need help navigating the admissions process, educational consultants offer everything from one-time consultations to full-service packages. Sometimes, having an expert help you develop a list of schools and giving you advice about the admissions process or reviewing your written application can make a big difference in helping the process go smoothly.

Senator Kamala Harris speaks to seniors at Wildwood High School in West Los Angeles.
Senator Kamala Harris speaks to seniors at Wildwood Upper School in West Los Angeles.

Navigating the “Gap” year between end of public elementary and start of private middle schools. One of the biggest challenges families face is the fact that public elementary schools are K-5 and private elementary schools are K-6. So, the public schools end one year before private schools end. There are also private schools that are 7-12 so that presents a challenge too. You’ll need to consider where your child go during the “gap” year that is the result of schools not aligning. There are several options we’ll discuss below.

1. Understand the points of entry. Private schools accept the majority of students for kindergarten, 6th grade, 7th grade and 9th grade.  These are the grades when the most spots are open and accepting applications. Some schools will accept applications for other i.e. 3rd grade or 10th grade, but it depends of whether there are spots available. To inquire, call the admissions director to ask. You’ll need to call the admissions director one year before your child would enroll.

2. Consider a K-6 School for 6th Grade. You can also consider applying to K-6 schools for 6th.  Openings will depend on whether families have left the school, but it happens! You will need to contact each school. There’s no other way to find out if they will accept an application for 6th grade. So, roll up your sleeves and, when you’re ready, start contacting schools. They will require ISEE test scores in most cases. The drawback to this approach is if your child attends 5th grade at public school, 6th grade at a K-6 and then 7th grade at a different private school, that’s 3 separate schools in 3 years, a lot of transitions for the family. But, it happens every year and it’s one way to solve the problem of the gap between end of public school and start of the 7-12 private schools.

3. Apply to private middle schools for grades 6-8 with the intent to apply out for 9th grade. This can be a good option and many of the K-8 schools expect applications for 6th and 7th grades from public school families.

4. Enroll in your local public middle school or a magnet or charter for 6th grade

5. Apply to private schools that accept students for 6th grade. Here’s a partial list (in alphabetical order):

  • Archer School For Girls
  • Berkeley Hall
  • Buckley
  • Calvary Christian
  • Chaminade Middle and High School School
  • Crossroads
  • Geffen Academy at UCLA
  • New Roads
  • Notre Dame Academy Middle School
  • Pilgrim School
  • Rolling Hills Prepratory
  • Sierra Canyon
  • Turning Point
  • Westside Neighborhood School
  • Wildwood
  • Willows
  • Viewpoint
  • Wesley

See Beyond The Brochure’s School Profiles for detailed profiles of selected schools.

Pilgrim School, Los Angeles, Preschool-12th
Pilgrim School, Los Angeles, Preschool-12th

Questions arise about how parents can find out which are the “good” private schools or the “best” private schools. Public schools use the API to rank schools, but private/independent schools don’t use that measurement. Because private schools aren’t required to test students the same way public schools are, you will need to look at factors such as college placement, student/teacher ratio, teacher qualifications, AP and honors classes offered, size of the school, number of classes per grade, discipline policy, diversity of student and teacher population, standardized testing, location of the school, accreditation, head of school qualifications, campus facilities, security, extracurricular activities like sports, music and art that are offered and other factors that will contribute to your child’s education.

Attending events about the admissions process can also be helpful. We keep up with these events and post on Beyond The Brochure’s Facebook Page.

There are 3 types of admissions letters: Acceptance, wait-list and declined admission.

Finally, we’ve written about L.A. private school admissions on this blog since 2010, so there are lots of posts in the archives. Take some time to browse. Don’t let all the steps of the process intimidate or deter you. If you want to apply, do it! L.A. private schools want students from public schools! We’ve also written Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles. The book is intended for parents apply to elementary school, but many of the admissions steps in the process are the same for middle and high school. The big difference is that for elementary school, the parents and the child are considered important during the process. For middle and high school, the child becomes more significant and the parents are not as central to to process. This is because older kids have grades, teacher recommendations, test scores, interviews, extracurricular activities so the school can evaluate a kid based on these factors.


