Stratford School

  • Locations

    2046 Allen Ave., Altadena
    24741 Chrisanta Dr., Mission Viejo

  • Phones

    Altadena: 626-794-1000
    Mission Viejo: 949-458-1176

  • Website | Social

  • Pictured

    Head of school Judy Burbank with elementary and middle school students

  • Special Section

    All About Kids

Founded in the Bay Area in 1999 by educator Sherry Adams, Stratford School is celebrating 25 years in 2024. The school has 29 campuses throughout California. The Altadena campus serves early preschool through middle school and features a Mandarin bilingual preschool and pre-K program. A new transitional kindergarten program will open on the campus this fall. The Mission Viejo campus serves preschool through middle school.

Describe the strengths of Stratford School.

We understand that every child has interests and passions and contributes in their own way. Our purpose statement speaks for all of us: “Stratford School – Connecting students to their unique futures.” Our motto, Summa Spes, Summa Res (Highest Hopes, Highest Things), embraces our spirit of uplifting education, while our advanced hands-on STEAM curriculum confidently prepares students for every step of their educational journey. 

Stratford’s balanced approach to learning combined with real-world application sets our students up to be critical thinkers, imaginative innovators and thoughtful, confident leaders who are ready for success in college and beyond. As we have continued to grow from our early stages, we have retained many of our founding families and founding teachers, which provides a great sense of community. Students (and parents) have become part of the Stratford family, both inside and outside school.

Does your school integrate project-based learning into its curriculum?

As a STEAM school, we often integrate project-based learning into all facets of our curriculum. In science, for example, we use Next Generation Science Standards to help promote critical thinking and collaboration among students.

In what ways do you celebrate diversity?

We live in an increasingly diverse world where children encounter people of various cultures, backgrounds and abilities. Teaching children about diversity and inclusion is paramount as we focus on raising tolerant, accepting and empathetic children. So how can we teach children to have a positive attitude and approach?  

Be a Role Model. Message to children at an early age that diversity is not just a nice-to-have, feel-good goal. It is a smart goal. Groups that are more diverse make smarter decisions than homogenous groups. Inclusion policies and practices can bring deep and long-lasting benefits to team dynamics, organizations, and interactions among children in the classroom and on the playground.  

Explain Differences—Do Not Ignore Them. When developing curriculum and programming related to diversity and inclusion, one of our favorite resources is Beyond the Golden Rule, published by Teaching Tolerance. The 50-page book is free and features advice and resources for parents of toddlers, teenagers and all ages in between. When we help children understand these differences, they will be one step closer to respecting and celebrating the differences in all people, cultures and experiences—and how those differences ultimately can bring the joy of living into our world.  

Tell us about your admissions policy.

The admission age criteria for our early learners is 2 years old for our early preschool class and 2.5 years old and potty-trained for preschool. Our pre-K students need to be 4 by December 2, and kindergarten students need to be 5 years old by December 2. We also offer a transitional kindergarten for children who turn 5 between September 2 and February 2. An entrance exam is required for transitional kindergarten through grade 8.

What extracurricular activities do you offer?

For our younger students, examples include chess, sports, art, dance, music and culinary arts. For our older students, we offer leadership opportunities such as student council, math club, Spanish club, 3D printing club and multicultural club.

How do you involve parents?

Our door is always open for parents to be involved in their child’s education. We have monthly Parent Committee meetings to brainstorm ideas for the campus and numerous opportunities for parents to be involved, such as Multicultural Week, Career Week, Fall Festival, book fairs, holiday parties and reading in our library.

Has your campus had any recent expansions?

Our Altadena campus has continually grown over the last eight years, starting with three classrooms (PS/PK/K). We have expanded our programs through grade 8 starting this fall. Over the summer, we will continue to expand on the south side of our campus by adding a new upper school area. 

Do you support local organizations?

An important part of our philosophy is to give back to our community. Throughout the years, we have worked with Elizabeth House, American Heart Association, Los Angeles Food Bank, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Long Beach Rescue Mission, Ronald McDonald House and the Assistance League of Pasadena.

Tell us about your character education.

Social-emotional learning can be seen each day through modeling, reading, role-playing and assemblies. We focus on the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.