Private Elementary School Buzz…

  • Overheard. Sitting outside Anastasia brow salon in Beverly Hills, two Curtis School moms were chatting. One mom liked the fact that Curtis had allowed her “highly gifted son to flex his other muscles and make a great group of friends and play sports.” Then, they saw another Curtis mom walk by and remarked casually “There goes a Curtis mom…she has to be perfect.” The other one replied, “Yeah, I used to have that mindset, not anymore!” Other topics of conversation? Hawaiian vacations, home purchases in swanky neighborhoods, divorce, ex-husbands, one mom’s former interior decorator, Mary McDonald of Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Decorators, bikini waxes, a Carlthorp mom, adult braces, health scares…and more. 
  • Money Talks. One mom we spoke to is annoyed that whenever she volunteers at her kid’s school, overseeing a big project, there’s barely a mention in the school newsletter if she’s lucky. The family who donated a major gift with a plaque for everyone to see gets a big “thank you” in the newsletter every time they bring muffins. School spirit?
  • Random? Over the years, we’ve heard from several sources that the admissions process at The UCLA Lab School (formerly UES) is a random lottery based on ethnicity and economic diversity (the kids and parents are not interviewed), with an asterisk. The * is because certain families who check off income boxes on the application form of $500,000, $750,000/year can expect to receive a call from a board member asking if they will donate generously ($50K +/yr) to the school. This, we hear, happens before admissions letters are mailed. Not surprisingly, UCLA faculty are given priority. Random? You decide. 
  • Fear Factor. At one well respected LA school, the pressure is so intense from the head of school to ensure kids from the elementary school continue on to its middle school that parents have begun to refer to the families who gather the courage to leave as “the ones who got out.”
  • Her Lips Should Have Been Sealed. A mom we know told us a story about how she wished she’d kept quiet about the schools she was applying to. She’d spent time researching schools, visiting them and figuring out where to apply. She made the mistake of raving about one school to a “friend” who unexpectedly decided to apply there too, using this mom’s research, information and application strategy. Guess whose kid got in? The mom who made the last minute decision to apply to one school! They are no longer friends.
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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

One thought to “Private Elementary School Buzz…”

  1. As a faculty member at UCLA and parent of a child at UCLA Lab School I can tell you that children of faculty members do not have priority. In fact, it is extremely difficult for faculty children to get into the school.

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