In the Spirit of Achievement to Fuel a Child’s Success
From preschool to high school graduation, education is key to a child’s current and future development. North County San Diego is home to some of the best public and private schools in the state, with programs available to suit any learning style. ZCode Magazines’ Private School Guide highlights the educational opportunities in our backyard.
Pacific Ridge School
Local Students, Global Citizens
Walk into a classroom at Pacific Ridge School, and you will experience something different – a class that is coming alive with student engagement, critical thinking, and faculty commitment. Here, students convene around a table with their teacher rather than sitting in rows of desks. They engage through listening, asking questions, and learning from their peers and teacher rather than a lecture. “The Harkness teaching method fosters the development of critical thinking skills and provides a supportive academic forum in which students can express their ideas,” explained Dr. Bob Ogle, Head of School. Welcome to Pacific Ridge School, an independent private school serving students from 7th to 12th grade.
“Our graduates are articulate, thoughtful, compassionate, and extremely prepared to take advantage of all college has to offer.”
The school opened its doors in 2007 with a mission to nurture both the minds and hearts of students. To meet this goal, the educational model marries academic excellence with civic responsibility and global engagement. A cornerstone of the Pacific Ridge experience is the global education component, where every academic year culminates in a class or small group trip. “Global issues are woven throughout the curriculum and the last two weeks of the school year are reserved for our travel education program,” Dr. Ogle shared. “These travel courses are themed for different kinds of experiences – cultural exploration, language immersion, service, academic study, or a combination.” From studying U.S. government in Washington, D.C. to ancient and modern cultures in China, Pacific Ridge students have traveled across the U.S. and to 58 countries. Last year, 11th and 12th graders studied, explored, and engaged with local residents in Kenya, Colombia, Vietnam, Iceland, Italy, Vienna and Prague, South Africa, the Galapagos Islands, and Austin, TX.
The daily engagement and global interactions are led by a group of passionate faculty members. Teachers are also coaches, service learning and club advisors, and trip leaders. Their varied interactions with students create a bond beyond academic learning. “Due to these roles and the relationship building that takes place in a Harkness classroom, our teachers build multi-faceted relationships with students, fostering trust and mentorship,” Dr. Ogle noted.
Interactions around the classroom table and around the world set Pacific Ridge graduates apart from their peers. “Our graduates are articulate, thoughtful, compassionate, and extremely prepared to take advantage of all college has to offer,” said Dr. Ogle. “They are globally aware, comfortable in many different environments, and receptive to learning from diverse perspectives.”
6269 El Fuerte St.
Carlsbad, CA 92009
Open House: Saturday, Nov. 16, 1 – 4 p.m.
Points of Pride:
• Harkness Learning approach
• Global Education & Travel Program
• Stellar faculty who also coach, advise service groups, and lead global trips
• Comprehensive Service Learning program
• Robust co-curriculars and a schedule that allows for high levels of participation in them
• Beautiful campus with latest technology
The Grauer School
Situated on a six-acre natural paradise in Encinitas, alive with native plants and animals and a light coastal breeze, The Grauer School campus itself serves as the starting point for its expeditionary learning tradition. Students are encouraged to use the school campus and the world around them, from the nearby San Elijo Lagoon to Kenya, as primary resources for generating curiosity and experiencing authentic learning.
Founded in 1991, Grauer focuses on helping students develop their unique voice, discover their passions, and take ownership over their own learning. The school’s founder, Dr. Stuart Grauer, noted, “We have traveled far and wide studying the world’s most inspirational schools and educational movements: Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, Socratic, free and democratic schooling, expeditionary learning and classical education, from one-room schoolhouses to Peking University. These traditions have provided us with heroes, mentors, and wisdom.”
“The Grauer School uses the foundations of these great traditions and movements to infuse all we keep learning and synthesizing,” said Grauer Principal Dana Abplanalp-Diggs. “The result is a campus of purpose, optimism, and inspiration. We commit to continuing to develop the finest, most engaged, humanitarian independent school in the world. And even though our focus is not on rankings and test scores, our students are succeeding at their top choice colleges.”
