2020 San Diego School Guide

School Guide

Selecting the right school for your children can be a daunting task, which is why we are thrilled to bring back our recommended school resource guide for San Diego families. Year over year families come to the San Diego Moms Blog for trusted resources and advice. Think of this guide as a recommended list based on our research, vetting, and reviews from each individual school. You won’t find every school listed in this guide, as we hand selected a few in each region. 


Leonardo da Vinci Health Sciences Charter School

Leonardo da Vinci Health Sciences Charter School offers many wonderful learning opportunities through project based learning projects, mathematics and science, as well as social studies and English language arts. Our school also offers Spanish language classes and daily physical education. The mission and vision for our school and our students is outlined below:

• Mission: As a nurturing learning community, Leonardo da Vinci Health Sciences Charter School cultivates health literate students who have the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and attitudes, which empower them to become influential contributors in an ever- changing global society.

• Vision: Leonardo da Vinci Health Sciences Charter School believes in a student-centered approach to learning that encourages all students to become compassionate, innovative, and intelligent thinkers who are knowledgeable about and value what it means to be healthy.

The staff at LdVCS work very hard for all students and I have nothing but respect for the amount of effort demonstrated to organize schedules, implement curricular strategies, maintain behavior protocols, provide professional development, and numerous other intelligent and valuable programs designed by the founders of this awesome school. I am truly honored to be a part of this fantastic community.
There are many great experiences that lie ahead for all of us. I look forward to working on providing our students with innovative, intelligent, and thoughtful lessons that will prepare them well for the 21st century workforce, globally competitive business market, and striving to create a peaceful connection towards service to the community.

Click the image to enlarge the map. 


This guide has been broken down by geographic region for your convenience.

Use the buttons below to scroll down to the list of schools within that geographic region.



Maria Montessori School

Maria Montessori School is the school you wish you’d attended! Their mission is to provide a complete Montessori program which considers the emotional, intellectual, physical, and social development of the total child by addressing the uniqueness of each in a nurturing, emotionally secure and academically excellent environment. This paired with warm staff, individualized lessons, low student-teacher ratios and hands-on education are the hallmarks of our private Montessori school. Their central location serves all areas of San Diego including Clairemont, La Jolla, University City, Pacific Beach, Tierrasanta and many outlying areas as well.

Come experience the spirit of the school by scheduling an observation in one of their Pre-School, Elementary, or Middle School classrooms. They invite you to call and plan a visit soon!



High Tech Schools

High Tech High is a group of 16 tuition-free, public charter schools with campuses in Point Loma, Chula Vista, San Marcos and Clairemont Mesa.

All HTH schools, at the elementary, middle and high school levels, strive for a common mission: to provide all students with rigorous and relevant academic, civic and life skills, while preparing all graduates for postsecondary success and productive citizenship.

At HTH schools, students engage in complex real-world projects through which they develop and apply skills and knowledge.

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The Rock Academy

The Rock Academy takes a collaborative approach to your child’s education by partnering with you and them, to ensure their success in every aspect of who they are. With individualized academics and a faith-focused environment that celebrates the strengths and gifts of each child, we provide a unique environment that ensures your child is known and loved.  The Rock Academy sits in Liberty Station, in the heart of San Diego. They provide an accessible location to families from all over our city, creating a diverse, inclusive community that is representative of and serves the broader region of San Diego.

Early education through High School. 


Learn4Life San Diego Hills Central

LEARN4LIFE is network of non-profit public schools that provides students personalized learning, career training, and life skills. Each school is locally controlled, tuition free, and gives students the flexibility and one-on-one attention they need to succeed.



San Diego Cooperative Charter School

The San Diego Cooperative Charter School supports a progressive, developmentally-based, child-centered community for active and collaborative student learning where shared values of family, diversity, creativity and academic excellence flourish. Their goal is to cultivate empathetic and inspired learners. They welcome the chance to collaborate with you and watch your child and community grow.

