Share
L.A. School Scout LLC

Los Angeles School Admissions Consultant  - Preschool, K-12, Private Schools, Magnet & Charter Schools

Sandy Eiges

What We Do...

If you have been scouring the Internet searching for information or help with getting your child into the right Los Angeles preschool, private school or public school then you have come to the right place. That's what we do - we provide you with that information and help. You may engage our services for as little as a telephone consultation or as much as a personalized plan and assistance in executing it.

Once upon a time you moved into a neighborhood and your child went to the neighborhood school. And certainly that approach is still an option, for some families in some neighborhoods. If that describes you, I strongly recommend that you take a serious look at your local public school.

But these days there are choices about where you send your child to school. Many, many choices. In fact there are so many choices out there that choosing a school can be a bewildering experience, fraught with panic and self-doubt.

Doubt no longer. What using me as your school consultant means is having an educational expert on your side, someone who learns about your child, knows the schools and then gives you clear advice about which schools are truly a match for your child.

So whether you’re interested in public, private, parochial, boarding school or homeschool, whether you’re Eastside or Westside or Valley, whether you’re looking for preschool, Kindergarten, elementary, middle or high school, L.A. School Scout can help.

My only agenda is to help you find the right school for your child – not your neighbor’s child, or your cousin’s child. I am really not attached to whether you opt for public or private, but I will give you specific, detailed information about those options – all of those options relevant to your specific search.

When you work with me, you get a dedicated school placement expert – not your neighbor, friend, or family, all of whom may have opinions about where your child should go to school.

As L.A. School Scout I have personally visited hundreds of schools all over greater Los Angeles. I have specific, detailed knowledge of all the schools out there, no matter where you live. I have already done the advance legwork to scout your school options. As a school placement consultant I specialize in knowing the schools intimately, and making sure the ones I recommend to you are a match for your child.

Consultations Can Include...

An L.A. School Scout consultation can provide, depending on what you request:

  • A free initial intake call
  • 1 hour phone consultations
  • 90 minute – 2 hour in-person consultations
  • Phone only, if that’s what works for you
  • In-office meetings
  • Report card and test results review
  • IEP or other assessment review
  • School application review for private schools – and assistance in crafting a compelling application
  • Scheduling of all school tours, as needed
  • Rush and relocation placement
  • Application deadline reminders
  • Tour/application status tracking
  • Consultation during the decision-making process
  • Initial assessment of your child
  • Kindergarten readiness assessments
  • Classroom observation - ongoing assessment as well as consultation with your child’s teachers and other service providers, if required
  • Personalized school recommendations, with extensive, detailed descriptions – not just a list!
  • Personalized neighborhood recommendations, if you are considering moving to optimize your public school options
  • Attending service provider meetings as needed
  • Scheduling tours, interviews, assessments
  • Deadline and tour, interview and assessment reminders
  • Customized tour/application status tracking grid with event-based and information-based updates
  • Interview Preparation for parents and children
  • On-going support throughout the year – and beyond

And Don't Forget...

the L.A. School Scout free online tour calendar and my weekly newsletter, chock full of timely, up-to-date information on education and the world of schools.

My goal as an educational consultant and school scout is to give you options, make the school search manageable, and help you make an informed choice about what type of education is right for your child. L.A. School Scout helps you sort through your options, explains those options to you in detail, and guides you every step of the way. There is a school out there for your child, and we will help you find it!

L.A. School Scout serves the entire Greater Los Angeles area.

For more information about our services, please contact L.A. School Scout at 877.877.6240, or

Email:

Special Note: A Phone or In-Person Consultation is not:

  1. An opportunity to do interview prep – that is only available with the Comprehensive consultation.
  2. A review of private school applications – again here, this service is only available with the Comprehensive consultation.

Protected Image.

Advantages of private school:

"Some of the advantages of private school over public school is that private schools really pride themselves on keeping class size small, having a higher ratio of teachers to students, having aides in the classroom actually being fully credentialed teachers, having all kinds of resources that are now considered extra in public schools, such as art, music, physical education, library, even a school nurse. All of those things which might be considered extra in public school are taken for granted in private school. And that is some of what you are paying for in private school. When you look at what public schools get, which is in the neighborhood of $5,000 - $7,000 per student, and what private schools charge, which can be upwards of $15,000 per student, you can see that private schools can simply afford to do more than public schools can."