Engaging students in six core values – resourcefulness, intellectual curiosity, perseverance, compassion, self-advocacy, and accountability – The Grauer School aims to develop well-rounded students who are purposeful, confident global citizens. The learning curriculum involves field trips, community service activities, art, expeditions, and student-created programs. Grauer is also the region’s only UNESCO affiliate school, with 176 partner schools around the world. Grauer’s expeditionary learning and arts programs are across the curriculum.
“What IS it about this place? Every time we are over there, we see kids actively engaging with each other one-on-one, in small groups, and with teachers, talking about their lessons, singing, laughing, hugging, running, playing. You feel it as you enter the space: love is all around!” – Sophomore Parent
The school also launched its Environmental Stewardship Pledge this year, dedicating the 2019-2020 school year to promoting ecological sustainability and stewardship in the school community and beyond. The resolution impacts every aspect of the school, from in- and out-of-class curriculum to school culture and finance. “We know our students are not inheriting the world or climate we inherited,” said Grauer. “We have a moral imperative to prepare them courageously.”
As the longest-serving independent school in North County San Diego, The Grauer School fosters nurturing relationships between teachers and students, giving learners 99th percentile levels of connection and engagement so that they are empowered in their education. “In a world that often seems to put standards before personal development, and to put institutional needs above human needs, Grauer keeps the focus on the individual student,” said Abplanalp-Diggs. “Our students achieve and are valued because they are developing personal passions, and teens coming of age are finding their unique voices at Grauer.”
Head of School: Dr. Stuart Grauer, Ed.D.
Principal: Dana Abplanalp-Diggs, M.Ed.
Year of Establishment: 1991
Open House: Nov. 2, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Discover Grauer Tours: Nov. 14, Dec. 4, Jan. 9, 15, 24, 30, or Feb. 5, 11, 9 – 10:15 a.m.
Grades: 7-12, Co-Ed
Student/Teacher: 7:1. optimal class/seminar size is 12
Tuition: Financial aid offered about the School: The Grauer School, an independent college preparatory school, serves Northern San Diego and surrounding areas, offers a balanced curriculum of rigorous academics, arts, and athletics, and gives students unparalleled leadership opportunities in a supportive, socially inclusive environment.
The Bishop’s School
From the border to Oceanside, The Bishop’s School brings together a diverse and thriving student and faculty population. The School was founded in 1909 as a girls’ boarding school when sisters Ellen Browning Scripps and Eliza Virginia Scripps joined Bishop Joseph Horsfall Johnson to create an institution committed to an ideal that still holds true today: School should be an “open door to knowledge.” In 1971, the School merged with the San Miguel School for Boys. Today, Bishop’s serves 800 students in grades 6 through 12.
San Diego’s only independent middle and high school affiliated with the Episcopal Church, Bishop’s is an inclusive community where students come from more than 70 schools representing diverse religious, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This school year, 49 percent of students self-identify as people of color and 20 percent receive more than $3 million in financial aid. Chaplain Nicole Simopoulos-Pigato said, “We emphasize compassion for all people, respect for the dignity of every human being, and the calls to love our neighbors as ourselves and to strive for justice and peace in the world.”
Bishop’s programs are designed to meet students’ individual needs – both academically and emotionally, as student well-being is the top priority. Academic options, levels and paths are offered to best fit every student’s abilities, interests and potential, ensuring readiness and success in college and beyond. Opportunities extend beyond the classroom, including academic competitions, international travel, a peer support group, affinity groups, guest speakers and a community service program, to name a few. There are 72 different sports teams, 40 performing arts shows per year in dance, theater, and choral and instrumental music, and visual arts possibilities from photography to animation and more.
Learning, leading and acting with open hearts and minds, Bishop’s students engage in the classroom, the community, and the world.
Open House: Saturday, Nov. 2
Grades: 6 – 12
Encinitas Country Day School
Now in its 32nd year, Encinitas Country Day School (ECDS) serves preschool through eighth grade students on two beautiful campuses. The ECDS WASC-accredited educational model features a unique blend of Montessori, traditional, and 21st-century instructional methods that develop well-rounded students of scholarship, integrity, and service.
The ECDS Preschool campus serves children ages two through five in a warm, nurturing environment. Multi-age preschool classrooms are designed to foster children’s love of learning by engaging them both socially and academically. Enrichment programs such as art, music, gardening, and gymnastics are included in the school day at no additional charge. Keyboard and piano, as well as dance classes, are optional extras.
