News & Blogs

"Tell me a story"

“Tell me a story” was a frequent phrase heard on many beloved car trips when I was a kid. This was back in the day long before screens on the back of car seats and smartphones stole our attention. My dad was the storyteller and we loved hearing about our favorite characters. My siblings and I still remember some of the tales he told us over 40 years ago...

Getting It Right

If you’ve read news from nearly any source lately, chances are it contained stories that made you feel frustrated or sad or upset. There’s a lot going on in the world, and it can be hard to hide the impact of it all and shield our children from its harshness. A way to combat this, I’ve found, is to actively look for the good in the world, each other, and ourselves.

It’s the beginning of October, for example, which always reminds me of the words of one of my all-time favorite characters, Anne of Green Gables. She says...

Finding Our Place in the World is an Inside Job

In the past few years, the results of several studies have shown that while we are seemingly living in a more connected world due to technology, there are more and more people experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, a sense of isolation, and more.

As a teacher of Spanish, my first responsibility is to teach the language--I love grammar, spelling, all of it! In our classes, Spanish is taught in the context of the students’ reality at school by connecting the Spanish language to their core class units in the primary grades, as well as to the reality of the different cultures in the Spanish-speaking world.

What art should and can be

“Art (noun): The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” -The Oxford Dictionary

Many of you may have read articles over the summer about the commotion that arose due to the temporary move of the Mona Lisa painting from one wing in the Louvre to another due to renovations. 

An Upper School Pledge

One aspect of my job is dealing with student discipline. While it is certainly not the thing I most look forward to each year, I know that it comes with the territory. As Hannah Montana reminds us in song: “Everybody makes mistakes; everybody has those days.” To be sure, even the most angelic of children can do devilish things from time to time.

While I know of no students who enjoy getting in trouble themselves, I do know that Upper School kids are intrigued by misbehavior.  A frequent request I get from students during Seminar is: “Tell us about the worst trouble anybody has ever gotten into at Crane!” Of course, I indulge them with a tale or two of misfortune, always leaving out names but sometimes embellishing the details for entertainment’s sake.

I have Learned and been Happy

“The best thing,” said Merlin, “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics.  There is only one thing for it then – to learn. ”

I grew up in the Midwest--Kansas--until fourth grade, then Oklahoma through my high school years. From about fifth grade on, a big influence on me was Jacques Cousteau.

Journaling Through the Decades

Embarking on a fifteen-month journey across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East at the age of ten, the world became my classroom. History came alive as we studied ancient architecture and cultures from England, to the Acropolis in Greece, spanning to Petra, Jordan. My father, Henry Bagish, a cultural anthropology teacher at Santa Barbara City College, took our family with him as he conducted research around the globe. 

The Power of an Introvert

“Don’t underestimate me because I’m quiet. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and observe more than you know.” MICHAELA CHUNG 

I read Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, recently and it dramatically changed the way I relate to the world at Crane and beyond. It is as if I see through a more accepting and inclusive lens because in her book she gives permission to stop making self-negating choices that mimic the life and choices of extroverts and be just as I am—a shameless introvert.

Joe Teaching

As I write this, I am six weeks, four days, and 12 hours away from retirement. But who’s counting? Once I retire, it will be the first time since I was fourteen years old that I have not had at least a part time job. My father was a contractor and starting around fourteen, and I worked for him during summers and school breaks. It took me over ten years to complete my bachelor's degree because I had to put school on hold many times while I worked to save enough to continue my education.

Crane 90 Coyote on wood

Recently, while reading through student responses to literature, one paper particularly caught my attention. What was this? Before me were well-structured, specifically detailed responses with proper capitalization and punctuation. Vocabulary choices included “stretch words,” and the student had gone beyond rote answers and incorporated evidence of deeper understanding...



Poppy Fields

There’s something about wildflowers that puts us Californians in a frenzy. We cram in cars for hours and drive for hundreds of miles to walk amongst them and capture them in a two-by-two-inch square. So much so that towns are declaring a “poppy apocalypse” because we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to a super bloom.

