We get more emails than comments on this blog from our wonderful readers. So, we thought we’d share a few of the genuine, heartfelt messages we’ve received in the past few days.
“We got into 5 schools. It feels great after trying before and getting so much rejection!” —Westside Mom
“I wanted to thank you for your blog. I am a parent on the Westside and a reader of your blog “Beyond The Brochure,” which has been a great resource for my family. We applied to 5 elementary schools for Kindergarten admissions for fall 2014. Your blog has been great, and it was an excellent source of information for us throughout this process. I wanted to thank you again so much. ––Westside Dad
“It didn’t work out for us this year. We applied to one school but didn’t get in. Upset and discouraged. —Santa Monica Mom
“We were accepted to 3 of the 4 schools we applied to. I am telling you — for the two schools that were our top choices, we followed your book and blog advice to a “T”. From the thank you notes to the tours to the essays, etc. —Pasadena Mom
“I’m having trouble choosing between schools that are very similar.” —Los Angeles Mom
“When I called one school, they basically acted like we shouldn’t bother applying. Another school dismissed me as fast as they could. That was a big turnoff. My child isn’t old enough to apply until next year, but I won’t forget. This is a two-way process.” —Los Angeles Mom
“Two For Two”–Valley Mom
“This process sucks! It really does. Well, I said that before my kid got in everywhere but I STILL think it sucks.” –Hancock Park Mom
“Got in, got wait-listed and got rejected…thanks for your blog!”–Culver City Mom
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1.Tell us a bit about your new Life Coaching endeavor!
In a way I have just formalized what I have been doing during all of my personal and professional life. As a parent, teacher and educational administrator I spent a large portion of my time and energy dealing with the inevitable issues that arise as children and families grow and learn; child development, work/family balance, etc. As a therapeutic foster parent, I received a lot of training and experience supporting adolescents and young adults in defining their life’s purpose and goals and figuring out how to make their own dreams come true. Becoming a Life Coach is a natural progression for me; I have developed additional skills that are used to listen deeply, ask meaningful questions, clarify goals and determine strategies and accountabilities for reaching those goals. To me, it is taking parenting, teaching and education to a new professional level and it is a way to share the lessons I have learned through both my professional and life experience.
2. You’re also continuing to offer educational guidance to a select few clients. Can you describe these services?
I am happy to work with families who are embarking on the journey of finding and applying to private/independent schools. I know how these schools operate very intimately and I can assist parents in learning about what kinds of schools are out there and what type of school might be best for their family. I do not do the traditional educational consulting that is offered by those professionals who have built personal relationships with individual schools and admissions directors and advocate directly with these schools for their clients. I work with parents to define and articulate an educational mission statement for their family as well as learn about and choose the schools that seem to be a good fit. From there I shepherd them through the process of the applications and support their ownership of that process. I review applications, help prepare for interviews, brainstorm recommendations, and make sure none of the necessary steps are missed. I am thrilled to help the families who want to maintain control of this most personal and important family building experience.
3. You have such incredible life experience as a wonderful mom, my step-mom, grandmother, foster-mom, wife and educator. How will these experiences help your clients?
I don’t know about the “wonderful” part – I have faced as many challenges and have as many regrets as anyone. But I have had a tremendous amount of experience, so the quantity and variety of my time in these roles has given me the opportunity to reflect, grow, change, and learn some things about what works and what doesn’t. Knowing oneself, knowing what you really value, and striving for the emotional maturity and perspective necessary to realize the life you want does not come without some deep consideration. I want to share the lessons I have learned and use the skills I have acquired to assist others in gaining some of this self-insight and finding the clarity, goals and strategies they need to achieve the life they really want.
4. How do the logistics work if a client wants to work with you and they aren’t in your city?
Coaching is done most often on the phone. Some of us are used to having good, meaningful conversations with friends or family when we need to figure something out. It is often a similar experience to that, albeit with a professional guide and a proven structure to the work. When I work with a client in another part of the country, we set up a regular time to speak on the phone for a prescribed amount of time, usually 45-60 minutes. We establish an agreement for a certain number of sessions. During these conversations we establish a real relationship that becomes quite close, one based on gaining trust, exploring dreams and establishing goals. I become your companion along the way, supporting you and holding you accountable for the actions you choose to take in pursuit of your goals.
At the end of the determined number of sessions, we either establish a new agreement or we end our work together, and you continue on your life’s journey with a new or renewed sense of self and purpose, considered goals and actions, and the knowledge that you can always connect with me to find support.
5. What’s the best advice you can offer parents who are waiting for March 2014 admissions letters?
My best advice is to stay open to all possibilities. Private school admissions is a daunting process and it can seem that if things don’t go just the way you most want them too that all is lost – but this is NEVER the case. There is not only one school for your child. Sometimes there are reasons why things don’t go the way you expect. Stay focused on your core family educational values and be willing to continue to work toward them. Embrace the journey!