Collaborative and experiential learning environments inspire ECDS lower and middle school students to develop exemplary character traits and critical life skills, as well as linguistic, scientific, mathematical, and technological fluency. Visual and Performing Arts classes are included in the day school curriculum, and are also part of after school and summer enrichment programs.
• Small class size
• WASC accredited
• Strong academic accountability
• Interscholastic middle school league sports
• Extraordinary campus, including science, computer, and STEM labs
• Individualized math and language arts instruction
• Library with more than 10,000 titles
• Spanish language lab and classes
Before and after school programs are available at all grade levels from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a nominal additional charge.
Come see how Encinitas Country Day School programs can establish an enduring love of learning in your child’s life. Campus tours at 9:30 a.m. daily and by appointment.
3616 Manchester Ave.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Open House: Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, 1 – 4 p.m.
Grades: 1 to 8, Co-Ed
Student/Teacher: Preschool – 12:1; Kindergarten – 14:1; Grades 1 to 8 – 16:1
Tuition: $9,000 to $20,000
Cathedral Catholic High School
Cathedral Catholic High School’s (CCHS) core values of faith, knowledge, character, and responsibility have guided the development of high-achieving, well-rounded leaders for over 60 years. The CCHS legacy has deep roots, though the name is only 13 years old. Cathedral Girls High School merged with University San Diego High School (UNI) in 1970 on UNI’s Linda Vista Campus. UNI transitioned to the current CCHS Campus in Carmel Valley in 2005 and took on the new name of Cathedral Catholic High School. “No matter what campus you were on, once you become a Don, you’re always a Don,” said CCHS President Mr. Stevan Laaperi. “The Dons’ legacy has never been stronger. Over 50 alumni are among the CCHS team of administrators, faculty, coaches, and staff.”
The professional staff is well qualified to uphold that legacy. Most teachers have a master’s degree or higher in the subject they teach, and the entire staff strives to model the values of a Catholic faith community. The school is accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and holds membership with the College Board. “In partnership with parents, we form an educational ministry that is mutually supportive and a community committed to excellence,” said Principal Dr. Kevin Calkins. “It is our intent that our graduates carry a spirit of intellectual curiosity and a love of learning on their continuing journey of personal and spiritual growth.”
“It is our intent that our graduates carry a spirit of intellectual curiosity and a love of learning on their continuing journey of personal and spiritual growth.”
Over 1,600 students are currently beginning that journey on the dynamic CCHS campus. Facilities include 75 classrooms, 12 science labs, two computer labs, engineering complex (which will be finished January 2019), a ceramics studio, a music room, a lecture hall, several special-use classrooms, world-class athletic facilities, an academic center, a chapel, and meditation garden – there’s a place for every student to discover their passion. Over 70 percent of CCHS students participate in one or more of the school’s 80-plus teams.
“Whether you are an athlete, love to act, or have a passion for serving others, at Cathedral Catholic you gain the confidence to make a difference not only in your life but in the world around you,” said Kate, a graduate from the Class of 2017. Nicole, another recent graduate, agreed: “There is an unparalleled wealth of opportunities, and a strong support system in the students and faculty as part of the Catholic community.”
President: Mr. Stevan Laaperi
Principal: Dr. Kevin Calkins
Established: University of San Diego High School established in 1957, moved to its new location as Cathedral Catholic High School in 2005
Grades: 9-12, Co-Ed
About the School: Cathedral Catholic High School is an innovative leader in Catholic, college preparatory education. Their rigorous, innovative education program is offered in a nurturing community based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and traditions of the Catholic Church.
Del Mar Pines School
Grades K-6 in Carmel Valley
If you are considering a private elementary school for your child, Del Mar Pines School 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.
For over 40 years, Del Mar Pines School has followed its mission of challenging minds, nurturing character, and respecting individuality. It offers students the opportunity to express intellectual curiosity and creativity while promoting strong interpersonal relationships. To enhance the learning experience and promote real-world skills, a one-to-one student-to-technology ratio is integrated across the curriculum. Del Mar Pines also provides before-school and after-school care options as well as after-school enrichment classes and an extensive summer camp.
