Rolling Hills Prep and Renaissance Schools

Rolling Hills Prep was founded in Malaga Cove in 1981 to provide a rigorous college prep program for grades 6–12. Renaissance School was opened in 2004 to meet the needs of students in grades 5–12 with learning differences and built support directly into the educational program. The schools run side by side in San Pedro, offering an individualized curriculum for the entire gamut of learners and learning styles.

What trends are shaping the field of education today?

“Two major topics for our schools are Character Education and embracing neurodiversity. We feel it’s important to make character building and student agency a crucial point of focus throughout our curriculum, encouraging our students to ask difficult questions of society and the world around them—with the hope that these lines of inquiry will encourage them to ask big questions throughout the remainder of their lives.

With our shared campus focusing on both rigorous college prep and students with learning differences, we recognize the need to educate society on the topic of neurodiversity and eliminate a lot of misinformation. We regularly witness students with learning differences both meeting and surpassing neurotypical students once they have the adequate learning tools and support in place to allow them to succeed. We help all students gain insight about their learning styles and build an approach that supports those learning styles.”

How does your school support a healthy lifestyle for kids?

“Healthy Bodies has been one of our foundational Four Pillars of education throughout our history and has often included initiatives that promote wellness through healthy eating, health education and no-cut athletic opportunities. In recent years, we have allocated a great deal of institutional focus on student wellness and social-emotional health through the development of a larger counseling and Student Life program, in addition to initiatives like peer mentorship programs and the integration of mindfulness both inside and outside the classroom.”

How is your school helping kids cope with the pandemic and safer-at-home orders?

“We continue to look for ways to create a sense of either normalcy or heightened inclusivity throughout distance learning. One of the most notable elements of our distance learning program since the beginning has been maintaining our block schedule and ensuring that every class has its regular meetings. This provides opportunities for students to connect with each other and their teachers and advisors to ensure they feel supported. New or adapted initiatives have also been paramount, such as virtual talent shows and school performances that were tailor-made for a virtual environment. Many families have reported that these measures have had a dramatic impact on the well-being of their children.”