Top 10 School Districts in San Diego County

Wondering which San Diego school districts are the best of the best? We pulled data from the 2016 Best School Districts ranking, which provides a comprehensive assessment of K-12 school districts in San Diego County. The ranking is based on the strength of academics, quality of teachers, school resources and the quality of student life as well as parent and student reviews. Here are the top ten.Best SD School Districts

  1. Poway Unified School District (San Diego, CA):

    • Overall Score: A+ (4.1 / 5 stars – parent and student reviews)
    • Budget:
      The district has an annual budget of $324,861,000, spending an average of $9,397 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      Considered the best school district in San Diego, Poway is incredibly diverse and full of culture and its academics are the best in the city.
    • Weaknesses: 
      This district only scores a B for resources and facilities and a C+ for extracurricular activities.
    • Note for parents:
      If you’re all about academics, this may be the district for you. However, if your kids prefer debate club and soccer to math and science classes, you may want to check out some of the other schools on the list.
  2. San Dieguito Union High School District (San Diego, CA):

    • Overall Score: A+ (4.3 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $115,015,000, spending an average of $9,212 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      Recognized as the second-best school district in San Diego County, this district also ranks as 17th in the state overall. It receives A+ ratings on everything from academics to education, outcomes to extracurriculars, to health and safety.
    • Weaknesses: 
      This district brings in a B for sports and fitness and for resources and facilities.
    • Note for parents:
      If you have students in grades 7 to 12, this may be the district for you but families with younger children may be better off checking out other options.

     

  3. Coronado Unified School District (Coronado, CA):

    • Overall Score: A+ (4.1 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $31,621,000, spending an average of $10,177 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      This district has high levels of funding and solid across-the-board performance in academics, resources, education outcomes and extracurriculars. Also, an impressive 79% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading by state standards.
    • Weaknesses: 
      This district may not be as diverse as some San Diego schools.
    • Note for parents:
      One of the smaller districts in the community, this district takes care of the needs of just over 3,000 students in grades K through 12.
  4. San Marcos Unified School District (Oceanside-Escondido Township, CA):

    • Overall Score: A (3.9 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $208,012,000, spending an average of $10,881 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      Located in the Oceanside-Escondido Township, the San Marcos Unified School District ranks number four within the city. This district’s academics earn a B+, while culture and diversity receive an A+.
    • Weaknesses: 
      The resources and facility score for this district is a B-.
    • Note for parents:
      The district’s excellent central location in North San Diego County gives families looking to relocate great access to the rest of the city and the opportunity to live in one of many excellent suburban neighborhoods.
  5. Carlsbad Unified School District (Oceanside-Escondido Township, CA):

    • Overall Score: A (3.7 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $151,529,000, spending an average of $13,697 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      An A+ in educational outcomes gives parents peace of mind that their children will be well-prepared for standardized testing, which increases their likelihood for success after high school.
    • Weaknesses: 
      Extracurriculars, administration and policies come in with a B grade and facilities and resources only managed to capture a C+.
    • Note for parents:
      Located in a beautiful area with upscale homes and great beach access, Carlsbad residents and students have a safe, vibrant community to call home.
  6. Grossmont Union High School District (Jamul Township, CA):

    • Overall Score: A- (3.8 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $327,701,000, spending an average of $13,840 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      Scoring an A+ in educational outcomes and student culture and diversity, this district will help students develop into well-rounded young adults.
    • Weaknesses: 
      Though there’s no one area that’s lacking, every other area – aside from the two listed above – rank at a B or B+.
    • Note for parents:
      If you live in the eastern section of the metro area, Grossmont Union offers students a great education. It’s one of the most diverse districts in the area, and students and parents largely report positive experiences with the school.
  7. Julian Union High School District (Borrego Springs Township, CA):

    • Overall Score: A- (3.5 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $2,953,000, spending an average of $16,874 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      It’s one of the top 100 districts in the state, and it spends nearly $17,000 per student, higher than many of the districts on this list. It’s also a fifty-fifty male to female demographic split, providing a balanced learning environment.
    • Weaknesses: 
      Once again, there’s no one area that comes in low but there are a number of areas, including academics, health and safety, extracurriculars and sports and fitness that come in at a B+ or B.
    • Note for parents:
      Ranked at seventh in the metro area, Julian is a small school district. With only 152 students in grades 9 through 12, this is a place where students can get an urban education with a small town feel.
  8. Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District (Valley Center Township, CA):

    • Overall Score: A- (3.8 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $40,193,000, spending an average of $9,643 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      This district scores an A+ for diversity and also earns high rankings for sports and fitness and educational outcomes.
    • Weaknesses: 
      The biggest weakness noted is resources and facilities only earned a C+.
    • Note for parents:
      Student and parent reviews sing the praises of the safety measures in place at the school and the abundance of extracurricular activities. One student said, “There are many extracurricular opportunities in our school, including sports, after school enrichment program, and musical program.”
    • Overall Score: B+ (3.6 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $1,428,904,000, spending an average of $10,904 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      This district earns an A+ in student culture and diversity and educational outcomes and an A- in administration and policies.
    • Weaknesses: 
      This school district lacks in resources and facilities and sports and fitness, only earning a C+ for both categories.
    • Note for parents:
      One of the district’s biggest accomplishments is it’s 88% average graduation rate; coming in 5.8% higher than the national average.

     

  9. Vista Unified School District (Oceanside-Escondido Township, CA):

    • Overall Score: B+ (3.7 / 5 stars- parent and student reviews)
    • Budget: 
      The district has an annual budget of $213,315,000, spending an average of $8,288 per student.
    • Strengths: 
      Vista earns an A in educational outcomes and student and cultural diversity. It also scored an A- in health and safety.
    • Weaknesses: 
      The biggest flaws in Vista are the resources and facilities and sports and fitness – both of which only earned a C+.
    • Note for parents:
      A senior at one of the district’s high schools had positive things to say about the teachers. “Many of the teachers I have had not only performed their job of educating students quite well, but also did their best to make lessons engaging, provided additional help to struggling students and conveyed information in a variety of ways.”

Hopefully this list will help you find the perfect school district fit for your family!

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