Advantages of public school:

"What are some of the advantages of public school over private school? For one, the obvious advantage is that the public school is located in your neighborhood. This means that your children will meet other children in the neighborhood, that's where their friends will come from, that's where your community will come from, and that does lend something to your quality of life. If you're not getting in the car to drive your child to school or if you are, you're driving for five minutes and not for 45 minutes. The other advantage would be if your child needs any kind of additional services, a public school is mandated to provide them. So whether that is for gifted children who need different levels of instruction, or for children who are struggling in any way at all, the school is bound by law to provide additional services to your child. So there are a couple of advantages to public school."

Applying in middle versus high school:

"People ask if they can go to public elementary and then apply to private high school; public elementary, public middle school and then just wait and got to private high school. And what I usually tell them is this: By the time it's high school, there are very few spaces available. The big entry points for private school are really kindergarten and middle school, and that's really it. Even though private high schools might open up an additional number of spots for high school, it will be very small compared to the number of spaces they will open for middle school. So if you're thinking in that direction, yes, there is a big difference between 45 to 75 spaces that might open for middle school and the 20 spaces that might open for high school, 10 boys, 10 girls. So yeah, the competition for high school is much greater."

Best age to enter kindergarten:

"There is a big question these days whether your child turns five in the fall or summer before kindergarten whether you should send them to kindergarten this year or wait another year. There is no easy answer to that question. There are children who are ready for kindergarten even before they turn five. However most of the schools are now seeing that children are entering kindergarten when they're 5 1/2, almost 6, or even 6-years old. So you also have to determine do you want your child to be the youngest child in the class? Will your child be competitive with those children even if they seem perfectly ready for kindergarten? Will they be as ready as the children who have waited a year? The best rule of thumb is to, if you can't get a kindergarten readiness assessment, ask the school that you're talking to about the age range of the children entering kindergarten."

Best programs for gifted children:

"If your child is gifted, there are a number of things that you can do. First, depending on what their age is, if you seriously think that they're gifted and everyone else seems to think so too, you might want to get them tested by a pediatric neuro-psychologist who specializes in that kind of IQ testing. And that will give you a real indication whether your child is gifted. There are gifted programs in public schools; generally they do not start until first or second grade, or even third grade. Public schools can often accommodate gifted children if they group children by ability from day one, even starting in kindergarten. So one of the things you can do is if your child is slated for public school, ask whether the school ability groups or not. If they don't and the teacher is differentiating in the classroom and observe a classroom where she's truly differentiating for different levels of kids, fine. Otherwise, you might have to consider a private school that either specializes in working with gifted kids or has a more advanced academic program."

Charter schools:

"What is a charter school and how do you get into one? Charter schools are free public schools, one of many alternatives for free public schools. As a free public school, you are able to attend a charter school if you live in the neighborhood that a charter school is in. Or you can lottery in. Charter schools were created to give parents more choice in the style of education that they're getting from their school district. So charter schools can teach differently, they can have completely different curriculum, they can focus on a completely different philosophy. They can also involve teachers in developing curriculums, something that doesn't happen in a regular neighborhood school. If you're interested in a charter school, you need to attend an open house or a tour, apply on their application timeline, enter that lottery, and then wait to find out if you got a space in that lottery. And as long as you live in the state in which the charter is located, you are eligible to apply to that charter school."

Different types of private school education:

"What are different types of private school education? There are many choices these days in types of education. For example, there is the traditional school. There is the progressive school and there´s everything in between. And everything in between can be a school for gifted children, a school that focuses on a special subject like arts or sciences or both, a school that caters to a particular population like a certain kind of philosophy like a Waldorf school for example or a Regio inspired school. It´s always a good idea to apply the are these my people criteria when you take a look around and you are touring a school. You really want to know that these are people that you are going to want to spend time with, you are going to want to join committees and you are going to want to feel perfectly comfortable sending your child to their house and inviting their children to your house because that is also part of what school is about. The other thing is to see whether the school has a very structured curriculum and a very structured school day and whether your child, in your opinion, will respond well to that or not. If you are a loosely structured family and you think all their structure is going to come from the school day, there is going to be a disconnect for your child there. So you might want to rethink that. If you are used to a very traditional lifestyle and your children are suddenly thrust into a progressive school because you want to give them exposure to the arts, let´s say, there will be a real disconnect there. So you have to see who is the child, what kind of style of education do you think they will respond to, does the school fit your family, does it fit your overall needs, and those are some of the questions you can ask yourself when you are looking at types of private schools."

