Navigating the wide range of public school options in San Diego County can be complicated and intimidating.

Are you interested in magnet or charter schools? Want to see how your child’s neighborhood school is doing? Confused about the process for applying to free, taxpayer-funded public schools?

Voice of San Diego’s third edition of A Parent’s Guide to Public Schools can help. This year, we added a new data set: each school’s average years of teacher experience, which is one of many ways to evaluate how stable a school is and how attractive it is to educators. The magazine is full of step-by-step information to help you navigate all the decisions parents face when trying to find the best education for their children. And it provides important data for each school in the county. You can see if a particular school has a free, subsidized after-school program, how many combined years of experience teachers there have and how students are performing academically.

You can see all the schools and the data on our special online map. There, you can filter for certain types of schools like “charter schools that are dual language” or search only for schools with International Baccalaureate programs.

San Diego public schools map
Find schools: Click to view our interactive map and filter for special distinctions, charter schools, dual-language opportunities and more.

We launched this guide three years ago to empower and assist parents in their searches to find a school that best fits their child’s needs. Not only does it provide the information parents need to choose a school, it provides data they can use to help hold district officials accountable. If a certain school is performing poorly across a wide range of metrics, our guide gives parents the backup they need to ask school leaders why.

There isn’t just one way to define a high-quality school. In this year’s guide, we asked experts and community members what they look for in a high-quality school. They all gave different answers. One encouraged families to look beyond test scores to a school’s diversity. Another said to look for high levels of parent engagement, and a third counseled parents to seek out International Baccalaureate programs.

Ultimately, parents all have to decide for themselves what are the most important qualities to look for in a school. We’ve tried to give you all the data we can to help you make that decision. You’ll see test scores, graduation rates, special programs, years of teaching experience and a whole host of other data that will help you understand the quality of each school.

We created this guide because we know not every parent has enough time to visit each school. But if you find a school in our guide that you think might be a fit, consider a visit. It’s the best way to ensure that a school has an atmosphere that is right for your child.

Will Huntsberry is a senior investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego. He can be reached by email or phone at

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