A List of Private Schools in the Santa Monica Area

A List of Private Schools in the Santa Monica Area

  • Claire O'Connor

Between the idyllic weather and stunning sunsets, there’s no question that Santa Monica is a postcard-perfect city. This quintessential Los Angeles neighborhood is most famously known for its picturesque boardwalk, walkable layout, and white sand beaches.

But Santa Monica has much more to offer than simply being a tourist destination. It’s become a popular place for families who are drawn to the community’s array of exemplary schools. After all, when it comes to living in a new city, having access to the best schools is a non-negotiable for families with children.

Served by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Santa Monica is proud to boast several award-winning public schools. It’s also home to 18 excellent private schools, which serve just over 3,500 students in Santa Monica. If you and your family are moving to Santa Monica soon, here’s an insider’s look into nine of Santa Monica’s most sought-after private schools.

Carlthorp School

Established in 1939, Calthrop School is Santa Monica’s oldest independent, coeducational day school. Its reputation is such that it’s not uncommon for parents looking at Santa Monica homes for sale to ask for this school by name. Carlthorp is a K-6 school that prides itself on providing its students with a strong academic foundation in a nurturing and diverse community. Their educational philosophy emphasizes values and habits that will help students reach their highest potential in life. Calthrop offers highly individualized attention with approximately 280 students and a student-teacher ratio of 4:1. Their unique social action and social justice-based Service Learning curriculum prepares students to develop leadership skills and use critical thinking to address social issues from a young age. When it comes to advancing to their secondary education, 97% of Calthorp graduates have been admitted to their first-choice school.

Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences


Since first opening its doors in 1971, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences has become one of the most prominent schools in the Santa Monica community. It was even featured in a Vanity Fair article highlighting the school’s celebrity clientele.

More than 1,200 students are enrolled in K-12 at this private, coeducational, college preparatory school, where 100% of students go on to attend a 4-year college. From its curriculum to its code of conduct, Crossroads seeks to prepare its students to think critically, express themselves openly, and commit themselves to lives that value community, justice, and activism.

With unique educational offerings such as “Life Skills” and “Social Justice,” Crossroads seeks to teach students about critical issues both interpersonally and out in the world. The Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute, which opened in 2018, seeks to introduce new opportunities for service while developing and supporting action with community partners.

New Roads School

New Roads School is a top-rated, coeducational, non-denominational, private college preparatory K-12 school with approximately 500 students. l. A relatively new school, New Roads opened in 1995 with an emphasis on diversity, learning by doing, and responsible engagement with one’s self and the world based on the pedagogy of Progressivism. In the school’s own words, Progressivism is “democratizing educational access, preparing students for democratic citizenship, and employing educational methods based on the science and art of education.”

Parents who are moving to Santa Monica to enroll their children here can expect small class sizes, with no more than 20 students per class. Additionally, New Roads offers a neurodiversity curriculum called the Spectrum Program, Upper School Independent Study Projects, and a vibrant assortment of creative electives and athletics. The school also boasts an active and successful college placement program, with 100% of applicants to college gaining acceptance.

Saint Anne School

With nearly 650 students enrolled, Saint Anne School has delivered a top-notch Catholic, TK-8th grade education since 1908. Saint Anne is coeducational and emphasizes socioeconomic and ethnic diversity.

This prestigious school provides a robust, individualized, and innovative academic program, utilizing a Blended Learning Model. Through this model, learning is blended between dynamic teaching, adaptive software, and instruction that is tailored to the unique needs of your child. Saint Anne also offers high-quality, enriching after-school programs, which is a great perk for busy families looking to purchase Santa Monica real estate.

St. Monica Catholic High School


St. Monica Catholic High School is a parochial, coeducational secondary school that enrolls approximately 425 students from a varied mix of faiths, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Initially founded as both elementary school and high school, St. Monica High School opened as a singular 9-12th grade facility in 1937.

The school provides a faith-based education that fosters Christian service and empowers innovative thinkers who are prepared to lead and advocate for a socially just, inclusive society. The average class at St. Monica has 24 students per class. The school also boasts visual and performing arts pathways, as well as nearly 20 athletic teams for a well-rounded program.

If having ocean views from your Santa Monica real estate is a must for your dream home, you can also rest assured that St. Monica is doing its part to help save marine life. One outstanding way that St. Monica High School serves the community is via its Mariner Ocean Research Institute (MORI) and MORI’s Marine Biology Summer Camp for students entering grades 6-9. This exceptional camp provides hands-on education and marine science geared at understanding and preserving vital interactions between marine life, their physical world, and ours.

