School for Independent Learners

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With a focus on mastery outcomes, School for Independent Learners (SIL) individualizes curriculum, instruction, and assessment—along with student support programs—in order to help each student become a self-aware individual, invested community member, and life-long learner.


SIL is a progressive, independent, college-preparatory school for students grades 8-12.  SIL serves families throughout Silicon Valley, primarily those in the Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco counties.

The school’s founders, Dr. Herman Ohme and Mrs. Jean Ohme, first established SIL as a tutoring center in the early 1980s. Before the center’s founding, Dr. Ohme was a teacher and principal in California public K-12 schools from the 1950s through the 1970s. During his tenure, he witnessed the current education system do more harm than good. Schools punished students for learning differently from their peers, rather than working with them to find a method that worked. They expelled and failed students with no second chances. After decades of battling the status quo, Dr. Ohme and Mrs. Ohme decided to build a school that, in Dr. Ohme’s words, “Does no harm”, and where “one size does not fit all.”

The tutoring center began offering classes for high school credit in 2001, and shortly after began accepting full-time students. In 2005, SIL earned its accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and is currently accredited through 2023.

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