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Independent School Guide 2017


GUiSC’s Annual Guide to Independent Schools offers snapshots of Independent Schools in our community. Parents may already have some very clear criteria for schools. Reading all of the entries in the Guide will provide information for assessing a school in terms of those criteria and may very well illuminate new or additional considerations when choosing a learning environment. Many factors can enter into the evaluation and selection of a school for your child: academics, so-called non-academics, teaching philosophy, social environment, level of parental involvement, funding, values, unique programs, teacher/student ratio, physical education program. The importance of each varies from family to family and with each child and may involve prioritization. Is a fine arts program offered? Are computers readily available? Are children encouraged to set goals? Will the school provide for my child’s interests as well as offer new interest?

The Annual Guide to Independent Schools provides contact phone numbers for you to request additional information, ask questions and arrange for a meeting or tour. Be sure to ask about open houses, they are an excellent opportunity to view the entire facility, meet staff members and chat with parents of children already attending the school.

Whether you are enrolling your child in a Santa Cruz community school for the first time or seeking a new setting for a child whose needs or interests have changed, the Annual Guide is an excellent resource. The process of finding the right school for your child is challenging and time-consuming and can also be a fascinating, exciting learning experience.


Baymonte Christian School

5000 Granite Creek Road, Scotts Valley



Baymonte Christian School is an independent, interdenominational Christian school serving infants through eighth grade. Our curriculum integrates a Christian world view, while inspiring and preparing our students as they meet life’s challenges and opportunities. We emphasize a culture of compassion through student participation in local and international ministries. Our superior academic program is enriched with music, competitive athletics and technology. Baymonte is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Association of Christian Schools International.


Chartwell School

2511 Numa Watson Road, Seaside



Chartwell School, located in Seaside, educates students who might not do well in mainstream classroom settings; including those students with learning challenges like dyslexia. Chartwell considers each student’s unique needs to provide them with the academic skills, confidence and creativity needed to meet the challenges of future educational endeavors. Students in grades 2–8 acquire academic skills as they are taught from a research-based curriculum which emphasizes multisensory phonemic awareness. For students in grades 9-12, the college prep program delivers project-based learning and related field experiences. Students can also experience the 4-week summer program which emphasizes literacy and enrichment skills.


Gateway School, K-8

126 Eucalyptus Ave, Santa Cruz

831.423.0341 ext 302


Gateway School is an independent K-8 academically challenging progressive school. Our education is rooted in play, creativity, and critical thinking. During their time at Gateway students develop self-confidence, communication and collaborative skills. We value a love of learning and encourage our students to become compassionate and responsible citizens. Gateway has long been a leader in innovative learning techniques – it was the first school in Santa Cruz to establish a Life Lab, the first to build a Maker’s Space, and the first to institute a mindfulness program. Small class sizes ensure individual attention from teachers who know and care about each child's needs. Art, Music, Spanish, Mindfulness, Life Lab Science and our Maker's Space are integral parts of our robust curriculum. In this supportive environment, Gateway students graduate with the habits to be successful in the most competitive high schools and colleges.


Good Shepherd Catholic School

Preschool - 8th grade

2727 Mattison Lane, Santa Cruz



Good Shepherd Catholic School offers a fully accredited academic program for students in preschool through eighth grade. For over fifty years the school has been welcoming children of all faiths. A highly qualified faculty and staff provide a well-rounded curriculum that is project-based and faith driven. Spanish, music, art, and life lab classes are part of the school’s curriculum with technology integrated throughout the school day. The school’s focus on community service gives the students numerous opportunities to learn and practice Catholic social teachings firsthand. Students may participate in the school’s highly successful interscholastic sports program beginning at grade three. After-school care is available until 6:00 PM. Please call 831.476.4000 to schedule a tour or request a shadow day for your child.


Green Valley Christian School

376 S Green Valley Rd, Watsonville



Since 1970, Green Valley Christian School has offered a robust scholastic program and enriched it through art, music, library and sports. We focus on character development through our entire program and in all of life. At Green Valley Christian School your child can expect to be encouraged to use their gifts, grow in academic competence, serve their community, honor their family, and know God. We know that character, competence, and serving community are the result of all true learning. We invite you to come meet us, and explore what we have to offer.


