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.
St. Gregory the Great Catholic School
Located on 10 elevated acres in Scripps Ranch, St. Gregory the Great Catholic School is a K-8 elementary school and preschool community offering a faith-based educational curriculum that seeks to foster Christian values, inspire academic excellence, and encourage global awareness through service to others. At St. Gregory the Great Catholic School, each child is recognized and appreciated for their unique qualities and supported in developing their God-given gifts and talents.
All aspects of the school environment are infused with Catholic values. Each day begins with outdoor community prayer, prayers for special intentions, reflection on the Catholic virtue of the week, reflection on special feast days and seasons in the liturgical year, salute to the flag, and patriotic song. Twice a month, the school community celebrates liturgy at the parish church four miles from the St. Gregory campus. Students are involved in liturgy preparation and actively participate at mass in various capacities.
The school curriculum incorporates spiritual, cognitive, emotional, and kinesthetic learning experiences through teaching of six core subjects (religion, language arts, literature, mathematics, social studies, and science), as well as fine arts and physical education. The religion curriculum is aligned with the Diocesan Curriculum Course Content Guidelines, as are all other subjects. “The combination of both Common Core Standards and Diocesan Curriculum Guidelines makes for a challenging academic program with an integrated Catholic identity,” said Principal Maeve O’Connell.
Stewardship and service are also integral to the Catholic identity. Students organize, plan, and participate in a wide variety of local and global service opportunities throughout the school year. “Our students are called to be productive citizens who recognize their ability to make a difference in our world today and in the future,” affirmed Principal O’Connell.
St. Gregory the Great Catholic School is WCEA/WASC-accredited. Faculty and staff embrace all learning styles and work to develop instructional strategies to meet each student’s individual needs. Above all, students are inspired to realize their God-given potential and embrace a faith-filled future of leadership, stewardship, and lifelong learning.
15315 Stonebridge Pkwy.
San Diego, CA 92131
Open House: Jan. 26, 2020, 1 – 3 p.m. Tours can be scheduled upon request
Grades: Preschool – 8
Tuition: Available on school website
About the School: 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.
Cathedral Catholic High School
Family-Like and Faith-Based
Growing up in today’s world may look very different than a generation ago, but the foundations remain the same. Teens need to build knowledge, strengthen character, and learn responsibility. At Cathedral Catholic High School (CCHS), these core values are the foundations of the college-preparatory education fostered in a faith-based community.
Cathedral Catholic focuses on an integrative curriculum that develops the whole student – spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically. In partnership with parents, the school forms an educational ministry that is mutually supportive and a community committed to excellence. The CCHS community is committed to creating graduates who carry a spirit of intellectual curiosity and a love for learning on their continuing journey of personal growth. Graduates of Cathedral Catholic have attended Notre Dame, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Duke, and Stanford, as well as many of the other top universities in the country.
The school hosts over 1,600 students, and the diverse student body is supported with over four million dollars in tuition assistance. Cultural and economic diversity in the student body is a cornerstone for Cathedral Catholic. Served by highly dedicated administration, faculty, and staff, students engage in learning and growth both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to the classrooms and labs, the campus has a library, theater, chapel, ceramics studio, music room, gymnasium, sports stadium, aquatics center, and multiple sports fields. The athletic program emphasizes skill development, teamwork, physical fitness, and, most importantly, sportsmanship. At CCHS, the athletics go hand-in-hand with the academics.
CCHS is accredited by the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and holds membership with the College Board. In 2015 and 2017, the school was awarded the status of an Apple Distinguished School, recognized for its innovation, leadership, and educational excellence.
While the world today’s students are entering has greatly changed, the foundation that students need to succeed have not. At CCHS, the core values of faith, knowledge, character, and responsibility remain strong and stable. Cathedral Catholic High School students have a strong balance between high academic achievement and being well-rounded contributing members of society.
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.
Maranatha Christian Schools
Distinctly Academic, Undeniably Christian
Maranatha Christian Schools (MCS) has over 28 years of experience in education where students grow in their knowledge and develop talents to serve God in every area of their lives. MCS provides a rewarding experience for students from preschool through 12th grade. They hold fast to their vision statement, “Transformed Lives…Transforming the World,” where the school has a unique focus on preparing students to be world-changers. As they thrive in academics, arts, and athletics, the aim is to make a positive impact in the lives of those around them.
For parents seeking a comprehensive program, MCS comes alongside students to help them expand and grow in all facets of life. They offer guidance and support academically, and in addition integrate lessons of compassion, service, and leadership, and inspire students to deepen their spiritual journey. Maranatha’s program is well-rounded, offering 21 AP and Honors classes, and has an engineering track through Project Lead the Way (PLTW). Student government (ASB) is an important aspect of their program and is offered from 4th through 12th grade. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in: CIF sports, digital and performing arts, music and band, STEAM competitions, robotics, many choices of clubs, and a variety of co-curricular activities. MCS students are prepared to succeed in some of the finest colleges, and a few notable placements have included: MIT, Cornell, Penn State, Texas A&M, and more.