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Albert Einstein Charter Academy

Albert Einstein Academies, the first authorized public charter schools with a K-8 International Baccalaureate continuum in San Diego, educates children to thrive and contribute as active thinkers in the world. The open enrollment period for the 2020-2021 school year is now open until February 28, 2020. In order to be eligible for the lottery in March of 2020, you must apply within the open enrollment period.


Central Elementary School

TK-5 Public Elementary School- Central Elementary is located in City Heights, above the hustle and bustle of the geographic center of San Diego. We have a gorgeous campus of 4.5 enclosed acres, with a magnificent playground, robust school garden and soccer field.


Rowan Elementary School

Rowan Elementary School is located in the Fairmont Park neighborhood of City Heights in San Diego. Rowan is a traditional calendar school serving 280 students in preschool through grade 5. Many children outside the immediate neighborhood attend Rowan through enrollment in the School Choice Program. Approximately 40 percent of our students speak a language other than English at home. Rowan is a proud member of the Hoover Cluster and the City Heights Partnership for Children.


San Diego High School

San Diego High has a rich history, dating back to 1882 when it opened its doors as Russ School.  In 2003, it was decided by the faculty and school community to reconfigure San Diego High. The school was originally divided into six small theme-based schools. Of the original six, three remain: School of Business and Leadership, School of International Studies, and the School of Science and Technology. Today, San Diego High School is one of 24 high schools in the San Diego Unified School District with nearly 2600 students in grades 9-12 supported by over 200 teachers and staff members.


San Diego Global Vision Academy

The purpose for San Diego Global Vision Academy (SDGVA) is built on the following vision: Provide every San Diego Global Vision Academy student with an education that integrates meaningful service-learning and quality writing instruction to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. 


Holly Drive Leadership Academy

Holly Drive Leadership Academy is a charter school established in 1999 and is located in Ridgeview-Webster neighborhood in San Diego. The mission of the charter school is to establish a child-centered community and learning environment that will assist students in understanding the purposes and value of the school experience.


Saint Augustine High School

Saint Augustine High School is a small, diverse, urban, Catholic high school for young men founded in the Augustinian tradition of unity, truth and love. They believe young men are best educated together in an open atmosphere surrounded by Christ’s love and strong adult mentoring.


Dimensions Collaborative School

Dimensions Collaborative School is a K-12 WASC accredited tuition free charter school serving students throughout San Diego County – where students lead the way!

Based on a model in which the community and world are our classroom, natural curiosity and self-determined education come alive through a variety of learning experiences ranging from project-based activities, home-study, and field trips to clubs, competitions, and global educational travel.

Dimensions operates multiple learning centers throughout the county four days a week to provide as-needed access to dynamic resources, specialists, and vibrant learning experiences.

Watch your child’s eyes, and mind, light up at Dimensions Collaborative School.


Pacific View Charter School

Pacific View Charter School is a public, non-profit, tuition free charter school focused on personalized learning catered to students’ individualized needs. The students, staff, teachers, and parents work together to foster a supportive community to meet the needs of all students. Pacific View Charter school incorporates a “blended learning” model, with a mix of independent study and workshop courses.

K-5 students meet with their teacher twice a month through the home-school program. Grades 6-8 have a blended classroom option with 4 days on campus and 1 day home study or have the option to be 5 days home study. Grades 9-12 are independent study with the option to work on campus and attend workshop classes. Students and parents meet weekly with their supervisory teacher to review grades, discuss assignments, and evaluate academic progress. They have two locations, one in Oceanside, CA and the other in Moreno Valley, CA.


Del Mar Pines School

Del Mar Pines School, located in Carmel Valley, offers a unique blend of individual attention, low student to teacher ratios and a robust curriculum taught in a safe and nurturing environment. Every kindergarten through sixth grade student enjoys a core syllabus of language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. This is complemented by extensive programs of music, fine arts, Spanish language, computer science, hands-on science, library and physical education. Schedule a tour to experience the joy of a DMP education.

