The Open School

The Open School is the first and only free democratic school in Orange County.
Our educational philosophy begins with the idea that children deserve to be respected for who they are.
At the Open School, children are allowed to create their own educational pathways that are driven by their innate passions, they participate in running the school at every level through democratic process, and they explore what personal responsibility means in the context of community.
Academic subjects are approached through personal interests, which are unique to each student, but what all Open School students share is a curriculum of self-empowerment, emotional self-regulation, compassionate communication and problem solving through restorative justice.
We also subscribe to a world-schooling philosophy that believes that the world is our classroom; we regularly take trips to beaches, museums, businesses, community events, and anywhere our students are curious to explore.

Quick Stats (2024)

  • School Type: Alternative School
  • Grades: Kindergarten-12
  • Enrollment: 80 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $14,994
  • Acceptance rate: 95%
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

School Overview

Grades Offered
Grades Kindergarten-12
Year Founded

Student Body

Total Students
80 students
Student Body Type

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers
5 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Classroom Dress Code

Tuition and Acceptance Rate

Admission Deadline
None / Rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost
Tuition Notes
Sliding Scale tuition, based on ability to pay
% on Financial Aid
Average Financial Aid Grant
Acceptance Rate
National avg.: 85%
Admissions Director
Cassi Clausen

School Notes

  • The Open School is unlike any other school. We begin with the reality of the student: what are their passions, what motivates them, what creates meaning in their lives We don`t seek to change students; we know how amazing they already are. We facilitate their growth by sitting along side them.
  • Our curriculum is the practice of freedom and responsibility. Freedom means that students are never coerced to think or behave in a certain way. They are free to live according to their own conscience and interests, and design their own curricula and daily routines. Responsibility means that students learn self-discipline by practicing it daily. They focus deeply on their passions, set their own pace, and are responsible for their own outcomes. They are held responsible for their decisions, expected to take care of themselves and their environment, and given the power to truly have a voice in the school.This is learning by living in a community of respect.
  • The brain is always learning, every moment of the day, unless the mind is stressed, bored, or angry. We believe that since life is meant to be enjoyed, so too is learning. What are you waiting for The future is open.
  • Six Things Our Families Love:
  • World schooling means the world is our classroom, and we go experience it every week.
  • Restorative Justice means we have compassion while still upholding rules and through this we support the development of self-discipline and empathy.
  • Democracy means that everyone`s voice is important in all matters. Since there is no hierarchy in the school, students learn how to advocate for their interests and work collaboratively to legislate school business.
  • Freedom means students learn how to emotionally self-regulate, be confident in their decision-making, and pursue their passions without constraint.
  • No Homework means that parents and children can enjoy their time together, which is as developmentally important as anything a school could offer.
  • Age Mixing means that students are not segregated by age. Because of the relative similarity in brain structures, children are often better teachers of each other than adults could be.
Source: Verified school update

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does The Open School cost?
The Open School's tuition is approximately $14,994 for private students.
What is the acceptance rate of The Open School?
The acceptance rate of The Open School is 95%, which is higher than the national average of 84%.
When is the application deadline for The Open School?
The application deadline for The Open School is rolling (applications are reviewed as they are received year-round).

School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (3 reviews)
My two daughters have been attending The Open School and it has been an incredible journey for them. They eagerly look forward to going to school every day, which speaks volumes about the nurturing and engaging environment the school provides. This K-12 democratic school truly respects each child, treating them with dignity and acknowledging their unique goals, needs, and paths. The small, safe environment promotes not only academic growth but also significant social and emotional development. The mixed-age setting has been fantastic for fostering compassion and leadership skills. Most importantly, the school's approach of valuing each student's voice and interests has greatly boosted their self-confidence and independence. We've noticed a remarkable change in our daughters they're more inquisitive, confident, and happier. The Open School is not just an educational institution; it's a community where every child can thrive.
- Posted by
The Open School was created as a safe place for children to grow and transform their lives, and it did that for our son. His time at The Open School was a pivotal turning point for him. And to Cassi and The Open School, for this, we are eternally grateful for what they have created and it`s role in our son`s life! He`s more happy and confident after his experience at The Open School! We could go on and on, but what we really want to say is: Thank you, thank you!!
- Posted by
I love the philosophies find this school! Ben and Cassi are wonderful leaders! My kids are learning so much about life and how things work in the real world! My kids are learning what they are passionate about and how to make anything they want to learn possible!
- Posted by

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Quick Stats (2024)

  • School Type: Alternative School
  • Grades: Kindergarten-12
  • Enrollment: 80 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $14,994
  • Acceptance rate: 95%
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

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Did You Know?

The average private school tuition in Santa Ana, CA is $14,086 for elementary schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Santa Ana, CA is 93% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).

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