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Best Charter Schools in San Diego
October 4, 2022

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 2022 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 certainly 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  - Elevate Elementary School
Photo by: Elevate Elementary School

1. Elevate Elementary School

2285 Murray Ridge Rd., San Diego, CA 92123
Phone Number: (858) 751-4774

#1 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in San Diego Area

Overall Grade: A+
Students: 366 (Grades K-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 20:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 87%
Percent Proficient – Math: 87%

Elevate School equips tomorrow’s global innovators by inspiring students to be excellent in academics, exceptional in leadership, and extraordinary in creativity. They believe each element is critical as students develop their abilities, learn new skills, and prepare to influence the world around them both now and in the future.

Elevate School recognizes that traditional educational models no longer work in a world marked by globalization – where knowledge is a commodity available to everybody. For students to succeed in the new global community, they need to develop 21st-century literacy. Today’s students will work at jobs that have not yet been created, using technologies that have not yet been set and solving problems that have not yet arisen.

Old Town Academy Charter School - San Diego
Photo by: Old Town Academy Charter School

2. Old Town Academy Charter School

2120 San Diego Ave., San Diego, CA 92110
Phone Number: (619) 574-6225

#4 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 249 (Grades K-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 31:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 77%
Percent Proficient – Math: 77%

Old Town Academy focuses on core knowledge, Project-Based Learning, and Digital Literacy. Their emphasis is on the process of learning and developing high-achieving independent learners, who will be prepared for success in high school, which will enable them to be college and career ready. They offer an extensive after school enrichment program, with offerings in ballet, violin, piano, karate, soccer, tennis, yoga, volleyball, STEM, chess, robotics, and more.

OTA curriculum and program are rigorous, designed to become more stringent each day, and are replete with high expectations. It is not for everyone, and students who are disinterested in or unwilling to put forth exceptional daily, and often hourly, effort are not encouraged to enroll at OTA. In addition, OTA embraces an expectation of personal and social responsibility toward oneself and each other to continue pushing its students to high academic achievement.

Best charter schools in San Diego  - School for Entrepreneurship & Technology
Photo by: School for Entrepreneurship & Technology

3. School for Entrepreneurship & Technology

3540 Aero Ct., San Diego, CA 92123
Phone Number: (858) 874-4338

#9 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 196 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 15:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 75%
Percent Proficient – Math: 35%

The School for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SET) prepares students to thrive personally and professionally in an increasingly global, technology-driven society. Through an immersive education that combines the highest academic standards and a focus on entrepreneurship and technology, SET teaches practical skills. It cultivates the emotional intelligence necessary to launch the next generation of business and social leaders.

SET inspires students to rewrite the traditional idea of success and lead a new generation of socially responsible trailblazers who will shape how we work and live. High-tech innovative classes and programs include system administration, programming, 3D graphics, cybersecurity, and robotics. Entrepreneurship is taught through marketing and leadership classes and passion talks from successful entrepreneurs and professionals.

Charter School - Magnolia Science Academy San Diego
Photo by: Magnolia Science Academy San Diego

4. Magnolia Science Academy San Diego

6525 Estrella Ave., San Diego, CA 92120
Phone Number: (619) 644-1300

#9 in Best Charter Middle Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 441 (Grades 6-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 28:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 69%
Percent Proficient – Math: 61%

The Magnolia Public Schools (MPS) academic program aims to improve student’s performance in reading, writing, and math, reduce dropout rates, achieve high student attendance rates, and increase the number of students who pursue careers in STEAM areas. Students throughout all Magnolia Science Academy’s (MSA) campuses use technology daily at school and home to work collaboratively and communicate with teachers.

Students have the freedom to choose how and what they learn. Individualized scheduling and early identification of learning styles, personalities, interests, and career plans support students’ college and career readiness. Students experience hands-on learning through robotics, computer science, and arts to promote imagination, creativity, and invention. They also participate in a variety of school activities and clubs.

Best charter schools in San Diego  - High Tech High International
Photo by: High Tech High International

5. High Tech High International

2855 Farragut Rd., San Diego, CA 92106
Phone Number: (619) 398-4900

#11 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 403 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 21:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 72%
Percent Proficient – Math: 37%

High Tech High International helps students develop global awareness through rigorous academics and relevant workplace skills in preparation for rewarding lives in the increasingly technological and interconnected world. They are guided by four connected design principles — equity, personalization, authentic work, and collaborative design, that set aspirational goals and create a foundation for understanding our approach.

