As the heart of the high-tech sector in the US, the greater Silicon Valley area is renowned for its education system, and most notably its tertiary institutions.
Public education in San Jose is administered by several school districts, the main one in the metropolitan area being the San Jose Unified School District.
Educational institutions in San Jose consist of public, private and international schools.
Public schools in San Jose
Public schools in San Jose generally offer a high standard of education, though parents are advised to judge each school on its individual merits. It's a good idea to visit a school in person, meet with the headteachers and request a tour of the facilities.
Attendance of public schools is determined by geographical location. Students attend the public school that falls in the school district they reside in. Parents will need to provide proof that they reside permanently within the specific school district. Choosing a home in a good school district is therefore paramount for expats moving to San Jose with children. In general, the better public schools in Silicon Valley tend to be in the more upmarket areas.
Charter schools are public schools governed by a non-profit board, including members of the local school community, and operating on a performance-based contract with the local school district. Charter schools have more flexibility in terms of their academic programmes and curricula. They tend to offer a higher standard of education than mainstream public schools. These schools are tuition-free and open to any child who wishes to attend. Competition for a place at a charter school in San Jose can be quite high. If more students are applying than there is space, there will be a lottery to determine who is admitted.
Private schools in San Jose
There are many private schools in San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley region. Many of these schools have a religious affiliation, usually Catholic. Each private school has its own admission requirements which may involve tests and personal interviews, and have more freedom to follow their own curriculum and academic programme.
There are no residential boundaries for children attending private schools in San Jose. Nevertheless, competition for places at the best private schools can be fierce and parents should start the application process as early as possible.
Tuition at private schools can be expensive. On top of basic fees, other expenses may include school uniforms, extra-curricular activities, textbooks and school excursions.
International schools in San Jose
Given the multinational makeup of San Jose, there are several international schools in the city and the wider Silicon Valley region catering to a variety of nationalities. These schools either follow the curriculum of their home country or offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.
International schools are often a good option for families living in San Jose on a short-term assignment. It should be noted that fees at international schools can be exorbitant. Parents should ensure they factor this into their contract negotiations if planning a move to San Jose for work. Space can also often be limited, so the earlier one applies the better.
Tertiary education in San Jose
There are some world-renowned tertiary institutions in the Silicon Valley region, most notably Stanford University in Palo Alto. Other notable institutions in and around San Jose include Santa Clara University and San Jose State University. There are also a number of community colleges that offer quality tertiary education.
Special-needs education in San Jose
The city's education system is well equipped to provide for students with learning and developmental disabilities. There are multiple federal laws in place in the US to ensure that children with disabilities have fair access to quality education at no cost, regardless of state.
Both public and private schools in San Jose usually have special programmes in place to support students with learning difficulties. In cases where a person’s disability is too severe for them to benefit from mainstream education, there are special education facilities that are able to offer students a special-needs programme tailored to meet their specific requirements.
Tutors in San Jose
San Jose is on the doorstep of Silicon Valley, and parents often make use of computer science, programming and IT tutors in order to give their children a leg up in the highly competitive tertiary sector. Of course, tutors are used in other subject areas too, so whether a child has fallen behind in maths class or is in need of additional support to excel in their college entrance exams, there are plenty of private tutors available in Boston.
It’s wise to start by asking the child’s school or other parents in the area for a recommendation. Alternatively, one could utilise the services of established tutoring companies. These companies offer an array of packages from subject-specific intensive programmes to one-on-one home tuition and small group sessions.
Enlisting the services of a private tutor is an excellent opportunity for students to address any gaps in their knowledge, excel at a certain subject, or simply build confidence in their new environment.
►For information on recommended neighbourhoods, read Areas and Suburbs in San Jose.
Are you an expat living in San Jose?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to San Jose. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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