Holy Cross School

150 Emmett Street, Santa Cruz



Holy Cross School celebrates over 150 years of Catholic education. Our fully accredited program provides an academically rich experience in a faith-based community from Preschool through 8th grade. Highly qualified and dynamic teachers integrate technology and provide meaningful learning opportunities for students. Our core curriculum is enriched with P.E., Spanish, music, Life Lab, a competitive sports program and student leadership. Holy Cross is committed to serving the community through various service projects. We welcome visitors and accept applications throughout the year. Please call for a personal tour to see our school in action!


Kirby School

425 Encinal St, Santa Cruz



Grades 6 through 12

Kirby is an independent, non-sectarian middle and high school in Santa Cruz, CA. We have been educating students in our joyful and caring learning community for over 20 years. With classes averaging 12 students, a rigorous academic and arts curriculum, a full range of AP and honors courses, intensive study paths, and exceptional faculty, students are challenged based on their interests and readiness, rather than grade level. Our graduates go on to attend excellent four-year colleges and universities, prepared for the rigor of higher education and beyond.


Monarch Community School

Santa Cruz

831.429.3898 x208


Monarch Community School located in Santa Cruz in an alternative public school of 150 K-5 students in 6 multi-age classes. A focus on parent participation and community. Inquiry-based, thematic, integrated curriculum incorporating hands-on learning & positive discipline approach. Enrollment by lottery during Santa Cruz City Schools Open Enrollment (February 22 - March 15, 2016). Open house & school tour expected to enter lottery. No inter-district transfers. Open Houses for 2017-18 school year - Tuesday February 22, 6:30pm and Thursday March 2, 6:30pm. For more information please call or email Miriam Campos @ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Mount Madonna School, Pre/K-12

491 Summit Road, Mount Madonna



At MMS we strive to prepare well-rounded human beings who not only get into and succeed in college, but learn to value collaboration, form meaningful relationships and engage with their local communities, nation and the world. Come see education through our students' eyes: Montessori-based Pre/K program, 355-acre campus, science and technology labs, outdoor adventure and life skills, regional, national and international travel, mixed-grade buddy program, marine biology and oceanography on Catalina Island, visual and performing arts. Since 1979, MMS has offered students a quality education based on academic excellence, positive character development and creative self-expression. Fully accredited by CAIS and WASC.


Ocean Alternative Education Center



Ocean Alternative, Live Oak School District, supports your homeschooling adventure. Four credentialed teachers are available to guide you to build an exciting education plan for your child. Our weekly classes include literacy, math, science, and art. Students learn to communicate and collaborate in a group-learning environment. Community events, field trips & more! NEW THIS YEAR: Ocean Online is a non-classroom based independent study program. We offer a wide range of services including: quality online curriculum, personalized independent study programs, weekly teacher consultation and instruction, assessment and feedback, social networks of homeschooling families, resource libraries, and a Chromebook to loan.


Orchard School K-6

2288 Trout Gulch Road, Aptos



Orchard School is a small, independent school set on a 14-acre campus with climbing trees, meadows, an organic garden, farm animals and no concrete. We create magic together in this amazing setting with a down-to-earth educational philosophy that nourishes the developing child, while honoring and celebrating childhood. Small classes in core academics taught by specialized teachers provide hands-on, individualized instruction. Other weekly classes include drama, circus, art, music, Spanish, leadership training, and gardening. All students participate in theater productions, help grow food for our hot lunch program and care for our animals. Such opportunities provide life-shaping experiences that keep children excited and engaged about learning.


Pacific Coast Charter School

294 Green Valley Road, Watsonville



Pacific Coast Charter School (PCCS) is a unique, high-quality K-12 public education option that blends personalized learning and independent study with academic, college prep, arts and enrichment courses taught by highly qualified teachers. PCCS provides parents and students an educational roadmap that leverages the school's supportive network of teachers, extensive multi-media library and academic and enrichment programs--all geared towards maximizing each student's potential. PCCS believes that students excel in a self-directed, self-paced educational environment that includes access to a variety of learning opportunities, environments and methods. At PCCS, under the guidance and supervision of their parents and teachers, students create personalized learning plans which enable them to pursue their unique individual interests and goals while meeting the education requirements of PVUSD and the State of California.


Pioneer Academy




Pioneer Academy provides young people with a challenging, creative, and caring academic environment that values social, emotional, intellectual, physical and artistic exploration. We are deeply committed to the development of each child’s human potential. It is essential for the child to apply what they’ve learned about themselves into the classroom and immediate community. We believe young people learn best when they are actively engaged in their education, responsible and aware of their own personal growth, and comfortable with themselves, their teachers and peers. With this underlying belief, we are committed to employing a balanced curriculum delivered by engaging teachers in a natural setting. Classes are designed using an interdisciplinary approach through literature, history, music, mathematics, science, health and well-being, art and cultural studies. See our website for more information as well as open house times/dates. Now enrolling for the 2017-2018 school year for grades 6-8.


