Crane Country Day School Established 1928

News & Blogs

 Focus on Learning-Logos Pathos Ethos

Crane's seventh grade English students found out that the simple question, "What is your favorite sandwich?" isn't actually as simple as they had originally believed. Little did they know that this question would lead them to the theory of persuasion and the study of Aristotle's three modes - logos, ethos, and pathos.

As English teacher Mrs. Lombardi shared with seventh grade parents, "Understanding how to persuade others and also how one is persuaded by others are both important tools to have in one's kit"...

Its just middle school photo

This image is prominently displayed on our seventh grade dean’s website. It’s a bit of comic relief to combat the bad rap that the middle school years get. And it is a perfect example of one of the goals of the new Grade Level Dean program in the Upper School (sixth-eighth grades) at Crane School - to add an element of fun to the social lives of middle school students.

The Grade Level Dean program focuses on the social aspect of the middle school experience at Crane. As a school we are constantly assessing what changes we can make...

Focus on Learning Gratitude

While gratitude may be a buzzword, especially in the month of November, we believe it is much more than a popular hashtag (#grateful) or a fleeting trend. Gratitude is a powerful tool that has proven to positively affect individuals and communities.

In an article titled, What is Gratitude and Why Is It So Important? from, Courtney E. Ackerman, MSc states, “Effectively gratitude can create social networks and help individuals work towards goals and challenges, and overall, simply have stronger coping skills for life’s hardships.”

At Crane it has been inspiring and heart-warming to see students of all ages learning the independent practice of gratitude...

Blog Image: How was your day?

In the past seven months, most parents have been more involved in their children’s academic lives than ever before. We know what sight words they have been working on, what the all-school art project is, and who presented in the Friday assembly video.

However, as Crane School students in all nine grades now have the option to learn on campus, the majority of parents are once again receiving less information about the day-to-day activities both in the classroom and on the playground.

We have all asked the question and gotten the dreaded answer. You know the one. Parents enthusiastically ask, “How was your day!?!” The response is an annoyed or indifferent, “Fine,” “Okay,” or possibly just an undecipherable grunt...

Outdoor Learning Space

Crane School’s 11-acre campus is most definitely a highlight for those who visit. The balance of nature and buildings, and the natural flow as one moves through campus is welcoming and enchanting. Students, parents, and Staffulty (staff and faculty) can all agree that the campus is thoughtfully designed and carefully maintained. When asking Staffulty about their favorite spot on campus, the vast majority name an outdoor space, but as there are so many to choose from, they don’t all share the same favorite. They can all pinpoint just what it is that makes it their favorite:

“Walking through Crane’s amazing garden is the best way to start my day. It’s a beautiful reminder to take in the beauty that’s all around us.

“Our fields are really magical spaces...”

Choice Voice Image

Choice at Crane School is seen at each grade level in varying forms and amounts. It could be Choice Time at the end of the day in kindergarten, Choice Boards in first grade for extra learning opportunities, Passion Projects in fourth grade, the seventh grade mentor project (QED), or an eighth grader’s public speaking topic. No matter what age, choice brings excitement. Choice is like the shiny, colorful bait that lures the fish and reels it in toward the ultimate goal - in this case, learning. When it comes to our Crane motto of rigor and joy, choice is the joy piece that makes deep, meaningful learning so much fun and memorable...


The beginning of the school year brings excitement, stirs up nerves, and offers a fresh start. There is anticipation of the new possibilities and seeing familiar faces again. Some nerves in the form of butterflies appear as students wonder about the unknowns. It is certainly a new beginning for all, which can be recognized by a pristine white school planner, the colorful stylus in a school supplies case, or a new name tag to make a student’s learning space their own...

Reinhart Koselleck

Of the many odd things that I studied in graduate school, none was more engaging to me than the intersections between the history of medicine and the history of political thought. At the time I thought this was interesting on its own merits. I could never have guessed that in 2020, the politics of medicine would become critically relevant. I should like to reflect one those intersections and to explain how they inform my instruction of students in United States history...

The Night Sky of Singapore

We are in our tenth year of implementing the Singapore Math program in grades K-6. Both our students and teachers have benefited from the visual modeling methods and “deep dives” into core concepts and problem solving skills the Singapore Math program emphasizes. 

How did the tiny, fairly new country of Singapore get on the map with such a superior math program?...

Time Cover Person of the Year - Greta Thunberg

The cover of 2019 Time’s Person of the Year features a young teenage girl, with a subtitle “The Power of Youth.” Greta Thunberg, whose personal commitment to halt climate change, began a mass movement and is an inspiration to millions. She is like no other climate action leader before, dedicating her life to her cause when she was only 11.

In many ways, the task at hand feels overwhelming. The more we learn, the more desperately we want to help solve the problems surrounding climate change...

Recycling at Crane

The reality of modern life is that each of us creates waste in the wake of our consumption. Beverages that we drink come in bottles, cartons or cans, most of the foods we eat come bagged or boxed in plastic, and many of the household and personal care items we use come in tubes or jugs. When we are finished with the products, we must decide where the containers will go. Here in Santa Barbara, the options are clear: brown garbage can or blue recycling bin...

Day of Unplugging

At the beginning of the year, when I first mention Crane's Day of Unplugging, students nod in agreement and understanding. In class discussions, students agree it's a good idea to unplug, generally seeing the day as "no big deal." As we edge closer to Friday, February 21, Crane's technology-free day, the attitude begins to shift and groans and complaints emanate from Upper School students. Questions and concerns bubble up to the surface...

