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San Rafael Schools

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San Rafael, California Schools

San Rafael’s public schools serve elementary and high school students from the city and its surrounding areas. The San Rafael City Schools was founded in 1861 with the first public school serving 26 students at the corner of Fourth and B Streets. Historically, San Rafael has always had innovative educational institutions. One such school was 3R School which belonged to the nonconventional school movement. The school used McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader and was featured in Time Magazine. It operated in San Rafael from 1955 to 1983.

Most of the public schools in San Rafael belong to the San Rafael City Schools district. Dixie School District operates public elementary and middle schools north of San Rafael proper: Mary Silveria Elementary, Miller Creek Middle School, Vallecito Elementary School, and Dixie Elementary School.

The San Rafael City Schools district operates two comprehensive public high schools, San Rafael High School, Terra Linda High School, and one alternative high school, Madrone.

San Rafael High School was established in 1888. The school moved to its current site in 1924 and occupies 33 acres east of downtown San Rafael. The school population is one of the most economically, ethnically and culturally diverse in Marin County.  

Terra Linda High School is located in a 29-acre space in a serene, residential area off Manual Freitas Parkway in northern San Rafael. Students at Terra Linda High School are primarily graduates of Miller Creek Middle School (part of the neighboring Dixie Elementary District), Venetia Valley K-8, and Davidson Middle School. However, as a result of the open enrollment policy in the San Rafael High School District that allows San Rafael residents to attend either of the two high schools in the District, the school also attracts students from other areas in San Rafael.

Terra Linda High has high academic standards and also ranks highly by both state and Marin County Standards for colege acceptance. 

Public schools that are not operated by the district include, Phoenix Academy. Phoenix Academy is a California Charter High School for chemically-dependent students to develop a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle, make academic progress, address emotional issues, and learn to make sound career and vocational decisions.

Elementary Schools 

There are 13 elementary schools in the San Rafael school district. They are San Rafael Elementary School, San Pedro Elementary School, Bahia Vista Elementary School, Coleman Elementary School, Venetia Valley Elementary School, Glenwood Elementary School, Laurel Dell Elementary School, Sun Valley Elementary School, Short Elementary School, Dixie Elementary School, Mary E. Silveira Elementary School, Vallecito Elementary School, and Marin County Special Education School.

Middle Schools

There are six public middle schools in San Rafael school district:  James B. Davidson Middle School, Venetia Valley Elementary School, Terra Linda High School, Miller Creek Middle School, Marin County Special Education School, and Marin County Community School.

Private Schools

San Rafael has several private elementary, middle and high schools. Some of the schools are parochial and the others lay schools. These are  St. Isabella School, Saint Raphael School, Marin Waldorf School, Saint Mark's School, Brandeis Hillel Day School, Star Academy, Dunham Academy, Montessori De Terra Linda, Timothy Murphy, Marin Academic Center / Sunny Hills Services, Mulberry Classroom, St. Isabella, Real School LLC., Marin Academy, Star Academy, and Timothy Murphy.

Higher Education

San Rafael has one university, the Dominican University, an independent university founded in 1890 by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. Dominican University offers more than 60 academic programs that reflect the diversity and interests of the faculty and students.

The city is also home to the Ali Akbar College of Music, founded by Indian musician great Ali Akbar Khan to teach Indian classical music. Ali Akbar Khan who is renowned for playing the classical Indian musical instrument, the sarod.


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Ali Akbar College Of Music 1
1554 4th St San Rafael, CA 94901
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Little Music Circle
409 Miller Creek Rd San Rafael, CA 94903
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Gruber Prep
44 Graceland Dr San Rafael, CA 94901
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Guardian Angel Driving Safety Services
526 3rd Street San Rafael, CA 94901
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