Best of the Beach 2022: Schools

Coast Music’s Brody Smith, Max Rohde and Ethan Stearns perform in frog of the Beach Market during last August’s Hermosa Beach sidewalk sale. Photo by Kevin Cody

Arts Classes

Coast Music

Coast Music has a unique philosophy when it comes to music education: plenty of rehearsal and performance opportunities for their students. “We offer them real world experience,” Coast owner and founder Beth Rohde said. 

“We feel it is important to offer our students real-world experience,” Rohde said. “Our teachers are instrumental in getting our students involved in auditions, workshops, recitals, and other enriching activities beyond the classroom.”

Students lose motivation if they only practice scales and chords with a teacher and they learn songs faster if they perform with their peers. “They rise to the level of the band,” Rohde said. This month, Coast will be offering students weekly Friday night jam sessions. “They can jam with any instrument, guitar, drums, bass,” Rohde said. “We want them to be comfortable and confident on stage.” 

Coast Music

2417 N Sepulveda Blvd.

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 372-4753



Emily’s Piano Studio

200 Pier Ave.

Hermosa Beach

(310) 702-0927

Chadwick School students enjoy a 45 acre campus.

Private High School

Chadwick School

“A dipper-full of humanity,” is how Margaret Chadwick described the school she founded 86 years ago.

Today, Chadwick School has 865 students on its 45-acre campus, and an 8:1 student-teacher ratio. It is known for all of its students going on to four year colleges.

The Chadwick student experience includes outdoor education, culminating in a 20-day backpacking trip to the Inyo National Forest/South Sierra Wilderness in May of their senior year.

“The alumni often cite it as one of their fondest memories, learning about things they thought they could not do,” said Barbara Najar, Chadwick’s executive director of communications. 

The 20-member faculty members live on campus. The school’s six “Core Competencies” are; critical and creative thinking, character, courage, communication, collaboration and cultural competence.

“Cultural competence is the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Najar said.

In 1935, the school was known as “Chadwick Open-Air School.” It had  six students at Mrs. Chadwick’s house in San Pedro, including two of her own children. In 1938, it became “Chadwick Seaside School,” and moved to 35 acres, including a canyon, donated by one of the founders of Palos Verdes Estates. Ten more acres were added later.

A Chadwick education aims for one goal.

“Building all the skills for surviving and succeeding in the 21st century,” said Najar. 

Chadwick School

26800 S Academy Dr.

Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274

(310) 377-1543



Bishop Montgomery High School

5430 Torrance Blvd.


(310) 540-2021

Peninsula Heritage School students participate in the school’s annual Harvest Festival. Easy Reader archive photo

Private elementary school

Peninsula Heritage School

On the first day of fourth grade they talk about self-control.

It was one of six key character traits for the founders of Peninsula Heritage School in 1961. Begun at a church in Torrance, the school moved to a property in Rolling Hills in 1976. 

“Caring, Respect, Attitude, Gratitude, Self-Control, Perseverance; we were really pioneers in character education,” said Joan Behrens, director of advancement.

The independent, non-profit K-8 school in a park-like setting graduates 12 to 15 students a year. 2021-22 is its 60th anniversary.

Upon moving to its current location, the property was “built as a small school for the children who lived behind the gates in Rolling Hills,” Behrens said.

Today, kids come from Long Beach to Manhattan Beach. 

A featured part of the curriculum is math enrichment. The subject is the first-period class for every grade, so if a student advances beyond their own grade, they go to the next class up for first period, or even two classes above.

Peninsula’s six character traits are woven into all classes and activities. Behrens, a geometry teacher, might stop and talk about attitude for a few minutes if something prompts it in that day’s class.

Each year, each grade puts together a show highlighting each of the six qualities through song, skits and oral presentations.

Peninsula Heritage School

26944 Rolling Hills Rd.

Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

(310) 541-4795



American Martyrs School

1701 Laurel Ave.

Manhattan Beach

(310) 545-8559


Private pre school

Montessori School of Manhattan Beach

In mid-March 2022, the school will re-open to tours and parents’ visits, serving students ages two through fifth grade. 

“We foster confidence in the classroom,” Romero said. “The classroom belongs to the student, not just the teacher. Parents here are open to watching their child grow independently.”

Montessori schools started in Italy in the late 1800s, named for a pioneering female physician Maria Montessori. 

“We are big on female empowerment,” said Romero.

Montessori School of Manhattan Beach

315 S Peck Ave.

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 379-9462


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