The 6 Best Private High Schools in San Francisco

The Wilkerson Team

San Francisco
is an iconic city that boasts numerous world-famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square, and the historic Alcatraz prison. This progressive city remains at the forefront of modern American culture, with an eco-conscious population that champions inclusivity and open-mindedness. Anchored by cutting-edge tech start-ups, San Francisco's bustling economy also houses significant technology firms and prominent financial institutions.

With its thriving economy and vibrant cultural scene, San Francisco wields considerable influence. The city's year-round pleasant climate adds to it, making it one of the world's most desirable destinations and an excellent spot for families. If your family is considering moving to San Francisco, schools are essential, and San Francisco schools are some of the best in the state.

Considering the prestigious higher learning institutions in the Bay Area, the city's dedication to quality education is not surprising. San Francisco boasts not just one or two exemplary institutions but a wealth of outstanding schools dedicated to preparing young minds and helping them achieve their aspirations. As parents, you want the best for your children, and to make your journey easier, we have compiled a list of the eight best schools in San Francisco.

The Bay School of San Francisco

35 Keyes Ave, San Francisco, CA
The Bay School is one of the premier private high schools in the Bay Area, providing students with an exceptional educational experience. With a focus on a balanced and rigorous curriculum, the school encourages critical thinking and creativity. Serving students from grades nine to 12, The Bay School embraces the motto of helping students "find their brave."

The Bay School has been renowned for its immersive educational approach since it opened in 2004. Currently, the school offers 25 courses covering a wide range of subjects such as atmospheric technology, filmmaking, indigenous history, and studies on cultural history. This emphasis on immersive learning allows students to delve deeply into their chosen fields and engage in hands-on experiences while ensuring students have a wide range of subjects to explore and develop their interests.

Situated within the sprawling 1,400-acre campus of The Presidio of San Francisco, The Bay School benefits from an awe-inspiring natural environment. As the only high school located within a national park, the campus provides a truly inspirational setting for students to thrive. 

Drew School

2901 California St, San Francisco, CA
Drew School is an independent college preparatory institution that has been welcoming students since 1908. It has a smaller campus size than many local private schools, and the modern three-story Drew School is a nurturing space for curious and dynamic minds. The school fosters six key learning outcomes: balance, communication, global perspective, intellectual engagement, creative and critical thinking, and integrity.

Drew School stands out for its unwavering dedication to student development. Although the numbers may seem modest, the school deliberately maintains a smaller enrollment to create an intimate learning environment. This intentional approach allows students to excel in every situation and receive individualized attention.

Drew School prides itself on cultivating a sense of intellectual curiosity and academic excellence, preparing students for higher education while emphasizing personal growth and character development. Through its commitment to holistic education, Drew School offers a distinctive educational experience to its students.

Lick-Wilmerding High School

755 Ocean Ave, San Francisco, CA
Lick-Wilmerding School has been serving the young minds of San Francisco since 1895, offering an engaging and rigorously challenging curriculum. The high school prides itself on providing a comprehensive preparatory education encompassing core subjects such as history, English, and math. In addition to the academic curriculum, Lick-Wilmerding School strongly emphasizes wellness and mental health.

Athletics and the arts play a prominent role at the school, with a vigorous athletic department and opportunities for engagement in visual and performing arts. Among the school's notable features is the impressive McCullough Library, which houses the Ann Maisel Cafe, a central gathering spot on campus. The library provides a space for students and faculty to connect and reflect, fostering conducive learning and intellectual growth.

With its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, holistic education, and nurturing a sense of wellness and creativity, Lick-Wilmerding School continues to offer an enriching educational experience for the youth of San Francisco.

St.Ignatius College Preparatory School

2001 37th Ave, San Francisco, CA
St. Ignatius, a Catholic institution guided by the principles of the Jesuit tradition, offers a comprehensive preparatory curriculum encompassing academic and religious disciplines. Recognized as a leading Catholic school for its approach to education, St. Ignatius has a rich history dating back to its humble beginnings as a single-room schoolhouse in 1855. Today, it serves nearly 1,500 students on an expansive campus featuring state-of-the-art classrooms and an impressive athletic complex.

Academically, St. Ignatius excels, particularly in its commitment to college preparation. Additionally, the school's Advanced Placement (AP) program ranks among the top 1% nationwide, reflecting its rigorous and comprehensive curriculum. St. Ignatius School's commitment to academic excellence and holistic development, along with its integration of religious values, has established it as a highly respected educational institution.

San Francisco University High School

3065 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco University High School, established in 1975, has succeeded by continuously adapting to the evolving needs of its families and students. The school's comprehensive curriculum encompasses various educational opportunities, offering 26 AP courses, 105 standard courses, and 84 electives, as well as foreign language options, including French, Spanish, and Latin. Alongside its college preparatory disciplines, San Francisco University High School places significant emphasis on athletics, and visual and performing arts, nurturing well-rounded students.

San Francisco University High School's commitment to academic excellence, diverse educational offerings, and holistic approach to student development has established it as a respected educational institution within the community. By providing a comprehensive and enriching learning environment, the school equips its students with the skills and knowledge needed for future success.

Urban School of San Francisco

1563 Page St, San Francisco, CA
Urban School of San Francisco offers students an experience that extends well beyond the boundaries of traditional academics. Guided by its philosophy, the school believes that a well-rounded mind, encompassing empathy, optimism, creativity, open-mindedness, and determination, can better confront the world's challenges.

The Urban School curriculum encompasses core disciplines and creative subjects, fostering a comprehensive learning experience. Students engage in world languages, environmental sustainability studies, thought-provoking multidisciplinary courses, and service-based learning. Athletics play a central role at the Urban School, with 30 teams participating in 15 sports. The school recognizes the value of physical activity and teamwork.

Through its innovative and inclusive approach to education, the Urban School of San Francisco empowers students to embrace their aspirations, think critically, and develop the qualities needed to navigate an ever-changing world.

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