Dunn School, Los Olivos

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The Dunn School
2555 West Highway 154


TypePrivate, Boarding
MottoNe Tentes Aut Perfice
HeadmasterMike Beck
Enrollment250 total (co-ed)
60% boarding
Average class size11 students
Student to teacher ratio4:1
Campus size55 acres
Color(s)Black and Red
Athletics16 Interscholastic Sports

Dunn School is a private, college prep boarding and day school for grades 6 - 12 located on 55 acres outside of Los Olivos, California. It was founded in 1957, by Tony Dunn under the name "The Valley School." Dunn is 30 minutes from Santa Barbara. The school provides daily transportation to Santa Barbara families.


Dunn's campus includes a middle school and a high school. Buildings are California cottage-style. The Sinclaire Art Studios feature a painting studio, ceramic studio and sculpture yard, darkroom and multimedia classroom for digital photography and film-making students. Designed to take advantage of natural light as well as new technology, the Sinclaire Art Studio is the place to take in an art show or student film. The athletic facilities include six tennis courts, four athletic fields, a pool, gymnasium, volleyball courts (indoor and outdoor), basketball court (indoor and outdoor), running track, mountain bike track, and rock climbing wall. In addition to four student dormitories, there are 25 on-campus faculty residences, 40 classrooms, library, computer lab, science center with labs, learning support center, performing arts theater, day student lounges, infirmary, dining hall, school store and organic gardens.

Hands-on Experiences[edit]

Dunn students participate in community service traditions like Day of Caring and the 24 Hour Relay for Life, among dozens of other service projects each year. Every class, from grades 6 - 12, spends a week in the California wilderness. Students may travel abroad on international trips (three offered each year), or develop entrepreneurship skills through an innovation elective, student club, or management of the Earwig Cafe - a student-run enterprise.


Classes average 11 students, and are taught seminar-style by dedicated teachers. Dunn prepares students for rigorous high school and college-level work. Students learn with the future in mind. In small, engaging classes, students practice and strengthen key skills essential for college and career success: creativity, critical thinking, communication, teamwork, problem solving, innovation, global perspectives, and creating and using ethical frameworks. Students enroll in a minimum of five academic classes each semester.


Dunn's coaches emphasize participation, positive coaching and good sportsmanship. No matter the student's skill level, every child receives personal attention and plays an important role on Dunn's athletic teams. All students participate on at least one team during the course of the year. Students may choose to participate in other activities in their non-team season. Dance, fitness swimming, drama, equestrian, yoga, and walking are among many additional activity choices. Each year, a handful of Dunn seniors advance to play varsity sports in college. And every student learns lifelong habits of exercise and cooperation. Dunn School is a member of the Condor League, an athletic conference for independent secondary schools. The members are preparatory schools located along the Central Coast of California: Besant Hill School, Cate School, Laguna Blanca School, Midland School, Oak Grove School, Ojai Valley School, and Thacher School.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°39′49″N 120°06′39″W / 34.66375°N 120.11076°W / 34.66375; -120.11076