L.A. Private School Magazines: What These Glossy Publications Can Tell You About School Culture

Some private schools, like Wildwood, publish it’s quarterly magazine, Our Wildwood, on the website. Social justice, student achievements and alumni updates are just a few of the Winter 2018 Magazine features.

You may have seen these magazines prominently displayed in L.A. private school admissions offices. They’re showpieces, displays of the school’s best programs, faculty, students alumni and facilities. If you look closely, they are also a great way to get a feel for the school’s culture.

Crossroads School also publishes Cross/Sections online. The Summer 2018 issue profiles a Crossroads family and highlights the school’s spring fundraiser, its dance program and interviews with alumni.

If you’re tempted to do little more than quickly glance at these publications, take some time to give them a more in-depth read. Do the programs featured prominently in the magazine fit with your kid’s interests? These programs aren’t being featured by accident. They’re in the magazine because they are the school’s signature programs like art or dance, basketball or volunteerism. The school is spending big money on these programs and they want parents and prospective families to know about them. If what’s being featured doesn’t appeal to you or isn’t aligned with your kid’s interests, do more research to see if what the school offers will fit your kid’s interests and personality. Are you seeing a lot of art and music, but what you really want is STEM programs? Are you looking for a big sports school, but you don’t see any mention of sports? Those are indicators the school’s emphasis might not be what you’re looking for. Perhaps it’s exactly what you want in a school. It may also be that the issue you are reading has a specific theme so you need to investigate further.

Private schools use their magazines to highlight diversity in students and faculty. If you don’t see it in on the pages, it’s probably because the school is lacking diversity.

You might also be able to distinguish between progressive and traditional schools as you thumb through these magazines.

Overall, these magazines offer you a glimpse into the school’s culture. In the John Thomas Dye’s The Greyhound Summer 2018 Magazine (not online) legacy is important. “In 2018, over 30 JTD alumni had a child or children enrolled at JTD.” A cute picture display of the parents when they were children is side-by-side photos of their children (the legacies). Readers are asked to match parent pics with their kids.

Village School’s magazine, Village, (not online), is a K-6th that congratulates its 2012 alumni on their college acceptances, from Barnard and Cornell to USC and Washington University in St. Louis.

The Center For Early Education’s Annual Report/Magazine highlights an art program that pushes student beyond their comfort zone. CEE families are profiled and pictures from numerous school events fill the pages.

Windmill, the magazine of St. Matthew’s Parish School Winter 2018 (not online) contains a welcome from the outgoing head of school, Stu Work, to the head of school-elect, Edward Kim, snapshots of parent life at the school and a graphic of the community service and in-class activities performed by the St. Matthew’s community (15,414 lbs. of food gathered and loaded for the Westside Food Bank, 300 lbs. of plastic and aluminum cans recycled by the 1st grade class.) St. Matthew’s alumni class of 2012 (it’s a K-8 school) are headed to colleges from Brown and Columbia to Dartmouth, Tulane and Vanderbuilt.

In Pasadena, Polytechnic School’s Oaktree Times Spring/Summer 2018 Magazine shines the spotlight on service learning and a new high school honor code.

Viewpoint School publishes Viewpoint Magazine which is amazing–and I’m only slightly biased because my kids go there!

During your parent interview, you might want to mention something that captured your attention–or your heart– in one of the school’s magazines!

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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

3 thoughts to “L.A. Private School Magazines: What These Glossy Publications Can Tell You About School Culture”

  1. Thank you for focusing on our signature school magazines. A tremendous amount of editorial thought goes into each publication, and if done right, reading them should feel like walking through the school’s hallways.

    1. Hi Janet, I agree! Wildwood’s magazine is beautiful and a reflection of the school. I also appreciate that you have it available online.

  2. Glad to see you liked JTD’s parent/student match game spread! It was fun to put together. Our magazine will be available online soon, too.

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