San Diego County has 42 independent school districts that provide educational programs for elementary and secondary school children. Each school district is governed by a locally elected board of education. School district and city boundaries are not necessarily contiguous, and not all school districts are close to Navy installations.
The San Diego County Office of Education is at 6401 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, CA 92111. Its website, www.sdcoe.net, provides an overview of services and resources for the 42 independent school districts. Contacting an individual school district is the best way to learn about school calendars, facilities, curriculum, graduation requirements, extracurricular activities and other concerns that differ from district to district.
In San Diego County, academic instruction provided to students in grades preschool through 12th varies district to district. A unified school district provides academic instruction to students in grades preschool through 12th. Other school districts will offer academic instruction to students enrolled strictly in a particular grade level, such as an elementary, middle or high school. In some cases the academic instruction provided by the district will be a combination of grade levels, such as an elementary/middle school or a middle/high school. All school districts offer basic education programs, as well as special programs and services.
Additionally, some public school districts offer alternative school options such as magnet schools, charter schools, virtual schools or even home schooling to parents who might not believe their neighborhood school is a proper fit for their children. It is important to note that not all school districts in the San Diego County have all of these options. Private schools do not fall within the policies and procedures of a public school district and often require tuition fees. General descriptions regarding these school options are listed in the following paragraphs.
- Magnet schools serve as a public school choice and offer unique opportunities for in-depth studies in specific areas of study while meeting rigorous California state curriculum standards.
- Charter schools are public schools that are created when a group of parents, teachers and community leaders petition a local school board or county board of education for a charter to open an independent school in their community. To find out more information about charter schools, here is a list of helpful links: www.charterschoolcenter.org provides information about charter schools in general, along with information about laws and additional resources for parents; www.sdcoe.net/business-services/financial-services/Pages/charter-schools-san-diego-county.aspx provides a listing of all the charter schools in San Diego County.
- Private schools offer many types of programs and activities that public schools may not. They may be religious or secular and use various methods of instruction. Search online for private schools that are members of the California Association of Independent Schools at www.caisca.org.
- Home schooling laws differ from state to state. It is recommended that parents review the laws in the state of California to be fully aware of the requirements for home schooling. The correct home schooling curriculum and support groups can help provide the best, most enriching home schooling experience for your child. The following websites provide more information regarding home schooling: the Home School Legal Defense Association has information about state laws as well as other important resources. Find out more at www.hslda.org. If you are new to home schooling or are just looking for more resources and curriculum ideas, the home schooling website can help: www.homeschool.com.
Online schools are becoming more popular as family schedules become tighter. Online schools are a great way for you to offer your child the best of public school curriculum and combine it with the intensity of home schooling. Most online programs are no cost and are generally organized as charter schools. This is an option that many military families prefer as the programs are more flexible than traditional schooling options.