Everyone is Deserving of Reconsideration

“What can a first impression tell you about anyone?  Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.” 

Spring Study Week

Spring Study Week is a learning experience unlike any other in Lower School--a true highlight of the school year. This year we went “Into The Wild” during our exploration of the national parks. As is typical, the workshops and assemblies were collaborative, hands-on, and showcased experiential learning at its finest! If you are a Lower School parent, you are no doubt already familiar with some of the learning that occurred during this action-packed week.

Good Enough Parenting

Over the last few months, I’ve stepped into a new lens of an educator: I am now a doting mother. As my sixth-month old princess explores her world, I want to do everything to keep her healthy and strong. Even though she is only 16 pounds, I’m already thinking, How do I best protect her? How much do I bumper-pad my house? What are safe risks for her? 

Noozhawk Article

Many of Crane Country Day School’s current programs evolved from curricular concepts that existed when the school was founded in 1928. These pedagogical pillars continue to guide the school 90 years later.
Crane’s educator-in-residence, which is integral to the K-8 independent school’s professional development curriculum, is one example. Each year the school brings experts in their respective and varied fields to campus to inspire students, parents and teachers.

Mindfulness: A Journey Back to Our Roots

Think about a moment you remember vividly. Maybe it was the winning goal you kicked in that championship high school game or the first time you rode a bike on your own.

Boys volleyball

Boys Varsity Volleyball
This season was destined for an epic finish and that is exactly what we got. Our small team was stacked with some of the most talented boy’s volleyball players I have ever coached.  They were leaps and bounds above the know-how and ability of the average varsity team; in fact, we consistently had winning games. Kids from other teams were ducking when we took a full swing spike and serves would hit our opponent’s court without a flinch toward the ball.  We had power and demonstrated our skills on the court with humility and confidence.

Joel Independent Article

“If you combine strong academics with a creative bent, the world is your oyster,” says Joel Weiss, the buoyantly enthusiastic “Head of School” at Crane Country Day School, which was founded in Montecito in 1928. “It’s really important to get a big powerful dose of rigorous academics coupled with unbridled creativity.”  
Crane is dedicated to providing experiential, hands-on activities to round out the education of its students, who range from kindergarten to eighth grade. 

History - It’s a Mess

We’ve all heard some paraphrased version of George Santayana’s aphorism. As a history student and teacher, I’ve heard it often and I have the quotation hanging in my classroom. I use it to explain my approach to studying history. However, I don’t let Santayana’s quotation stand alone.

Playing It Safe

Why have we deprived our children of opportunities to develop skills like autonomy, problem solving , or resiliency? We keep our children close because our perception of danger is high and we fear the worst.

Stand Up!

In Upper School English, the seventh grade class has begun a unit highlighting social influence, personal agency, and decision making in the face of wrongdoing. We have found examples of both action and inaction in short stories about bullying, in stories about social media use and misuse, and in the lives of historical figures.

Kids Were Born Unplugged

This Thursday, February 28, Crane School will celebrate a Day of Unplugging. (The actual National Day of Unplugging takes place Saturday, March 1 through Sunday, March 2.) As a school, we often communicate with students the need to unplug from devices from time to time, to keep technology devices out of bedrooms, and the benefits of getting outside and engaging in physical activity.

Music is My Muse

I can’t remember when I began singing, but I remember harmonizing with every song that bounced along the radio waves and into my young life. My family had this huge TV/radio/turntable console in our living room. I remember carefully unveiling a black vinyl from its cardboard casing, listening to the crackle of the needle, while eagerly anticipating the opening guitar riff of “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers.

Noozhawk Article

Hudson Harcourt was excited to share his goldfish, who just happens to be named 90 — and with good reason. The Crane Country Day kindergartner and the rest of his class were celebrating the school’s 90th day of classes in its 90th anniversary year.
Hudson presented his fish as part of an assignment in which all kindergarten, first- and second-grade pupils shared their collections of 90 items at a school-wide assembly.

