L.A. Private Elementary School Buzz

Private Elementary school BUZZ
  • Turning Point School’s Admissions Director, Maggie Wright is retiring. She will be replaced by Amy Calvert, currently the Co-Director of Admissions and Placement.
  •  The Willows School has been relying on the expertise of Elizabeth Berkley (she starred in the movie “Showgirls”) to help Middle School girls with life skills like body image. Not surprisingly, some curious dads have been Googling her past film roles. She founded a non-profit, “Ask Elizabeth” to help adolescent girls.
  • An education consultant with connections at many of the top private elementary schools tells me the number of admissions directors who are requesting her to ask her clients to pick a “first choice” school is way up this year.
  • Just because an elementary school gets applications from 100 or more preschools doesn’t mean they accept kids from that many schools…”feeder” schools are alive and well at some top private elementary schools.
  • Heidi Klum and Seal have split, but some Turning Point School parents haven’t forgotten when this former couple’s kids attended the school and Seal would obnoxiously speed to the front of the long carpool line and cut in front of waiting parents in his special Audi (only available in Germany), To avoid an accident, waiting parents would reluctantly allow him to cut in line. Who does that? Now their kids attend a school on Mulholland.
  • It’s spring, which means private school auctions. Bid to win! Brentwood School will hold their event at the Fairmont Hotel, Santa Monica. The Center For Early Education’s soiree will be at Hollywood & Highland, catered by Wolfgang Puck and The WillowsSchool will host a Moroccan-themed event on its own campus. Oakwood School will host its auction downtown at The Historic Cooper Building with catering by Global Cusine.

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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 csimon2007@gmail.com

9 thoughts to “L.A. Private Elementary School Buzz”

  1. Thank you for the post! What is the significance of the #1 choice? How does this change the process of choosing applicants or the admissions process from the AD’s perspective? As an applicant, it’s sometimes a tough choice to make and we don’t want to limit our options. Thanks!

  2. Hi Lynn, thanks for the great question! The issue of being asked by admissions directors to pick a “first choice” can be very tricky for families. In the blurb above, the educational consultant is working directly with admissions directors to communicate her clients’ first choice schools. Obviously, the schools want to know with certainty who will accept their offer of admission. Parents too, want to keep their options open and not make any missteps. That’s what makes this a delicate dance. We discuss the issue in our book and when we do speaking events. I think the bottom line is that if you have a first choice school, it’s fine to let the school know that, with the understanding that that school may talk to other schools. Or, they may not. Some admissions directors talk to each others. Many don’t. I’d try to get help from your preschool director and let him/her communicate the message about first choice schools on your behalf. With the schools that are not your first choice, you can always tell them how much you love the school, without saying the words, “first choice”. Or, some parents tell ALL the schools they are their first choice. I’m not a fan of that approach. Really, this is just a way for admissions directors to try to figure out how to get the best acceptance rate possible i.e. how to only admit families who will accept. No school wants to admit families who then decline the offer! Hope that helps! Christina

    1. Hello Christina:
      As a follow up to the “first choice” question…. I have been freaking out a bit now that it’s crunch time wondering if there’s anything else I can do to make an impact at our top choice schools. In my confusion and overzealousness, I have written thank you letters of “strong interest” to four schools with phrases like “I hope you have a spot for our child”, etc… I don’t have A first choice, but there are several schools that we like a LOT! I have told one school that we “will accept” and now I wish I had not because I am afraid we are limiting our chances of getting an offer from another school that we truly love. I’ve been getting swept up in the moment sometimes after a visit. How can I express strong interest (in other words, please make us an offer) to TWO schools? Without seeming like I’m game playing or lying… because we are really undecided. 🙂
      Thank you for listening and any recommendations.

      1. Hi Anon, I think it is really common to like a lot of the schools and get swept up in the moment after a great visit or a fantastic parent interview. So many of these schools are amazing! I think it’s great to express strong interest to schools you really like in a genuine way. I think its important to make each note UNIQUE and specific to that school, so it doesn’t seem like you’re sending a form letter. Why would that school be so great for your child? What is it about the school you absolutely love? It sounds like you’ve been doing exactly that. You don’t need to make promises you can’t keep to a bunch of schools. The fact that you’ve told one school you’ll accept if your child gets isn’t really something you should try to “undo” at this point. It’s only one factor in whether your family will be accepted at that school….they are many other factors which go into the mix, besides your “if accepted” note. And, you really have no way of knowing whether that admissions director will be talking to other schools where you applied. At this point, it’s a “waiting game” and a stressful one!

        1. Thank you, Christina! What you say is reassuring and I think we’ve been doing the right thing. I will continue to express strong interest to each school and hope for the best!! Four weeks and counting! Now I should focus on that weekend getaway that we will need to take once this is all over!
          Best wishes!

        2. Hi Christina,

          At this point of the process does it look desperate to send an admissions director another note stating how much we love the school and that it would be perfect for our child. We recently went to our last school visitation day and I could tell my child just loved it there, the way her eyes lit up in the music room, and how she felt so comfortable at in the classrooms and with the teachers. I hope I’m not caught up in the moment, but I do want to let the admissions director know how much she enjoyed it there. I was thinking of just sending a quick email. I am not sure if this is appropriate, or if I’m better off just leaving it alone at this point because it is March. I’m also wondering if an email is appropriate to send to an admissions director. This is a school that you are familiar with so I was just hoping you would have a good insight as to whether it would make a difference at this point.

          Thanks for all your advice.

          1. Hi Anon,
            I don’t think it looks desperate to send a nice note or email telling an admissions director how much you and your daughter love the school. A quick email is a great idea. Parents are emailing, calling and sending notes up until the day letters are mailed out. I think you should say exactly what you say in this comment: a quick note about your daughter’s response to the music room, the teachers, how comfortable she felt and how you observed her in the school setting and how you feel like this is the right school for her. Schools want to know who is truly interested in the school vs. who is applying there “just in case”. Hope that helps!

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