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Leonardo School: From L.A. To Panama, A Unique Global School

Jeff Guckert, founder of Leonardo School
Jeff Guckert, founding director of Leonardo School

 Please note: Leonardo School will be hosting an information session on April 25th.

The other day I was having coffee with my friend Lisa Marfisi when she told me about a new school called Leonardo. This was news to me, but as soon as she described this exciting new venture, I knew I wanted to learn more about it. Lisa connected me with Leonardo’s founding director, Jeff Guckert, who was gracious enough to take the time on Friday to speak with me on the phone about his new school.

Jeff explained that after leaving Crossroads School last June, where he was the assistant head of school, he planned to start a new school, one that brings new ideas to existing educational models. Jeff’s vision for Leonardo School is the manifestation of his years of experience combined with a group of impressive education professionals (teachers, board members, advisors) who share the same excitement about a next generation school where the “campus is the world.”


Panama, photo: Leonardo School
Panama, photo: Leonardo School

Notably, Jeff has the ideal background to serve as founder of a new school:

“After graduating from Stanford with a PhD in Chemistry, Jeff was looking for something meaningful to do with his life.  Fortunately, he found teaching. For 21 years, at three renowned schools – The Bishops School (La Jolla, CA), Sidwell Friends School (Washington, DC) and Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences (Santa Monica, CA) – Jeff has developed his educational philosophy serving as science teacher for grades 6-12, department chair, academic dean, division director, dean of faculty, and assistant head of school.”*

As Jeff explained to me, “At Leonardo School, we believe that that the purpose of secondary school is to empower students to see the world for themselves and to be the change they want to see in the world, now and in the future.”


Photo: Leonardo School
Photo: Leonardo School

Leonardo School, which will open in Fall 2017, starting with grades 6 and 7 and adding subsequent grades each year, will be located on the Westside of L.A., most likely in Culver City or Santa Monica.  Currently, Jeff and his team are actively scouting sites.

Leonardo is intended to be a next-generation school where the classroom serves as a “base camp” for students as they learn in an environment which, according to Jeff, “Rethinks schooling in order to allow kids to see the world for themselves, not as adults tell them the world is or should be.” The school, says Jeff, “will encourage students to become changes agents in our world. The entire curriculum will be purpose-based, rather than having a community service requirement to fulfill a certain amount of hours.”

Not only will students develop projects while exploring Los Angeles, in partnership with Earth Train and Geoversity, students will establish extended projects and relationships with the peoples, cultures, biomes, and more of this amazing country.


L.A. River Mural at The Village, Topanga
L.A. River Mural at The Village, Topanga

The most significant partnership Leonardo School has established is with the school’s satellite campus in Panama. Students at the Los Angeles campus will travel to Panama as part of the curriculum and students from Panama will collaborate with students here in Los Angeles. Spanish will be taught in order for Leonardo School students to converse here in L.A. as they complete project-based learning around the city, speaking with street vendors for example, or students in Panama and other places around the world. “Ultimately, expansion to Mexico and other locations is envisioned,” says Jeff.

One of the most fascinating elements of the school will be the non-traditional partnerships. Jeff is truly passionate about the early connections the school has developed with naturalists, a bamboo architect, musicians and other experts in their fields. If students are interested in outdoor education, he says, “It could take place in a course in the rainforest in Panama.”


Photo: Trip Advisor
Photo: Trip Advisor

Ultimately, Leonardo School seeks to answer the question, “What does it mean for a student to be successful?” At the core of its mission is to help students develop these core principles:

  • Knowing yourself
  • Empathy, Compassion: understanding, defining your role in groups, communities
  • Evolution & Change, Equilibrium, Sustainability
  • Connectedness of ideas, knowledge, skills, people


Each year of study is centered around a major element of global impact. Skills in traditionally-defined disciplines (e.g. social & emotional intelligence, arts, reading, writing, history, math) are covered through practical studies of each topic.