Performing Arts at Crane and Beyond

The Performing Arts department at Crane gives our students many opportunities to shine on the stage. Not only do we have a full-scale musical theater production for kindergarten, second grade, fourth grade, and Upper School students, our curriculum is designed to support public speaking, as well as singing.


At the end of last school year, I was given the opportunity to do something we don’t see often at Crane… I was able to matriculate with my class, as I made the transition from teaching kindergarten for nine years to taking on a new role as a first-grade co-teacher. While many aspects of my job at Crane are different this year, I love the consistency that looping with the same class has provided--this class is the constant in the whirlwind of change that has become my life since September.

2018-2019 Winter Sports Round Up

Girls Varsity Soccer
This year’s varsity girls’ soccer team was a ton of fun to coach. The girls all maintained positive attitudes throughout the season and were able to balance fierce competitiveness with a great sense of humor. They were flexible on the field, stepping up to play any position asked of them. They were incredibly coachable, putting halftime talks to work in the second part of the game. Each player brought a different set of skills to the table.

Mathematical Endeavors

In 1974, an SR-71 reconnaissance plane of the U.S. Air Force reached London a scant one hour and 54 minutes after leaving New York. I was inspired by the thought of such speed. Even the supersonic Concorde, celebrated for its astonishingly swift travel, took two and one-half hours.

Making Lemonade From Lemons

It goes without saying that the 2017-2018 academic year was a challenging one for everyone. Teachers were intent on making the student experience away from our beautiful campus as positive as possible.  

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

On July 7, 1928, American inventor and engineer Otto Rohwedder debuted the bread slicer, which became a key indicator to future mechanization that would impact American’s daily lives. This is just one of the fun facts that I have unearthed while researching 1928—the year Crane was founded—in preparation for Crane’s 90th anniversary celebration on May 3 & 4.

A Book is a Present You Can Open Again and Again

Research shows the more you read, the better reader you become. The more you read, the smarter you get, and the better you do in school. For students who are too young to read, the words that they hear make reading it so much easier once they learn to read for themselves.

2018-2019 Fall Sports Season Round Up

Boys Varsity Soccer
This year’s Boys Varsity Soccer team posted a 6-1 record. They came in first place in the league, defeating all other teams, but lost by a heartbreaking goal in the final minute of the semifinal match, and they fell short of being tournament champions.
They worked hard all season in practice, running countless passing, trapping, and kicking drills and scrimmages.

Article on Origami

When not teaching the fourth grade class at Crane Country Day School, Stephanie Bagish can be found traversing the globe, often returning to her favorite Bali beach, Buddhist temple or Japanese garden.  So when her class was charged with the task of incorporating Crane’s 90th anniversary into the curriculum, Bagish’s mind drifted overseas to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo where a beautiful exhibit of origami art was etched in her memory.  “Origami represents longevity, peace and harmony,” Bagish said.  “It’s an art form that originated hundreds of years ago and was used in Buddhist ceremonies, given as gifts by Samurai warriors and used in religious celebrations. It seemed fitting to commemorate Crane’s milestone.”

Country Fair Article

If you happen to drive down San Leandro Lane on Sunday, Oct. 28, and pass Crane Country Day School, don’t be surprised when you spot a scene that looks straight out of a yesteryear.
Yes, you’ll see students, but instead of carrying books or backpacks and dashing to class, they’ll likely be running amok among hay bales, trying out various old-fashioned game booths, and possibly toting a bag of fluffy popcorn while eating a hotdog.

Noozhawk article for first day of school

A ballooned archway, cheering kids, festive signs and honking horns welcomed students back to Crane Country Day on Tuesday, Sept. 4, officially marking the 90th first day of school for the K-8 independent school in Montecito.
“This is not only the first day of school for this year, but this is the first day of our 90th year and that’s a significant milestone,” said Joel Weiss, head of school.