Del Mar Pines kicks off its 30th season of Summer Discoveries day camp. The program offers a wide selection of classes that create an enriching and fun experience for students. Summer Discoveries is open to all children in the community entering kindergarten through sixth grade in the fall of 2020. We offer two three-week sessions running Monday through Thursday.
Session 1: June 22 – July 9
Session 2: July 13 – July 30


Scholarship Prep

Scholarship Prep – Oceanside is a TK-8 free, public charter school located in Oceanside, California. They focus on providing a high quality academic program centered in Project-Based Learning, as well as incorporating athletics and arts through electives for all students. Their school also integrates foreign language instruction in Mandarin Chinese to better prepare students for 21st Century career expectations.

They provide 1:1 chromebooks for students, each of our classrooms are names after prominent universities, and they have Pep Rallies to kick each week off right, led by their amazing students!




JCS Cedar Cove

Established in 2018, JCS-Cedar Cove is a tuition-free, parent-choice charter school where the community is the classroom and students’ social-emotional development is prioritized in balance with academics. The school’s purpose is to help students discover their educational passions and become independent, self- directed, lifelong learners. JCS-Cedar Cove serves grades TK-12 with a target student population for those who have a strong desire to home school or would like to participate in a home school hybrid and collegiate learning model with a combination of classroom learning opportunities four-days-a-week and one day at home for independent study. The TK-6th grade Academy in Encinitas, CA is dedicated to providing a nurturing environment where learning opportunities are innovative, hands-on, and differentiated for all learning levels. 


JCS Mountain Oaks

At JCS, student success has always been a top priority. The JCS family of charter schools are WASC-accredited, public charter schools serving students TK-12 mainly in San Diego and Riverside counties encouraging students to become independent lifelong learners. The curriculum at JCS is designed to be flexible enough to work with parents’ visions while providing structure and support for students through personalized learning designed to draw out student strengths.


Classical Academies

The Classical Academies is an organization of award-winning, tuition-free, public charter schools serving students in grades TK-12 in North San Diego County. Flexible, personalized educational programs are offered that blend the best of independent study and the traditional classroom experience. Students are invited to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities such as musical theater, choir, robotics, and more. The Classical Academies has been partnering with parents since 1999. Call today to schedule a tour! 


Mountain Valley Academy

TK-12 Free education, with independent study program in Ramona Unified School District. Choice of on campus (2-5 days a week), online or at home education.  TK-7 includes field trips and curriculum choice.  Accredited HS with CIF sports and dual credit college classes.  Contact us today at http://mva.ramonausd.net


SOUL Charter School

SOUL Charter School is a public middle and high school serving grades 7-12. Our Universal Learning approach utilizes A Unique Combination Of Project-Based And Experiential Learning where rigorous Academics Are Woven Into Collaborative Group Projects.

The Foundation Of SOUL Charter School Is Rooted In A Conscious & Intentional Culture with Holistic Approach that includes a Focus on the entrepreneurial spirit, public presentations, community service, and global citizenship.

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Army and Navy Academy

Because we believe that every boy can excel, we continuously enhance and reinvent our approaches to optimize them for our Cadets. We invest in ongoing training for our teachers and staff to leverage the best research-based strategies for connecting with every boy at Army and Navy Academy.

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Pathways Academy

Pathways Academy of Technology and Design offers a rigorous academic program utilizing the tools of technology and emphasizing technology-related skills as well as career exploration and preparation for higher education and/or employment in the field of technology. Their chartered programs have the flexibility to create customizable learning for any student, no matter their past experience in traditional education, with a strong foundation of award winning educator experience.


Santa Fe Christian Schools

This is an extraordinary school with incredible teachers, a challenging curriculum, outstanding athletics, and exciting missions opportunities. Our rigorous academic curriculum is taught through a Biblical worldview within a rich, nurturing community of teachers, coaches, mentors, and peers — all passionate about serving Christ. This is a place where you can be comfortable enough to try something different and supported enough to get better at something you love. 


Carlsbad Village Academy

CUSD is recognized as one of the highest achieving school districts in the county. Many of our schools have been identified as Distinguished Schools at the federal and state levels. Our schools are also supported by dedicated teachers, classified and management employees, parent volunteers and leaders, and an assortment of foundations and support groups, all of whom contribute to our success with students.