HTH is committed to equal opportunity for all individuals in education. Its programs and activities shall be free from harassment, discrimination, or bullying based on sexual orientation, ethnic group identification, immigration status or citizenship, race, color, religion, mental or physical disability, and any other or any other basis protected by applicable law in employment, admission, or educational program or activities.

The O'Farrell Charter School - San Diego
Photo by: The O’Farrell Charter School

6. The O’Farrell Charter School

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

#3 in Niche Standout Middle Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 1,929 (Grades K-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 20:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 55%
Percent Proficient – Math: 43%

The O’Farrell Charter School’s 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 students are empowered to become critical learners and thinkers and responsible, contributing citizens. They aim to achieve academic excellence, build strong relationships with students and families, and develop students with exceptional character.

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

Kavod Charter School
Photo by: Kavod Charter School

7. Kavod Charter School

6991 Balboa Ave., San Diego, CA 92111
Phone Number: (858) 386-0887

#9 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 403 (Grades K-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 12:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 62%
Percent Proficient – Math: 52%

At Kavod, students value diversity, appreciate other cultures, and understand the importance of becoming global citizens. Dual language is a core component of Kavod’s program, with students learning Hebrew daily and Spanish weekly. Students actively engage in service-learning projects to become productive members of society.

Additionally, as child health and understanding of sportsmanship contribute to students becoming respectful citizens, Kavod is proud to continue offering a comprehensive Physical Education and music program. The Kavod instructional model is rigorous as Kavod has a more extended school day than many other elementary schools.

High Tech High Media Arts
Photo by: High Tech High Media Arts

8. High Tech High Media Arts

2230 Truxtun Rd., 3rd Floor, San Diego, CA 92106
Phone Number: (619) 398-8620

#13 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A
Students: 404 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 19:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 77%
Percent Proficient – Math: 42%

High Tech High Media Arts inspires its students to cultivate their inner strengths and strive for personal greatness as local and global citizens. They operate on four design principles: equity, personalization, authentic work, and collaborative design. Responding directly to the needs of students, all four directions connect to the broad mission of preparation for the adult world. Moreover, all four call for structures and practices that high schools routinely employ.

The design principles permeate every aspect of life at High Tech High: the small size of the school, the focus on social class integration, the personalization through advisory, the emphasis on integrated, project-based learning and student exhibitions, and the requirement that all students complete internships in the community, and the provision of ample planning time for teacher teams during the work day.

Museum School
Photo by: Museum School

9. Museum School

211 Maple St., San Diego, CA 92103
Phone Number: (619) 236-8712

#10 in Best Charter Elementary Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A-
Students: 222 (Grades K-8)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 20:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 62%
Percent Proficient – Math: 57%

While interaction and collaboration occur across grade levels throughout the year, instruction at the Museum School is generally divided into three tiers of learning: Kindergarten through 2nd grade, 3rd through 5th grade, and the middle school program, grades 6–8. The K-2 tier is predominantly a contained classroom model in which the students remain with their teacher throughout the day, visited by enrichment class teachers providing a consistent daily environment for our young learners.

In the 3rd–5th-grade tier, students begin to move from classroom to classroom for instruction from various teachers and instructors throughout the day. Students are in grade-level groupings for specific subjects and mixed-aged collections for other subjects throughout the day. Similarly, students in the middle school program travel from class to class in a block schedule receiving instruction from an experienced team of instructors.

High Tech High School
Photo by: High Tech High School

10. High Tech High School

2861 Womble Rd., San Diego, CA 92106
Phone Number: (619) 243-5000

#15 in Best Charter High Schools in San Diego Area
Overall Grade: A-
Students: 527 (Grades 9-12)
Student-Teacher Ratio: 33:1
Percent Proficient – Reading: 57%
Percent Proficient – Math: 22%

The High Tech High program and curriculum evolved from the work of Larry Rosenstock and colleagues in the New Urban High School Project. The focus of HTH was on inner-city high schools using school-to-work strategies, including internships and other forms of fieldwork, as leverage for whole-school change. The findings of the NUHS were summarized in guides centered on six design principles.

The school’s mission is to prepare a diverse range of students for postsecondary education, citizenship, and leadership in the high technology industry. It boasts state-of-the-art technical facilities for project-based learning, internships for all students, and close links to the high-tech workplace.

Best Charter Schools in San Diego 

Many parents are tapping into the innovative educational system provided by a local charter school 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

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Best Charter Schools in San Francisco
A Guide to Charter Schools in Sacramento
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