Kids gathered around a textbook in a classroom.
Excitement over morning math problems in the Lower School. (Crane Country Day School photo)

The 2022 school year is in full swing and Noozhawk’s Private & Independent School Guide is sure to make things easy when planning for your child’s education! Our school guide provides you and your child with all the necessary information about private schools in Santa Barbara County.

To give parents the tools to help make informed decisions about which school is the best fit for their kids in Santa Barbara, Noozhawk has conducted a series of interviews with representatives of local private & independent schools for this year’s school guide.

In this interview, Noozhawk spoke with Kristen Peralta, Director of Marketing & Communications at Crane Country Day School to learn more about what their school has to offer.

Crane Country Day School

Question: What is the name of your school and what grade levels do you offer?

Answer: Crane Country Day School serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Q: How is your school operated or governed?

A: Crane is governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees who are responsible for the overall strategic vision and financial well-being of the school. The Head of School manages the day-to-day operations with the support of two divisional heads (Lower School and Upper School) as well as an administrative and teaching staff. Student Council consists of five eighth-grade students who are chosen by their Upper School peers to lead student efforts at Crane School.

Q: What curriculum is available and taught at your school?

A: For over ninety years, Crane School has maintained its founding principles as a provider of hands-on, experiential learning with a curriculum that emphasizes two hemispheres: teaching strong academics and encouraging creativity. Every day, we challenge our students to think critically, find their voices, and care for one another and the world around them. Almost a century of success has taught us that experiential education leads to a love of learning. At Crane, we believe that HOW we learn is just as important as WHAT we learn.

The Lower School (kindergarten-fifth grades) curriculum fosters self-reliance and self-esteem; stimulates curiosity, creativity, and a love for learning; and builds enthusiasm for excellence and achievement. Academic areas emphasized in the Lower School include reading, writing, math, and social studies, complemented by instruction in science, engineering, Spanish, art, drama, music, computer and library skills, and physical education. By integrating related activities in various fields of study, students begin to make and appreciate valuable cross-disciplinary connections while broadening their knowledge and experience of the world. The objective is to create responsible, independent students who work well together and are excited about learning.

The Upper School (sixth-eighth grades) program supports students in finding their own voices and caring for one another and the world around them. The rigorous academic schedule balances the traditional courses of English, math, science, social studies, and Spanish with performing arts, studio art, design and engineering, and technology. Crane’s morning Assembly allows Upper School students to shine through public speaking opportunities and Spotlight performances.

2 small children smiling on a bench.

The kindergarten yard is a favorite spot on campus. (Crane Country Day School photo)

Q: What is your student to teacher ratio?

A: 10:1

Q: Can you describe a typical day for a student at your school.

A: The beauty of a day at Crane is that no two days are the same!

However, there are daily events that shape the flow and structure of the day and bring the community together for shared experiences. All students arrive by 8:30am and meet either in their core classroom or with their advisory group for a morning check-in.

This is followed by two class periods. Then the entire school comes together for a daily Assembly which consists of announcements and a presentation – often by a student or group of students. Morning recess follows at which time students have a snack and then play and hang out on the spacious campus.

Students have two class periods before taking a break for lunch and the second recess of the day. The final two classes end around 3pm at which time some students go home and others begin after-school sports or enrichment classes.

While the structure of the day repeats, it is what happens during the six class periods that makes each day unique. Students do not have the same six classes each day, instead they have s rotating six-day schedule.

Q: How does your school select/hire teachers and how does it invest in their continuing education?

A: At Crane School, we believe that how we teach is just as important as what we teach.

Teaching candidates undergo a rigorous application process which includes a full day of teaching live lessons and interviewing with multiple constituent groups as well ascompleting an in-person writing assignment. Candidates experience a typical day at Crane so that they become familiar with the community and learning environment.

Crane’s Teaching Fellowship program hires recent graduates for a two-year residential teaching fellowship. It is a hands-on teaching experience that combines a rich professional development and mentoring program with daily opportunities for practical application. Crane’s teaching fellows are new to the field of teaching and seek to immerse themselves in a dynamic and innovative educational environment in which they can gain valuable insights, perspectives, and practice in the field of teaching.

Kids gathered in the hallways at school.

Increasing enrollment in grades 6-8 enhances the middle school experience and still allows for small class sizes. (Crane Country Day School photo)

Crane encourages professional development to further the professional advancement of its employees through avenues that include coursework, seminars, workshops, conferences, and association memberships. There are many opportunities for employees to apply for professional development grants.

Q: How does your school measure student progress?

A: Kindergarten – Fifth Grade students receive narrative reports and a 1-3 Baseline Rating System for academic and social skills to indicate progress in each of the skill areas (benchmarks) identified in each discipline. Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students receive letter grades and comments from all teachers. All students also receive a written progress report in the winter and spring.

Q: What sports or extracurricular activities does your school offer?

A: Crane offers after-school sports teams for grades five through eight that include soccer, volleyball, basketball, and flag football. These teams participate in the Coastal Athletic League (CAL). After-school enrichment classes are also offered for kindergarten through fifth grade. These classes vary each trimester but often include outdoor adventures, chess, gymnastics, STEAM classes, yoga, and more.

Q: How does your school address special education needs?

A: Beginning with admissions and continuing to graduation, Crane’s goal is to reasonably accommodate the learning needs and academic potential of all students. A Lower School Learning Specialist and an Upper School Learning Specialist are available to assist students who require additional support. The School’s Psychologist develops and coordinates systems, services, accommodations, and interventions to help students succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.

Q: What opportunities do you provide for parent involvement?

A: Our faculty, staff, and parents/guardians support Crane with their time, talent, and treasure each year in any combination they feel comfortable. Many parents/guardians participate at the Board level, some are able to coordinate large fundraising events, some donate large or small contributions to our annual fundraisers or special opportunities, some volunteer to assist at school events, and some volunteer in the classroom or with the performing arts or athletics. There is something for every Crane parent/guardian.

Q: What is the cost or tuition to attend your school? Do you offer scholarships?

A: Crane’s tuition for the 2022-2023 school year is $32,750 for kindergarten through fifth grades and $35,500 for grades six through eight.

Crane School supports a very generous need-based tuition assistance program allowing the school to enroll eligible students who might not otherwise have access to a Crane education. A student must first be admitted to Crane to be eligible for tuition assistance.

We offer an easy and accessible financial assistance application process through School and Student Services by NAIS. Families complete a Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS) online and submit a copy of their most recent federal tax return.

Q: Is there anything you would like to share that was not mentioned above?

A: The best way to experience Crane School is to visit the campus. Crane offers individual, in-person campus tours for parents/guardians and student visit days for students applying to grades 4-8. Come step foot onto campus, experience the daily Assembly, and see Crane students in action.

Click here for more information about Crane Country Day School.