Mission and History Header


Cascade Canyon School provides a nurturing environment that supports each child’s academic, social, and emotional growth.

We believe that every child learns when he or she has meaningful relationships and is engaged in work that is authentic, complex, and relevant to both his or her personal goals and the broader community.

Design Principles

Meaningful Relationships

We establish trust, care, investment, and mutual respect with and between every student. In addition to our small class sizes, we emphasize social-emotional learning and parent participation and coordinate multiple overnight trips with families.

Personalized Instruction

We promote intellectual depth and honor the individual strengths, passions, and goals of every student. We make student learning and growth visible through digital portfolios, student-led conferences, presentations of learning, and fifth- and eighth-grade passage presentations.

Beautiful Work

We promote rigor and honor every student’s desire to contribute something of value to the world. This includes multi-disciplinary projects, fieldwork, community service, consultation with outside experts, and exhibitions of learning.

Deeper Learning

We believe that our focus on meaningful relationships, personalized instruction, and beautiful work help prepare students for the contexts and challenges they will encounter in the twenty-first century, which the Hewlett Foundation has referred to as the Deeper Learning Competencies.

  • Mastering core academic content
  • Thinking critically and solving complex problems
  • Working collaboratively
  • Communicating effectively
  • Learning how to learn
  • Developing academic mindsets


Cascade Canyon School strives to foster curiosity and inspire academic success through project-based learning. We inspire each child to engage in the world with knowledge, compassion, and confidence. Our community embraces authenticity and respect, encouraging our students to be brave learners.


Cascade Canyon School was founded in 1981 by Ann Barar (Evans) and Peggy March (Tunder) in the Fairfax Community Center, near Peri Park. The original teachers and the first ten families wanted to establish a committed and connected learning community because they felt that their children's success lay in the relationships between teachers and students.

Three basic tenets were established to support this philosophy, and they are still in practice today:

  • Small student-to-teacher ratio
  • A familial atmosphere that included community meetings and cross-age learning
  • A sense of student responsibility and ability to effect positive change in the world