Beth Shir Shalom

In their own words, Beth Shir Shalom is “a progressive Reform synagogue with an emphasis on music and peace.” This school’s philosophy is to meet everyone who walks through their doors with open arms, regardless of race, religion, orientation, gender, and circumstance. Their goal is to inspire children to find wonder in the world around them, explore with intention, and learn and play together.

The origins of Beth Shir Shalom stretch back over 80 years ago when a group of 14 founders gathered to discuss a plan to build a synagogue in Santa Monica. Since then, the school has fostered a thriving and inclusive Jewish community. For families moving to Santa Monica seeking a school that is guided by Judaic values, Beth Shir Shalom is an excellent option.

Additionally, the school shares the rituals and celebrates the holidays of its ancestors throughout the year. The curriculum is a hands-on, project-based learning program that’s jam-packed with opportunities for children to discover, create, build, and strengthen their Jewish faith.

Garden of Angels School

If you’re seeking a non-traditional, “wholistic” school for your young children while looking at Santa Monica real estate, make sure to visit Garden of Angels School—a pre-school and TK-5th grade private school that is redefining education.  With about 70 students enrolled, the student-to-teacher ratio ranges between 7:1 and 12:1.

Since opening in 1999, Garden of Angels has rejected the standards-based and fear-driven approach of conventional schooling, as well as the simple regurgitating of information to score A’s.

Rather than cultivating habits of falling in line and thinking like everyone else, Garden of Angels is focused on cultivating independent, free and creative thinking adults who will challenge the limits of possibility. The school encourages the natural, authentic discovery of each student’s unique learning style and highlights the important balance between EQ and IQ. The school works closely with other schools in the area and will help your child transition to another excellent institution upon completing 5th grade.

Lighthouse Christian Academy

An award-winning college preparatory high school , Lighthouse Christian Academy is private, coeducational, Christian, and is accredited by the International Christian Accrediting Association as of 2007.  With about 50 students enrolled and a student-teacher ratio of 8:1, Lighthouse was founded in 1992 and aims to develop Christian character and academic excellence.

Lighthouse offers Extended Care for parents who need to drop off their children before school starts or who would like to enroll their children in after school. In addition, this school offers various summer camp programs, including a surf camp that provides surfboards and chooses the beach location each day based on environmental variables. Your dream Santa Monica real estate may need to include a private beach so your kids can practice their surfing skills.

Santa Monica Montessori School


If you want to give your children a hands-on learning experience, then Santa Monica Montessori School is the perfect option for you.  The Montessori approach emphasizes independence and choice. It has been acclaimed by some of America’s top experts on early childhood and elementary information and is based on research regarding children’s cognitive, neurological, and emotional development.

The school was originally established in 1960 and has celebrated over 60 years of academic success. Instead of teaching students simply through passive listening, watching, and reading, the school utilizes the Montessori approach of stimulating and engaging all five senses. With approximately 50 students per class, your children will benefit from a highly individualized learning experience.

Is choosing a private school worth it?

If you’re on the fence about enrolling your children in private schools, we believe the answer is a resounding yes! For additional schools, ask your Santa Monica real estate agent for suggestions. There are plenty of benefits to attending private schools over public schools – starting with classroom sizes. Public schools are often filled to capacity, with the number of students far outnumbering the teacher. The smaller class sizes in private schools enables teachers to give each student more personalized attention. It also provides the teacher with a better understanding of how each student prefers to learn.

Another major advantage to private education is that your child will be held to higher academic standards. Traditionally, private schools are more academically rigorous than public schools and have more stringent graduation requirements.

Additionally, private schools can offer more preparation when it comes to applying for college. Research has shown that children in private schools score about 60 to 70 points higher than average on the SAT. And that’s not all – individuals from private schools are much more likely than their public school peers to attend college.

Looking for Santa Monica real estate?

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell Santa Monica real estate, experienced local luxury realtor Claire O’Connor would love to guide you through every step of the process. As someone who has lived in the area for more than 5 years, Claire is well-positioned to help you find your dream property, whether you’re seeking short-term vacation rentals or a new luxury home for sale. With years of experience in exclusive real estate and extensive knowledge of Santa Monica’s highly competitive luxury housing market, contact Claire today so she can help you find a place that truly feels like home.



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