Year 1: Agriculture

Year 2: Cities

Year 3: Health/Wellness

Year 4: Environment

Year 5: Government Systems

Year 6: Economic Systems

Year 7: Belief Systems

Here are a few more details about Leonardo School:

  • Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2017, grades 6 and 7. Note: if there are enough applications for grades 8 and 9, the school will consider adding those grades for 2017. The school plans to grow each year to become a 6-12th grade secondary school.
  •  The ISEE entrance exam is not required.
  • Class size is expected to have between 10-20 students.
  • Tuition will be approximately $34,000 per year, with a 15% discount ($28,900) for the first incoming class. Tuition is expected to increase by 2% each year. Some financial aid will be offered.

*Source: Leonardo School Website

Follow Beyond The Brochure on Facebook for all the latest L.A. private school news and events!

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Priya Nambiar: From Brentwood School Admissions to Educational Consultant

Priya Nambiar


I’m excited to welcome Priya Nambiar of Nambiar Advising to the blog today! I asked her a few questions about private school admissions and she shared her answers below. Thank you, Priya!–Christina

How does your 8 years of experience as a former Associate Director of Admissions for Middle and Upper Schools at Brentwood and your work at Viewpoint School help you serve your clients?

Through my experience at Brentwood School and at Viewpoint School, where I was the Associate Director of Admissions before Brentwood, I understand what it feels like to admit one student over another. It was extraordinarily difficult to choose some students and deny others – especially when it was due to limited class space. I’ve been in the trenches in those decisions committees, so I have some unique insights into those admissions nuances.

Also, all schools have slightly different processes, but ultimately it’s always about “fit”. I appreciate what it means to find the right school for a specific child, not just a “bumper sticker school” that’s more about prestige or bragging rights rather than what’s best for the student. I understand how a family and student would want to do everything possible to impress an admissions office. Yet, Los Angeles has so many wonderful schools that match different types of families and students. Not everyone will be happy at every school. Experiencing this from the perspective of an admissions officer makes me emphasize the importance of finding the right environment for each child.

What does finding the “right fit” in a school mean to you? Why is this so important?

The right fit can be composed of many elements: academics, student and family culture, social and emotional development, athletics, arts programs, class size, and more. It’s about the connection a student and family has with the school on multiple levels. And that’s what makes it so important – when that connection occurs, children and families thrive. The school becomes more about shaping a life experience and goes far beyond tests and grades.

Each school – whether is K-12, K-6, K-8, or 9-12 – has its own culture. The challenge is to understand both the student and schools well enough to identify where the best connections will happen.

What services do you provide to your clients?

I work with families applying to everything from Kindergarten to 12th grade, from independent private schools to public schools, and with children with special needs and learning differences.

I provide a variety of services to try to accommodate different families’ needs. I have an initial two-hour consultation where I meet with the family and student, research potential schools, review timelines and required materials, and provide guidance to help them navigate this often-confusing process. I offer a full package that entails in-depth work with the family and student in all aspects of the admissions process, including essay review and editing, advocacy when appropriate, and more. This is a more involved, customized service where I’m with the family for everything they might need.

Additionally, I offer interview preparation sessions (in-person one- to two-hour sessions that prepare students and parents for their interviews) as well as group seminars (two-hour sessions for 15-30 people hosted at a family’s home where I provide an in-depth overview of the admissions process).

Can you give us a few reasons why a student might get wait-listed?

Students can get wait-listed for several reasons. Sometimes there truly is not space for them, even if they are very qualified. There may be another student with a similar profile that was chosen over them. As schools want to create a balanced class, sometimes wait-list decisions are about timing and that specific school year. For example, suppose four male oboe players are applying in your year. If your child is a male oboe player, he may be waitlisted. Had it been another year, the result could have been different.

