How Could Choosing A School Be So Hard? What I Did (And Did Not) Expect About The Willows School

My Girl!
Your child got into one of more school. Great news! But, choosing a school is much more difficult than you imagined. Why?
Rumors abound. School X is very academic. School Y is for kids who aren’t very academic. School Z has too many celebrity families. And so on and on and on…
If your head is spinning trying to decide where to send your child, here are a few things I’ve learned about our school, The Willows, after almost 5 years as a parent there:
  • The Willows is more academic than I thought it would be
  • The Willows has more of an emphasis on sports that I envisioned
  • The Willows’ curriculum is integrated and amazing
  • The technology resources at The Willows are cutting-edge
  • The Willows is great for both my kids (who are very different)
  • The Willows has a some great families we’ve become friends with (I didn’t expect this)
  • The Willows has inspired my kids to love learning, even if they don’t always love every subject (like drama)
  • The Willows is small enough so that the head of school, Lisa Rosenstein, knows every child and every family
  • The Willows’ teachers are fabulous (patient, enthusiastic, nurturing and inspiring). There are two teachers per class.
  • The Willows does not emphasize standardized testing i.e. ERB or ISEE
  • The Willows’ practice of looping (keeping the same class and teachers for 2 years) worked extremely well for both my kids
  • The Willows has bullies just like every other school. It’s how the school deals with them that matters and The Willows teachers are adept at handling this issue.
  • The Willows’ curriculum is smart and well thought-out ( I am constantly amazed!)
Does what I’ve said mean that everything is always perfect? No. And it won’t be wherever you send your child. There can definitely be rough patches. After all, your child is involved. But, you know your child and let that be your guide when choosing a school.
We cover the different types of school (traditional, developmental, etc.) and what to look for when choosing a school in our book.
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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at

6 thoughts to “How Could Choosing A School Be So Hard? What I Did (And Did Not) Expect About The Willows School”

  1. This is such a helpful post. I love hearing a full picture of a school, because no place is perfect. But just like finding a spouse, you have to find the one that is perfect for YOU. 🙂
    Thank you for the honesty, Christina!

  2. You're right.. choosing a school is hard. There is such a push to get in that you are less likely to weigh aspects of each program during the process – until you absolutely have to. Thank you for being so transparent about your own experience.

  3. Our child got into all but one of the schools were we applied. We played by the "rules" described in your book. Now, we have tough choices to make. It's almost as hard as the process itself. I am hoping we make the right decision. Thank you for writing about this.

  4. It would be great if you could get parents at some of the other schools to write a similar list.

  5. Hi Anon 1:34. That's a great idea…I'm wondering if there are any specific schools you're interested in?

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