Branson is extremely proud that 2020 will mark its centennial year and that for nearly 100 years, Branson has been fortunate to call the Town of Ross home. Branson is honored to partner with other legacy Ross institutions and to be part of the fabric of this Town. Many of our faculty and students are Ross residents themselves, and they are actively engaged in the community. Chris Mazzola, our Head of School, serves on the Ross Leadership Council. Our faculty with young children are involved as parents with Ross School and Ross Recreation. In fact, we have 14 faculty who are residents of Ross, 10 of whom live on our campus with their families. Within our gate we see our neighbors on Circle Drive on a daily basis, and many of our nearby neighbors enjoy walking through campus or playing on our field on the weekends. Our beautiful tranquil location in Ross is beloved by our alumni and is one of the reasons many students choose to come to Branson.
Branson, its faculty, and its students have had a strong relationship with Ross School over the years, sharing resources and collaborating on events, professional development, and parent education. Some recent highlights include:
“I loved volunteering with students at Ross School and getting to show them my project on the Town’s history. As a graduate of Ross School, it has been a fun way to stay connected to both the kids and teachers.”
- Zac Singer, Branson Class of '21 and Ross resident
Branson has a close relationship with Cedars – a historical Ross nonprofit that supports adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through the Best Buddies program (an international organization), 20 Branson students are matched with a Cedars resident from the home in Ross and they become Best Buddies for their four years of high school. Branson students visit Cedars every other week participating in arts and crafts activities, music recitals and preparations for their dances. They also attend Branson events together such as football games, karaoke night and school musicals. Students develop consistent and mutual relationships with their Cedars buddies. In June 2019 Branson hosted a Centennial Prom for Cedars residents which was attended by both current students and Branson alumni. This year Branson’s sculpture class is collaborating with Cedars residents in a month-long art project to design and create puppets and produce and perform a show for the community. Branson and Cedars’ relationship has been so successful that in 2017, Branson was recognized as the best chapter in Northern California by the Best Buddies organization.
“Founded in Ross in 1919, Cedars strives to enhance creative, productive, joyous lives for individuals with developmental disabilities in Ross. Our close partnership with Branson’s administration and the Best Buddies program has been a major contributor to making that goal successful. Not only has Branson’s administration been extremely supportive of our partnership, its students have made lives better through their sensitivity, commitment, time and energy. We couldn’t have asked for a better community ally. Kudos to Branson’s values and leadership.”
- Chuck Greene, Cedars Executive Director
Branson’s singing groups have performed at the Ross Town Dinner and Ross Tree lighting, and at the Marin Garden Club’s Christmas luncheon at the Marin Art and Garden Center. Faculty and students have volunteered at events at Pixie Park, and at Ross Creek Clean-Up Day. Branson Cross Country Coach Steve Reinertsen has also helped organize the Ross Fun Run with the help of Branson students.
We frequently invite our Ross neighbors to events such as Fall Family Fun Day and our Spring Fine Arts festival. On the weekends, we share our athletic field with Ross Recreation and Ross Valley Lacrosse, and our gym with St. Anselm’s Church for their CYO teams. Branson also rents facilities at the Marin Art and Garden Center for board retreats and faculty parties and meetings.
Branson has long had a strong community engagement program. In recent years, students have worked with over 23 different nonprofit organizations in Marin, including Performing Stars of Marin, KEEN-Marin, St. Vincent de Paul’s, Marin Youth Court, Oak Hill School, The Redwoods, Surfworks and many others. Through these programs, students build relationships, make connections, and understand their role in the broader community in which they live and learn. Collectively, last year’s students completed over 9,200 hours of community service benefitting numerous organizations and changing lives. Beyond their curricular requirements, a number of Branson students have devoted their independent monthlong projects in their Senior Year to organizations like the Canal Child Care Center, Guide Dogs for the Blind, and the Marin County Department of Sustainability and created summer programs for disadvantaged youth in Marin. Read more here: