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Top-rated private schools in the Bay Area

A male teacher talking to a group of students in a science room

A male teacher talking to a group of students in a science room

For families looking to move to San Francisco, finding the right private school for the children is a top priority. In the Bay Area, you’ll discover a good number of private high schools that offer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs, arts-themed courses, interdisciplinary studies, and extensive co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. Most of these educational institutions are also college preparatory schools with a small classroom setting.

The College Preparatory School

6100 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618

Ranked as one of the top private schools in the Bay Area, the College Preparatory School is an independent co-educational day school that focuses on developing students’ strengths and capacities through its excellent teachers and academic programs. The 5-acre verdant valley campus is located in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood.

At the College Preparatory School, students have more than 100-course offerings to choose from, with subjects ranging from English, History, Science, Math & Computer Science, the Arts, World Languages, and Speech & Debate. The school also sponsors a variety of extra-curricular activities such as athletics, debates, performing arts, community service and service-learning, and many more.

The College Preparatory School is the eighth-best private school in the nation, based on’s 2019 ranking.

The Harker School

500 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, CA 95129

For the past 125 years, The Harker School has provided pre-school to grade 12 students with a high-quality, well-rounded educational program. The Harker School is a world-class educational facility that is recognized as one of the top college prep schools in the nation. It offers a robust curriculum, enriching extracurricular programs and electives, and state-of-the-art facilities. has ranked The Harker School as one of the top 5 schools in America for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education.

Crystal Springs Uplands School

400 Uplands Drive, Hillsborough, CA 94010

An independent, coeducational college preparatory school, the Crystal Springs Uplands School focuses on encouraging and challenging students, building brilliant minds, and providing meaningful leadership experiences. The Crystal Springs Upland School, which boasts of a 10-acre suburban campus, offers small class sizes for students enrolled in grades 6 to 12. The school’s comprehensive curriculum consists of English, History, Language, Mathematics, Arts, and Laboratory Science classes.

Castilleja School

1310 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Known for its collaborative, hands-on global curriculum, the Castilleja School is without a doubt one of the best private independent schools in the Bay Area for girls. Students from the 6th grade to the 12th learn all about identity, building foundations, creating connections, exploring perspectives and understanding leadership.

The Castilleja School boasts of modern educational facilities, including an excellent fabrication workshop, a 1,000-square foot art gallery, and a multi-level fitness and athletics center.

The Nueva School

6565 Skyline Boulevard Hillsborough, CA 94010

At The Nueva School, the best way to learn is by doing. This is evident in the school’s globally-relevant courses, flexibly structured assignments, and dedicated community. Students have the freedom to choose from over 100 electives, along with a wide range of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

The Nueva Quest program for upper school students lets students choose a particular field of study to focus on throughout their four years of high school. The school also provides the necessary resources, such as outstanding Quest teachers, mentors, internships, and online resource

Lick-Wilmerding High School

755 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112

The Lick-Wilmerding High School is dedicated to developing the head, heart, and hands of its high school students. The school’s academic program is dynamic, challenging, and compelling, with various courses on English, History, Mathematics, Science, Performing Arts, Technical Arts, Visual Arts, and World Languages.

The McCullough Library, which was a gift from the library’s namesake, has around 7,100 square feet of space filled with books, computers, online databases, and other resources.

Head-Royce School

4315 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland, CA 94602

Established in 1887, the Head-Royce School is a nationally-recognized independent school that serves students in grades kindergarten through 12. Aside from ultramodern facilities, students are also provided with a comprehensive and encouraging liberal arts curriculum.

The Head-Royce School’s academic program for upper school students also comes with honors classes, AP classes, outdoor educational programs, and various organized clubs, including award-winning robotics and debate teams.

The excellent schools, exclusive properties and high-end restaurants in San Francisco are what makes the city such a sought-after place to live in. Ready to move to the San Francisco Bay Area? Let Nina Hatvany and Team Hatvany help you find the best homes. The team has more than 25 years of experience with helping people buy homes in the areas of Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, and the Noe Valley. Get in touch with the team today at 415.345.3022 or send an email to team(at)teamhatvany(dotted)com.

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