Getting your first enrollment contract can be exciting and daunting. As you may have noticed, tuition isn’t the only cost of private school. Now, I’m not complaining, I’m just saying…its something to think about. The reason I’m not complaining is that I think private school is worth every penny. I really do! Even so, very few of us are immune from the stresses of the family budget and the hefty price tag associated with a good private school education.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the fees you can expect. Tuition is the big expense, but it’s not the only one. This is not based on one school, but our own example of what an L.A. private elementary school might cost.
EXAMPLE OF FIRST YEAR COSTS
Tuition: $24,000 (can be paid in full or using a monthly payment plan which charges interest and requires tuition insurance)
Facility Fee: $750
Class Trip Fee: $200
Parent Association Fee: $75.00
Field Trips: Many field trips are free, but overnight trips can cost several hundred dollars.
Hot Lunch (optional). Many schools offer hot lunch and the cost will depend on the school and how often your child orders hot lunch, but it can cost about $6.00 per day.
Enrichment Classes (optional): These afterschool classes like cooking, art and sports generally cost about $100 per class. You should note that many kids take more than one enrichment class per session. There can be two or three sessions per year.
Teacher Holiday Gifts/Gift Fund (optional)
School Bus: $2000/year
School Uniforms: $500/year
Aftercare Programs/Extended Care: Many schools offer afterschool enrichment classes and aftercare for parents who work. Every school is different, but the cost of after school care can be substantial and is definitely something you should budget for if you need it.
Spring Break and Summer Camps: Some schools offer their own camps during vacations. If your school has a camp, it’s convenient and a good way for your kid to be with their friends. The costs for school camps start at about $350/week and may include lunch.
The other costs like Annual Giving, school fundraisers, classroom charitable projects and bake sales, moms night out are worthy of a separate post (coming soon).
Emma Katznelson, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management, Wildwood School
We’re delighted to welcome Emma Katznelson to Beyond The Brochure! Emma is the new Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management at Wildwood School. Emma earned her B.A. from Columbia University and her masters in education from UC Berkeley. Emma began her work at Wildwood as a Division Three (9th and 10th grades) humanities teacher in 2009 and subsequently served as a division coordinator. She joined the admission team as associate director last year. I’ve written about Wildwood School’s beautiful outdoor space previously on the blog. Congratulations on your new job, Emma! – Christina
Question: You have a very busy job that involves interviewing lots of families and deciding who to admit. How do you plan to approach your new job?
Answer: First and foremost, at the heart of my job, is doing what’s best for students. I joined Wildwood four years ago as a 9th and 10th grade humanities teacher, advisor, and division coordinator (teacher leader). Each of these roles has allowed me to expand my understanding of how to prepare young people for today’s world. As the director of admission, I continue to use my experience in the classroom to inform my approach to outreach, admission, and community building. Wildwood is a progressive, college-prep school. Our program is unique and a large part of my job is to ensure families understand the benefits of an education that is student-centered, project-based, and multicultural. As families go through our application process, my goal is to assess the best fit for students, especially considering if they will be and feel successful here—academically, socially, emotionally and including extracurricular activities. Part of what creates that success is our warm community. An important aspect of my role is engaging current students and their parents in fostering an environment where all feel welcome.
Question: What are the most important qualities Wildwood looks for in applicant children for kindergarten?
Answer: At our elementary school, life skills are embedded throughout the curriculum. These include concepts of flexibility, perseverance, curiosity, and integrity, to name a few. These qualities inform our practice. Our admissions process for students entering kindergarten includes a school tour, parent interview, Saturday campus visit day to explore school readiness, and a recommendation letter from the child’s current preschool director. Our evaluative approach is holistic, looking at the whole child.
Wildwood Elementary School: Big Yard
Question: Is there a certain type of family that Wildwood admits?
Answer: At Wildwood, we celebrate differences and value commonalities. The families who join us feel at home here, are eager to be part of an intellectually vibrant place, and want to connect—through volunteering in the library, cheering our athletes at a game, or sharing expertise and insights. They believe in the power of personal discovery and the pursuit of passion. When parents are key collaborators in their child’s education, their children thrive.
Question: Do you have any tips for parents who will be applying to Wildwood?
Answer: Admissions is a reciprocal process. Our intent is to get to know prospective students and parents as authentically as possible. We invite families to do the same: get to know our culture and program, visit our website, attend open houses, parent education evenings, and school tours, and, most importantly, ask lots of questions. Take advantage of the many opportunities we provide to learn what differentiates Wildwood.
Question: If a child is wait-listed, is there any chance of being admitted at Wildwood? How does that work?
Answer: Every year, we have more students apply than the number of spaces available at each entry point. Our ability to accept children off the wait-list varies with each admission cycle. In any given year, if an opening presents itself, we look to our wait-list. We are intentional about considering the make-up of a particular class and the applicant as an individual.
Question: Can you give our readers a sense of the financial aid outlook at Wildwood for 2013-14?
Answer: Wildwood is committed to developing a multicultural school population that mirrors the broader Los Angeles community. Our endowment fund was established specifically for financial aid to provide students who could not otherwise afford a Wildwood education the opportunity to enroll in our school. We support the needs of as many families as possible and our fundraising efforts continue to allow us to uphold this important part of our mission.
For more information, please visit, www.wildwood.org
Town and Country: What Makes The Rich Beg? Private Elementary School Admissions! The writer lives in L.A. and this article is written with humor about her experience applying to kindergarten for her twins, tuition costs, big donations to private schools and the fact that these schools can find out who you are with a quick Google or Facebook search.
NY Times Magazine: Is This The Best Education Money Can Buy? A fascinating article about a brand new private school in NYC with tuition of $43K per year, snacks which include zucchini bread made with quinoa flour and parents in charge. This might be your dream school or your worst nightmare!
NYT Motherlode: The Playdate Gun Debate. I’ll never forget the time we attended a playdate with one of my kid’s classmates and the dad told the moms there (including me) that he had a gun locked upstairs in the safe. This wasn’t a family I ever expected to own a gun. After an awkward silence, somebody changed the subject.
USA Today Ranks Best Public High Schools in California. For those of you thinking about public high school, you might recognize a few of these local schools.
Tiger Baby Strikes Back on Yahoo Shine is a new book by a Kim Wong Keltner, a mom herself, who rejects the way she was raised with a mother who practiced the “Tiger Mom” approach to parenting, where getting a ‘B’ means a kid is a loser and brings shame.
Happy Mother’s Day!- Christina
To receive our blog posts by email, enter your email address in the box on the right sidebar. We use Feedblitz, so its easy and confidential.