Teaching Fellow Maddie

Being a second-year teaching fellow at Crane, my time here is coming to an end. For the past two years, I have been given the opportunity to challenge, change, and create a vision for an educational philosophy to be applied in my future classrooms, and I am excited to see where it leads me.

I dream about my future classroom--what it will look like, who my students will be, the kind of learning they will love, and the way the desks will be arranged...

Picking fruit from Crane's salad bar at lunch.

Want to study better? Take care of your belly by eating, sleeping, and being merry. That’s what the research suggests, anyway.

The gut-brain connection is far from new, but in neuroscience it’s experiencing a bit of a renaissance. One can’t walk down a grocery store aisle without seeing prebiotics and probiotics for sale, all advertising their positive impact on our gut, cognition, and mood. And it’s true: healthy guts lead to healthy brains...

Courtney Teaching

I don’t know about you, but my winter break was consumed with all things Frozen 2. It was the first time my toddler set foot in a movie theater and, let me tell you, it looked like the best experience of her little life so far. After we walked out of the theater, my husband and I got HOURLY requests to listen to the soundtrack. After a few days, I was so done with it; but listening to her little voice trying to figure out the words was too cute to stop, so I decided to learn the words along with her...

Public Speaking - Play and Presentation

Just yesterday, a student approached me, eyes wide and pooling with emotion. Despite the overwhelming enthusiasm and the hustle-bustle of eager actors stepping up to take their stage timethis student quietly and firmly stated that they were not comfortable in front of so many people.  When I explored their position, I found out that they were willing to talk with their partner, to collaborate and to brainstorm, but in front of all these people – to speak or to act – No. Not today.  

Their stance struck a chord that resonated from my own past...

Girls in Library Reading Together

Depending on your own experiences, the mention of family traditions may either warm your heart or evoke the fight or flight response. I know that I have a tendency to cling to my traditions during the holidays; but, as my family has grown and changed, so has the time and ways we share holidays and traditions. 

Last year, my daughter introduced a new tradition to our Christmas Eve celebration. We all purchased books for each other and carved out some of our precious togetherness to sit in the same room and read the newly opened treasures...

Social & Emotional Learning Chart (SEL)

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

-James Baldwin in “Fifth Avenue, Uptown” published in Esquire, July 1960

Whether we are aware of it or not, children are always observing and imitating us. Through engagement with primary caregivers, children learn how to understand themselves, form healthy relationships, manage stress and conflict, pursue ethical solutions to problems, and empathize with others...

Thomas Edison - I have not failed

As children, we often simplified our experiences of learning into two categories: success and failure. We understood what we were "good at" and what we were "bad at." More than likely, this false dichotomy shaped our feelings about the entire school day.  So clearly, I can remember my feelings of dread just thinking about failing. Instead of feeling freedom through education, what I most remember feeling was fear. 

This default fearfulness all changed in my graduate program...


n 2004, Elizabeth Del Negro and I took ten teens to Oaxaca for a service-based cross-cultural adventure. Now adults with families of their own, one became a documentary filmmaker, another a banker focused on micro-loans for indigenous communities in Mexico and Central America, and one a lawyer who specializes in immigration rights. They launched meaningful lives, making choices in their professions that mirrored the inner selves they built in part by our experiential education journey...

Unmasking Confidence

Over the course of my teaching career, I have seen fear develop in children on a regular basis. They are often stymied by the thoughts that live in their own minds about not being good enough or being worried about what their friends might think or believing they are not smart enough.

I was tickled to watch an assembly performance by Mr. Downey, Upper School math teacher...

Upper School Boys Soccer Photo

This team had an outstanding season full of wins and losses. They had a variety of skill sets, yet created one jolly team full of enthusiasm, support and desire to play good volleyball. Fun was had at every practice and game and these girls like to eat! Not many games went by without a good meal on the court to round it out. They consistently shared character, loud cheer and loads of theories about the sport along the way. In the end the girls progressed in their skills and court awareness. They made it to the semi-finals playing their best game against Mt Carmel and winning in three games.,,

It is Never Too Late to Learn a New Skill

At this time a year ago, I was in the midst of my sabbatical--I did some traveling, writing, and tackling a new skill: sewing. For many years I have watched seventh graders embark on QED in January and then I am amazed when they present their own personal project at the end of the school year. Crane’s QED (Quests, Explorations, Discoveries) projects are inspiring...

Happiness - Part 1 and 2

“The purpose of life is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we think of children, do we think of them as naturally happy? Are we born happy? When does our quest seeking more happiness start? What even is being happy? These are the kinds of existential questions that come while working closely with little humans and spending most of the day outdoors...

Central Metaphors through Mission, Design, and Philosophy

Over the summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Rio del Sol (RDS), a K-8 public school in Oxnard. This school, which opened its doors just two years ago, is unique in that their entire curriculum is student-driven and the pedagogy is intentionally reflective of indigenous Chumash methodologies. As an observer, one of the highlights of this school for me is their use of central metaphors throughout their mission, design, and philosophy...

Mr Downey

In 1959, I entered my first classroom. Sixty years later, my experiences as a student are still affecting the way I teach my own classes. These are a few of my thoughts.

In asking questions of students, I often allow those in moments of uncertainty to say “pass” rather than be put on the spot. If a student passes too often, I investigate and address the situation privately; embarrassing a student in front of the class...

"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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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.