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Blog: Blog2
  • Writer's pictureLisa Kroese

Choosing a School in Pasadena

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

The first thing to know is that if you are moving here or starting a family, Pasadena offers a lot of choices. More than most places! Pasadena has 23 public schools and also offers more private schools per capita than anywhere else in the country.

Pasadena private tuition expenses are over $21,000 per year on average, which is even higher than the average private school cost in other parts of California. Over 30% of all K-12 students here are enrolled in private schools compared to the state average of 10% (according to Why are there so many private schools in Pasadena? To put it bluntly, during the 1960s and 70s, private school enrollment exploded here as white families abandoned public schools to avoid integration.

If you are thinking about relocating to Pasadena, please check out the PDF below outlining PUSD's diverse program offerings. My advice to new families is to take a look at all options, then tour the schools that you might like the most. Meet parents who have children attending and ask questions about their experiences.

Ask yourself what you value most as a parent? If that answer is test scores, some public schools here might look flawed. In CA, private schools are considered a business with no oversight of operation. There is not state required testing accountability at all. State teaching credentials are not even required at private schools. For more information see CalEd Facts on Private Schools here. Pasadena's top 5 public schools which rank from 8/10-10/10 at are:
  1. Field Elementary

  2. Hamilton Elementary

  3. San Rafael Elementary

  4. Webster Elementary

  5. Don Benito Elementary

When we relocated to Pasadena, I opted to send my kids to Don Benito, a PUSD school in Hastings Ranch. I liked the diverse student body, the experienced teachers, and that the school offered a librarian, music, and chorale teacher. Schools in the area also offer art, language, math, and STEM programs. There seems to be something for everyone.

I was worried about making our move to Pasadena - what if I didn’t like the neighborhood or school once we relocated? We rented a home for slightly more than a year to make sure it was the right fit, and then we were able to buy in the neighborhood near the school we selected. PUSD’s open enrollment process helps families place into a school that is right for them even when they do not live within the official boundaries.

Please check out the PDF below and let me know if you have any questions I can answer about PUSD schools. I am a supporter of the Pasadena Education Network which also offers resources to help you find the right school for your family.

Download PDF • 8.82MB

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