News & Events

2019

  • Clairbourn Class of 2019

    Clairbourn Class of 2019 High School Choices

    Congratulations to Clairbourn's Class of 2019. They will be attending high school at FSHA, Flintridge Prep, Gabrielino, Harvard-Westlake, LaSalle, Loyola, Maranatha, Mayfield, Polytechnic, Principia, San Marino, St. Francis, and Westridge. Way to go, Cougars!
     
  • Second-graders raised $1,137 for the Door of Hope with their Pocket Change drive.

    Second-Graders Raise Funds for Door of Hope

    Clairbourn's second grade class successfully completed their 20th consecutive service learning fundraiser for the Door of Hope homeless shelter for families in Pasadena. They presented a check for $1,137.67 to the Door of Hope Executive Director Megan Katerjian, on Friday April 26, 2019, at the school's Morning Assembly. Their presentation included highlights from their week of sorting, counting, and weighing the donated coins and bills which they collected from the Clairbourn.  They found all kinds of entertaining donations, in addition to US coins.  They found coins from Costa Rica, Mexico, Serbia, Hong Kong, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Slovakia. They also found flattened pennies, tokens for Disneyland, and even the bottom half of a broken key.  Overall they counted and sorted $371.67 in coins and $766 in bills, all of which will be used by the Door of Hope to feed families in their care for a little over four months. 

    Clairbourn students sort and count pocket change collected for the Door of Hope during their service learning project.
  • Second-graders share important messages about interpersonal behavior through the

    "Character Matters" Second Grade Play

    Clairbourn’s second grade is known for ramping-up opportunities for students to express themselves and to learn how to present ideas in a public setting.  In prior years, the second grade poetry unit allowed students to hone their presentation and memorization skills through learning the poems of Jack Prelutsky and other child-friendly authors.

    Four students perform a “Three Little Pigs” skit containing a message of ‘do what is right instead of what is fast and easy’ as part of the “Character Matters” play.

    But this year, our new second grade teacher Karen Roberts brought some additional ideas to the table.  The level of creativity of her students inspired her to look for a musical play that her students could perform.  She picked a play called “Character Matters” designed to use fairy tale characters and their famous storylines to reinforce good social and personal actions. Not only would that tie in with Clairbourn’s Code of Ethics, which cover the qualities of Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Spirituality, and Citizenship, but it would also teach students how to handle a variety of common interpersonal conflicts plus enhance their memorization skills and public-speaking ability.

    The three fairy tale characters on the far left offer advice to their fellow friends for better interpersonal relationships in the “Character Matters” play.
     
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  • Bacteria samples were incubated in petri dishes sealed in a warm glass enclosure.

    Bacteria Studies - The Smell of Science!

      
      This petri dish filled with bacteria swabbed from a student’s phone and from their chair.
    Clairbourn seventh-graders experienced a bacteria lab where they studied the microbiota of their daily lives.  Each student swabbed their phone or laptop and then had the option of a swabbing a second item. 

    Students inoculated petri dishes with the bacteria collected in and around the classroom, and the growth was aided by an agar growth medium added to the dishes.  Each day, the petri dishes were studied and diagramed. 

    On the second day, students noticed a slight scent emanating from the petri dishes.  As bacteria grow and replicate, they release a wide variety of compounds—many of which give off a strong odor—the smell of science! 

    Growing bacteria in the petri dishes released odoriferous chemical compounds.

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  • Students have a big yellow reading tent in the corner of their classroom. They also have poles and connectors to build smaller pup tents where they can play “camping.”

    The Great Outdoors - JPK Camping Unit

    There is no better teacher than Mother Nature, and preschoolers at Clairbourn are immersed in a comprehensive Camping Unit that puts the lessons and benefits of time spent in nature front-and-center.

    Many of Clairbourn’s preschool units come from student-initiated ideas. So, when teacher Lee Rankin’s Junior Pre-Kindergarten class showed an interest in making tents in the classroom, she developed a camping unit to expand on their interests.
     
    As a result, the classroom has been transformed into a full campsite complete with a ranger station, pup tents, a big reading tent, and a “campfire” space where students can pretend to cook hot dogs and s’mores.

