Vistamar School

Vistamar, founded in 2005, is an independent college preparatory day school serving grades 9–12. The founders’ vision was to tap into the diversity of Los Angeles to bring together students who could learn from each other the skills and attitudes necessary for global citizenship. The school offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, even in distance learning mode, including 20 athletics teams, 23 student-led clubs and affinity groups, and an arts department that produces theatre and music performances for the community.

What trends are shaping the field of education today?

“Vistamar’s focus has always been on teaching students how to think—not what to think. More than ever, it is critical for students to problem-solve and think conceptually for themselves as they navigate our complex and changing world. To that end, Vistamar school builds independent thinkers with diverse viewpoints who are better prepared for college and the world beyond. Students learn to balance academic rigor with their passions, supported by a strong community. Our curriculum is designed to foster critical thinking, independent problem-solving, collaborative work, technological acumen and reflective practice. Faculty members interact closely with students to support them through the challenges this rigorous program entails.”

What are some ways your school promotes equality and inclusivity?

“Our values of equity and inclusion have profoundly shaped Vistamar’s multicultural curriculum, vibrant student cocurricular life, lively family engagement and educational programming. Students learn more in an environment where preconceived notions are continuously challenged by fellow students who come from different backgrounds.”

What have been your proudest moments during the recent crisis?

“We are so proud of and thankful to our teachers, who have successfully shifted their outstanding teaching to the virtual world while also delivering care and connection to our students. During this pandemic, Vistamar’s faculty has continued to facilitate learning that gives students interesting, relevant, meaningful work—albeit from home. The passion our teachers have for their work and the strong relationships they have fostered with their students ensures we maintain a high level of academic rigor in a setting where students feel supported and seen.”

How do you prepare students for college?

“The colleges and universities our graduates attend reflect the selectivity and variety expected from one of L.A.’s finest independent schools. Our four-year college prep process is embedded in the larger context of what we call Life Planning. The goal is for students to find and choose a school in which they can thrive and excel—one that is worthy of their achievements. Students develop the tools to excel in college, do meaningful work, be engaged with their communities and sustain fulfilling relationships.”