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Dunn School

Private | 6-12 | 225 students


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Living in Los Olivos

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $637,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,340.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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18 reviews of this school

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Posted January 30, 2014

Dunn Middle School is the best middle school in the Santa Ynez Valley. The school has an amazing staff so in tune with every child's needs. I feel as if my daughter's education is custom tailored to her needs. She is challenged in all ways every day and enjoys going to school each and every day. The enrichment program has a variety of classes which is not offered anywhere else in the valley. I am constantly impressed by what my child is learning in class everyday and the way in which she is learning. The school has surpassed my expectations.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 30, 2014

Dunn is so tranquil and caring, I literally wish I could have gone to a school like this. My son's teachers are outstanding. I get weekly updates from his advisor, so I feel like I know how he's doing without needing to be overly involved. The transportation the school now offers for Santa Barbara families makes it absolutely work for our family. The setting is calm and safe with many trees and amazing mountain views, and open space for athletic fields. Compared to his former LA school there is no comparsion. If you want a high quality college prep education that will give your child individual attention and not compromise on enrichments, arts and athletics, with great teachers and a beautiful setting, I highly recommend Dunn.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 4, 2013

The Dunn School has an outstanding Learning Strategies Program that sets it apart from the other college prep schools. Our student entered Dunn after having a rough time in middle school. He has ADHD and, at that time, he was not able to get control of his ADHD and succeed in school. At Dunn he met with his Learning Strategies adviser every day and learned about himself as well as strategies for getting his work done and getting good grades. The same adviser worked with him all three years and nurtured his growth as a person and a student. In addition, Dunn also has excellent teachers and coaches that encouraged his participation in the many activities of the school. He played sports and developed leadership skills that have helped him gain confidence and relate well to his peers. Now that he is in college, I can fully appreciate the way that Dunn prepared him for for this important step in his life.

Posted November 21, 2013

This was the best place for my son to go to middle and high school -- he found exactly what he was looking for... a fabulous supportive community of teachers and students, collaboration, creativity, and academic challenge. Be aware though, that becoming part of Dunn School is a life choice for your child. Whether they are boarders or are a day student, Dunn requires a great portion of their day, sometimes well into the evening for school activities and even some weekends. Dunn becomes a way of life and is as demanding and rigorous as it needs to be to support its students' endeavors to be they best that they can be. My son earned a tremendous education and created a life long family among both students and teachers. I am forever grateful to the staff for the love and support and encouragement they gave my son. He is a better man as a result of their kindness and care.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 14, 2013

Our family has had such a great experience with Dunn School. Our son attended the middle school for two years and absolutely thrived. He learned to try new things without fear of failing. He gained confidence, enjoyed his classes and loved getting to experience surfing, camping, rock climbing, even Italian and language arts festivals, with his classmates. He found a solid group of friends and discovered so much about himself. His middle school experience was close to perfect. Our daughter now goes to the middle school and our son is at the high school. Both of them are doing well in their classes, love their teachers and are happy to go to school every day. I'm so glad we decided to send our kids to Dunn.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 7, 2013

Are you kidding me. The new head of school is a power hungry, arrogant, napoleon. He has placed many of the top administrators as men. He is afraid of woman and what they can do like have great input and ideas. If you are looking for a great school ha, this isn't it. You are better off going to Midland, Cate, or Thatch

Posted September 27, 2013

Dunn Middle School is a unique learning environment, offering an ideal situation for serious, high-achieving students who are motivated and able and think outside or beyond the box. Dunn brings a hands-on approach to academic, athletics, and outdoor education. Good volleyball, basketball, tennis, swimming, and bike programs. Students are able to learn at their own pace and not held back. Age-appropriate innocence, kindness, encouragement to try new things, and high academic excellence is emphasized and nurtured. 6th -8th graders establish academic and personal goals, are encouraged to develop their unique strengths, are held accountable to high standards. Ample parent involvement and community events. With class sizes averaging 6-12 students, teachers engage and get to know each student personally and focus on individual student achievement based on goals specific to that child. New headmaster (as of 2012) is excellent. Many DMS students continue onto the high school, which speaks volumes for the quality of the entire Dunn educational community as a whole. We scouted many schools before choosing Dunn for our kids. We have been happy with the high caliber of this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 26, 2013

Administration does not value or respect the contribution of the day student families and students' obligations to their families and local community. School has little to no connection to local community. While there are stellar, experienced teachers, there are also inexperienced teachers. Teachers are passionate, caring and involved but are severely overextended affecting overall quality. Certain departments stronger than others. Huge annual turnover of faculty. The school's "one size fits all" program and daily schedule from 7:50 am - 5:30 pm stifles ingenuity, creativity & spark. Very weak athletics program except for Baseball. Beautiful, safe campus setting.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 19, 2013