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  • Clairbourn students explore how to expand their leadership skills in a four-part Morning Assembly message in mid April.

    Crafting Student Leaders – Part 1 of 5: Exploring Leadership Styles

    This week, in the Morning Assembly—the daily meeting where Clairbourn students, staff, and parents gather to hear an inspiring message—the topic was the school’s new mission statement “Creating Scholars and Leaders with Heart.” The student presenters delivered the following message about the importance of student leadership prepared by foreign language and drama teacher Cara Barker. The Insights below are based on the work of DiSC and the work of psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid, who in their book Personal Styles & Effective Performance identified four social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives and Amiables. 

    At Clairbourn, we aim to create scholars and leaders with heart. This week we will investigate the styles in which we lead.

    Consider this: each person here is a natural leader. “What?! How is this possible?” you may ask. Well, part of the reason that many of us don’t think of ourselves as leaders is that we often share a very narrow perspective of what leadership looks like. For example, many people will label the person who takes charge of an activity and barks orders to others as a— quote-unquote —natural leader. And in many instances, this may prove to be true. Nevertheless, this pantomime caricature of a leader has its limitations and doesn’t give the full range of possibilities associated with leadership.

    Clairbourn flag football players use games and practices to hone their leadership skills.

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  • Clairbourn students explore Driver leadership skills in this Morning Assembly message from mid April.

    Crafting Student Leaders – Part 2 of 5: Driver Leadership

    This week, in the Morning Assembly—the daily meeting where Clairbourn students, staff, and parents gather to hear an inspiring message—the topic was the school’s new mission statement “Creating Scholars and Leaders with Heart.” The student presenters delivered the following message about the importance of student leadership prepared by foreign language and drama teacher Cara Barker. The Insights below are based on the work of DiSC and the work of psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid, who in their book Personal Styles & Effective Performance identified four social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives and Amiables. 

    Today we look at how the Driver behaves as leader. Drivers tend to dominate a group, telling them what to do, sometimes how to do it, when to do it, and occasionally why they are doing it.

    Drivers communicate messages directed at completing a task. Drivers are especially important to groups who are new to a task, lack skills and confidence and who, without strong, directed guidance, would be left disorganized, unmotivated and unproductive.

    Student Zachary Z. (right) shows off his Driver leadership skills as P.E. Coach for the Day at Clairbourn.

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  • Clairbourn students explore Social leadership skills in this Morning Assembly message from mid April.

    Crafting Student Leaders – Part 3 of 5: Social Leadership

    This week, in the Morning Assembly—the daily meeting where Clairbourn students, staff, and parents gather to hear an inspiring message—the topic was the school’s new mission statement “Creating Scholars and Leaders with Heart.” The student presenters delivered the following message about the importance of student leadership prepared by foreign language and drama teacher Cara Barker. The Insights below are based on the work of DiSC and the work of psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid, who in their book Personal Styles & Effective Performance identified four social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives and Amiables. 

    Today we look at how the Social leader behaves. Social leaders befriend the members of a group and get to know them on a personal level. In showing genuine interest, they put people at ease and place a high priority on wellness and harmony within that group.

    Social leaders communicate gently, usually asking more questions than providing answers. Social leaders are highly accommodating and are especially important to groups composed of varying personality types and whose members, without a safe or appropriate space in which to work, would be left either isolated, divided or feeling unappreciated.

    Social leadership involves including, accommodating, and listening to others in a group.

    READ MORE
  • Clairbourn students explore Conscientious leadership skills in this Morning Assembly message from mid April.

    Crafting Student Leaders – Part 4 of 5: Conscientious Leadership

    This week, in the Morning Assembly—the daily meeting where Clairbourn students, staff, and parents gather to hear an inspiring message—the topic was the school’s new mission statement “Creating Scholars and Leaders with Heart.” The student presenters delivered the following message about the importance of student leadership prepared by foreign language and drama teacher Cara Barker. The Insights below are based on the work of DiSC and the work of psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid, who in their book Personal Styles & Effective Performance identified four social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives and Amiables. 

