About / Mission

Students appreciated for their humanity and intelligence are better equipped to reach their full potential.

Mission Statement

Through intellectual challenge in a responsive environment, Kirby empowers students to shape their futures with confidence. Our students learn to think critically, develop their creativity, and engage diverse communities with thoughtfulness and respect.

Core Values

We believe:

  • Offering academic challenge across the disciplines at all age levels maximizes the growth of each Kirby student
  • Kirby’s inspiring faculty cultivate and model lifelong curiosity
  • Our commitment to small class sizes enables us to be responsive to every learner
  • Student confidence is supported by our close-knit culture of kindness and mutual respect
  • Young people who have an active voice in their own education and community will be motivated and enthusiastic learners
  • When adolescents are taught and encouraged to lead healthy, balanced lives, their learning capacity and happiness increase
  • Development of creativity and adaptability are crucial to a growth mindset and enhanced through exploration of a wide variety of arts, electives, and experiences
  • Collaboration among parents, faculty, and students is fundamental to student success
  • Culturally responsive education is a conscious, ever-deepening process of recognizing, exploring, and embracing our differences

The Vision

Kirby was founded on the belief that students who are respected and encouraged to explore their potential as unique human beings achieve at a higher level and with greater enthusiasm for the learning process. We want our students to find their education exciting, challenging, and rewarding. Expectations are high at Kirby, but we provide a caring climate, encouraging students, teachers, and parents alike to see themselves in a mutually supportive “partnership for excellence.” – M. Joshua Karter, Head Emeritus

Diversity Statement

The Kirby School embraces both the concept and the embodiment of diversity within its educational community.  Beyond the ethical imperative to create opportunity for a full range of families in the greater Santa Cruz area, the School believes that diversity fundamentally enhances the quality of education for all students.  Diverse socio-economic backgrounds, races and ethnicities, opinions, genders, sexual orientations, physical abilities, religious beliefs, and learning styles not only enliven the academic environment but serve vital imperatives of the School’s mission and strategic plan:

  • To support the School’s fundamental value of mutual respect within an inclusive environment
  • To collaborate with persons of varying perspectives
  • To instill multi-cultural awareness and global literacy
  • To foster a sense of world citizenship
  • To prepare students for the diverse higher education, employment, and cultural environments of the present and future

Kirby believes that the creation of a diverse community is not a destination, but, rather, it is a conscious, ever-deepening process of:

  • Infusing diverse voices and perspectives within the Curriculum
  • Ensuring that all students’ voices are respected and respectful when expressing social, political, or religious perspectives
  • Fostering curiosity about and respect for others within our community
  • Creating a safe space where differences are not only accepted at the surface level but explored and understood in depth
  • Challenging preconceptions and prejudices within a respectful academic environment
  • Allocating effort and financial resources to admit and retain students who will enrich the diversity of the student community
  • Allocating effort and financial resources to recruit and retain teachers, administrators, and staff who will enrich the diversity of the community