Is my child kindergarten ready?:

"How schools determine whether your child is ready for kindergarten depends on whether it is public school or private school. For public schools, there is a date that the state sets and all public schools abide by. As long as your child turns five by that date, your child is ready for kindergarten. Private schools look at it completely differently. They want to look at a set of skills to determine whether or not your child is ready for kindergarten. They will look at their cognitive abilities, their social emotional development, their gross motor skills, their fine motor skills, their ability to be in a group of kids of their age. And they will do a series of assessments to determine whether or not your child is able to be in their kindergarten at their school."

Language Immersion Schools:

"These days a lot of people are interested in language immersion schools and there are language immersion schools for all kinds of languages. There's either the 90/10 language immersion program, where 90% of the instruction in kindergarten is in the foreign language with 10% being in English. Every year they add 10% in English, so that by the time the children graduate the end of elementary school they will be 50/50 in English and the foreign language. The other type of language immersion program is a 50/50 program where 50% of the day is spent in the foreign language. the other 50% of the day is spent repeating the same lesson in English so that your child has an opportunity to consolidate their learning, and this is especially useful if the parents do not speak the foreign language that the child is studying."

Magnet schools:

"Magnet schools were created to right the wrongs of segregation. So that children in neighborhoods that had no resources in poor public schools were able to still get a quality education. Magnet schools only exist in large urban school districts were there are poor neighborhoods and under resourced schools. You get into magnet schools by accumulating points. You get points for whether your neighborhood school is primarily one non white ethnic group, or if your neighborhood school is over crowded. If you want to go to a gifted or you want to go to a gifted magnet or a gifted and talented magnet in some parts of the country then you also need to test in, in addition to having the points from the regular magnet lottery."

Parent interview tips for private school:

"Some tips for interviewing at private school. First of all, be yourself. It's not a job interview. They are not there to trick you or trip you up on your answers. Be authentic in talking about your child. This is not the time to be modest about your child, it is a time to be the parents who are the proud parents of your child. Tell them all about yourselves. Tell them about your child. Be engaging. Be authentic. You don't have to dress how you don't normally dress. The more you engage in an interview as if it were just a conversation, the more successful that interview will actually be. They are looking for parents who are going to be comfortable at their school, and who will be part of the school family. Jump in, be enthusiastic, let the interviewer speak, and try to answer their questions to the best of your ability. You don't need to sell your child, just be authentic."

Private elementary school assessment process:

"What you should expect during a private elementary school assessment is a couple of things depending on what grade you're applying to. If you're applying to kindergarten, every school puts together its own kindergarten assessment. There are schools that band together and use companies that offer a kindergarten assessment and then the school will use that assessment. The assessment is actually a very well rounded assessment – they're not just looking to see if your child can count to ten or to a hundred; they're looking to see a wide range of skills that they will need to be successful in kindergarten, such as being able to sit quietly for ten to twenty minutes and follow directions that the teacher will give. They're looking to see whether you have a child who can sustain interest in an activity, or a child who runs from activity to activity. They're looking to see whether your child has some fine motor skills they'll need in kindergarten in order to learn how to write properly. They will look to see whether your child is already reading or has some rudimentary knowledge of the alphabet. And then, they will look at all of these factors and determine how well your child's level of skill and abilities in these different areas fit in what their actual classroom looks like."

Private middle school acceptance tips:

"Some of the advantages of private school over public school is that private schools really pride themselves on keeping class size small, having a higher ratio of teachers to students, having aides in the classroom actually being fully credentialed teachers, having all kinds of resources that are now considered extra in public schools, such as art, music, physical education, library, even a school nurse. All of those things which might be considered extra in public school are taken for granted in private school. And that is some of what you are paying for in private school. When you look at what public schools get, which is in the neighborhood of $5,000 - $7,000 per student, and what private schools charge, which can be upwards of $15,000 per student, you can see that private schools can simply afford to do more than public schools can."

