The 5 Best K-8 Private Schools in San Francisco

The Wilkerson Team

As a center for technology and innovation, there is an abundance of private schools (a.k.a. “Independent schools”) in San Francisco that offer high-level learning. Smaller class sizes, more specialized courses of study, and advanced educational techniques appeal to parents who aim to best prepare their children for admission to the best colleges in the country. Here are the five best private schools in San Francisco.

Convent and Stuart Hall

2222 Broadway, San Francisco, CA

Founded in 1887 as the first School of the Sacred Heart west of the Rockies, 30 girls enrolled that first year. They moved location as they expanded and more students enrolled. After the 1906 earthquake damaged their current building, they rented a Victorian-style building and were one of the first schools to reopen. They moved the school once again in 1939 to a donated building, the Flood Mansion.

During WWII, they allowed the enrollment of boys in lower school but soon separated them into new locations. In 1956, they purchased the adjacent Hammond House and opened it as the Stuart Hall for Boys.

Today the school operates together with Stuart Hall High School. Freshmen and sophomore classes are separated, but junior and senior classes are held co-ed. Still known as Convent and Stuart Hall, it’s independently run and remains among the top-rated private high schools in San Francisco. Famous alums include California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Town School for Boys

2750 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 

When the Damon School closed down, two parents got together to open the Town School for Boys. Established in 1939, it remains an all-boys school. It is run independently by a board of trustees comprised of parents and stakeholders. The faculty, administration, and staff design the curriculum with rigorous academic classes, and the school is well-regarded as a college preparatory institution.

In addition, the Town School for Boys strongly focuses on creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. Through their “Social Emotional Learning” curriculum, students are encouraged to get in touch with their feelings in order to understand them and be able to navigate their ways of interactions better. This emotional intelligence is an integral part of their development. Students are also taught valuable leadership skills at every level of their education. The school is known for the New Teacher Institute, an extensive and thriving teacher training program. 

Katherine Delmar Burke School

7070 California St, San Francisco, CA 

The Katherine Delmar Burke School was originally established in 1908 in Pacific Heights as Miss Burke’s School. Back then, all-girls schools were run as finishing schools to train upper-class women for marriage. In contrast, the school functioned as a preparatory school so that the students would be ready for college.  

Currently located in the Sea Cliff neighborhood, Burke’s School enrolls girls from kindergarten to eighth grade. The Lower School, from kindergarten to fourth grade, is geared to develop core competency studies and a love of learning. The Upper School, from fifth to eighth grade, receives instructions from educators with a special field of study. Students study advanced concepts at every level. In addition, their Afterschool Enrichment Programs offer a variety of activities throughout the year.

The campus is 65% open space with a state-of-the-art stage. It also features three science labs, two innovative labs, and a 5,500-square-foot library. There are separate studios for drama, music, and fine arts. Recreational facilities include a full-sized athletic field, sports courts, and a gymnasium that doubles into the auditorium.

The Hamlin School

2120 Broadway, San Francisco, CA

Established in 1896, The Hamlin School is the oldest non-sectarian all-girls day school in the Western United States and one of the oldest private elementary schools in San Francisco. From a brief time between 1971 to 1975, it hosted boarders from eighth to 12th grade, and the school became coeducational. However, when the high school closed, it went back to being an all-girls school.

The Hamlin School’s curriculum has a strong focus on STEM subjects. The Lower School, from kindergarten to fourth grade, includes classes in science, mathematics, social studies, and language arts. The Middle School, from fifth to eighth grade, expands on the core STEM studies and expands to elective courses, such as computer science, dance, and drama.

In addition to a variety of specialty studies, all students at The Hamlin Schools have to participate in at least one grade-level program every year. The programs are meant to allow the students to use what they have learned in various subjects and apply them to a single application. These programs include mini golf course design, women’s studies, and performance art production.

Cathedral School for Boys

1275 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Cathedral School for Boys is an independent Episcopal school located in San Francisco, California. Established in 1957, it is an all-boys school that provides education from kindergarten through eighth grade. The school emphasizes academic excellence, athletic achievement, and character development. 

The curriculum is designed to prepare students for high school and college, and it offers a rigorous academic program that includes core subjects such as math, science, language arts, and social studies. Additionally, students can choose from a variety of elective courses, including music, drama, art, and foreign language.

The school has a strong emphasis on character development and social-emotional learning. Through its "Leadership in Action" program, students are encouraged to develop leadership skills and participate in community service activities that help them to become responsible and compassionate members of society. Cathedral School for Boys also offers a range of sports programs, including basketball, soccer, cross country, and track and field.

San Francisco Day School

350 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 

One of the newer private schools in the city, San Francisco Day School, opened in 1981. Founded on the belief that diversity will make for a more holistic learning environment, it is an independently-run coeducational program, the first in San Francisco serving kindergarten students to eighth grade.

Their goal is to break down gender stereotypes early on by providing high-level, inclusive studies to everyone. As advocates for co-education, teachers model and promote positive relationships across all genders. Their robotics team is a prime example. Students of all genders work side by side. They are taught to solve complex issues as well as use the most innovative techniques in science, math, and coding. 

Another important area of focus at San Francisco Day School is leadership. The school’s Student Congress is set to mimic the structure of the United States government. Its goal is to instill a sense of civic engagement early on. Mix-grade and mix-gender committees work together to find ways to help serve their communities and promote positive change. It is also a proponent of the dramatic and liberal arts. The current campus has a music room, an art room, and a theater.  

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If you are moving to San Francisco and need to find out more about the private schools in the area, contact The Wilkerson Team. Providing unparalleled service to their customers, you will get personalized solutions at every stage of the home-buying process.


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