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July 10th, 2018 at 2:00 pm

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Choosing a school to send your child to can be a stressful decision as a parent. The education your child receives during their formative years will make a tremendous impact on their trajectory in life and getting a top-rated education can help set them up for a path to success later in life.

But how do you find the right school for your child to attend? If you live in San Diego, there is a number of different public and private schools to choose from. When analyzing each school, there are five primary elements you will want to pay close attention to.

Those five elements are the rankings of the school, the location of the school, the size of the school, whether it is public or private, and whether or not it requires tuition.

In addition, consideration also needs to be given to where you will be living, since you will want to be in one of the well-rated school districts in San Diego if you want your child to attend a top-rated school. To help you find great schools in San Diego, we have put together a guide to public and private schools in San Diego, as well as some of the best school districts in San Diego.

Understanding the School Ratings and Rankings  

Before delving into some of the public and private schools in San Diego, it is important to understand how the various rating and ranking systems work. In this article, we will talk through three primary rating and ranking systems: the GreatSchools and U.S. News & World Report rating system for assessing public schools and the Niche rating system for assessing private schools.

The GreatSchools Rating System

The GreatSchools rating is developed to provide a high-level overview of how well a school prepares its students for success after graduation. This assessment is called the GreatSchools Summary Rating.

The GreatSchools Summary Rating is prepared by doing a calculation of five of the school’s ratings. These five ratings are the Advanced Courses Rating, Equity Rating, College Readiness Rating, Student or Academic Progress Rating, and the Test Score Rating.

The GreatSchools Summary Rating can vary based on disparities at a school, the availability of the data, and how relevant it is to school level (some areas may not apply to elementary school, for example). If there is not sufficient data to produce a reliable rating, GreatSchools will not calculate a Summary Rating.

The U.S. News Rating System

The U.S. News ratings work in a four-stepped evaluation approach. First, the school is analyzed to evaluate whether or not the students at the school performed better than they were expected to within their state.

Second, the performance of disadvantaged students is assessed to see whether or not they performed at or better than the state average for disadvantaged students. Third, schools were required to meet or exceed a benchmark rate for graduation.

The fourth and final evaluation step was only evaluated on schools passing the first three steps and was judged nationally. The fourth evaluation step analyzed college-readiness performance by looking at Advanced Placement test data. Schools with the highest values based on the total assessment were ranked from one to five hundred and were gold medal winners.

U.S. News evaluates more than twenty-eight thousand public high schools in all fifty states to compile their ratings. The schools are assessed and awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals based on their rating.

Gold rated schools are the top five hundred based on college readiness. Silver rated schools are high-performing schools based on lower college readiness. Bronze schools are high-performing based on state exam performance.

The Niche Ranking System

Niche ratings are crafted with an intent to balance practical relevance with statistical rigor. Niche ratings utilize data from the United States Department of Education to assess academic and student life data, in addition to ratings collected from Niche users, college data, and test scores.

Niche rankings are evaluated to ensure they add value and accuracy to the ranking. Then, after each factor is processed, Niche produces a standardized score for each factor at the school. This standardized score depicts the distance from average in a way that accounts for standard deviations so that the result is statistically reliable.

Once the data has all been compiled, it is then weighed by each individual factor to make sure that no one factor will unnecessarily skew the results of the ranking. Once the weights were assigned, the overall score for the school was calculated and numerical ranking and assigned grades were assigned.

It is important to note that if during the assessment of the data, it was determined that there was not enough data, a school may have been disqualified from the numerical ranking or grading process so as to avoid an inaccurate evaluation. With this understanding of the various ranking and rating systems in mind, it is now possible to examine the public and private schools in San Diego.

Public Schools in San Diego

Below are a handful of some of the most highly rated public schools in San Diego. Their ratings are broken down out based on the numerical rating system and the medal system utilized by U.S. News and the scoring system out of ten utilized by GreatSchools to provide a well-rounded analysis of their standing.

Preuss School, University of California-San Diego

The Preuss School is located on the University of California-San Diego campus and is devoted to helping low-income students prepare for college. The Preuss School was ranked fifth out of over two thousand schools in California and was given a gold medal.

The Preuss School received a ten out of ten from GreatSchools.

Canyon Crest Academy

Canyon Crest Academy is one of the six high schools in the San Dieguito Union High School District. Canyon Crest ranked seventeenth within California and was given a gold medal.

It also received ten out of ten from GreatSchools.

Westview High School

Westview High School is one of six high schools in Poway Unified School District, Westview High School ranked thirty-eighth in California and was given a gold medal.

GreatSchools rated Westview High School ten out of ten.

Del Norte High School

Del Norte High School is one of the six high schools within Poway Unified School District. Del Norte High School ranked thirty-ninth in California and received a gold medal.

It was rated ten out of ten by GreatSchools.

Private Schools in San Diego

Below are a handful of the top private k-12 and high schools in San Diego as ranked by Niche and a brief overview of each respective school.

Bishops School

Bishops School is ranked as the number one private high school by Niche. Bishops School is known for having devoted teachers and curious, driven students that foster a dedicated learning environment.

Francis Parker School

Francis Parker School is a private k-12 school in San Diego that is ranked as the number two private high school by Niche and ranked as the number six best private k-12 school in California. Francis Parker School has roughly 1200 student with an average student-teacher ratio of ten to one.

La Jolla Country Day School

La Jolla Country Day School is ranked as the number three private high school in San Diego and ranked number twelve on the list of best private k-12 schools in California. La Jolla Country Day School believes in working hard and fostering curiosity to achieve greatness.

Pacific Ridge School

Pacific Ridge School ranked number four on Niche’s list of top private high schools in San Diego. Pacific Ridge School is center around driving students to be collaborative, thoughtful, and globally-minded.

San Diego Jewish Academy

San Diego Jewish Academy ranks as the number five best private high schools accordingly to Niche. San Diego Jewish Academy is an elite, Jewish school that has k-12 students with a student-teacher ratio of fourteen to one.

School Districts in San Diego

San Diego has a number of wonderful school districts that offer residents a high-quality education for their children. Below are a few of the best school districts in San Diego according to Niche ratings.

San Dieguito Union High School District

San Dieguito Union High School District ranked as the number one best school district in the San Diego area with a total of eleven schools falling within its district and just under thirteen thousand students.

Poway Unified School District

Poway Unified School District is the number two ranked best school district in the San Diego area with thirty-eight schools and roughly thirty-five thousand students within the district.

Coronado Unified School District

Coronado Unified School District is ranked as the number three best school district in San Diego with six schools in its district and roughly three thousand students.

Spencer Valley Elementary School District

Spencer Valley Elementary School District in Santa Ysabel was ranked as the number four best school district in San Diego with three schools in its district and roughly three thousand students.

San Marcos Unified School District

San Marcos Unified School District is ranked as the number five best school district in San Diego with a total of nineteen schools and just over twenty thousand students.

Ready to enroll your children in one of these elite San Diego schools?

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