Salesian Elementary & Junior High

605 Enos Lane, Corralitos



Catholic Education since 1978: Transitional Kindergarten - 8th Grade. Our beautiful hillside campus feels like a HOME filled with love. We are a SCHOOL that fosters a passion for learning, supporting the success of each student, a CHURCH rooted in faith, and a PLAYGROUND that builds character and lasting friendships. Under the guidance of credentialed teachers, students develop an internal curiosity for learning, moral depth, global awareness, and a sense of belonging. Our 40-acre campus provides opportunities for hands-on environmental education. In addition to strong academics, students participate in formal Art, Music, and Sports programs.


Santa Catalina School

1500 Mark Thomas Dr, Monterey



Founded in 1950 and set against the scenic backdrop of Monterey, Santa Catalina School is an independent, Catholic, boarding and day school for girls in grades 9-12 with a diverse student body and strong local roots. We challenge students to achieve excellence in every arena, from rigorous academics—including a marine ecology program that takes advantage of access to Monterey Bay—to competitive athletics in 12 sports to an arts program with professional-quality facilities. In a warm community that values spirituality and service, Catalina girls become confident young women prepared to achieve greatness with grace.


Santa Cruz Children's School, K-6

366 Gault St., Santa Cruz



For over 20 years, Santa Cruz Children’s School has offered a challenging, individualized, and deeply enriched education taught by passionate educators. Students are met where they are academically, socially, and emotionally. SCCS was created by teachers to be an affordable private school alternative in the heart of Santa Cruz.


Santa Cruz Montessori, Ages 18 months - 15 years

Main Campus (Primary and Elementary)

6230 Soquel Drive, Aptos

831.476.1646, Enrollment: ext. 12


Winston Campus (Young Children's Community and Jr. High)

244 Cabrillo College Drive, Soquel

831.476.1646, Enrollment: ext. 12


Santa Cruz Montessori is a non-profit, independent school founded in 1964 serving children ages 18 months to 15 years. Our programs include the arts, sciences, mathematics, literature, language, social studies and music. Our beautiful Montessori classrooms are designed to engage all of the child's senses and create a life-long love of learning. Our mission: as a Montessori learning community, we inspire life-long learning and a more peaceful world by nurturing the natural development of the whole child.


Santa Cruz Waldorf School, PreK-8

2190 Empire Grade, Santa Cruz



Waldorf education is structured to foster a lifelong love of learning by meeting students at each stage of development. Kindergarteners thrive in a loving, play-based environment that incorporates movement, music and daily outdoor time in nature. In grades 1-8, developmentally appropriate academics are enriched with foreign language, music, art, movement and gardening. We are the only primary school in the greater Monterey Bay area to offer a full strings program, and our campus sits just minutes from the UCSC campus in a beautiful redwood forest. Our graduates are grounded individuals that statistically excel in both their lives and in their chosen fields. Come see for yourself, why a Waldorf education works! For more information please contact us at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Spring Hill School

250 California Street, Santa Cruz



Spring Hill School, Pre-K through 6th grade, is the leading Individualized Education and original Design Thinking School in the Santa Cruz area. We believe a personalized education program provides students with the optimal learning experience. We keep students’ interests and needs at the center of everything we do. Teacher expertise, small class sizes, focus on community, and creative joyful learning are our core. We offer enrichment classes including Spanish, music, performing arts, design lab, outdoor sciences, STEAM days, mentorship programs and more. Enrolling now. Call or email to schedule a personalized tour. Check out our website for information and open houses.


Tara Redwood School

Redwood Campus - 5810 Prescott Road, Soquel

Village Campus - 4746 Soquel Ave, Soquel



Tara Redwood School provides a curriculum that nurtures compassion and emotional awareness within each child. The school promotes empathy, mindfulness and social skills by providing creative tools for self-regulation and healthy expression. We offer an exceptional academic education utilizing both Creating Compassionate Cultures and Montessori curriculums. Tara Redwood School runs its Young Children (20mo-3yrs), Preschool (3 to 51/2yrs) and Elementary (TK-6th grade) programs from two separate Campuses and has well over 100 students. Situated in 108 acres of forest and sunny open spaces, the Redwood Campus is home to our three Young Children and Preschool classes, and the Elementary Program is hosted in the “Village Campus”, right in the heart of Soquel Village. We offer mixed-ages, small size, and open classroom settings. Monday - Friday 8:00am - 3:00pm Aftercare until 5:00pm.