“As they thrive in academics, arts, and athletics, the aim is to make a positive impact in the lives of those around them.”
A genuine love for others permeates the culture and extends beyond the MCS campus. Students in the junior high and high school divisions are required, as part of the coursework, to complete community service hours. Some student-lead initiatives have included hosting a blood drive as well as gathering supplies for the homeless.
Maranatha is in the final stages of completing their sports complex and it will be the first in San Diego to use Hellas Construction’s 100% Organic Geo Plus Infill. That means no crumb rubber! Hellas Construction specializes in high-end field installations for high schools, universities, and professional sports teams. They are the builders of the new stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys, LA Rams/ Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and FIFA. Maranatha is thrilled to have state-of-the art fields completed by Hellas Construction.
At MCS, students from preschool through high school experience a culture of excitement for learning and a family-friendly supportive community. Campus tours are Fridays at 9 a.m. For more information visit www.MaranathaChristianSchools.org.
9050 Maranatha Dr.
San Diego, CA 92127
Open House: Elementary/Junior High: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, 6:30 – 8 p.m. High School: 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Grades: Preschool – 12, Co-Ed
Average Student/Teacher: 20:1; Preschool: 6:1
Tuition: $4,080 – $13,985
Campus Tours: Fridays, 9 a.m.
About the School: 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
Montessori Child Development Center (MCDC) equips preschool and kindergarten children to create extensive knowledge of their world through exploration and observation. The child-centered environment encourages children to be self-motivated and behave as active participants in their own learning. Students work individually or in small, self-selected groups, where they teach, collaborate, and help each other. Highly qualified teachers observe and offer direction and support while promoting independence, self-direction, and self-discipline, resulting in children who are engaged in learning and eager to advance.
Learning at MCDC extends beyond the classroom to the gifts of the natural world. Situated in a large house re-designed for school use, surrounded by trees, vegetable and flower gardens, selected farm animals, and a grassy play area, the Montessori environment gives children the opportunity to grow emotionally, socially, cognitively, and creatively.
“I believe young children thrive in an educational environment where they are treated like the unique individuals they are and are guided by teachers who love children and understand their needs,” said Marijane Schafer, Founder and Director of MCDC Poway. “I opened the school in 1978 to provide parents in our community with a quality educational alternative for their children. We have remained intentionally small so that we can maintain a close relationship with the children and their families. As ever, the staff and I are committed to giving every child an opportunity to discover and develop to their potential.”
14911 Espola Rd.
Poway, CA 92064
Open House: Call to schedule a tour
Grades: Preschool & Kindergarten
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
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.
Army & Navy Academy
At Army and Navy Academy (ANA), learning is more than academics. Boys in grades 7 through 12 are encouraged to discover their unique selves and pursue independence and leadership in all that they do. The year-round boarding school environment allows for structure, hierarchy, and order so that each boy can shine brightly as an individual while being part of a collective team.
“As young men find out where they shine and gain profound self-awareness, we witness their growth, whether it is igniting a deeper passion for learning, scoring the goal, acquiring a leadership role, forging new friendships, or applying to college,” said Major General Arthur Bartell, ANA President.
Leadership is a cornerstone of the Army and Navy Academy experience. Military programs foster camaraderie, a sense of belonging, and many opportunities for service and leadership. Though less than one percent of ANA graduates enter military service, 100 percent of Cadets continue their personal journey prepared for future leadership roles, complimented by a strong sense of independence, responsibility, and moral and ethical values.
The core curriculum at ANA is based on the University of California’s entrance requirements, and the college preparatory curriculum includes Advanced Placement and honors courses. Furthermore, ANA operates as a Gurian Model school, utilizing instructional techniques tailored specifically to how boys’ brains work, learn, and become motivated to reach their full potential.
Students are also offered exciting electives such as aviation and computer science, visual and performing arts opportunities, a robust athletics program, a variety of clubs, and supervised weekend trips. Perhaps the brightest highlight of the Academy’s activities is the privately lifeguarded beachfront along the west edge of the Carlsbad campus, where students are encouraged to take advantage of aquatic activities.
All students are taught to put ANA’s core values of honor, respect, responsibility, integrity, compassion, and gratitude into action every day. “It is our goal to ensure that Cadets find their voices and uncover their personalities before going out into the world where they will have to endure and overcome all the obstacles that life presents,” said President Bartell. “We encourage Cadets to test themselves, push beyond their comfort zones, and prove that they can be everything they aspire to be.”
Open House: Call or email to schedule a tour.
Tuition: Day $23,750; Boarding $41,500
About the School: 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.
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 92064
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.