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Best Charter Schools in San Francisco
September 27, 2022

Help your child excel in school with a more rigorous curriculum by enrolling in one of the best charter schools in San Francisco!

In San Francisco, some, if not most, parents choose a charter school to send their kids for education. Because they are publicly funded, they provide an affordable alternative to private schools. So, just like public schools, they are not allowed to charge tuition, although some charge fees for specific programs and activities. For many families, charter schools in San Francisco are the best option!

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Finding a charter school for your child in San Francisco can be overwhelming. As parents, you always want the best school for your child to meet their unique educational needs. While most charter schools in San Francisco provide students with the benefit of smaller class sizes and diverse populations, the freedom in curriculum design based on your child’s interest is one significant factor in parents choosing a charter school. But which school offers the best choice for your child?

To identify the best school, we reviewed rankings for all charter schools from the 2022 Best Charter Schools in San Francisco list released by school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche. The rankings below have been compiled based on several factors:

  • analysis of critical data from the U.S. Department of Education
  • average SAT and ACT scores
  • college enrollment
  • culture and diversity
  • student-teacher ratio
  • parent and student surveys
  • private school ratings collected from millions of Niche users

Charter schools are created by school districts, colleges, nonprofit organizations, or other entities to specialize in specific areas such as math, science, art, music, or technology. Take this as a guide to look into the best charter schools in San Francisco to see which institution you think best fits your child’s learning.

Top 10 San Francisco Charter Schools 

The New School of San Francisco
Photo by: The New School of San Francisco

1. The New School of San Francisco

940 Filbert St., San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: (415) 401-8489

#3 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in California
Overall Grade: A+
Students: 347 (Grades K-6)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 14:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 82%
Percent Proficient – Math: 72%

As one of the best charter schools in San Francisco, learning at New School SF is “hands-on, minds-on.” Their inquiry and student-centered approach embrace each student’s curiosity and encourage learners to construct their own meaning and knowledge through hands-on experiences. The school is diverse by design, with families from all over San Francisco who intentionally practice equity in all they do.

Finally, they take a personalized approach to ensure all students thrive in school and beyond. New School San Francisco believes this approach will foster a deep love of learning while preparing students with the problem-solving and social-emotional skills needed to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century confidently.

Mission Preparatory
Photo by: Mission Preparatory

2. Mission Preparatory

1050 York St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone Number: (415) 508-9626

#1 in Niche Standout Elementary Schools in San Francisco Bay Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 439 (Grades PK, K-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 26:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 81%
Percent Proficient – Math: 75%

The Mission Preparatory School enables students to become self-motivated, competent, and lifelong learners armed with the knowledge, skills, and strength of character needed to succeed in college and become leaders in their communities. An educated person in the 21st century must possess the essential skills and knowledge required to achieve higher education and the workplace and to participate in a global society.

At Mission Prep, 160 minutes of daily literacy instruction and 90 minutes of daily math instruction comprise the core of the academic day for students in grades K-4. In grades 5-8, students receive 90 minutes of literacy instruction and 90 minutes of math instruction daily. This San Francisco charter school focuses intensively on literacy and math instruction throughout grades TK-8.

Best charter schools in San Francisco - Gateway High School
Photo by: Gateway High School

3. Gateway High School

1430 Scott St., San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone Number: (415) 749-3600

#15 in Best Charter High Schools in San Francisco Bay Area
Overall Grade: A-
Students: 519 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 19:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 57%
Percent Proficient – Math: 37%

At the heart of Gateway’s approach is the belief that all students can learn differently at high levels. Since its founding, Gateway has been committed to providing an empowering and responsive education for students of all backgrounds and learning needs. Their small class sizes, advisory system, curriculum, Learning Center, and Learning Seminar program promote personalized learning for their students.

Students learn at high levels when schools pair high expectations for all students with strategies and resources to support students as agents of their learning. In their model, difference and diversity become sources of strength. In addition to helping students best achieve their dreams, Gateway’s track record of success has significantly positioned it to impact charter schools in San Francisco.

Creative Arts Charter School
Photo by: Creative Arts Charter School

4. Creative Arts Charter School

1601 Turk St., San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone Number: (415) 749-3509

#18 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in San Francisco Bay Area
Overall Grade: A-
Students: 422 (Grades K-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 18:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 74%
Percent Proficient – Math: 65%

Creative Arts Charter School is a highly collaborative, joyful community where every child is known well and appreciated for their unique attributes. They base their teaching methods on constructivist learning theory developed on the premise that students construct their own understanding of the world by generating rules and mental models that help them make sense of experiences. To that end, every school day for every student at CACS involves opportunities to play, invent, and discover.

Creative Arts was founded on the belief that the education of the whole child includes ongoing exploration in dance, drama, music, and visual arts. As part of a universal, cross-cultural language, the arts represent innate aspects of our common humanity, providing an inherent foundation for communication and a bridge for understanding across differences of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, and culture.

Gateway Middle School
Photo by: Gateway Middle School

5. Gateway Middle School

1512 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone Number: (415) 922-1001

#916 in Best Public Middle Schools in California
Overall Grade: B+
Students: 305 (Grades 6-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 18:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 56%
Percent Proficient – Math: 32%

Gateway Middle School’s curriculum ensures students are challenged, engaged in learning, and prepared for a rigorous high school experience. All academic courses at Gateway are standards-based, incorporate Common Core State Standards, and emphasize the process of learning, commitment to community, and integrity. The values of responsibility, community, excellence and respect for others should inspire students to contribute to their communities however they can.