Private school application tips:

"I often get asked what private schools are looking at in an application. That's a million dollar question. If there was an easy answer to that, everyone would get into the school of their choice. Really, the answer to that is they are looking for an authentic application, meaning the school asks you about the child, that you are describing the child that they are going to see and to meet. That you are not describing your fantasy child that they are not going to see upon first introduction, because they will meet your child. This has to be a real description of your child. Their real strengths, their real challenges, whatever those might be. Sometimes that is challenging for parents to write in an application. They also want to know that you've actually listened to what they were saying on the tour, that you've been to the website and read their materials; so you're not asking questions of them that they have already answered for you. They don't want you to regurgitate what they've told you. They want you to be thoughtful about the questions. Questions like: How do you think our school will be a good fit for your child? A cut and paste response is not going to work here. What you need to do is respond to each individual school, knowing what the personality of each school is and being authentic about your child and your family."

Private school kindergarten tips for getting accepted:

"Private Kindergarten, first of all, will take a look at your child's birthday and whether or not they fit into that Kindergarten cutoff. Some schools are a little more lenient about the date, some schools are not. You will complete an application. You will go on a tour. You will also have a parent interview. There will be a child assessment and a visit to the preschool to observe your child, and there may be a group assessment at the same time. The school is looking at a whole range of factors when looking at Kindergarten acceptance. In order to get accepted at a school, first of all, you need to be the right fit for that school. If you are the type of family that they have and they are comfortable with you, then often times, family fit can be most important. Not that your child doesn't matter, but some schools are looking for more of the whole package. Some schools really are looking at a child's assessment and how they do on a particular Kindergarten assessment. They will score that assessment and then look at other factors. There is no easy answer about how to get into Kindergarten, but to some extent, it does depend on both the family and the child."

Rejected or waitlisted for private school:

"I often get asked, what do I do if my child is rejected or waitlisted after we have applied to our favorite school? There are a couple of answers to that question. One is if you did not receive a waitlist letter or if you are simply not offered a spot. It is your first play school, for the most part, it is over. If for whatever reason they decided not to offer you a waitlist spot, chances are good that they don't see your child as a fit for whatever reason. You can always call. With a waitlist spot, I would suggest that you call and talk to the director of admissions, tell them that you got accepted elsewhere, but this is your first choice school; is there any possibility. They might see that you are a genuine applicant for them. Whoever they have offered spots may have been accepted to other schools. Spaces do open up. Spaces especially open up on the waitlist after the first two months that letters have gone out. Be persistent, but if a school says, "I'm sorry. We just won't be able to offer you a spot." Then it's over and move on to your next choice school."

Switching private schools:

"If you don't find the right fit school for your child. You've tried working with the school, working with the teachers, and working with the principal, and nothing seems to be working for your child at that school; you might want to consider switching. A lot of switching does go on between Kindergarten and First Grade, where people have chosen schools that turn out to not be the right fit for them. They do need to go elsewhere. As long as there are real, authentic reasons, it is not impossible to switch. What does become challenging is you can only go to a school if a space opens up in that school. So as Kindergarten is the entry point, there is difficulty finding a space at any other school depending on how many kids wind up leaving. That is the hard part about switching, whether or not there is a space available. It is possible to switch. If you do see a school where you think your child will be more successful, I would encourage you to do that."

Why L.A. School Scout?

Hi. My name is Sandy Eiges, but some of you may know me as L.A. School Scout. I'm an educational consultant in the Greater Los Angeles area, and I help families find the right fit school for their child, preschool through 12th grade, public or private.

Why would a family hire L.A. School Scout? As I'm sure you're aware, there are many schools out there and the school admissions process can be challenging, bewildering and competitive. I am passionate about helping my families explore all of their options, and I offer both one-time consultations as well as more comprehensive planning and support. My intimate knowledge of all facets of the school application process helps families find the right fit school for their child and ultimately, for their family.