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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to many of the questions that surface for families during the admissions process.

The list is by no means comprehensive, so we invite you to explore our viewbook and website to discover Brentwood School—our curriculum, philosophy, school community, the admissions process, and more. As other questions arise, please reach out to us at wcadmissions@bwscampus.com or (310) 889-2812.

West Campus: Grades K-5

How competitive is admission to Brentwood's Lower School, and does it vary by grade?

Yes, admission to Brentwood School is competitive and it does vary by grade. We accept a total of 44 Kindergarten students, and anticipate 250 applications. For grades 1-5, we will only replace students who leave the School. Because attrition in these grades (1-5) is limited and very few spaces become available, we will only process applications to grades 1-5 from students who are moving to Los Angeles.

Does acceptance into and successful participation in the Lower School ensure automatic entry into the Middle School?

Yes. Brentwood School is a Kindergarten through 12th Grade independent day school with two campuses. Regardless of the grade level involved, promotion from one grade to the next involves similar criteria and a reasonable mastery of the academic requirements, as well as fulfillment of the community's expectations regarding citizenship.

How does the school handle sibling applications?

At Brentwood School, we are committed to making the best possible match between learner and school. While it is natural for families to hope that all of their children will share the same educational experience, what is right for one child may not necessarily be the best option for another. Individual learning style, academic inclination, a need for more or less structure, athletic and artistic interests are among the many variables thoughtfully considered during the admission process. Ultimately, most important is our estimation of whether the sibling would thrive in this learning environment and how s/he would round out the composition of the class as a whole. A secondary consideration is how involved relative to their time and resources the parents have been in our school community. No one is guaranteed admission; we urge all siblings to fulfill the requirements of the admission process early and to apply to at least three other schools.

Is there much pressure in Brentwood School’s Lower School?

We believe students come to us curious about the world around them and eager to learn. With that in mind, the Lower School program is designed to foster a love for learning while challenging each student to reach his/her potential. Students will be asked to "stretch" themselves as they move through a program that is designed to teach them to think critically and creatively. We often receive questions about homework expectations and, while we do have homework in the Lower School, it is assigned in developmentally appropriate ways with the goal of teaching students time management in addition to content. For example, a 1st Grade student would be expected to read for 20 minutes a night, and practice spelling words or math facts. Overall, we believe students need a balance in their lives with plenty of time to play and spend time with family and friends.

Is there "extra help" in the Lower School?

Yes. We have a learning specialist, a school counselor, and a nurse on staff. The school wants children to enjoy learning while achieving a mastery of the material. The faculty appreciates that additional presentations of material and supported practice may be appropriate for students to achieve that mastery and to that end, faculty are available most days before or after school to provide extra help.

Do you have a gifted program?

Not as such. All classes are heterogeneously grouped because we believe that students at this age learn in different ways, at different rates, and use a variety of strategies. In addition, the school accepts students who we believe can and will do the necessary work. This ensures that the student abilities in any given class will be within reasonable and manageable ranges and diminishes the need for any permanent ability grouping or gifted program. That being said, we do utilize flexible groupings across the early grade levels in reading and across all grade levels in math. Students are continually assessed and placed in groups according to their needs relative to the concepts and skills being taught to make sure that all students are appropriately challenged.

How would you characterize your faculty?

There are three important characteristics that distinguish our faculty. First, and foremost, a teacher should possess a genuine interest in elementary school-age children and have the ability to transmit that interest into their teaching style on a daily basis. Second, a teacher should be inspired by a sense of professionalism that requires him/her to seek out the best ways to deliver material while recognizing and assisting students with individual learning styles. Third, a teacher must display a commitment to, and a proficiency in, working with families in the best interest of the student. Our faculty is selected with these three points in mind.

Does the Lower School have a dress code?

Yes. Except for special days, all students are required to wear a uniform. Boys have the option of pants or shorts, with a polo shirt. Girls have the option of a jumper, skirt, skort, pants, or shorts, with a polo shirt or blouse. The rationale behind the dress code is simple. We want children to focus on learning about themselves and the world around them, not on who is wearing what. Uniforms are, in the long run, less expensive. We want our children to represent the school when we travel off campus and to be identified as Brentwood students. Finally, we hope your mornings will be less stressful at home because the clothing options are limited.

Is there a commitment to character education at the Lower School?

Definitely. We are proud to supplement our students’ first-rate education by continuing to teach and reinforce the valuable lessons they learn at home. Our weekly class meetings and monthly school assemblies are dedicated to the development of character. Lower School students learn responsibility, caring, trust, honesty and respect, and how to apply each of these concepts to their own lives. Emphasis is also placed on problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Service Learning is an integral part of our character education program. We believe a raised consciousness regarding service to others should begin in Kindergarten and carry throughout a child’s schooling. You can expect that each student will participate in a variety of lessons and activities that cultivate an increased awareness of the world beyond and its needs.

What transportation resources does the school provide?

Brentwood School offers transportation options to fit a variety of needs for our West Campus families. We are a willing resource for those who want support in creating a plan. Our Transportation Manager and a secure, carpool finder website are available to facilitate bus program and carpool arrangements.

Is there an extended day program?

Brentwood may be the only school on the Westside to offer Extended Day, before and after school, free of charge. From 7:30-8:30 each morning there is supervised play available for all Lower School students. On Monday through Thursday, our afternoon supervision is from 3:10-6:00 p.m. and on Fridays, Extended Day is from 2:10-6:00 p.m. We also provide free extra-curricular options in athletics and performing arts at different grade levels. In addition, we offer a series of fee-based enrichment classes such as Skate Dogs, Robotics, or Mad Science. The result is that Brentwood School is the preferred after school destination for a large number of kids. It also makes a wonderful central location for friends to connect if they live far apart from each other.

How important is the ISEE?

ISEE results are an important factor yet not the determining one for students applying from 4th Grade and up. We have no cutoffs or minimums. We realize that, inherent to any test of this kind, there are certain limitations as any standardized test fails to measure a students's motivation, creativity, research, ability, and character. The ISEE does, however, provide us with a common denominator, given that students apply from such a wide variety of schools and thus have somewhat different educational backgrounds. The majority of our applicants fall into what is a wide middle range. In cases where we are familiar with a student's school, where the student has performed well in a solid academic program, and where the recommendations are quite positive and insightful, less importance is placed on the ISEE.

Can a student take the ISEE more than once?

The testing company that creates the ISEE allows students to take the ISEE during three testing windows—Fall (August–November); Winter (December–March); and Spring/Summer (April–July). Students may take the test only once per window, or up to a maximum of 3 times in a 12-month admission cycle. Brentwood School and the ISEE do not encourage multiple testing. Only under very special circumstances, such as a sudden illness, should an additional testing be considered. If a student does take the ISEE more than once, we encourage parents/guardians to show their child’s progress from one test window to another by submitting all scores.

In assessing candidates, do you consider more than just quantitative (standardized test results, GPA) factors?

Absolutely. While academic criteria are of significant importance to the Admissions Committee, we look at a variety of information to determine a candidate's intellectual strengths. Beyond the ISEE scores and grades from the current school, we also look very closely at teacher recommendations, the administrator recommendation, and the interview. All of those factors combined give the Committee a sense of not only the academic promise of the candidate, but also the child's personality and extracurricular interests. Rest assured that we spend a considerable amount of time in our deliberations as we try to be as thorough and fair as possible in bringing together a diverse and capable student body each year.