Grauer School

The Grauer School
Encinitas, California
United States
School type Independent; Private school
Motto Learn by Discovery®
Director Stuart Grauer, Ed.D.
Grades Middle and High School
Enrollment 150
Color(s) Blue and Gold
Signboard outside school
Main building of school

The Grauer School®, founded in 1991 by Dr. Stuart Grauer, is a grades 7-12 private, college preparatory day school in Encinitas, California. The school is operated by the Grauer Foundation for Education, a California not-for-profit corporation. The school is a member of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, an official UNESCO Associated School, and a member of the California Association of Independent Schools. Grauer is accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and its courses are approved through University of California A-G standards as well as NCAA. The Grauer School leads the small schools movement in the United States through its Small Schools Coalition.[1]

The Grauer School's motto is "Learn by Discovery®"; its mission statement is "Our purpose is to teach and encourage students to be resourceful, compassionate and intrinsically motivated in a college preparatory environment." The endangered "Grauer's gorilla" is the school mascot.

Significant mainstays of The Grauer School are the core values and features which the school upholds. The school's core values of resourcefulness, intellectual curiosity, ASP, perseverance, compassion, self-advocacy, and accountability are factored in to daily classes through the use of daily evaluations. The core features of the school are relationship-driven education, focusing heavily on how the quality of student-teacher relationships brings authenticity to relationships with others and their education; collaborative leadership, encouraging students to assume leadership roles, empowering them to start clubs, create events, and begin sports teams through a proposal process; a balanced, holistic education, in which intellectual pursuits are balanced with resourcefulness and kindness; small school advantages, in which enrollment is capped at 150 students and a small student-faculty ratio ensures a very high level of classroom engagement and campus inclusiveness; a college preparatory environment, not only through academics but through mandatory community service; and expeditionary learning, where students truly "learn by discovery®" each semester in locales around the globe.

Each semester, Grauer students go on expeditions designed to immerse students in cultural experiences and humanitarian work. Students commonly visit local schools while on expeditions, engaging in "edu-tourism", and routinely travel internationally. Some expeditions have been to locations such as Jerusalem, where they partook in celebrations with both Israeli and Palestinian students; to Cuba, where Grauer students spent time with Cuban students, signifying the easing of tense relations between the United States and Cuba; to Guatemala, where students spent time with rural students and families in the STOVES Project; a 2010 trip to a school in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation where they attended classes and activities with students; a 2012 trip to Tanzania, where students camped with Maasai as well as the Hadza tribe, possibly one of the last remaining true hunter-gatherer tribes; and in 2005, after a six-month wait for approval, an expedition to China granted students a visit to the campus of Shanghai University Attached Middle School, signifying Chinese interest in Western education.

Classes are typically capped at 12, for a 7 to 1 students to teacher ratio. About 95% of Grauer students join on-campus clubs and sports teams. In 2013, Grauer seniors gained admission to 89% of all colleges applied to.

Grauer is the region's only UNESCO-associated school, with sister schools in many nations. On expedition, Grauer Students regularly join students in other schools for cultural and athletic collaborations. Other cultural experiences of note include a trip to South Central Los Angeles in 1992, shortly after the school's inception, where students travelled to "riot central" in post-Rodney King Los Angeles to spend the day with students trapped inside the riot zone.

The Grauer School has several annual events designed to encourage student growth. Grauerpalooza, a music and arts festival held on campus each May, is open to all students and faculty to perform music, poetry readings, and display art. Tolerance Day, a day-long event held each year with a rotating theme, is a day of Socratic discussions centering on compassion and understanding, and has featured Holocaust survivors among others as keynote speakers.

In 2013, The Grauer School was #10 on Outside magazine's list of 100 Best Places to Work.

Dr. Stuart Grauer, Founding Head of School, began the school shortly after completing doctoral work at the University of San Diego, after 17 years at six other schools public and private. Grauer was chosen by San Diego Magazine as one of the "50 People to Watch in 2008". He was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to Argentina, named Encinitas Rotary "Peacemaker of the Year," named an Encinitas "Legendary Local," and has served as chairperson for school accreditations across the southwest for The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In 2013, Dr. Grauer was selected by the University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) to receive the 2014 Author Hughes Career Achievement Award. Grauer's book, Real Teachers: True Stories of Renegade Educators, was released by SelectBooks, New York, in March 2013. The Grauer School established itself as a leader in "expeditionary education" through cultural immersion experiences worldwide.


Coordinates: 33°1′41.98″N 117°15′22.24″W / 33.0283278°N 117.2561778°W / 33.0283278; -117.2561778

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