Stratford School is an independent private school founded by educator Sherry Adams in 1999. Since then Stratford has expanded to four campuses throughout Southern California, serving early preschool through middle school—including a new Mandarin bilingual preschool program.
Describe your learning environment at Stratford School.
“At Stratford School, we believe high expectations lead to extraordinary results. Beginning as early as preschool, we apply our innovative and intentionally balanced curriculum in order to inspire and nurture the minds and hearts of every student. We infuse this curriculum with sequential instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics—or STEAM—to help students develop the diverse set of problem-solving skills and talents they’ll need in our changing world.
Our passionate teachers also cultivate a physically and emotionally secure classroom environment where children feel safe and eager to try new things without the fear of failing. This carefully designed approach challenges students, accelerates achievement and prepares them to become tomorrow’s creative problem-solvers, imaginative innovators and insightful, confident leaders.”
How do you ensure your school stands out?
“We build our academic curriculum in a way that intentionally instills STEAM principles from preschool through eighth grade. We accomplish this through a unique cross-disciplinary approach that enhances critical thinking, integrates ideas from multiple subjects and ultimately expands student learning.
We also incorporate both fine arts and performing arts as essential components of our STEAM curriculum. Arts education complements the traditional STEM approach to foster creative thinking and promote balanced development in young minds. By approaching the arts and sciences in this unique way, we provide the hands-on learning experiences students need to develop their skills in critical reasoning, problem-solving and creative expression.”
How do you and your staff promote a positive school culture for students?
“Balanced learning requires a nurturing environment—one that both challenges student intellect and encourages creativity. Our passionate teachers cultivate a fun classroom atmosphere where children feel safe and have the confidence to participate and try new things.”
Tell us more about your educational approach.
“Stratford School began with a passion for learning and a desire to bring back excellence in education through a balanced approach. Our goal is to prepare and mentor students for admission to competitive high schools and colleges, and our students achieve outstanding results. Our purpose statement speaks for all of us: ‘Stratford School—connecting students to their unique futures.’ We know that each child has a unique set of skills, passions and dreams. We encourage our students to pursue their curiosities, and we are committed to supporting them in achieving those dreams.”
Do you encourage students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset?
“Our curriculum is innovative, challenging and ever evolving. We focus on core academic subjects and the fundamental skills of collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking to inspire children.
At the middle school level, we expand our STEAM program with advanced instruction and project-based learning. We want our students to not only consume technology but to also understand how technology works … and ultimately question how it could work better. At this stage our teachers also take on a mentor role, cultivating strong relationships with students that last far beyond their time together at Stratford. Our unique approach empowers students to be self-reliant and to take responsibility for their own learning. In short, we prepare students for life beyond Stratford.”
What extracurricular activities do you offer?
“From drama to chess, sports to speech and debate, Stratford offers a variety of after-school clubs taught in a fun and engaging environment. This year’s offerings have included soccer, gymnastics, basketball, chess club, tennis, guitar, dance and Lego engineering.”
What feedback do you get from your students?
“Our students love that we balance learning with fun to spark their curiosity, challenge their mind, prepare them for their future and ultimately instill a lifetime love of learning.
From Vardhaan Ambati, a Stratford School alumnus: ‘My time at Stratford helped shape the person I am today. Academically, Stratford’s preparation was second to none. I cultivated my passion for the sciences. I developed a sense of self-confidence that served me well throughout high school. I enrolled in the most advanced classes possible. As I prepare for college, I am able to reflect back and appreciate the monumental impact Stratford had on my growth as a student and as a productive member of society.’
From a family: ‘Stratford has been a delightful experience for both our child and for us as parents. Our son has really blossomed and grown into an intelligent and sensitive boy who has been guided carefully by his wonderful teachers. The kindergarten program is stellar; I would go as far as saying it may be the best in the Pasadena area right now. After talking to many friends with children in both private and public schools around Pasadena and Altadena, I can say we are getting a unique experience.’”
What makes your school a great place to work?
“Joyful learning, paired with strong academics, allows teachers the freedom to teach and support individual students’ needs.”