Schools also want to ensure that students are academically qualified, will fit in socially and find friends, be kind to others, and contribute to the extracurricular life of the school. Some children will be a great fit for some of these parameters, but not for others. Additionally, schools want to have full bands, performing arts programs, sports teams, students interested in journalism, and other extracurricular elements. Applicants will look attractive to a school based on what the school needs to fill.

 What about a declined admission letter?

Similar to the wait-list, students can be declined admission for several reasons. Sometimes a school will deny students if they won’t be successful there academically. A child’s grades, ISEE scores, school visits, and assessments will imply that potential. But keep in mind that all schools are different. While a child may not be an academic fit for one school, he or she may be a perfect fit for another.

Also, sometimes a school will deny students admission even if they are academically qualified, if other class factors are involved. For example, the class simply may have too many boys (or girls, or artists, or goalies, etc.). This might seem random or too dependent on happenstance, but unfortunately it’s a reality of the admissions process.

Additionally, wait-list vs. deny is a challenging decision. While you want the student to know that they are qualified, you don’t want to give them hope if there isn’t any. If the fit just isn’t there, you want to make sure they get excited about the school or schools they do get into. Sometimes you shouldn’t wait to sign a contract because you feel there is a chance at the school where you’re wait-listed.

You’ve been an educational consultant for 3 years. What do you like most about it? 

I love my work. As an educator for over 20 years, I love learning about my client families and students and identifying where they would thrive. It’s exciting to then combine that understanding with my knowledge of the schools and the different ways they approach education. All of this comes together to help families and students find the best school matches. I have helped families get into Berkeley Hall, Brentwood, Brawerman, Buckley, Campbell Hall, Carlthorp, Chadwick, Harvard-Westlake, John Thomas Dye, Laurence, New Roads, Oakwood, PS1, Turning Point, Village, Vistamar, Willows, Wildwood, Westland, and more school across Los Angeles. It’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling to see these kids get into schools and begin a journey that could help them realize their potential.

Priya Nambiar has spent over a decade in private school admissions and over 20 years in education. For eight years, she was the associate director of admissions for middle and upper school at Brentwood School. She understands the stress and anxiety that applying to competitive schools creates. She also understands what private schools are looking for in a candidate’s application. Additionally, Priya is a mom of twin daughters who attend a private elementary school. She has experienced first-hand the application process as a parent and as an admissions officer. With her direct experience and dedication to education, she hopes to reduce the stress that families experience and to match parents and children with the best schools for them.

You can find out more about Priya at or by email at: or by phone: 323-630-7182


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Yes, no and maybe so. Those admissions letters!


Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

The countdown begins for notifications from L.A. and Pasadena private schools. Schools will notify families on March 10 and 17th. I remember applying for kindergarten, then DK, then 7th and 4th grades. Each time was stressful. Developmental Kindergarten was less stressful since my son was a sibling at Willows. As we waited, it was tempting to second-guess decisions we’d made along the way. Then, I’d think STOP. It’s done. My friends and I were on the phone non-stop. The stakes seem so high, especially when you start to imagine the worst possible outcome. Yet, over the years, I’ve seen that most families will have a school to attend. It may not be your first choice, but once your kid is accepted, it becomes “your kid’s school” and that’s a great feeling.

Our family has received acceptance letters, wait-list letters and we’re had to withdraw an application when our parent interview went south. If your family gets even one acceptance letter, congratulations! Two or more is an abundance of riches. If not, here’s what I’ve learned as a parent who has been through the process multiple times and as someone who writes about admissions: your kid (like mine) may not get into the school you think is the best school, the perfect school, the school where your family needs to be, the school where “everyone else” is going.  If that happens, it can feel like a harsh blow. After all, you did everything right and yet…a wait-list or “no” letter. What!?! Frenemies are getting in and that makes it feel even worse. The most obnoxious family at your school posts their acceptance letter on Facebook. You feel like crying. You start crying. After a time, you stop crying and call a close friend, preferably someone who doesn’t live in L.A. You vent and rage as she listens. It helps. You feel better. It’s also helpful to remember that sometimes things happen during the admissions process that are completely out of your control. Maybe you don’t have the support of your head of school (that was our situation leaving Willows for 7th grade, which has a middle school or maybe your kid barely made the age cutoff date and schools want older kids). Now what?

