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The Brood: 'LA School Scout' helps parents pick the right school

School admissions consultant Sandy Eiges (a.k.a. the
School admissions consultant Sandy Eiges (a.k.a. the "L.A. School Scout") helps parents sort through the often overwhelming school selection process.
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Today on Take Two, we are proud to announce a new segment on parenting. And, much like naming a baby, we thought long and hard about what to dub the segment. Our choice? The Brood. 

Makes sense, right? As a noun, the "brood" refers to kids. But we liked the name even more because of what it means as a verb: to think a lot about something. 

Because, let's face it, when it comes to raising kids in this day and age, parents brood. We brood often and about everything from cloth diapers versus disposable, breastfeeding or formula, and where to send your kid to school.

There are so many schools out there, but where do you begin? Do you go public or private? What about magnet or charter? Dual language? 

School admissions consultant Sandy Eiges (a.k.a. the "L.A. School Scout") helps parents sort through the often overwhelming school selection process and she joined Take Two to share some tips.


What is the best way to figure out what options are available to you?

"You're going to be told by friends and neighbors that their school is the best school around and definitely take that information in and start compiling a list. You can always go online to look at a site like GreatSchools where they will actually list all of the schools within your geographical area. 

It is challenging to figure out what all of your options are— private, public — that is why educational consultants exist... But you can start asking those questions, you can go to your school district and see if there are charter schools or magnet schools you might not have heard of, and start investigating that way."

What are the different options when it comes to public schools?

"People seem to think that the neighborhood school is their only public choice, but the reality is that there are at least four types of free public schools out there.

There's a neighborhood school obviously, the one that comes with your address. There's charter schools... charter schools are free public schools that you are entitled to go to. There are magnet schools, which really are only available to people in LAUSD, because magnet schools are part of large urban school districts. And there are language immersion schools.

Also, some small school districts have something called 'district of choice' where they have a reciprocal relationship with the districts around them. They need students, and if that seems like a viable option, that might be an option for you."

What should you look for when you visit a school?

"You're looking at the curriculum— what are they teaching? How are they teaching it?... Is it a formal environment? Is it a more informal environment? So, for example, in Kindergarten, are children sitting at desks? Are children sitting on a rug on the floor? Those are two very different classroom approaches... Is it a well rounded environment? Are there 'extras'... art, music, physical education?"

To listen to the full interview with Sandy Eiges, click the link above.

Got a topic you'd like us to discuss on The Brood? Let us know in the comments below!

A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized charter schools as “free private schools.” KPCC regrets the error.