Costanoa High School

Costanoa students benefit from small class sizes and strong relationships with staff members. We focus on developing the following habits: "Use your mind well. Do the right thing. Work hard." Costanoa has a diverse student population that includes 150 students in grades 10–12. Curricular offerings include English Language Development and special interest courses like garden science, careers, ceramics, and weight training. Costanoa is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools.

Costanoa is part of the Branciforte Small Schools and resides on the historic Branciforte Small Schools Campus at 840 North Branciforte Avenue, Santa Cruz, California.


Students at Costanoa High School grow academically, socially, and emotionally. All students complete high school with a diploma or a Certificate of Scholastic Achievement and a plan to achieve their life and career goals. Graduates understand and exhibit habits to foster a lifetime of success: they use their minds and hearts well by asking essential questions, respecting the emotions and rights of themselves and others, working hard, and supporting others in their work. Graduates know themselves as capable and effective learners who understand their strengths and challenges, enabling them to make informed decisions.


Costanoa High School students, by asking essential questions and seeking thoughtful answers, fully engage with a rigorous, purposeful, standards-based, high-interest curricula. Authentic, trustful, and safe relationships based upon open communication are cultivated among parents, staff, and the student community. As a continuously improving, collaborative team, staff members promote equity, celebrate and honor diversity, know students well, and promote the positive development of students' minds, hearts, and habits of work. Students' and parents' voices and needs are heard, valued, and incorporated into the fabric of the school. Students are guided to reflectively discover their passions and abilities, make their learning relevant, and set and monitor learning goals and life goals.

Core Values

Success • Learning • Safety • Healthy Relationships • Respect for Self and Others • Diversity • Biliteracy • Equity • Happiness • Aesthetically Pleasing Environment

During the senior year students are required to do an extensive and in-depth senior project.

Costanoa is affiliated with the Coalition of Essential Schools. The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) is at the forefront of creating and sustaining personalized, equitable, and intellectually challenging schools. Essential schools are places of powerful learning where all students have the chance to reach their fullest potential.

The CES Common Principles, based on decades of research and practice, are a guiding philosophy rather than a replicable model for schools. This research and practice reflects the wisdom of thousands of educators who are successfully engaged in creating personalized, equitable, and academically challenging schools for all young people. The CES Common Principles describe the core beliefs and characteristics of Essential Schools and work in tandem with the CES Benchmarks, which describe resulting practices that successfully bolster student achievement.

School Accountability Report Card (SARC)
Every school in California is required by state law to publish a School Accountability Report Card (SARC), by February 1 of each year. The SARC contains information about the condition and performance of each California public school.

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