Since its founding in 1953, Fairmont Schools has stood as a leader in education and a model of what education should be. This year marks Fairmont’s 70th anniversary and while many things have changed over the past seven decades, one has not — the school’s commitment to transforming the lives of its students through best-in-class educational programs and people.
Since its humble beginnings as a summer program run out of the home of founder Kenneth Holt, Fairmont has grown to five campuses that serve Orange County and beyond. Today, it is the county’s oldest and largest secular, co-educational preschool-through-12th-grade private school.
Holt was a public school educator who became frustrated with what he considered to be limited instructional autonomy and lack of freedom to extend the curriculum to propel his students’ learning forward. When he was unsuccessful in petitioning for changes that he believed would benefit his students, he answered the call by starting his own school.
That “student-first” mentality is still very much alive today. “Fairmont was created with a singular focus of cultivating and nurturing the personal growth and experiences of each individual student,” said Elaina Cohen, vice president of Enrollment Management.
One of the ways this manifests itself is in Fairmont’s commitment to meet each student where they are — from the highest achiever to the late bloomer — to help them reach their maximum academic potential. They accomplish this by leveraging a world-class curriculum taught by exceptional teachers and providing individualized instruction.
“Fairmont is a highly data-driven school,” said Director of Education Kristen Jansen. “We believe in assessing students throughout the year — not for the sake of just testing, but to obtain information that helps us understand how to best instruct each one of our students. Teachers use the knowledge we gain through multiple assessments to tailor instruction in a way that builds on each student’s strengths and addresses any academic needs they may have.”
This strategy has proven very effective — Fairmont students continually perform in the top percentiles for language arts, math and critical thinking skills (grades one-eight) and AP exams (grades nine-12).
In a time when families are still reeling from the disruptions in instruction their children experienced during COVID, many parents have been drawn to Fairmont because of its longevity and its record of proven results. “Fairmont students work, on average, at least one full year ahead of their grade level,” said Carolyn Lucia, managing director of Fairmont Campuses. “Our high school graduates routinely gain acceptance to the nation’s top colleges and universities, in part because they benefit from the school’s low student-to-counselor ratio — 78:1 at Fairmont vs. 527:1 California average. And the school’s alumni are highly regarded for the meaningful contributions they make to their chosen fields and in their communities.”
It is one of the few schools in the country accredited to teach the full continuum of International Baccalaureate studies. Several of its programs are nationally ranked, including Speech & Debate, Academic Decathlon and Academic Pentathlon.
Students from all over the world come to Fairmont for its renowned academics, but there is so much more to the Fairmont experience. The school’s educational program balances intellectual growth with social and emotional well-being.
Kenneth Holt was well-known as an innovator and his spirit of innovation is on full display today. When Fairmont acquired its fifth campus in San Juan Capistrano, it was a chance to introduce the world-class Fairmont experience to South Orange County. It was also an opportunity to create a ground-breaking program that combined elite academics with elite athletics. Fairmont San Juan Capistrano became home to the innovative Fairmont Athletic Academy, a cutting-edge program for elite athletes that incorporates training and conditioning into students’ regular school hours.
“At the end of the day, our aim is simple,” said Cohen. “We listen to our parents to understand their hopes for their children, and then we find ways to turn those hopes into reality.”
We invite you to learn what the gift of a Fairmont education can mean in the life of your child. To schedule a tour, call 714-234-2771. Families who enroll by June 30th with PROMO CODE: 70 will have their application and registration fees waived ($600 savings).
By Debbie Speik, Senior Communications Specialist, Fairmont Schools