Best Charter Schools in San Diego
June 24, 2024

Every child deserves a school with top-quality education for future success — and charter schools in San Diego are the best option!

Charter schools in San Diego have grown in popularity as the best school choice among parents looking to provide their kids with high-quality learning opportunities. Every young learner is unique, and charter schools can offer personalized curriculum paths that are also unique for your child’s academic and personal needs. Parents must consider their child’s passion and interest when choosing a school.

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One of the most tedious tasks for parents is finding the best school for their child. It takes a significant decision that requires your time and attention. To help you choose which school perfectly matches your child, we reviewed rankings for all charter schools from the 2024 Best Charter Schools in San Diego 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 provide parents and students with many options to set a strong foundation for a child’s future success. From smaller class sizes and cultural diversity to customized curriculums, they have programs and activities geared toward all types of learners. Despite the many school choices available in San Diego, this list can be a good starting point on your hunt for the best charter schools that deserve extra attention!

Top 10 San Diego Charter Schools 

Best Charter Schools in San Diego

1. Preuss School UCSD

9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093
Phone Number: (858) 534-2230

#1 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A+
Students: 839 (Grades 6-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 19:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 61%
Percent Proficient – Math: 38%

The Preuss School UC San Diego is a unique charter middle and high school for low-income scholars who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college. Located on the UC San Diego campus, nearly 100% of graduates of The Preuss School go on to higher education. Recognized as the best high school in the county by U.S. News & World Report, they empower scholars, elevate families, and transform communities.

Academic or core subjects courses have been designed to meet and exceed the University of California’s a-g pattern. Electives focus on technology, engineering, visual and performing arts, leadership development, and literacy support. The Preuss School University Prep Advisory course in Grades 6-12 concentrates on providing students with the skills to be successful college students and lifelong learners.

2. Helix Charter High School

4200 Lowell St., La Mesa, CA 91941
Phone Number: (619) 644-1940

#2 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A+
Students: 2,502 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 23:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 83%
Percent Proficient – Math: 57%

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. Being a charter school means having the flexibility to design and implement programs and curricula tailored to the school population while being held accountable to students, families, staff, and the community. Helix’s mission, vision, and values are the guiding principles for making decisions.

In a college preparatory environment, Helix Charter High School strives to close the achievement gap through effective collaboration and innovative practices. Their main purpose is to provide students with powerful learning experiences that help them gain the knowledge, skills, and insights that enable their students to make connections that transform their relationship with themselves, others, and the world. They value the diverse ideas, values, and cultures that enrich their school system.

3. Escondido Charter High School

1868 East Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92027
Phone Number: (760) 737-3154

#3 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A+
Students: 927 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 17:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 71%
Percent Proficient – Math: 46%

Escondido Charter High School is focused on preparing students for success in college. They understand that not all students will seek careers requiring a college degree, but they want to send them out into the world with all options open. They believe that a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes strong language skills develops critical thinking capabilities, and challenges students with advanced math and science coursework is the key to preparing students for success in college.

In addition, ECHS believes that students must be well-rounded for success. Their secondary focus is on character building, emphasizing the traditional values of hard work, integrity, and personal responsibility. They emphasize truth, honor, and compassion in the classrooms, field, and curricular clubs. All students are regularly provided opportunities to serve their community and build their leadership skills.

4. River Valley Charter School

9707½ Marilla Dr., Lakeside, CA 92040
Phone Number: (619) 390-2579

#4 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A+
Students: 228 (Grades 7-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 18:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 72%
Percent Proficient – Math: 62%

River Valley Charter School will motivate and prepare students to become
College-bound within a small and nurturing educational environment
that incorporates strong family and community ties. Designed to be academically rigorous, River Valley has been fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 2002. RVCS emphasizes core classes, and each student joining us in the 9th grade must take four years of mathematics, social science, science, and English.

Each high school core class has been designed as a college preparatory course and approved by the University of California to meet its A to G requirements. Their schedule is based on a college model, in which students attend each core class twice a week for 75 minutes, with the remainder of the week spent in an independent study. Classes are limited to a maximum of 18 students, so instructional methods can range from lecture format to seminar-type discussions and presentations.

5. High Tech High North County

1420 W San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos, CA 92078
Phone Number: (760) 759-2700

#5 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 418 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 21:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 77%
Percent Proficient – Math: 37%

High Tech High North County creates a safe, inclusive classroom environment where all students feel a sense of belonging, are supported with socio-emotional needs, develop strong relationships, and experience joy. All students are known well by their teachers, engage in and create meaningful work, and are challenged to develop growth mindsets as they meet high expectations beginning in kindergarten and extending through grade twelve.