So what can you do? After gulping your favorite alcoholic beverage and taking some time to process it, come up with a plan to move forward. For secondary school, you’ll have to tell your kid it’s not personal, this rejection. If you have options, focus on what’s great about where he/she did get in. Don’t do anything you’ll regret like stalking the admissions office or firing off a nasty email to your preschool director or head of school. Think those thoughts if you want, but remain professional. Trust me on this one! Instead, focus on options to move forward. Maybe that means figuring out a plan for a school where your kid has been wait-listed (see below for helpful posts).  Perhaps you should think about submitting a late application at a school where you didn’t apply. This may require the help of an educational consultant to get your calls returned, but it can be well worth it. Cold calling can work, but sometimes a consultant will know which schools have that one open spot that could belong to you.

My kids are now at Viewpoint in 7th and 10th and I couldn’t have asked for a better school for them both!

Here are posts we’ve complied from my experience and those of our contributors. I hope they help. And, you can buy a copy of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles if you want a comprehensive overview of the L.A. admissions process including sample written applications.

Good luck to everyone!


Update: March 9, 2017

From Los Angeles Independent Schools:

Friday, March 10, 2017
Email notifications can be sent at 5pm on Friday, March 10, 2017
Replies will be due on Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Grades K-8: Notification can be sent on Friday, March 17, 2017
Email notifications can be sent starting at 5pm on Friday, March 17, 2017
Replies will be due on Monday, March 27, 201 

Waiting For Admissions Letters by Jenny Heitz

Waiting For Admissions Letters: Advice From L.A. Admissions Directors 

Black Friday: The Day L.A. Private Schools Send Admissions Letters on The Daily Truffle

Grateful, Hopeful or Dismayed: When Admissions Letters Arrive

Various Types of Admissions Letters by Kim Hamer

Good News: How To Choose

0/X: What’s Next When You Don’t Get In?

Confronting Rejection: When Your All Isn’t Enough

Tips For If Your Child Is Wait-Listed

Hiring An Educational Consultant To Go From Wait-Listed To Accepted

List of Educational Consultants


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    Tags: school, will, schools, l.a, private, admissions

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Welcome to Crestview Preparatory: Q and A with Head of School Baudelia Chavez Taylor

CP Front

A few weeks ago, I stopped by Crestview Preparatory in La Canada to chat with head of school Baudelia Chavez Tayor. I’d never seen this absolutely charming school, but I’ve heard parents buzzing about it since Baudelia left the Center For Early Education about three years ago to become Crestview’s head of school.

Baudelia is immediately likable, personable and low-key. As we talked, I saw her genuine passion for the school, as our conversation flowed from big picture education trends like STEM, Maker Spaces and Robotics (yes, Crestview has these programs) to what’s happening in the school’s Harry Potter garden which functions as a science lab of sorts. The school plants fruits and veggies that local wildlife animals won’t eat, hence the gorgeous Kumquat tree.

CP kumquattrees

Crestview is very close to Pasadena and is accessible for families who live in Eagle Rock, Atwater, Silverlake, Los Feliz and other areas including the San Gabriel Valley. The school is a blend of traditional and developmental philosophies, with a focus on respect for childhood. One big change Baudelia instituted since taking over the school is a new homework policy. Now, there is “must-do” homework and “may-do” homework. Homework, Baudelia notes, must reinforce and relate to classroom work. The school has a lot of impressive programs like a robust technology program where kids start learning about computers in kindergarten where, as part of the curriculum, they learn to take apart a computer and put it back together, treating the computer as a “family” of parts that combine to create a whole. In later grades, robotics, coding and maker activities round out the program. The school garden is a real-life laboratory, where students plant and grow various fruits and vegetables, with the goal of learning why certain plants flourished and others withered.