Students discover how to work alone and as part of a group, communicate effectively, and apply interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. They learn how to solve complex problems, think critically, act with integrity and compassion, and develop a growth mindset. Each student is given the opportunity to meet his or her full academic potential, while developing and refining the qualities essential for positive personal development. Leading with a focus on individual attention and a well-rounded curriculum, Del Mar Pines School’s vision is to develop students as independent thinkers empowered to create a better world.
3975 Torrington St.
San Diego, CA 92130
Open House: Individual tours available with appointment
Grades: K–6, Co-Ed
Enrollment: approx. 150
Tuition: $16,500. Financial aid not offered but tuition is kept low through generous support from the school foundation.
St. Michael’s School & Preschool
For 55 years, St. Michael’s School has educated thousands of children who have gone on to become successful members and leaders in our city, state, and country. St. Michael’s School graduates have earned numerous high school merit scholarships and excelled in Honors and AP classes, and several of our alumni have been high school valedictorians. Close to 100% of SMS alumni accept offers of admission to colleges and universities, often with substantial scholarships.
Families experience a vibrant community at St. Michael’s School and Preschool, where parents, teachers, and students develop meaningful and mutually supportive relationships. A highly qualified faculty educates, nurtures, and encourages students in all facets of growth. With a comprehensive curriculum that includes rigorous instruction in English language arts, math, science, social studies, and religion, a wide variety of co-curricular opportunities, and an extensive array of after-school enrichment, St. Michael’s students develop a love of learning and an eagerness to expand and develop their unique gifts and talents. In addition, students are regularly engaged in leadership, public speaking, and service opportunities. Social-emotional and visible learning programs are interwoven through every subject. Vocal music, instrumental music, visual arts, technology and coding, physical education, and Spanish are offered during the school day, while after-school sports, musical theater, choir, chess, cooking, Academic Decathlon, extended school services, are just a few after school options.
The school’s mission – “With Jesus Christ as our model, St. Michael’s School guides students to grow in faith, knowledge, and character, and prepares them to be active members in the Church and community” – is central to St. Michael’s approach to teaching the whole child: heart, mind, body, and soul.
Open Houses: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, 3 – 5 p.m. AND Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Grades: Preschool (3-year-olds) through Grade 8
Student/Teacher: Average 1:13
Tuition: Preschool $2,500 – $6,125; K-8 $6,300 – $7,020
Private Schools List
Army & Navy Academy
2605 Carlsbad Blvd. | Carlsbad, CA 92008
888-762-2338 | www.ArmyAndNavyAcademy.org
Army and Navy Academy believes that greatness lies in every boy, but first they need to believe in themselves. Every day, instructors listen, challenge, and encourage boys to imagine and accomplish their goals. The Academy knows that when they believe in a boy and nurture his best aspirations, he’ll discover his best self.
5555 Del Mar Heights Rd. | San Diego, CA 92130
858-523-4000 | www.CathedralCatholic.org
Cathedral Catholic High School is an innovative leader in Catholic, college preparatory education. Their rigorous, innovative education program is offered in a nurturing community based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and traditions of the Catholic Church.
Del Mar Pines School
3975 Torrington St. | San Diego, CA 92130
858-481-5615 | www.DelMarPines.com
Offering elementary school students (grades K-6) a unique blend of individual attention, low student-to-teacher ratios, and a robust curriculum, all taught in a safe and nurturing environment.
Encinitas Country Day
3616 Manchester Ave. | Encinitas, CA 92024
760-942-1111 | www.ECDSchools.org
Now in its 32nd year, Encinitas Country Day School serves preschool through eighth grade students on two beautiful campuses. The ECDS WASC-accredited educational model features a unique blend of Montessori, traditional, and 21st century instructional methods that develop well-rounded students of scholarship, integrity, and service.
512 Via De La Valle, Suite 201 | Solana Beach, CA 92075
858-792-2300 | www.FusionAcademy.com/Solana-Beach
Fusion Academy meets students where they are and helps them thrive from their unique beginning. While the majority of students entering Fusion have academic skills at or above grade level, many report previous struggles in school for various reasons. Through Fusion’s thoughtfully designed approach of Love, Motivate, Teach, they see students change their understanding of themselves and the futures they have the power to create.