HTH is particularly focused on increasing the rate at which HTH students attend and graduate from college. They seek to increase the number of socioeconomically disadvantaged and emerging bilingual students who succeed in high school and postsecondary education and in the fields of math, computer science, engineering, and related fields. They also support students in finding an opportune college match by providing dedicated college counseling staff.

The O'Farrell Charter School

6. Literacy First Charter School

799 East Washington Ave., El Cajon, CA 92020
Phone Number: (619) 579-7232

#1 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 1,972 (Grades PK, K-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 21:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 67%
Percent Proficient – Math: 54%

Literacy First Charter Schools exists to nurture the whole child from kindergarten through high school graduation by igniting a passion for comprehensive literacy and equipping their students to participate wholeheartedly in their community. Literacy First Charter Schools defines literacy as the process of being educated, cultured, and skilled in multiple disciplines.

They desire to shape literate life-long learners, independent thinkers, technologically literate citizens, and aspiring leaders who positively impact their community. Literacy First Charter Schools is a place where every student is known. They see this program as providing increased opportunities to reach these goals, as every program they operate must fulfill its overall vision, mission, and values.

7. Steele Canyon High School

12440 Campo Rd., Spring Valley, CA 91978
Phone Number: (619) 660-3550

#7 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 2,168 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 26:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 66%
Percent Proficient – Math: 33%

Steele Canyon High School, A California Charter School, was founded on the belief that all students can learn and are entitled to a rigorous and relevant curriculum in an atmosphere that promotes individual self-worth and character development. All students will be challenged and mentored to discover their passions and achieve their academic and personal goals in a complex, changing world.

​At SCHS, students will receive information and construct meaning through reading, listening, writing, and viewing skills. They use verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to exchange and process information when collaborating. A Steele Canyon student will be technologically proficient for the 21st Century, accessing, evaluating, and applying information from various electronic resources.

8. The Learning Choice Academy

4635 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92117
Phone Number: (858) 536-8388

#3 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 170 (PK, K-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 15:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 57%
Percent Proficient – Math: 42%

At The Learning Choice Academy (TLC), they believe that education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. That’s why they offer a unique and flexible K-12 public hybrid homeschool program designed to meet the individual needs of their students and their families. TLC is not just a school, it’s a community where parents, students, and teachers work together to create a personalized learning experience.

TLC’s hybrid program combines the best of both worlds. Students attend school three days a week, engage with peers, and benefit from classroom instruction. The remaining two days are spent learning at home, allowing families to engage strongly in their child’s education.

9. The O’Farrell Charter School

6130 Skyline Dr., San Diego, CA 92114
Phone Number: (619) 263-3009

#4 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 1,818 (K-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 20:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 51%
Percent Proficient – Math: 35%

The O’Farrell Charter School is a community-oriented institution that fosters high academic standards, ensures emotional and social growth, and maintains a safe and secure learning environment for all its students. Their academic and extracurricular programs draw on the sustained efforts of motivated students, a talented and well-prepared faculty, and the ongoing commitment of supportive parents or guardians- all committed to the Falcon Way.

They provide a multi-cultural, linguistically, and racially diverse learning environment in which students experience educational equity and are encouraged to celebrate their own individuality. Each year, all students are expected to have acquired the fundamental tools and skills needed to move seamlessly onto the next grade level.

10. High Tech High Media Arts

2230 Truxtun Rd., San Diego, CA 92106
Phone Number: (619) 398-8620

#10 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 389 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 18:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 67%
Percent Proficient – Math: 17%

High Tech High Media Arts is a school serving approximately 400 students in grades 9-12 at the Point Loma Village. Founded in the fall of 2005, the school implements all HTH design principles and features a focus on a college-going culture supported through a strong liberal arts and sciences foundation.

HTH strive to accommodate all students who apply for admission. However, because applications for admission exceed the number of spaces available, HTH uses a zip-code based computerized lottery to determine admission.

San Diego Charter Schools

Best Charter Schools in San Diego 

Many parents are tapping into the innovative educational system a local charter school provides in San Diego. Once you have chosen a perfect match for your child, your next move is to visit the school and make sure to know the admission and enrollment processes and policies. Take advantage of the opportunity to give your little one access to an excellent, tuition-free education by enrolling at one of the best charter schools in San Diego on the list!

San Diego 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 Diego? 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

Best Charter Schools in Los Angeles
Best Charter Schools in San Francisco
A Guide to Charter Schools in Sacramento
15 Best Charter Schools in San Jose

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