Gateway Middle School supports and challenges all students to discover their unique potential, actively participate in their community, and develop skills and habits to achieve excellence in high school and college. Each grade level has access to portable Mac laptop computers and desktop computers stationed in the Learning Center. They also use a portable set of iPads and Chromebooks in classrooms.

KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory
Photo by: KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory

6. KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory

1195 Hudson Ave., San Francisco, CA 94124
Phone Number: (415) 643-6951

#13 in Niche Standout High Schools in San Francisco Bay Area
Overall Grade: B
Students: 428 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 13:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 77%
Percent Proficient – Math: 47%

San Francisco College Preparatory is the first of KIPP’s high schools to open with blended learning. Together with families and communities, they create joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue their paths—college, career, and beyond—to lead fulfilling lives and build a more just world. The school begins college counseling for students starting in the 9th grade with a college readiness seminar course.

As a smaller-sized high school, KIPP San Francisco will feel like a cozy learning environment. With fewer than 100 students in your class, you’ll likely get to know most other students and your teachers well. This will give you the feeling of a small liberal arts college. They prepare all students with the academic skills, knowledge, and strength of character to succeed in college and the competitive world.

KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy
Photo by: KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy

7. KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy

1430 Scott St., 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone Number: (415) 440-4306

Overall Grade: B-
Students: 351 (Grades 5-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 22:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 44%
Percent Proficient – Math: 30%

KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy is dedicated to providing its students with the knowledge, skills, and character traits needed to succeed in top-quality high schools, colleges, and the competitive world. They strive hard to create joy-filled classrooms and know they can’t succeed without an active and explicit commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. KIPP ensures each student has the skills and confidence to pursue any path that leads to their highest aspirations.

Continuous learning is one of San Francisco Bay Academy’s core values, and they believe there is always room to learn, grow, and improve at each stage of your KIPP career. That’s why they prioritize and invest in invaluable on-the-job training and collaborative learning, transformative coaching experiences, and the highest-quality formal professional development.

Best charter schools in San Francisco - KIPP Bayview Academy
Photo by: KIPP Bayview Academy

8. KIPP Bayview Academy

1060 Key Ave., San Francisco, CA 94124
Phone Number: (415) 467-2522
Overall Grade: B-
Students: 285 (Grades 5-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 20:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 39%
Percent Proficient – Math: 33%

KIPP Bayview Academy provides all students with an outstanding education that focuses on traditional academic excellence, citizenship, the appreciation of diversity, a desire to pursue higher education, and a will to transform our communities and world for the better. KIPP teachers blend small-group instruction and technology creatively to personalize learning and keep children encouraged, engaged, and continuously learning.

Bayview Academy develops critical thinkers and change-makers with the academic foundations, social-emotional skills, and sociopolitical consciousness necessary to succeed at top-performing colleges. From student-led discussions to analyzing texts to researching and visiting local colleges, KIPP students grow by stepping out of their comfort zone and following in new situations.

San Francisco Charter School - City Arts & Tech High School
Photo by: City Arts & Tech High School

9. City Arts & Tech High School

350 Seneca Ave., San Francisco, CA 94112
Phone Number: (415) 841 8910

Overall Grade: B-
Students: 250 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 18:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 32%
Percent Proficient – Math: 12%

CAL Academy is committed to helping students succeed in school and life, as their commitment to the community goes beyond academic success. They know that high school can be a challenging time, and whatever the issue, its staff is available and willing to guide you as you navigate school, family, and life. They are a tight-knit community that finds comfort, support, and guidance in one another.

At City Arts, they make sure students understand that opportunities, incomes, and quality of life can improve dramatically for those who earn a college degree. That’s why CAL’s requirements for graduation match California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) system eligibility requirements (A-G approved).

Thomas Edison Charter Academy
Photo by: Thomas Edison Charter Academy

10. Thomas Edison Charter Academy

3531 22nd St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone Number: (415) 970-3330

Overall Grade: C+
Students: 710 (Grades K-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 21:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 43%
Percent Proficient – Math: 29%

TECA uses a blend of adopted curriculum and staff-created projects aligned to the California State Standards. All students receive culturally and linguistically responsive instruction in reading, language arts, writing, mathematics, science, history/social studies, visual arts, drama, dance, music, health, and physical education. Students identified as English language learners also receive daily integrated and designated English language development.

At TECA, they offer an inclusive approach to providing services and support to students with Individualized Learning Plans (IEPs) as teachers develop a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach to meet the needs of each and every student. Guided by their dedicated and diverse faculty and staff, students build their confidence and curiosity, critical thinking skills, and ability to solve problems creatively and collaboratively.

Best Charter Schools in San Francisco

The goal of Charter Schools is to innovate within the public school system, having a unique freedom and flexibility for students in San Francisco, which is not typically present in public school districts. They create their own policies and practices and can customize your child’s curriculum based on their interest. Every child has a specific academic path they want to pursue — and at a charter school in San Francisco, your child can follow that track.

San Francisco offers a wide variety of opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of resources for kids, or browse through our Places to Go section. Find out the latest happenings through our Events section.

Are you looking for more kid’s school resources around San Francisco? Browse through our schools and activities section, or search for more information about school kids’ topics, tips, and guides, check out our education-related blog posts.

Read Next

A Guide to Charter Schools in Sacramento
20 Best Charter Schools in Santa Clara County
15 Best Charter Schools in San Jose
Our 10 Best Homeschool for Kids in San Jose    

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