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What We Do


The Cottonwood School course of study blends California Content Standards, project-based learning, and 21st Century Skills with the philosophy of Montessori. Our students are inspired to develop a growth mindset to take charge of their own learning.

The Cottonwood School students are expected to complete the courses required for graduation. Students are encouraged to pursue internships, special projects, and other endeavors with the guidance of their Learning Coach for credit toward graduation.

These Montessori-inspired principles influence our innovative, rigorous, self-exploring education through experiential learning, design thinking and meaningful interdisciplinary studies to cultivate a growth mindset.


By Graduation, All Students Will

Cottonwood is designed to meet the personality and interest of students exactly where they are at. In a relaxed, open environment, students can respectfully express themselves.

At Cottonwood, each student has a Learning Coach for all four years with the same group of students. Learning coaches help students find educational resources, assist students to target key academic learning goals, work with mentors to ensure the rigor of internships, and actively involve parents in their student's education.

Time built-in to the daily schedule allows for individual and/or small group tutorials for students (with teacher guidance when needed).

Students are encouraged to explore their own interests by participating in week-long field studies linked to various themes and academic work. These may include mini courses, local and international trips based around the arts, astronomy, environmental service learning, civic studies, field study trips, and much more.