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Curtis School

Private | K-6 | 493 students


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Living in Los Angeles

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $1,077,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $2,200.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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29 reviews of this school

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Posted August 29, 2014

My son attended Curtis for 8 years a couple of years ago , beginning in DK., and now is at Harvard Westlake. My feelings about the school are mixed. On the positive side: :a) beautiful campus b) good sports programs c) overall the teachers , and Mr Smailes the headmaster and the Upper School head at the time , Chris Thinnes, (don't know if he still is there) were very caring people. On the negative side: a) academically just ok and in math and science, poor b) very non- diverse , with a very large % of students from Bel Air and Beverly Hills, many of whom were not that hard working or smart c) feeling of favoritism to children of big donors and/or celebrities where discipline or sports teams concerned d) very few working moms and cliquish , snobby Parent's Association My son got all As without working hard and when he got to Harvard Westlake had a rude awakening in his lack of preparation in math, science and grammar. Somehow the school is a HW " feeder" school but from what my son tells me, the JT Dye and The Center kids are far better prepared academically . 6th grade ( once middle school applications are in) was a joke academically and my son paid for that in 7th.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 25, 2014

Our kids are happy & come home well spent from daily PE at Curtis. They have made great friends and the environment for them has been wam, caring and supportive. There is so much green space to run around and high value placed on playtime, which is lovely. Teachers have generally been good but not exceptional. What they lack in truly innovative teaching is a wealth of experienced teachers. There is little bullying as far as I can tell, and this is highly commendable. The challenges facing the school If you are applying now is the extremely poor diversity of school population, current ongoing search for a new headmaster (our visionary head retiring this year), over-indulgence of parent association to catering just to the upper crust non-working parents, and the ever present but inevitable materialistic atmosphere. Our kids often come back housed and pools , and we immediately try to nip these sorts of talk in the bud . Kids who are snobs learn the behavior from their parents...a sad fact for all private schools. I don't blame them, we just have to work harder at combating this at out own dinner table.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 17, 2014

A great school and a wonderful campus with rolling fields and an amazing pool. The parents tend towards the flashy side in the Range Rovers and Maseratis but the kids don't seem affected at this young age. If you are comfortable with the kind of families who have multiple nannies, multiple homes, and the dads have burned through multiple prior marriages, then you have found your home.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 15, 2014

Curtis school produces children who thrive academically, socially, physically, and artistically. Now that my child is in seventh grade at Harvard-Westlake, we feel that his k-6 education has more than prepared for the challenges to come. Prior to elementary school, my child wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but Curtis picked him up where he fell and raised him to excellence. Even though my family is not in the best financial situation, that did not hold my son back one bit from making tons of friends and bonding with all his classmates and teachers. The school nurtures all of it's children offering more individual attention for every student than imaginable. It's a warm, friendly environment and my niece, who applied in 4th grade, was welcomed into the community with open arms and and adapted better than we had even hoped. We truly believe that Curtis is a wonderful place to send every child no matter their background. Curtis follows through on it's mission to create a sound mind, in a sound body, governed by a compassionate heart, and we could not be happier with our child's experience.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 12, 2014

Curtis is a beautiful school & we feel truly lucky to be able to send our children there. Academically, I feel my children are receiving a solid foundation. Perhaps it's not the most rigorous (& lacks a foreign language), but the children get all the basics. Importantly, children have safe, open, green spaces in which to run around every day. The athletics program is strong, as are the music and arts programs. Children are treated well & taught to be responsible & confident. I do feel each grade has some teachers who are better than others, but some of the teachers are truly outstanding! The headmaster is lovely and knows each child. The school's biggest weakness is with the mid-level administrators. The head of the lower school strikes me as not particularly bright or competent and the head of the older students is known to be pompous and unfeeling. Still, these two rarely seem to interact with the children in any meaningful way, so any detrimental effect is felt mostly by the parents (& maybe the teachers?). I know of many successful alumni, and all told, Curtis is a great school - our kids are happy & like school, and we are happy with our children's social & academic progress.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 29, 2013