    Today we look at how the Conscientious leader behaves. Conscientious leaders diligently plan ahead and check their work each step of the way, guarding against errors that could lead to problems.

    Conscientious leaders communicate information on a need-to-know basis, and such information is generally task-centered. Conscientious leaders are especially important to groups entrusted with tasks that are complicated or require attention to detail, where people’s safety or their property—including their money—could be put at risk.

    Conscientious leaders can be trusted with details and complex tasks.

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  • Clairbourn students explore Enthusiast leadership skills in this Morning Assembly message from mid April.

    Crafting Student Leaders – Part 5 of 5: Enthusiast Leadership

    This week, in the Morning Assembly—the daily meeting where Clairbourn students, staff, and parents gather to hear an inspiring message—the topic was the school’s new mission statement “Creating Scholars and Leaders with Heart.” The student presenters delivered the following message about the importance of student leadership prepared by foreign language and drama teacher Cara Barker. The Insights below are based on the work of DiSC and the work of psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid, who in their book Personal Styles & Effective Performance identified four social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives and Amiables. 

    Today we look at how the Enthusiast leads. Enthusiasts share their joy in an activity, inspiring others to join them on the journey. They communicate through story-telling and they lead by example, often demonstrating to a group how to complete a task before giving them free rein to experiment on their own.

    Enthusiasts persuade and encourage others, relying on optimism and impulse to guide the way, and are often quite popular. Enthusiasts are especially important to groups who lack experience or who seek a sense of identity.

     
    Enthusiast leaders are born motivators of others and help to create group identity.

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  • Alum, current parent, and now Board of Trustees member Kerry Reiling with her son Matthew.

    Kerry Reiling, Class of 1988 - Clairbourn School's Trustee

    We are delighted to recently welcome current parent Kerry Reiling to the Board of Trustees. Kerry has a long history with Clairbourn School. She attended Clairbourn herself as a child from Kindergarten through third grade (her husband Mike Reiling also attended Clairbourn at the same time when he was a child). Kerry is a devoted mother to her sons Matthew and Jeffrey. Both of her sons started at Clairbourn in Kindergarten. Matthew is now in the 7th grade at Clairbourn and Jeffrey graduated from Clairbourn last year and is now a freshman at Flintridge Prep. Kerry loves to volunteer for organizations that serve children. Kerry is also a teacher with a BA in Liberal Studies and a teaching credential from San Diego State University. She has worked as a 2nd and 3rd grade in Northern California for 4 years, and is currently in her 6th year of teaching at a local preschool in San Marino. She took the time out of her busy schedule to do a brief blog interview with us.
  • Dr. Patlzaff (2nd from left) trains for the LA Marathon by doing 10K runs.

    The Power of Goal Setting - Head of School Dr. Patzlaff to Run Her Fourth LA Marathon

    Four-time Boston Marathon champ Bill Rodgers has wisely said, "The advice I have for beginners is the same philosophy that I have for runners of all levels of experience and ability: consistency, a sane approach, moderation, and making your running an enjoyable, rather than dreaded, part of your life."
     
    That's the same kind of wise approach fueling Clairbourn Head of School Dr. Amy Patzlaff's interest in running. She explains, "I like to run in races because they keep me motivated and give me a goaland the goal for me is self-improvement...to perform incrementally better than in my previous races." In addition to the LA Marathon, some of her recent  races include several 10K runs, and two Pasadena Half Marathons which she ran in 2018 and 2019.
     
    Her consistent and sane approach to training includes the following elements:
    • I plan the races I want to run
    • I set up a training schedule to meet my goal (which is usually to beat my previous time)
    • I work with a coach to push me and help me train safely and effectively
     
  • Gwen Z. sold handmade bookmarks at her First Grade Classroom Store shop.

    1st Grade Classroom Store Teaches Economic Principles

    Early entrepreneurship experiences are becoming increasingly important as an education tool to teach students a host of important lessons that can pay off later in life. According toinc.com editor Tom Foster, who wrote about student entrepreneurship programs in February 2017, “The big idea underpinning all of them: Work has changed, and no matter what career kids ultimately pursue, they’re going to have to constantly adapt and innovate in order to succeed–just like entrepreneurs do.”

