Indian Diggings School is a hidden treasure

Indian Diggings School may not be easily found on a map, but the stellar education provided to students by their dedicated teachers makes it well worth looking for. Nestled in south El Dorado County, a team of six staff help operate and teach at the school of less than 20 students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade.

Because of the school’s size, educators have the flexibility to tailor instruction to individual students and keep them challenged with innovative and comprehensive programs.

“Our students and parents receive customized education plans and the type of undivided attention that many parents pay thousands of dollars a year to receive at private institutions,” said teaching principal and superintendent Grant Coffin. “We immerse our students completely into subject matter. For example, after reading a story by Charles Dickens, we paint scenes and deliver the play, with students taking the reigns as producers. It is a truly unique learning experience.”

Superintendent Coffin wears many hats and the students benefit from his enthusiastic teaching approach and undying devotion to their success. Even though English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies are taught to everyone in the same classroom, curriculum is personalized for each student depending on their learning timeline.

Students do not move forward until skills are mastered but are also never held back from excelling. The school provides a full physical education program and the music program is led by Daryl Hooper, professional musician from the band the Seeds.

Each child is provided a laptop and iPad to enhance their learning and allow them to give professional presentations.

They also spend a lot of time outdoors growing vegetables in the school’s greenhouse, hiking, camping and cross-country skiing.

Indian Diggings School was founded in 1856 and continues to be a pillar in the community. Everyone lends a hand in educating students. Parents regularly volunteer and teach, while the school provides community members with free wi-fi in their parking lot and funds the payphone across the street from the school.

“The community constantly gives back to the school that gives so much to them,” said Connie Ciraulo, a parent who attended as a student in the early 1990s and now works at the school. “We live in a great community, where we all pitch in to help our children succeed.”

Field trips are community events where everyone is invited to attend, spending one week each spring at locations such as Yosemite, Santa Cruz, Angel Island and San Francisco.

The school also works hand-in-hand with families regarding attendance by offering alternatives to classroom-based education like independent study contracts, so children may continue to advance regardless of physical absence.

For more information visit the school’s Website at or call the school at 530-620-6546.

Indian Diggings school district is a small one-room school-style district with under 20 ADA. Students  range from kindergarten to eighth grade and a comprehensive program including, English language arts, math, science, social studies, drama, art, music, technology and more is offered.

El Dorado County Office of Education

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