• What is the average class size at Manzanita?
    Our classes have approximately 14 students and one full-time teacher.
  • What is the student-teacher ratio?
    The student to teacher ratio is 14:1.
  • Is the school’s curriculum based on a specific methodology?
    The nature-based program, mentoring model, and learning modalities of Manzanita comes from over 20 years of instructional experience, and represents an integration of best-practices and pedagogies for adolescent development and student engagement. Manzanita School uses the “Symbiotic Learning” model described in detail on the Curriculum page.
  • Does the curriculum meet the Common Core Standards?
    As a non-traditional instructional philosophy, Manzanita’s curriculum is not built upon the state standards model found in public education. However, at Manzanita, a very specific content is taught, and this includes traditional learning in the areas of mathematics, language arts, science, technology, arts, and humanities. In addition to these more common subjects however, we place a very high value on skills and abilities that are often regarded as outside the scope of modern schooling. These include social emotional competencies, empathy, respect for the earth and natural systems, and ethics. Please visit our curriculum page, including the downloadable documents, for more information on the “how” and “why” of our content and approach to teaching at Manzanita.
  • Is your High School Curriculum College Preparatory?
    In California, students planning to enter the University of California (UC) system will complete a set of high school prerequisites known as “A through G requirements.” These include: (A) History (2 years); (B) English (4 years); (C) Mathematics (3 years); (D) Lab Science (2 years); (E) Foreign Language (2 years); (F) Arts (1 year); and (G) College Prep Elective (1 year). Manzanita students in 9th through 11th grade will take the required A-G courses including Mathematics, Biology, and high sschool English.
  • How much does Manzanita cost? What additional costs should be anticipated?
    Full tuition at Manzanita is $28,000 per year, not including transportation and our meal program. Additional fees for school trips and instructional materials range from $1100 to $2500.
  • Will Manzanita add 12th grade?
    Twelfth grade was added to the Manzanita High School in the 2017-18 school year.
  • What is your policy on sibling admission?
    Siblings of current students are given preference in the admission process.
  • Are students required to take standardized tests?
    At Manzanita School, we conduct regular assessments or learning, including Formative Assessment (monitoring learning) and Evaluative Assessment (evaluating learning). Having data about student learning is critical to program review and improvement. We do not utilize ‘standardized tests’ common to public schools, which are nationally normed, and often based on a standardized curriculum.
  • What happens in a typical day at Manzanita School?
    Considerable instructional time at Manzanita is spent out of doors. We have an 5-day instructional cycle which includes 2 days in the outdoors, after the Unit of Study period at the beginning of the day and before the Specialist activities at the end of the day. These days are called "Hawk Days." The remaining three indoor days are called "Owl Days." During Hawk Days, students engage in environmental science, nature connection practices, and stewardship of the land. The bio-diverse chaparral is living laboratory for science, geology, natural history, and artistic engagement. Our indoor, Owl Days includes a morning 'check in' council activity. This is followed by rigorous academic engagement including a Unit of Study (history and science), Literacy (reading and writing), and Numeracy (mathematics). Academics follow lunch as well. The day ends with a 'specialist activity' such as ceramics, music, aerial arts, and Spanish. A closing appreciation council ends the day with dismissal at 3:15pm.
  • How does the school assess students’ progress?
    Assessments are designed to provide both students and teachers with important feedback on the learning taking place. Student assessment is based on rubrics which describe the performance and engagement expectations for a given instructional unit or activity. The rubrics are built upon the 6 Guiding Principles described on the Home page of this website, and elaborated upon in the downloadable PDF found in the resource library on the Mission page.
  • Does the school give grades?
    Manzanita does not practice traditional grading, in which students receive letters from A through F. Our feedback to students and parents is based on detailed narrative descriptions of both work performance and effort. Our student transcripts are carefully designed so that they can be both effectively evaluated by, and readily transferable to, the more traditional schools and educational institutions.
  • What is Manzanita’s homework philosophy?
    Students are expected to complete homework on a regular basis. Any work done outside of school is intended to support content being learned in class, or allow for further research and learning around a given topic. Generally, students in grades 4 and 5 have 30-45 minutes nightly, Monday through Thursday. Students in grades 6 and 7 have 60 to 80 minutes of homework, and students in grades 8 and 9 should not have more than 90-100 minutes of homework.
  • Does Manzanita offer honors and AP courses?
    Manzanita School does not offer honors or AP courses. However, our curricular program fosters advanced levels of cognitive engagement, which leads to high quality student work. This is facilitated by many factors, including our small class size and our guiding principles.
  • What athletic programs are offered?
    There are many opportunities for athletics and fitness at Manzanita, both individual and collaborative. Our campus has a swimming pool, soccer field, basketball court, tennis courts, rock wall, high and low ropes courses, aerial pavilion, and other athletic facilities. In addition, there are opportunities for hiking and trail running, and cooperative games. Please see the downloadable document “Manzanita Athletics,” on the Experience page of this website for more information.
  • Is Manzanita an accredited school?
    Manzanita School is pleased to announce the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredited Grades 4 - 11 in Spring 2017. The Twelfth Grade is currently under WASC review for accreditation and we expect the learn their determination in early 2018.
  • Is there an Arts program?
    There is a strong emphasis on creativity and arts at Manzanita School. We offer visual arts, dance, music, improv, and drama. Please see the downloadable documents on the Experience page for more information on the arts at Manzanita.
  • Will my child receive a competitive academic education?
    At Manzanita School, we expect our graduates to possess the most highly valued qualities and competencies to make them ideal candidates for rigorous programs of learning wherever they go, in college and beyond. Our students become intelligent and articulate self advocates. They become highly engaged in their learning and develop strong cognitive capacities in all areas of the curriculum. They are encouraged to think deeply and to explore ideas and experiences with both diligence and reflection. Students at Manzanita develop a strong work ethic. We also support students in building their Interpersonal Competence, a quality that is highly predictive of having a meaningful and engaged adult life.
  • Are the teachers at Manzanita credentialed?
    All teachers at Manzanita are highly qualified to meet the individual needs of our student population. They are carefully selected, and receive extensive training and support. Many of our teachers hold state credentials. We hire teachers who are able to inspire students to love learning and to grow a strong school community.
  • What are the school hours?
    The school day starts for =Grades 4 - 8 at 8:45am and ends at 3:15pm. The High School starts at 8:30am and ends at 3:30pm. Please click here for the general calendar for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Are there opportunities for parents to volunteer?
    Under our model of nature-connection and Symbiotic Learning, parent engagement and involvement is a very important element in student success.
  • Is bus service available?
    When specific enrollment thresholds are reached, a transportation bus service will be considered from drop points in select neighboring communities.
  • Is an entrance exam required for admission?
    For many Independent Schools, the ISEE (Independent Schools Entrance Examination) is required for admission. At this time, the ISEE examination is not required for admission to Manzanita. An initial and follow-up interview with both parents and prospective students are held, campus tour and orientation, and application materials must be completed prior to acceptance.
  • Do you provide scholarships or financial assistance?
    Manzanita provides financial assistance for admitted students who demonstrate financial need. The school does not provide merit assistance (fee reductions based on a student’s demonstrated ability and skill). Click here for further information.
  • What kind of student does Manzanita seek to admit?
    We seek to admit a diverse community of students, with wide-ranging interests and abilities. Manzanita students enjoy being outdoors and becoming connected to the earth and to their fellows. Manzanita students are consistently willing to grow, study, create, and express themselves authentically. Manzanita students develop the commitment and attitudes that allow them to consistently engage their learning with focus and excitement.
  • What role do parents play at Manzanita?
    Manzanita School is eager to engage parents and families interested in building new educational paradigms for the 21st century. Parents at Manzanita are invited to join the school staff and student body in fostering new models that can guide the learning landscape in our present world. Manzanita parents are encouraged to serve the wider mission of Manzanita, which includes community regeneration, collaborative social renewal, healing of the human-to-nature relationship, and the improvement of our world.
  • Is Manzanita School affiliated with Cali Camp, a day camp operating on the same campus during summer months?
    Cali Camp has an exciting and successful 40-year history on the campus. While Manzanita and CaliCamp are two separate entities, the administrative teams of both organizations are working collaboratively to build a shared vision for the property and the students they serve.
  • Is there a meal program?
    Manzanita School offers a hot lunch program for purchase, consisting of healthy and wholesome foods, lovingly prepared using high quality seasonal produce and non-GMO grains whevever possible. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options are available at each meal. Each morning, Manzanita provides a universal snack to all students, free of charge, prepared and served by local food advocate and cookbook author, Hilary Boynton. The Manzanita lunch program is hosted by Topanga chef and owner of Lunches with Love, Kirstina Rocco Levy.