    There is no escape from learning what it means to be a consumer who is constantly shelling out money for purchases. But, everything changes when there is early exposure to the basics of business thinking. This can change a student’s entire outlook–especially when they can explore, in an age-appropriate way, how to generate valuable ideas, create products and services, and hopefully build wealth. 

    At Clairbourn School, these lessons can start as early as preschool where students can play “store” in the classroom or even “go big” by having their own booth at the Annual Entrepreneur Fair where they can sell goods and services to the school community. Then as they move through the higher grade levels at Clairbourn, the entrepreneur opportunities repeat and expand so they can continue to develop their skills, business thinking, and overall success.

    Recently, Clairbourn’s first grade class, taught by Miss Lindsay Dezutter, held their own First Grade Classroom Store Activity as part of their social studies unit. This project was an introduction to economics, and it provided background knowledge to prepare students for future economics units and the 3rd Grade Marketplace project. Their class activity covered the economic concepts of consumers and producers, wants and needs, money exchanged for goods and services, and time and materials costs.

    For this activity, students were asked to create individual shops that would sell goods they produced themselves. They only could use paper to make their products and everything had to be handmade. They also were required to set the price for their products.
     
  • Claire L.

    Celebrating the Life of Claire L. Phillips (Our School's Namesake Claire Bourne)

    Clairbourn School celebrates the life of Claire Bourne (known in later years as Claire L. "Deede" Phillips), the namesake of the school, who passed away peacefully in Montana at the age of 97 in January of 2019.

      
    Claire's parents Arthur K. Bourne and Emily Bourne who started the schooll.  
    Clairbourn School was started in 1926 by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Arthur K. Bourne, a prominent San Marino, California, couple. A. K. Bourne (1877–1967) was the second son of Frederick Gilbert Bourne who is widely credited with the success of the Singer sewing machine company. In 1919 when his father died, A.K. Bourne inherited a large portion of the company fortune.

    Read her obituary in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
  • Donor Leadership Appreciation Party

    Our most recent bi-annual Donor Leadership Appreciation Party took place on Tuesday, March 5th at the Manor House to honor and thank the donors who gave or pledged $1,000 or more to the 2018-19 Annual Fund and our other funds.  It was a delightful midday gathering attended by parents, trustees, administrators, Head of School Dr. Patzlaff, and even former headmaster Dr. Nafie. 

    Parents, trustees, and administrators enjoyed time to mingle and celebrate the Clairbourn community.

    At Clairbourn School, we are truly a united family. Our parents come together to not only uplift each other, but also the entire institution. This sense of community was palpable at the gathering, and everyone felt the energy in the room as they enjoyed mingling, sampling the buffet and craft coffee drinks, and participating in the tricks performed by magician Joseph Tran.

    Magician Joseph Tran (center) entertained party guests with his sleight-of-hand magic tricks.
     
    Thanks to this year's group of Clairbourn parent volunteers who spearheaded the Annual Fund, the campaign had the momentum it needed to reach its goal, and for that, we are so thankful! We reached 99% participation from our current families, faculty and staff, and Board of Trustees, and we exceeded our target goal.
  • Clairbourn Middle School students put on a full-text Shakespeare comedy each year.

    Clairbourn’s Shakespeare Play: A 1920s Take on Twelfth Night

    Clairbourn’s school community was treated to an unforgettable production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night performed by Clairbourn 6th-8th grade students in early March. This crowd-pleasing show took place in an Old Globe Theater setting, constructed in the school’s gymnasium. Over three consecutive show dates, the production featured a variety of humorous antics, stage fighting, great costumes, original music and stand-out performances. It is noteworthy that this unabridged, unedited production was offered by young people between the ages of eleven and fourteen.
     
  • 4th and 5th grade students have partnered with Sydney Paige to provide school supplies for Estrella Elementary in Los Angeles.