Dunn School continues to be managed by a subpar administration. The headmaster has made many changes, mostly promoting men into positions of administration. Many of the established, tenured teachers have been pushed out or placed into "supportive" roles. The board guides the headmaster, but seems to follow his decisions blindly and disregards parent, alumnae and faculty unrest. Many of the "old" faculty have been pushed out or have left for other private school positions.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 24, 2012

Dunn School is an outstanding school with excellent leadership and stellar teachers. The outdoor education program is alive and well and under new leadership. We are highly satified with the changes. Our child returned from a camping trip this past spring and loved it. Dunn School is going in the right direction, with an emphasis on academics, preparing children for four year colleges, leadership, community service, the arts, competitive sports and outdoor education. I believe that the Headmaster makes excellent and well thought decisions regarding staffing with the safety and well being of all students in mind and the long term health of the school. Dunn School is a gem in our community. We are thankful to to all the caring teachers and staff.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 22, 2012

The current administration and board is taking Dunn School onto a path that is not transparent or in line with its stated mission statement. Many tenured faculty are leaving or being relieved of their positions. The school is no longer meeting the mission that is stated on their web site or media book. Instead, it is trying to become a cookie cutter school that will serve everyone, but then no one in the long run. In the past, Dunn had remarkable and unique programs that separated it from the local boarding school competition. Now it is just another school and not unique in any way. The diverse and rigorous curriculum and offerings at Midland, Thacher, and Cate are superior to Dunn. The schools above have a niche and market it; however, Dunn is no longer unique. Currently there is a great discrepancy between teachers with 15 to 20 plus years of experience at Dunn and teachers who are new to the profession. Many of the experienced teachers are leaving which never speaks well of the internal structure of a school. Do your research and talk with people in the community - it will enlighten your search.

Posted February 3, 2012

Dunn School is a "turnaround school". It is capable of taking a student who is floundering or has had a trauma and grooming him or her for the Ivy League if that is what they are suited for. They look at the whole child. My high-schooler has developed social skills, effective peer interaction and academic resiliency. The teachers, every one, have been inspiring. I am amazed at the rigor of the curriculum compared even with the boarding school I attended in Connecticut. The students really have to work hard for their grades An added bonus was that the advisor dramatically improved communication between my child, my husband and myself. I am so proud as a parent and I attribute the uprightness, integrity and improved behavior to this school because my husband and I had run out of answers. I can now concentrate on my career because I know my son is 100% happy and in excellent hands. My husband and I pat ourselves on the back with each phone call on this decision to send our son to Dunn School.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 19, 2011

GREAT School! Our kids have been at Dunn for 4 years and are extremely happy. They are receiving a top notch education as well as participating in sports, community service, leadership and outdoor eduation. Dunn allows students to explore the world they live in and this is all done under the amazing faculty and staff who genuinely care about each student. Dunn also has a amazing college counseling program, which begins working with students as freshmen. Can't say enough good things. Visit this beautiful school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 18, 2011

This school has a lot of internal problems and an overloaded administration. There are many dedicated teachers who work long days, coach sports and then have to supervise in the dorms at night. They closed the outdoor education program to save money which angered many alumni and the school seems to be shrinking. Potential parents should ask about teaching credentials as well of the years of experience in the classroom.

Posted March 26, 2010

An amazing school experience. Dunn sits in the middle of California vineyards and has a stunning campus with picture perfect views. Most of the teachers have advanced degrees and the level of teaching is above and beyond. My child loves it here and we are thrilled when we hear about other educational experience that we have found Dunn. The staff and students work hard together to build an unmatched education community. Dunn is a bit expensive, but worth every penny of the tuition. If you want a first class educational experience this is the school. It's simply amazing.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 17, 2010

What an amazing school! In the vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley. Amazing teachers, staff and grounds. Every school should be this good. We have had two kids here and both have gotten into top colleges. Simply the best!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 7, 2009

Dunn School is an amazing place. Although it is small, it is amazing because you get to meet so many different people from all around the world, and grow a different type of bond with them than you do with other friends. The friends you make become family and your teachers really do care about you.
—Submitted by a student

Posted May 6, 2009

Dunn School is fantastic! It changed my life. The faculty were more than teachers they are coaches, advisors and mentors. Their outdoor education and LS programs gave me the skills to achieve new heights in school and in leadership.

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 75% 26%
Hispanic 5% 52%
American Indian/Alaska Native 3% 1%
Black 2% 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab
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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Mr. Mike Beck
  • Coed
  • Nonsectarian
  • NAIS


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.



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2555 Highway 154
Los Olivos, CA 93441
Website: Click here
Phone: (805) 688-6471


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