6233 El Apajo Rd. | Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
858-381-8888 | www.HorizonPrep.org
College preparatory classical education for students in preschool through high school. With fully credentialed teachers, impressive college acceptances and test scores, and opportunities in arts, athletics, and technology, Horizon Prep is a distinctly different learning environment in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe.
La Jolla Country Day
9490 Genesee Ave.| La Jolla, CA 92037
858-453-3440 | www.LJCDS.org
La Jolla Country Day School is an independent, college preparatory school serving students age three to grade 12. LJCDS is committed to inspiring greatness for a better world by fostering a community that leads with dignity.
Maranatha Christian Schools
9050 Maranatha Dr. | San Diego, CA 92127
858.759.9737 | www.MaranathaChristianSchools.org
Maranatha Christian Schools is a college prep learning community where students experience God’s love, are equipped to fulfill God’s unique call and purpose, and excel in their God-given potential through academics, arts, and athletics.
Montessori Child Development Center
14911 Espola Rd. | Poway, CA
858-748-1727 | www.MCDCPoway.com
Montessori Child Development Center equips preschool and kindergarten children to create extensive knowledge of their world through exploration and observation. The Montessori teaching style is designed to promote independence, self-direction, and self-discipline, resulting in children who are engaged in learning and eager to advance.
Pacific Ridge School
6269 El Fuerte St. | Carlsbad, CA 92009
760-448-9820 | www.PacificRidge.org
Pacific Ridge makes it easy for students to get involved and discover their passions. Activities such as service learning, clubs, arts, and athletics, considered extracurriculars at most schools, are built into the daily, weekly, and yearly calendar so all students can participate.
Santa Fe Christian
838 Academy Dr. | Solana Beach, CA 92075
858-755-8900 | www.SFCS.net
Santa Fe Christian Schools (SFC) is a private preschool through 12th grade college preparatory school located in Solana Beach. With a 100% four-year college acceptance rate, SFC graduates are accepted into top colleges and universities across the nation.
St. Michael’s School & Preschool
15542 Pomerado Rd. | Poway, CA 92064
858-485-1303 | www.SMSPoway.org
St. Michael’s School, located on a lush 25-acre campus in Poway, is a private Catholic preschool through middle school dedicated to recognizing and cultivating the unique giftedness of each student across all areas of development: intellectual, emotional, physical, creative, and spiritual.
St. Gregory the Great Catholic School
15315 Stonebridge Pkwy. | San Diego, CA 92131
858-397-1290 | www.StGGCS.org
St. Gregory the Great Catholic School and Preschool is a faith-based, nurturing learning environment that promotes an attitude of stewardship and service. A rigorous academic curriculum that integrates STEM, music, and art is enhanced by after-school sports, Monart, choir, Student Store, and Academic Decathlon.
The Bishop’s School
7607 La Jolla Blvd. | La Jolla, CA 92037
858-459-4021 | www.Bishops.com
The Bishop’s School is an independent, coeducational college preparatory day school for students grades 6 through 12 who live throughout San Diego County. Founded in 1909, the School is affiliated with the Episcopal church.
The Grauer School
1500 S. El Camino Real | Encinitas, CA 92024
760-944-6777 | www.GrauerSchool.com
As the longest-serving independent school in North County, The Grauer School develops students who are purposeful, confident global citizens by encouraging them to develop personal passions and find their unique voices.
The Nativity School
6309 El Apajo Rd. | Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
858-756-6763 | www.TheNativitySchool.org
Since opening its doors in 1996, The Nativity School in Rancho Santa Fe has been a Catholic school serving students in grades preschool through eighth dedicated to teaching Christ-centered values that develop the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. They seek what is true, love what is good, and lead by example.
The Rhoades School
Lower School: 141 S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd.
Middle School: 910 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024
760-436-1102 | www.RhoadesSchool.com
Since 1980, The Rhoades School has been the only school in San Diego for gifted students in kindergarten through eighth grade. They combine a challenging and robust curriculum with innovative instruction designed to meet the unique needs and passions of academically advanced, productive, creative, and socially adept students.
Village Church Preschool
6225 Paseo Delicias | Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
858-756-2394 | www.VillageChurchPreschool.org
The Village Church Preschool has been open since 1962. Integrating learning through play for children ages two to five fosters an impressive and unique approach, creating a community of learners and establishing a lifelong love of school.