    4th/5th Grade Gives Back through Service Learning

    Clairbourn School, home of the Cougars, encourages the love of learning and supports students in being responsible, respectful, and resilient citizens. One way in which the school brings this to life is through their Service Learning Program. “The theme is one of grateful awareness for the good in our lives, and a heart of service that puts into practice the ability to do good for others in less fortunate circumstances,” says Dr. Amy Patzlaff, Head of School.
     
    Estrella Elementary, home of the Rockets, is less than 20 miles away from Clairbourn, in South Los
    Angeles—an area identified as inner city. “We have a large group of students who are homeless or in extreme financial hardship and cannot afford a backpack,” explains Principal Gabriel Arreguin. “We are so grateful for the generosity of Clairbourn School,” continues Arreguin.
     
    Working with the non-profit, SydneyPaige Foundation, Clairbourn 4th and 5th-graders reached out to the Clairbourn community and local businesses and raised over $2,500 through their ‘5 Days of Fundraising.’ Activities included a student-run bake sale, a BLAZE Pizza night out, a Change for Change donation competition, and generous sponsorships from parents and the community. “Through these private/public partnerships we are giving students so much more than a backpack,” says Ann Wohlstetter of SydneyPaige; “we are giving students the tools and confidence needed to learn and thrive in school.”
     
    All proceeds will go towards giving backpacks filled with school supplies to 96 of Estrella Elementary students, who are considered most in need. “Despite their lack of money, my students are thirsty for knowledge; they are always ready to learn; and they always try their very best,” explains Ms. Irma ldana, a 2nd grade teacher at Estrella. “The support of Clairbourn and the community is incredibly special,” continues Wohlstetter. “Giving back together is what it’s all about.”


    Back Row, left to right: Marcel Z., William B., Zachary Z., Frederic S., Adeline S., Lennon S., Langston S., Head of School Dr. Amy Patzlaff, Ann Wohlstetter from Sydney Paige, Inc., 4th grade teacher Tara Edwards, 5th grade teacher Kimberlee Maltbie, Melissa L., Irene X., and Melanie Y. Middle Row, left to right: Cole C., Mauricio R., Louie L., Hannah B., Lucas H., Anderson G., Shalom L., Nicholas N., Presley W., Annabelle C., and Charlotte Y. Front Row, left to right: Andy H., Karissa L., Susanna L., Everson L., Kelson J., Arthur Z., Jasmine T., Selina Y., Alanna C., Matthew G., Justin F., and Peter L.
  • Majovski Motivational Speakers Katelyn and Chris Barnecut

    Majovski Motivational Assembly - African Overland Adventure

    Katelyn and Chris Barnecut visited Clairbourn School, as the speakers for the annual Majovski Motivational Assembly, to share their 6 month adventure of traveling by motorcycle across the African continent in 2018. They spent three years planning their trip, assembling supplies, and researching the countries and political situations along the route. Their journey started in Cape Town, South Africa, and their overall plan was to make their way north through all the countries leading up to Egypt. 
  • Third grade students performing “The Swing” poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.

    Poetry Alive at Clairbourn: Teaching Communication Skills and Confidence

    The Importance of Presentation Skills
    Individuals with excellent presentation skills are in high demand—especially since public speaking is one of humanity’s greatest fears. So how can a school like Clairbourn help students overcome self-consciousness and learn to speak and present professionally? One way is offering the Poetry Alive In-school Residency Program—a week-long event where second through fifth grade students learn a poem by heart and then dramatize it with characters, movement, and special intonation. According to Poetry Alive instructor Robin Kime, “They turn a poem into a play.” This kind of training, not only helps to create a love of poetry, but also helps students develop “main idea” comprehension, creative expression, and interpersonal-skills.
  • Middle School Math Teacher Ms. Becky Berge led her students to first place victory in the Bosco Tech Math Competition.

    Middle School Students Sweep First Place in Math Competition!

    Despite intense stormy weather, students from over 30 schools turned out to test their skills in the Bosco Tech Math Competition held on Saturday, February 2, 2019.

    We are proud to announce that Clairbourn 6th-graders won 1st Place (for the second year in a row) in the Bosco Tech Math Competition (small school division). Our 7th/8th-graders also won 1st Place, which is gratifying because last year they matched the scores of the 1st Place winners, but had a slightly longer test-submission time.