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Kelly Elementary

K-5 Elementary school located on Kelly Drive in Carlsbad.  With test scores well above the state average, and students making more academic progress from one grade to the next, this is a school that should be at the top of your list.    


La Costa Meadows Elementary

K-5, At La Costa Meadows…

– Students demonstrate respect and responsibility while putting forth their best effort toward their educational learning experience.

– Parents partner with the school to enhance their child’s academic growth and strength of character.

– Teachers and staff set and implement standards-based learning goals and monitor results in order to differentiate instruction to meet the individual needs of all learners. 

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Poinsettia Elementary

Poinsettia Elementary is a kindergarten through fifth grade public school that serves the southern inland population of Carlsbad Unified School District. The school opened in 2007 and has approximately 550 students and 30 teachers & support staff combined.


Stars Montessori Academy

Stars Montessori Academy Preschool & Infant Care Center in Vista accepts children from infants through kindergarten for half-day, full-day and extended-day care schedules. Each of our classrooms is filled with natural light, beautiful materials and child-size furniture.


Hope Elementary

The mission of Hope Elementary, an interactive community school, is to ensure the development of motivated, confident, and cooperative problem solvers with a global perspective through an academically challenging curriculum facilitated by advanced technology and a dedicated staff. Their values:  Be Kind.  Be Safe.  Work Hard. Have Fun!


JCS Pine Valley

JCS-Pine Valley’s mission is to empower learners with educational choice and has two programs: a TK-12 Home Study and a 6-12 Academy. Academy students come to classes 2-4 days per week and are involved in outdoor education, field trips, and hands-on learning activities. PVA is a caring environment where students of all levels can excel. Parents who wish to play a more significant role in their student’s education may choose the home study program. Families meet with credentialed teachers to go over assignments and progress. Enrichment and field trip opportunities provide time for extended learning and interaction with other students.


JCS Pine Hills

At JCS, student success has always been a top priority. The JCS family of charter schools are WASC-accredited, public charter schools serving students TK-12 mainly in San Diego and Riverside counties encouraging students to become independent lifelong learners. The curriculum at JCS is designed to be flexible enough to work with parents’ visions while providing structure and support for students through personalized learning designed to draw out student strengths.



JCS Manzanita

JCS Manzanita partners with students, parents and communities in a personalized learning program that embraces innovative educational opportunities, practices habits of success, and builds a confident culture of lifelong learners. With several distinct programs to serve students of all grade levels, we are proud of the small class sizes, our dedicated and passionate teachers and an amazing community of students and families. Our school encourages students and parents to partner with us in learning, giving students the opportunity to develop self-confidence as they understand their own strengths and weaknesses and become self-directed learners.

Helix Charter High School

Helix Charter High School

Helix Charter High School provides a comprehensive education that prepares all students to graduate college-ready and equipped to reach their personal and academic potential. In a college preparatory environment, Helix Charter High School strives to close the achievement gap through effective collaboration and innovative practices.



Literacy First Charter School

At Literacy First, they look forward to serving more families as they grow and continue to provide a unique, highly valued choice for education. Literacy First Charter Schools is located in East San Diego County. Serving students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, Literacy First Charter Schools is dedicated to helping children become literate, life-long learners and responsible citizens.


College Preparatory Middle School

College Preparatory Middle School is a public charter school, developed by two school administrators with years of educational experience and a proven track record of increasing student achievement and dramatically increasing school API. A Nurturing Community for the Middle School Learner for Grades 5-8.

Diego Valley East Public Charter School 

At Diego Valley East Charter School we believe that part of our unique mission is to personalize the learning process to meet the ability, pace and interest of the student. In order to achieve this goal, we conduct a computer-based diagnostic assessment to determine the math and reading ability of all newly registered students. These assessment scores play a very important part in assisting the Supervising Teacher in enrolling the student in classes appropriate to his/her skill level. The academic progress of each student is measured using the same assessment process at least twice a year so we can adjust the learning plan as needed.

