By Rachel Childs

Class Is in Session

Headed to MCRD San Diego and searching for the best schools near San Diego? Great news: We've done all the research for you. We'll cover the child care and youth facilities near MCRD San Diego and special early childhood programs available to you in California. Have older kids? We'll explore the best school districts in San Diego and the elementary, middle, and high schools near San Diego, CA. We'll also outline how to get your children enrolled in California schools. And if you need extra guidance, we'll tell you how to get in touch with the MCRD San Diego school liaison officer. San Diego is a great place to live and learn. Let's get started!

COVID-19 Notice

The educational facilities and programs mentioned in this article may have restrictions in place to slow the spread of COVID. For information on current COVID restrictions and recommendations in California, visit the California Department of Education's website or contact the programs directly.

California School Enrollment

California school enrollment typically requires a copy of the student's birth certificate, proof of residency, current immunization record, and previous school records. Check with the school for additional requirements.

MCRD San Diego School Liaison Program

As a military family, you have access to a special resource for learning about the school system in San Diego. The Marine Corps Community Services San Diego school liaison program has a wealth of information on San Diego school districts, local charter schools, homeschooling in California, special education resources, and tutoring programs, especially for military families. Learn more about the school liaison program and find contact information for the MCRD San Diego school liaison officers on the program's website.

The Best Schools Near San Diego

There are no DoDEA schools in San Diego. Students living in and near military housing attend schools in the San Diego Unified School District.

San Diego Unified School District

4100 Normal St. San Diego, CA 92103


: 1 (619) 725-8000 As the second largest public school district in California, San Diego Unified School District serves nearly 132,000 students. The district encompasses 225 educational facilities, which includes approximately 107 traditional elementary schools, 11 K-8 schools, 24 traditional middle schools, 28 high schools, 45 charter schools, and 13 alternative schools. Unsurprisingly, some of the best schools near San Diego can be found in this large district. According to the district's website, the district gets top scores on state and national tests. The district is a leader in the areas of academic excellence, technology, the arts, and student health. Schools in the district have special resources for military students, and several have been recognized by the California Purple Star School Designation Program. This program recognizes schools that aim to meet the "unique needs of military-connected students and their families." As the district has a large military-connected student population, schools are committed to providing the support and transition programs that are needed to ease the burden those students may face. Visit the district's website for more information on enrolling in a San Diego Unified School District school, boundary maps, school calendars, and parent resources.

Charter Schools Near MCRD San Diego

In California, charter schools are public schools of choice that are organized by teachers, parents, community leaders, or community-based organizations. They operate independently of the existing school district structure and aim to improve student learning, encourage innovative teaching methods, and provide students with additional educational opportunities. For more information on charter schools in California, including a charter school locator, visit the California Department of Education's website.

Child and Youth Services Near MCRD San Diego

The Navy Region Southwest Fleet & Family Readiness Program's website has information on child care programs at and near MCRD San Diego. Visit the website to learn more about the region's military child care facilities, youth and teen centers, the youth sports program, and much more. Military-connected families who are seeking child care can also use MilitaryChildCare.com. This DOD website helps military families find military-operated or military-approved child care programs and facilities at military installations around the world.

MCRD San Diego Child Care Options

Child Development Center

Building 638, 4025 Tripoli Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: 1 (619) 524-4430 The MCRD San Diego CDC provides care for children who are 6 weeks to 5 years old.

Child Development Homes

If you're looking for nontraditional child care, check out the Child Development Homes program. This program provides flexible hourly, part-day, full-day, and weekend child care in the homes of trained and certified providers.

Youth Centers

There are eight youth and teen centers near the San Diego military housing communities that provide youth programs for children 5-12 years old. Programs include before- and after-school care and day camps during school holidays and breaks.

California Early Childhood Programs

In California, children must be at least 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 of the school year to enter kindergarten. If a child is 5 between Sept. 1 and Dec. 2 of the school year, they can choose to be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program. Transitional kindergarten is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program. This program uses a modified curriculum to teach kindergarten skills over a two-year period. California is also aiming to make universal prekindergarten programs available for all 4-year-olds by the 2025-2026 school year. For more information on prekindergarten and transitional kindergarten programs in California, visit the California State Department of Education's website.

Class Is Dismissed!

Finding schools and child care at a new duty station is a big assignment. We hope we've helped you "study up" on the best schools near San Diego close to base and given you the tools to ace this "test." If you need more help, you can always reach out to the school liaison officer. San Diego awaits! We wish you the best of luck.

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