September 30, 2009: KIRKUS Review of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles
Nielsen Buisness Media
New York, New York 10003
This comprehensive guide to successfully enrolling a child into the competitive Los Angeles private elementary schools is an indispensable resource for parents. The book is authored by three women, each with a background that makes them credible authorities on the subject. Two have experience reviewing private-school applications as well as administering testing procedures and school tours, while the third is a parent who has successfully placed her two children in a L.A. private school. The book outlines the process of finding the right school and getting your child in. The authors explore various types of schools and detail their different philosophies and teaching strategies. They also tackle the parental and school interview, the tour experience, the application process and more—right up to the child’s first day of school.
Simon, et al. provide reassuring advice on enduring this intimidating process (which is every bit as daunting as applying to college), and cite a startling statistic—a top-notch school in L.A. may receive more than 500 applications for 30 kindergarten spaces. When choosing a school, the authors suggest that parents consider the child’s personality and learning style, the educational philosophy of the school, the tuition costs and the proximity of the school to home.
In addition, Simon, et al. weigh the benefits of hiring an educational consultant — though they cost $150 or more per hour, they may help clients narrow the list of potential schools, where the cost of each application averages $100. The authors include detailed sample applications and letters of recommendation, a list of questions to ask during the parental interview (as well as questions not to ask) and several testimonials from parents who’ve been through the process. The book also provides examples of test questions from an assessment and readiness exam which children may be required to take. Though the admissions process may seem complex, the book’s affirmative tone should calm and reassure even the most frazzled parent. An instructive, all-encompassing guide that’s essential for parents attempting to find the best school for their child in the City of Angels.