First rate private school. Good families, good curriculum, secure, nurturing setting. Students are prepared for middle school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 7, 2013

I have been to the Curtis School several times over the years as a Caterer at events they gave and can tell you that the place is amazing! From the immaculate grounds and buildings, to the pool and play areas, everything is top notch! The staff all are friendly and seem to love what they do, and the kids seem to love them just as much, from my observances when working there. I wouldn't hesitate to send my children there because I feel the place is safe, well run and the ratio of teacher to students is very low(I believe one teacher told me 14-1). Overall, the school looks like a small college campus and I look forward to my trips there 4-5 times a year!

Posted November 13, 2012

I graduated Curtis a few years back and have mixed feelings about it and will write my most unbiased review of the school. The Positives: The campus and facilities are spectacular, arguably better than my high school and they have a wonderful athletic program. The school has enough money to bring in great performers for the students and have great field trips, new computers and new technology. The Curtis Fair, and Superstars day are extremely fun and very professionally put together. The Negatives: The student body lacks diversity and the majority of the kids come from very privileged backgrounds $$$$. I did not have any remarkable teachers and did not feel as though they gave enough individual attention for the money. I did not feel a strong community bond at Curtis and many kids had an entitled arrogance as a result of coming from money (as many other westside schools). I did not feel "nurtured" at Curtis. The learning environment felt cold and only the confident smart kids seemed to thrive. Having said all this, I do not think Curtis is for every kid. If you want a more diverse, nurturing and down-to earth school I would say look elsewhere. Curtis is great for some though.

Posted April 2, 2012

Our three children are currently enrolled in Curtis and my husband and I could not ask for a more nurturing, caring and warm environment for our kids. The academics are excellent, the sports program is phenomenal and the arts and science programs are stellar. Our children could not be happier. Our entire family feels supported and a part of a bigger community at Curtis. The Parents Association is strong and also supported by the Administration. We have found a home at Curtis and know that we will be a part of this family for a very long time.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 2, 2012

Our three children currently attend Curtis and all are extremely happy, well educated and have compassion for their fellow classmates. We started there 8 years ago, and now my oldest is graduating and going to an excellent middle school. Curtis truly embodies what we as parents would like to see for our children...well educated, challenged, in a warm, caring environment where they are known for their individuality. I feel blessed and fortunate that we can send our children to a place like Curtis.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 2, 2012

I can not say enough positive things about Curtis School. We currently have 2 children attending the school and feel so very lucky to be providing them with this incredible educational opportunity. Our children are thriving and look forward to going to school each and every day. From the nurturing and caring teachers to the endless extra curricular opportunities to the beautiful and enormous campus, Curtis has it all. Curtis also provides our family with a wonderful sense of community. The families that attend Curtis all seem to have very similar values and goals for our children. I know our children will leave Curtis as strong, confident and kind young adults and will be prepared for the next school they attend. These qualities will stay with them for a lifetime.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 3, 2012

My son and daughter both attended Curtis and it was an amazing experience for my daughter who is now in 7th grade at a top school. She thrived at Curtis and took advantage of all it had to offer which was a lot. It was not the right fit for my son and this is the case with each individual student. Finding the right fit for your child at any school is what makes the difference in the experience. My daughter was well prepared for middle school and my son went from being the average student at Curtis to a top student in his class when he transferred to a top rated public school. The public school is a better fit for him though he still has Curtis friends. Being a parent who has now done private and public, I can attest that there are many advantages to private school. Curtis had PE every day with all kids on competing sports teams as they had a no cut policy and broke them into 3 teams. The technology advantages are also vastly different. My daughter had the most amazing education and experience there and my son has thrived in the public school environment but I may move him back to private at MS and hope he will be prepared. If Curtis is a fit for your kid it can't be beat.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 15, 2011