Twin Lakes Christian School

2701 Cabrillo College Dr, Aptos



Twin Lakes Christian School (TLCS) is an accredited (ACSI/WASC) non-denominational K-8 Christian school committed to offering a rich educational experience in a loving community with a new state-of-the-art educational building. TLCS provides a full academic program as well as enrichment classes in technology, music, physical education, art, foreign language, community outreach, middle school electives, and competitive athletics. Our teachers are qualified, experienced, and committed to excellence. We also offer an outstanding before and after school program. To learn more about how TLCS can help your student thrive, give us a call at 465-3301 or visit our website at www.tlcs.us.


Virgil Houselt Memorial Christian School

427 Capitola Rd. Extension, Santa Cruz



We believe that education is a lifetime process in which school plays a vital role. Our program contributes toward the realization of individual capacities and to growth that leads toward meeting individual needs. We recognize the worth of each student and it is our desire that each one might make exceptional progress as they develop a positive self-image. VHM has high moral and spiritual standards, which are intended to guide students in their ability to distinguish right from wrong. We expect students to pursue the opportunities offered them and to attain a maturity in which they welcome responsibilities and the privilege to learn of God.




Coastal Community Preschool

Lic #444408854

900 High Street, Santa Cruz



CCP serves children ages 2 1⁄2 through 5 years with a safe, stimulating, and caring learning atmosphere. We have a curriculum that encourages development at each child’s own pace. Among our program highlights, we offer flexible year-round schedules, a highly experienced teaching staff, and a bright, secure West side location overlooking the Monterey Bay. Join us as we continue working with parents and caregivers to raise a community of strong, confident and happy children.


Rocking Horse Ranch Preschool

Lic #444400117

4134 Fairway Dr, Soquel


Rocking Horse Ranch is a play-based preschool located on 3 beautiful acres in sunny Soquel. We are open from 9-5:30 and offer morning, afternoon, and full day sessions. Our outdoor space offers lots of room to explore, including our gardens and many different kinds of animals. Come visit us!


Rose Blossom School

Lic #444403616



Sharon Rose, Director

Rose Blossom School is a preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten in Aptos, CA. Age-appropriate academic games and curriculum are interspersed with free-choice play time; music, art, and creative play are included every day. Heart Language, based on Nonviolent Communication, provides a foundation system of communication on which is built a respectful, cooperative community of children, teachers, and parents. Additional programs include monthly music shows, weekly tumbling class, and annual Trike-a-Thon and Hop-a-Thon events. Our goal for the children at Rose Blossom School is for them to enjoy learning and be prepared for their next school experiences.


Sun for Seedlings Preschool and Nature Program




Sun for Seedlings Preschool/Pre-K in Aptos offers a unique program in a beautiful setting. Offering Pre-K as a part of the main preschool program, with more individualized focus on kinder readiness. Our curriculum is play based, and we put a strong emphasis on creating a connection to the natural world. Our open sunny classroom creates a warm environment, and we encourage freedom of choice and relationship building. Our program is designed to inspire each child to explore and discover their world. Set on several acres, every day is filled with the beauty of nature, the joys of friendship, and fun activities geared toward artistic expression, physical movement, and the development of a lifelong love of learning.


Educational Support


All About Theatre

325 Washington St, Santa Cruz



Celebrating almost 14 years and over 100 musicals in Santa Cruz County. We offer training in the performing arts for Tiny Tots (3-5), Tots (5-8), Youth (8-13), Teens (13-19) and Adults. Come see our Winter Productions: Disney's Lion King Jr. (Jan. 13-15), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Jan. 13-21) and Disney's High School Musical (Feb. 3-11). Don't miss our Spring Season - upcoming classes and musicals. There's a role for everyone and everyone will leave with skills that they didn't have when they arrived. Come be a part of the magic... and give the gift of performing arts to your child. We are located in downtown Santa Cruz and at our mid-town location in Soquel Village. Check out our website for classes and productions in 2017.