Granite Hills High School

This year, we celebrate our 60th anniversary. Granite Hills opened its doors in 1960 and has proudly served East County ever since. Over the course of 60 years, we have earned the reputation of being an exceptional place to learn. Former Eagles have shaped this community and continue to give back as builders, business leaders, doctors, first responders, elected officials and teachers.

Fletcher Hills Elementary

Fletcher Hills Elementary is long steeped in a tradition of educational excellence and outstanding achievements making our students among the finest. Here they are given the full spectrum of educational experiences and opportunities, strong curriculum and instructional strategies delivered by a talented, experienced and caring staff. We are committed to providing a quality educational program which challenges all students, promotes literacy, and fosters self-esteem that will allow children to become productive, lifelong learners.


La Mesa Arts Academy

La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools, offers unique and dynamic programs and instructional pathways to engage and inspire all children! La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools is proud to serve out students and families with caring teachers and staff members and innovative instruction.


St Martin of Tours Academy

Parents can expect the best for their children at St. Martin of Tours Academy. Teachers combine their talents and energy to create an educational program of recognized quality. Their goal is to lead each child to the fullness of human development and intellectual potential. They do this not only through formal instruction, but also by knowing each child individually.


Foothills Christian High School

Foothills Christian Schools is a non-profit program that is part of the Foothills Christian School District which was established almost 20 years ago. Serving Preschool through High School with four different campuses: Foothills Christian Preschool – El Cajon, Foothills Christian School (K-5) – Lakeside, Foothills Christian Middle School – El Cajon and Foothills Christian High School – El Cajon.


High Tech Schools

High Tech High is a group of 16 tuition-free, public charter schools with campuses in Point Loma, Chula Vista, San Marcos and Clairemont Mesa.

All HTH schools, at the elementary, middle and high school levels, strive for a common mission: to provide all students with rigorous and relevant academic, civic and life skills, while preparing all graduates for postsecondary success and productive citizenship.

At HTH schools, students engage in complex real-world projects through which they develop and apply skills and knowledge.



Innovation High School San Diego

Walk into San Diego Workforce Innovation High School, and you will feel the difference. Students earn credits from fully accredited institutions all at no cost. They offer personalized one-on-one lessons, flexible hours and year-round access to teachers, computer labs and tutoring. The mission of San Diego Workforce Innovation High School is to engage students in learning, who are no longer enrolled in a traditional classroom program or who prefer a personalized learning education.

San Diego Workforce Innovation High School believes that students must be ready to work with others from diverse backgrounds, adapt to changes and lead others through transformational processes. 


SIATech South Bay Independent Study High School

SIATech Charter High Schools, a network of public charter high schools with campuses in Arkansas, California, and Florida, re-engages disconnected students through an innovative curriculum that integrates technology with academics and provides the opportunity to earn a high school diploma.




Sparrow Academy

The core belief at the Sparrow Academy is based on the paradigm of a compassionate, progressive approach to education. They understand that children respond to their environment and we strive to take a purposeful, relational approach to our children, parents and teachers in order to create a place of safety and acceptance for children to learn. At Sparrow Academy they are attuned to the latest research and studies in education, neuroscience and the healing arts, and have taken that knowledge to create a school for children who need that understanding.


Hawking STEAM Charter School

Hawking STEAM Charter School prepares students for college and career readiness through an integrated Project-based STEAM curriculum that includes social-emotional awareness. Hawking STEAM Charter School’s vision is to ensure that Transitional Kindergarten through grade 12 students are engaged in discovery, exploration, and problem-solving through rigorous Project-Based Learning activities, aligned to the Common Core State Standards (“CCSS”) and the Next Generation Science Standards (“NGSS”) that are STEAM-based. 

Hilltop Drive Elementary School

K-6, Hilltop Drive Elementary School is committed to providing a safe, supportive learning environment. Teachers collaborate to provide a Common Core Standards- and student-based school curriculum. We hold ourselves accountable for increasing the academic achievement of all students. Our academic focus is student output: Increasing quality talk and writing across the curriculum to learn, process, and demonstrate understanding. Our guiding question is, “Are students listening, speaking, reading, writing, and THINKING more and better each day?

