Our school was founded by a group of parents and teachers who were committed to a Waldorf-inspired education for the children of the Napa Valley. Offering this alternative curriculum within the context and spirit of a public school would allow this education to reach as many children as possible. A small visionary group of parents and teachers initiated the process of founding the school by working with Twin Ridges Elementary School District located in Nevada County, California. Twin Ridges was committed to and experienced in the creation of Waldorf-inspired charter schools. With technical assistance from Twin Ridges, the founding members, known as the Development Group, applied for and received a “planning” grant from the State of California. The planning grant provided funds to assess community interest in developing a Waldorf-inspired school in Napa County and further provided funds to develop the school charter. In 1998 a charter for the Napa Valley Charter School (NVCS) was granted by the State of California with Twin Ridges Elementary School District acting as sponsor.
The next large task was to apply for and receive an “implementation” grant from the State of California. With implementation funding awarded in 1999, the process of hiring staff, purchasing equipment and supplies, and searching for a site began in earnest. At this point the Development Group hired a consultant with experience in starting a public Waldorf-inspired school and created a “small army” of pioneers who worked in committees to develop different aspects of the school. Many members of the original visionary group founded the Napa Valley Waldorf Education Foundation (NVWEF), which played a major role in raising the initial funds for the school. (The NVWEF continues to support our school as well as furthering Waldorf education opportunities in the Napa Valley.) Creating the school was an act of faith and determination. Many people worked countless hours and grappled over difficult compromises in this complex and collaborative effort. Undaunted by the challenges of a site and overcoming many obstacles, the school, originally named Napa Valley Charter School (NVCS) opened in the Fall of 2000 at Napa Valley Expo in the City of Napa. Originally housed in temporary tents, all of the classes were moved to Merlot Hall and portable buildings in January of 2001, and the adventure continued.
The first few years were filled with the challenges of a new organization as many parts of the school were still developing, but gradually the organization gained stability along with a positive reputation in the community. In 2003 the Walton Foundation invited NVCS to apply for a $150,000 grant. Once awarded, this grant supported teacher training and enrichment, purchased materials and furnishings, funded our initial science program and subsidized several years of outdoor education.
In 2004, in response to a change in California charter law requiring charter schools to be authorized by their local district, the school embarked on a year-long process to update the charter and to apply to the Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) for local authorization. During this process the school community, including students in grades four through seven (our lead class at the time), voted on a new name for the school; and henceforth the school became known as Stone Bridge School. The name Stone Bridge School is based on the fact that the Napa Valley was historically known for its abundance of unique stone bridges, and the symbol of “a bridge” represents the passage of students from early childhood over to the years beyond elementary education. In addition, it also symbolizes the connections within our school between teachers, parents, and the administration as well as a bridge to the larger Napa Valley community.
In 2007 Stone Bridge School moved to Salvador Ave., sharing a NVUSD campus with Salvador Elementary School.
Over the summer of 2011, Stone Bridge School moved to its new permanent site at 1680 Los Carneros Ave. Through the on-going work and dedication of many, Stone Bridge School today stands as a healthy, growing school with a promising future!