    Also worthy of great celebration are Clairbourn’s results in the Individual Math Awards category. Amongst all 132 competitors from 30 schools in the 5/6 Grade Level Division, Clairbourn’s Brian X. won 1st Place with a perfect score of 30 out of 30 questions, and William L. came in 3rd Place with a score of 25 out of 30.  Then in the 7/8 Grade level division, with 153 students from 30 schools competing, Jason L. took 2nd Place with a score of 40 out of 50 questions.

    This math competition is based on a test for students from grades 5 and 6 (Level I) and grades 7 and 8 (Level II). Each student took a test individually that consisted of 30 questions for Level I and 50 questions for Level II. Students had 1 hour to do the exam and were not allowed to use calculators.

    It is also worthy of note that Clairbourn School allows any willing student to volunteer to compete on the two teams, and they do not send only the top math students to participate. Participants on the 6th Grade team were Parisa B., Vanessa H., Jake T., Cecilia P., William L., Anthony C., Brian X., Kelly Z., Dylan W., Jake J., Yu-Hong C., A.Z., Mikey F., Natalie A., and Adrienne X. On the 7th and 8th grade team were Jaleen T., William H., Andrew P., Matthew C., Austin H., Leah D., Kalie S., Branden O., Emily B., Barbie Z., Jason L., Wendy W., Jenny C., Aaron C., and Kevin Z.

    Way to go Cougars!!!
  • Students in Grade 4 work on their first bridge prototype.

    Learning Outcomes from the Engineering Design Challenge

    A lot of planning and effort goes into a school-wide activity like the annual Engineering Design Challenge at Clairbourn.  Middle School Science Teacher Joanna Kibbe is the person who coordinates this multi-grade activity. It involves picking the right concept to explore, assembling a ton of supplies into kits for each student team (enough to rebuild twice), and lots of scheduling and coordination of the building and testing opportunities.  It also involves finding industry experts who can come on campus to speak and work with the students during the Design Challenge Week. Here are some numbers that show the scope of what is involved, followed by some learning take-aways from some of the students involved:
  • Alum, current parent, and now Board of Trustees member Kerry Reiling with her son Matthew.

    New Clairbourn Trustee Kerry Reiling

    Dear Clairbourn Families, please help us welcome our newest member of the Board of Trustees, current parent Kerry Reiling. Kerry has a long history with Clairbourn School. She attended Clairbourn herself as a child from Kindergarten through third grade (her husband Mike Reiling also attended Clairbourn at the same time when he was a child).
  • Second-graders Atticus K. and Aimee N. test out their bridge design to see if it can hold weight.

    The 2019 Design Challenge – Building Bridges

    At Clairbourn School, we believe the engineers of tomorrow, who will shape our systems, machines, and infrastructures are in the process of awakening to their talents and life-purpose. The all-important spark destined to fire up their career dreams can come from anywhere, and often those moments happen at school thanks to an inspiring teacher, a visiting speaker, or a memorable project.
  • Student council officers welcome the newly elected student representatives to the council.

    Leadership Superstars!

    Clairbourn’s middle school is buzzing with the spirit of student leadership. We had an exceptionally large turnout of students wanting to serve their school as Student Council Representatives in this last election cycle. In fact, 37.5 percent of our entire middle school just ran for office!
  • Clairbourn's Outstanding Graduate from the Class of 2018, Elise Desjarlais and her parents Dr. John Desjarlais and Dr. Christine Brown.

    New Mission Statement: Creating Scholars and Leaders with Heart

    Clairbourn is proud to announce its new mission statement: “Creating Scholars and Leaders with Heart.”   We’re not changing who we are, we’re just stating it clearly for all to understand. Anyone who is familiar with the school knows that our graduates stand out for these three reasons.  They are academically prepared to take on the rigors at top area high schools, they are equipped with leadership skills, and they have kind hearts that are service-minded. That’s why our graduates are in demand!

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Private School Education for Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary School, & Middle School Grades - Serving Families in the Pasadena Area and Surrounding Cities
Clairbourn is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. (K-12 Private Schools)