Heritage Elementary School

Tk-6, The philosophy at Heritage Elementary is that students are progressing towards being college and career ready when they can effectively communicate through various types of media, collaborate, and persevere to solve problems while being resourceful, innovative, and socially conscious thinkers in a global society.

Chula Vista High School

Established in 1946 at Brown Airfield in Otay Mesa, Chula Vista High School is now located on the West side of Chula Vista. A proud, 64 year old campus displays the beauty of school spirit, excelling academics, and the new face of multiple upgrades. CVH focuses on the five A’s of Spartan Excellence: Attitude, Athletics, Academics, Artistry and Attendance, and 30 percent of the student population is enrolled in the School for Creative and Performing Arts.


Mater Dei Catholic High School

Mater Dei Catholic High School is located in Chula Vista, CA, in a beautiful newly-developed area in San Diego County. They are a private, coeducational institution that is under the guidance of the Diocese of San Diego. The school is fully accredited by both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), and has a firm commitment to having each of our students gain acceptance to a four-year university after graduation. 


Montessori American School

The Montessori American School provides a carefully structured, warmly inviting and stimulating environment that encourages a positive attitude towards learning. Our students love to learn. They are confident, respectful, and responsible. They express great creativity and caring. Come by and see for yourself. I invite you to be part of our educational family.


Chula Vista Learning Community Charter 
Elementary School

At the Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School, students are respected as intellectuals as they develop their individual and authentic self. Our robust academic program is focused on expanding language, developing core ethics, and building knowledge across content areas.



JCS-LIVE teachers and staff are committed to helping every student achieve and succeed.  Educators inspire and empower students to reach their goals. Students feel a sense of community and support even though they are working from home.  Students interact with teachers and have opportunities to interact with peers as well. Our goal at JCS-LIVE is to build skills and develop a love for learning and develop the foundation for life success.  We utilize vetted and personalized curriculum designed to build skills and interest in all of our students. Students participate in LIVE classes and activities to make learning fun.  TK-12.

Method Schools

Method Schools online home school program is a perfect fit for students who learn best in a non-traditional setting. All Method students benefit from what they call the “Method Mix,” which is their way of delivering an exceptional learning experience for all of our students. The Method Mix features: Exceptional teachers experienced in virtual teaching, Mobile-friendly and intuitive online courses, Extra-curricular tiles, One-on-one and small group tutoring, A learning plan that’s customized for each student and Instructional funds that can be allocated to enhance and round out the learning experience.


Compass Charter Schools

Compass Charter Schools (CCS) is one of California’s leading TK-12 grade, tuition-free, WASC-accredited charter schools. CCS is committed to creating a collaborative virtual learning community, inspiring scholars to appreciate the ways in which arts and sciences nurture a curiosity for lifelong learning, and preparing scholars to take responsibility for their future successes. Families choose CCS for their innovative online and homeschool programs, both of which offer engaging curriculum and flexibility to meet the unique needs of all scholars. 


California Pacific Charter – San Diego

California Pacific Charter – San Diego provides personalized online education to students in 6-12th grade. As a public charter school, we serve students free of cost to families. Our dedicated, high qualified teachers provide personalized support to each student to help them achieve their educational goals. Our school is WASC accredited and our courses are a-g and NCAA approved. Students can access their courses 24/7, providing a flexible alternative to a traditional school schedule.


Excel Academy is a personalized learning public charter that provides a flexible learning environment for TK-12th grade students where teachers and parents partner together and collaborate to ensure the success of each student.

*Parent choice with credentialed teacher support
*Flexible instructional funds with thousands of trusted vendors
*Approved vendors at local learning centers
*UC/CSU and customized instruction high school track options
*Field trips, community social events and activities

If you would like to learn more about getting your school featured in our 2020 School Guide, please fill out the form below and someone will be in touch. 

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