Region Overview: Bay Area, North Coast, Central Coast


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Charter Schools in the Bay Area, North Coast, Central Coast California leads the way nationwide in the number of charter public schools and the students they serve. In 2016-17 school year, 11 new charter schools opened in this region.

The Bay Area, North, and Central Coast region includes: Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Trinity counties. The charter public schools here serve over 103,000 students across 286 schools and provide a diverse array of instructional opportunities from project-based learning to blended learning to Waldorf-inspired programs.

Bay Area, North Coast and Central Coast Snapshot

Encompassing 18 counties across northwestern California, the region includes San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, along with smaller urban and rural areas. After Greater Los Angeles, the combined statistical region is the second-largest in California; the fifth-largest in the United States; and the 43rd-largest urban area in the world. Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Francisco counties, the three largest counties in the region, had the fastest rate of population growth between 2010 and 2014, with over one third of the region's population increase occurring in the cities of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. In addition, the larger counties with urban job centers have significantly higher shares of foreign born residents than the smaller and more suburban counties. (source: ABAG, Association of Bay Area Governments)

The diversity of the region is mirrored by the charter school movement itself. Schools of all sizes range from independent single-sites to larger networks. The spectrum of options available provide families with a broad range of quality choices: from college preparatory curricula to programs emphasizing math, STEM, science, or the performing arts.

In San Francisco, Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island offers a second-chance to adjudicated-youth in order to help them gain a high school diploma as well as hands-on work experience that prepares them to pursue sustainable careers. Sonoma County charter schools are quickly growing, with the opening of 12 new charters in 2013. And their scale is matched by strong student performance, with charters outperforming their traditional school counterparts overall and among all subgroups.

In the Central Coast region, Big Sur Charter School is a non-classroom based school offering students and families personalized learning plans with a focus on local arts and nature education. The school actively engages parent volunteers in three locations: Big Sur, Monterey and San Luis Obispo.

For more information about any of these counties, contact Hilary Harmssen, Managing Regional Director, San Francisco Bay Area.

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Growth and Performance

Regional Authorizers

Start a Charter in Coastal Central and Northern California

As CCSA's designated School Development and Support representatives for the area, Judy Wilson and Helen Wang understand the unique charter school landscape you face and can support you with the necessary skills and resources to start a high-quality charter school. Learn more.

CCSA Families
CCSA Families educates, empowers and mobilizes parents to hold our elected leaders accountable for ensuring every child has access to a high-quality public education. We advocate for quality public school choices, fair treatment and equal resources for charter public schools, and the advancement and growth of successful charter schools. Contact CCSA Familiesfor more information.  

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