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San Diego’s largest school districts

About the Poway Unified School District

Established in 1949, the Poway Unified School District serves San Diego’s North County communities, which include Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Bernardo Heights, Carmel Mountain Ranch, 4-S Ranch, Del Sur, and Rancho Penasquitos.

Some of its schools were constructed in the mid-1970s, accommodating increasing numbers of enrollees in the succeeding decades. In the early 2000s, the school district received a much-needed boost, undergoing significant construction upgrades and renovation to expand the capacity of school buildings and campuses, as well as to add modern equipment and facilities to aid teaching and extracurricular development.

Providing quality education to approximately 35,800 students today, the Poway Unified School District is in the top 20 largest school districts in California based on enrollment.

Notable rankings and highlights

While accommodating increasing student populations in some of the fastest growing communities in the Southwest is already commendable, Poway Unified balances quantity with quality.

This school district consistently ranks high in terms of performance, with ranking it as the #2 among all 23 school districts serving the San Diego area. This ranking places Poway Unified at 24th out of the 487 school districts across all of California.

Below are a few other notable rankings that might catch your attention:

  • #4 out of 23 best school districts in San Diego for athletes (and #8 overall out of 487 school districts in California)

  • #7 out of 38 school districts with the best teachers in San Diego

  • #8 out of 38 school districts in the San Diego area in terms of safety

  • #17 out of 38 school districts in the San Diego area in terms of student diversity gives Poway Unified an A+ for its academic program, citing an impressive 95% average high school graduation rate. Based on standard state-wide tests, students from this school district rate are significantly more proficient in essential English and Math skills compared to the average student in California:

  • 74% English/Reading proficiency (state average: 50%)

  • 67% Math proficiency (state average: 39%)

Average SAT scores are recorded at 1280 out of 1600 (650 for Math, 630 for Verbal), while average ACT scores are at 29 out of 36.

According to data aggregated by, graduates of the Poway Unified system pursue college degrees in the fields of business, medical sciences (biology, psychology, and nursing), and computer science.

Top schools in the district

The Poway Unified School District has an excellent young learners program with 11 out of the 26 primary level schools getting A+ ratings from These include Deer Canyon (ranked 23rd), Creekside (26th), Los Peñasquitos (35th), and Stone Ranch Elementary (49th), which all rank within the top 50 elementary schools in California (out of a total of 5,914).

All seven of Poway Unified’s middle schools have an A rating from, with Mesa Verde (43rd) and Oak Valley (45th) making it to the top 50 California middle schools (out of 2,575).

Among the six high schools, Westview (25th) and Del Norte High (43rd) lead the pack. Both schools belong well within the 50 best public high schools out of the 1,816 such educational institutions operating in California.

Another notable Poway Unified school is the Design39Campus (D39C), a learning center for K-8 students that focuses on innovative, design-centered thinking. This school is designed to prepare San Diego’s youth for today’s modern, globally connected, and technology-driven world.

The Poway Regional Occupation Program

The district is a part of the San Diego County government’s Regional Occupation Program, which allows high school students to earn graduation requirement credits by attending career-technical education classes offered at various educational facilities. This program creates an effective bridge between students’ academic life and their actual workforce experiences. These classes run after regular school schedules, as well as in the evening.

Complete list of schools in the Poway Unified School District

Elementary schools

  • Adobe Bluffs Elementary School
  • Canyon View Elementary School
  • Chaparral Elementary School
  • Creekside Elementary School
  • Deer Canyon Elementary School
  • Del Sur Elementary School
  • Garden Road Elementary School
  • Highland Ranch Elementary School
  • Los Peñasquitos Elementary School
  • Midland Elementary School

  • Monterey Ridge Elementary School
  • Morning Creek Elementary School
  • Painted Rock Elementary School
  • Park Village Elementary School

  • Pomerado Elementary School
  • Rolling Hills Elementary School
  • Shoal Creek Elementary School
  • Stone Ranch Elementary School
  • Sundance Elementary School
  • Sunset Hills Elementary School
  • Tierra Bonita Elementary School
  • Turtleback Elementary School
  • Valley Elementary School
  • Westwood Elementary School
  • Willow Grove Elementary School
  • Middle schools

  • Bernardo Heights Middle School
  • Black Mountain Middle School
  • Meadowbrook Middle School
  • Mesa Verde Middle School
  • Oak Valley Middle School
  • Twin Peaks Middle School
  • K-8 School

  • Design39Campus
  • High schools

  • Abraxas Continuation High School
  • Del Norte High School
  • Mt. Carmel High School
  • Poway High School
  • ancho Bernardo High School
  • Westview High School

For more information about the essential community services and amenities available in Poway, contact me, Lisa Betz, Broker Associate at 858.705.8844 or email LBetz(at)BHHSCal(dotted)com today.