CP Kinder Classroom

The school is small, with 155 students total for grades K-6, so Baudelia knows each student and their family personally. She beams with pride as we walk around the campus, peeking in classrooms. She gives credit to her team of teachers, administrators and staff at the school as we walk around the campus. Parent volunteers, she notes, do a lot of work at the school too. Baudelia is no stranger to the secondary school application process, so when it’s time to apply for secondary school, she takes a hands-on approach beginning in 5th grade to help families find the right school for their child. I really like the way she described extracurricular activities, an important part of the secondary school process. She noted that a student can participate in the traditional activities like soccer and piano, but she believes in a broad definition of what comprises a student’s passion like reading voraciously outside of school, which can show a secondary school a student applicant who is studious, patient, imaginative and typically, a very strong writer. So what if your kid doesn’t play soccer! See the impressive list of schools where Crestview kids enroll for secondary school. On my way out, I grabbed a copy of the school’s newspaper, Crestview Blastoff. How cool is that!

CP yard

Can you talk a bit about your background and experience? What brought you to Crestview?

I started my career as a teacher at LAUSD working with bilingual students at the middle school level. In 2001, I moved to The Center for Early Education in West Hollywood. I joined as a teacher in the early childhood and moved to the elementary several years later, landing in the third grade- my favorite grade to teach. From there, I joined the administration as the Director of Early Childhood Programs and led the early childhood division for several years before starting my headship at Crestview.

The opportunity to lead Crestview was a blessing, as the moment I visited the school it felt like home. At that time, I was ready to begin a headship and the small size of the Crestview community was perfect. I was drawn to its commitment to elementary education and to providing a balanced school experience to its students.

How would you describe the school’s educational philosophy?

Crestview’s philosophy is centered around the “respect for childhood” and balance in education. We strive to provide structure and nurture as we deliver instruction. We provide hands-on experiences that our students anchor conceptual understanding around.

CP Garden

Crestview describes itself as “the neighborhood school”. What are some things you do to build a strong school community of parents and students.

Amongst the students, we help build community through our Reading Buddies program. We pair students in kindergarten and third grade, first and fourth grade, and second and fifth grade each year. They initially begin their interactions by reading with each other, as the year progresses they work on projects together, they working on community service initiatives and come together to play on a weekly basis. This allow them to build a strong rapport and feel connected across grade-levels.

With our parents, we have many opportunities for them to volunteer on campus. We also have parties throughout the year that parents attend to get to know each other and build community. We have host families that welcome new families.

CP Garden2

Each school has a unique culture. How would you describe Crestview?

Crestview is a small but mighty school, focused on educating children 5 to 12 years old. It is a welcoming environment that is nimble and dedicated on being reflective. We honor the voices of all constituents and encourage conversation about learning and development.

Parents worry about placement into 7-12 schools. Crestview students go on to top schools in SGV and LA area. What does the school do to help students get into top secondary schools?

Families are supported in the secondary school process by Crestview. We begin the process in fifth grade into the sixth grade year. The head of school meets with every family to discuss the student’s profile, advice focus in the summer, and suggest schools to consider. Students are given mock interviews and practice in writing essays to prepare them for the admission’s process. Here’s a list of some of the schools are graduates attend.


Crestview offers CTY online for gifted students who are eligible. Can you describe this unique program?

We identify current students in accelerated in mathematics through teacher referral, year-end grade-level tests, and ERB standardized testing results on the independent school norm. When identified they are still responsible for completing their grade-level work as they are provided with above grade-level material according to their individual level. We subsidize the courses for our students.

CP Kinder 2

What advice would you offer parents who are applying to Crestview? Any tips for getting their child in?

I advice families to be themselves, we are interested in authenticity. We are child advocates and work hard to make the process a welcoming one for prospective families. We want parents and children to feel comfortable and share who they are with us.

CP Paper

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