Life Planning is a distinctive aspect of the Vistamar experience. It is grounded in our belief that high school should help prepare students for happy, productive, and successful lives. It should arm them with the tools they will need to do meaningful work, be engaged with their communities and sustain fulfilling relationships with others.
College planning at Vistamar is intentionally embedded in this broader context of Life Planning for our students. While a great deal of hype about college admissions focuses on “getting in,” we remind students that college is an important next step in a larger life plan. Our students apply to college using a lens beyond merely the four year experience. The goal is for students to find and choose a school in which they can thrive and excel, a school that will effectively position them for fulfillment in the worlds of work, community, and relationships. It is our belief that this type of approach helps students experience a less frenzied and more appropriate college search process that is informed by big-picture, far-reaching questions.
It is important that students consider their individual values, interests, goals and strengths when researching college options. The more self-awareness they bring to the process, the better their chances of finding those schools that are the right “fit.”
Pam taught Humanities and English for nine years at Brentwood School, where she also served as Co-chair of the English Department, Dean of Faculty, and director of the Senior Seminar Program, an interdisciplinary course combining philosophy, literature, history, comparative religion, and psychology. Pam graduated from Westlake School for Girls and received a BA in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University. She went on to earn her master’s and doctorate degrees in English from Brown University, where she taught freshman composition and literature classes. Pam has worked with Ivy West Educational Services, teaching SAT preparation courses and developing new materials for the company. She recently authored a teacher’s manual used by Sylvan Learning Centers on scoring the new SAT essay test.
Lupe is a native Angeleno with over 16 years of experience in higher education. She spent the first part of those years in College Admissions working for Mount St. Mary's College and Occidental College. It was at Occidental where she made the switch to Financial Aid. At both Colleges she was heavily involved in the recruitment of students of color. Lupe holds a BA in Latin American Studies from Scripps College. As the Latino Programs Coordinator, Lupe works with Spanish-speaking families at all grade levels to ensure they have full access to all that Vistamar has to offer.
Julie Crum earned her College Counseling credential at UCLA and volunteered in the Life Planning office during the 2010-11 school year. In fall of 2011, she joined the team as a part-time Life Planner and is guiding students in all aspects of their college and life planning goals. She brings a particular expertise in financial aid applications and the UC and CSU systems. Julie holds a B.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College and worked in the Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach School Districts as a tutor and substitute teacher. Her experience as an educator, counselor, and parent of two children attending college allows her to bring both wide-ranging and local insight into her work with Vistamar students.