My family went to Curtis over a 10 year period and sadly, we saw the school change from a warm, nuturing environment to a cold, calculated one. A few years ago they changed headmasters to a person, though well educated, has made the school extremly cold as well as all about wealth and celebrity. Many families have been asked to leave over the years because they just didn't measure up in one way or another, though the children had been in the school for many years. Educationally, the school is fair. Curtis prepares the kids well for secondary school though you will not see many Curtis alumm on the National Merit lists. The education is middle of the road and could certainly be more rigorous though it would ipiss off many of their celebrity clientel. These parents do not like to deal with arduous hoework. There is no language program also which is not good for a school this expensive.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 4, 2011

As a therapist and educational researcher, I toured a broad range of top private school ranging from progressive such as Wildwood, Westland and UCLA lab school to more traditional such as JTD, Brentwood, and those in between (Center for Early Education, Oakwood, etc). Our daughter was offered admission to all of the schools to which we applied. We chose Curtis because it has by far the best resources from academic preparation, social development and support, athletics, arts, campus, student teacher ratio, and more. I now have 2 children at Curtis who love school and are thriving! There are amazing science, art, music, athletic, community service and multi-cultural activities which occur regularly. Technology is an important focus and the faculty are highly knowledgeable. It seems that Headmaster Peter Smailes has taken the school in a great direction. This is a school which encourages parent involvement in many ways, primarily with their children. When you come on campus during the day, you can see that the kids work hard and play hard. Middle school outplacement is excellent. Kids leave Curtis very smart, well rounded and confident for the next chapter.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 8, 2011

I believe that Curtis is the finest elementary school around. There is terrific balance between academics, athletics and other activities. The school is very focused on producing balanced, well-adjusted kids and the students are well-prepared for secondary school. The current headmaster is an absolute gem and knows the nearly 400 kids well. I am amazed by how well the teachers know my children and have been consistently impressed by how my twin sons have been placed with the right teachers for them. I cannot recommend Curtis highly enough!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 16, 2010

Curtis school is a great school and it is the best all you haters out there have know idea what you are talking about! It has great academics, staff, athletics, and more. It is the best school ever

Posted December 8, 2009

I went to this school, and I had a really tough time, until I switched to a really great school. This school is cold, and all about money. The people are unpleasant and don't care about children's individual needs. If you aren't really wealthy, your child won't 'fit in'. Unless you want to switch schools mid-year, don't go to this school.
—Submitted by a student

Posted April 15, 2009

We had 2 kids at Curtis and felt that they did not adequately prepare our oldest for secondary school. Their middle school program (7th & 8th) has been eliminated as of last year, I believe. She was woefully unprepared for the rigorous demands of high school. Curtis, to me, felt like it was lacking a heart and a soul. It was all about money; those with deep pockets were treated more favorably. It was lacking warmth and nurturing and seemed very materialistic and superficial.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 18, 2009

I think the Curtis school is a fantastic school. My child genuinely enjoy learning because school is fun and interesting. The education is individualized. The student-teacher ratio is very low. In the lower grades, there are essentialy 2 lead teachers per class (22 students). In 4-6th grade, there are only 16 students per class. What truly sets Curtis aside is the school's ability to instill confidence both socially and academically in its students. In addition, the athletic, art, music, and drama programs are superb. I feel truly fortunately to have my child attend Curtis.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 14, 2008

The Curtis School is a truly fantastic school. Our son started school in the second grade this year. Our son loves it. The teachers, administration, parents, and other kids are warm, friendly, and welcoming. New families are assigned a 'buddy family.' Our buddy family was incredilbly helpful and made us feel a part of the school instantly. And eventhough the school is relatively large, the administration makes the effort to know you and your child personally from the start. The administration and teachers have a deep understanding of education and they are very attuned to the importance of developmental issues in assuring academic success. The curriculum is very well thought out and also individualized to the needs of the children. In addition to the academic programs, the athletics, art, and music programs are fantastic. We could not be happier with the school.
—Submitted by a parent

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 80% 26%
Asian or Pacific Islander 11% 11%
Hispanic 5% 52%
Black 4% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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  • Computer lab
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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Mr. Peter Smailes
  • Coed
  • Nonsectarian
  • NAIS


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
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15871 Mulholland Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 476-1251


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