Cherryvale Art Farm

4900 Cherryvale Ave, Soquel



FB: Cherryvale Art Farm

Nestled in the Soquel hills, we offer expert art instruction in a gorgeous rural setting. By placing the artists in the unique farm habitat Cherryvale Art Farm participants are able to explore the garden and farm animals through creative art, crafts and cooking experiences. The hands-on instruction will include handling and caring for our animals (who are also some of our models), harvesting and cooking from the garden and specializing in projects that integrate the experience through open-ended projects. After school Sessions Tue/Thurs, 3:30 pm -5:30 pm or Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:30 pm. Summer Camp enrolling now Tk- 6th grades. Visit our website for more information.


Family Service Agency of the Central Coast

Santa Cruz – 831.423.9504

Soquel – 831.346.6767

Watsonville – 831.728.9975

Your child may need help. Children having problems at home or in school may be depressed or anxious. Our specialized therapists will work with your child as well as the entire family, your child’s school, your physician, and other relevant people in your child’s life. To make it easy for children to get the care they need, we offer extended sessions, guidance for parents and three convenient locations. Special support is available for families with and without Medi-Cal. Every child deserves to be happy. Every family deserves peace of mind. Call now.


French Tutoring

Sophie Véniel


Customized French tutoring specializing in middle and high school students. Learning French can be one of the most rewarding educational opportunities. As a French native I am passionate about teaching and sharing my language skills. I offer simple steps to understand grammar, build vocabulary to gain confidence in speaking while learning at your own pace.


Good Life Ceramics

3717 Portola Dr, Santa Cruz



Friday After School Clay from 3:30 to 5:00! Individual sets of five sessions available through the last Friday of May 2017. Session credits redeemed with each reservation made. Camps limited to the first ten students reserving space for their desired Friday session. Program for students age 8 through 13. Clay projects offered determined weekly, with lots of variety including pinch and coil pots, slab trays and mugs, animal sculpting and more. Projects offered change weekly. Projects hand built by students and glazed as directed by staff. 2017 Weekly Summer Clay Camps. Purchase online or in studio.


Merit Academy

Santa Cruz



Merit Academy is an accelerated, non-denominational, comprehensive four-year college preparatory high school offering one-on-one classes for every student. Merit Academy teachers bring their passion about the subjects they teach to the classroom, and are individually selected for each student.


Music Together/MusicalMe, Inc.

Locations throughout Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County

831.438.3514 or Text: 831.332.9002


For more than a generation, the Music Together® program has helped engage adults in supporting their children’s music and overall development. Our songs and teaching practices have been perfected in classrooms and homes around the world for over 25 years. Our curriculum fosters the integration of music into everyday life – regardless of adults’ music ability. The program enhances children’s learning in multiple domains, increases family engagement and adds richly to each family’s “toolbox”. Siblings are welcome, especially infants who may attend free if they are 8 months or under. Classes throughout Santa Clara & Santa Cruz Counties. Contact us now to attend a class for free!


Parent, Child, and Family Therapy

Santa Cruz

Bethany Kientzel, MFTI #83018


Supervised by Dayna Lea, LMFT 32103

Center For Humanistic Development

Providing support for parenting young children. Understanding child developmental stages, strategies for making the best of the toddler and preschool years, adoption, special needs, foster/kinship care, self-care.


Kim Sammet

320 River Street, Santa Cruz


A successful college experience is a direct result of finding the best academic, social, geographic and affordability fit. Kim Sammet provides creative personal guidance, strategy and support for high school students and their families to plan, organize, and strategize a successful and less stressful college application process.


Speaker Series on Education: A Community Resource for Teaching and Learning

Together, Gateway School, Mount Madonna School, York School, and Cabrillo College co-host the annual Speaker Series on Education – a free, public forum that features leaders in neuroscience, psychology, and education. As educators, we share a belief in the power of education to change lives and we share a commitment to the local community. The Speaker Series on Education creates opportunities for our friends and neighbors to be a part of the adventure of learning.


SpeechRighter, Inc.

820 Bay Ave, Ste. 210, Capitola



SpeechRighter is a pediatric-based speech-therapy and learning clinic specializing in late-talkers, language acquisition, articulation, auditory processing and social skill learning, in addition to brain training therapies and the use of alternative communication systems to facilitate language learning.


The individual schools submitted each school listing. GUiSC does not assume responsibility for the content of the listings or endorse any specific school. The guide is for informational purposes only. If you would like to have your school listed in next year's Guide to Independent Schools, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Last Updated on Sunday, 01 January 2017 03:38
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