Enrollment by Race and Ethnicity
The Private School Universe Survey (PSS), conducted every 2 years by the US Department of Education, asks schools for information on enrollment by race and grade. The table below shows the trends in enrollment by race/ethnicity for schools with over 50 students.
Private School Enrollment by Race and Ethnicity, 2015-16
|White||Asian||Latino||African American||Two or
|SF SCHOOL*||website 2015-16||49%||51% students of color|
|SF FRIENDS||website 2015-16||50%||50% students of color|
|CHILDREN'S DAY*||website 2015-16||51%||49% students of color|
|SYNERGY||website 2015-16||53%||47% students of color|
|PRESIDIO HILL*||website 2015-16||54%||9%||8%||3%||21%|
|LIVE OAK||website 2015-16||57%||43% students of color|
|HAMLIN||website 2015-16||60%||40% families of color|
|CATHEDRAL||website 2015-16||62%||38% students of color|
|SF DAY||website 2015-16||65%||35% students of color|
|ADDA CLEVENGER||website 2015-16||info on race/ethnicity not given|
|BURKE||website 2015-16||70%||30% students of color|
|TOWN||website 2015-16||info not given**|
|KITTREDGE||website 2015-16||info not given|
|MARIN PREP***||website 2015-16||not given|
|Recruiting brochure for Head of School
|90%||10% students of color|
|BRANDEIS-HILLEL||website 2015-16||not given|
* The Private School Universe Survey (PSS) does not include preschool/transitional kindergarten enrollment. Schools with preschool/TKs may include those students in race/ethnicity percentages on their websites. (ie SF School, Presidio Hill, Children's Day).
** Town reports 36% from "diverse families," not broken out by race, LGBT or family structure.
*** Marin Prep, which did not participate in PSS, was included after finding data elsewhere online.
**** Alta Vista did not provide information on student race/ethnicity to PSS.
Some notes on the table above:
The higher the percentage of white students, the less information schools tend to give about their racial/ethnic enrollment.There are exceptions, but a rule of thumb is that if a school doesn't provide info about racial/ethnic enrollment on their website, it's probably over 70% white.
Trends over time matter.
Since most incoming students are kindergarteners, shifts in the overall racial/ethnic composition of a school are concentrated in the lower grades. For example, both SF School and SF Friends School are about 50% white overall, but the trends over time are in opposite directions, suggesting significant differences in the racial/ethnic composition of their kindergarten and 1st grades.
San Francisco Day School's enrollment went to 35% students of color this year, after being stable at 40% students of color since at least 2012. Five percent is a large change for a K-8 since kindergarten is only 11% of total enrollment. This suggests kindergarten enrollment that was almost all white for 2015-16 and/or higher attrition for students of color in upper grades last year. Another possibility is a change in reporting/definition of student of color.
Students of color does not equal parents of color.A significant proportion of Asian, Latino and African-American children at the more expensive private schools are adopted or multiracial. Parents of color looking for a community of other parents of color, take note. At one popular school 3 years ago, of 3 Asian kindergarteners, two were adopted and the other was biracial. Does this mean there was only 1 Asian parent for the entire kindergarten class? On the other hand, this can be a big draw for multiracial and adoptive families.
Staff of color does not equal teachers of color.Many school websites give the percentage of staff of color. This may not reflect who interacts with students on a regular basis. For example, it may include the development director, janitor, IT, or (gasp!) the admissions director. Some schools try to have at least one teacher of color in each grade. Others aim for equal numbers of male and female teachers, or Spanish-speaking teachers. If this is important to you, browsing school faculty directories can be useful.
The data is self-reported by schools, so take it with a grain of salt. For example, Chinese American International School (CAIS) reported that they had exactly 50 students per grade for K-8, and no biracial/multiracial students (none!) on the PSS survey.
Enrollment by Grade
California requires private schools to submit information on enrollment by grade, staffing and religious affiliation. The California Department of Education compiles the information every year into the California Private School Directory.
Private School Enrollment by Grade, 2014-15
|Chinese American (CAIS)||61||63||54||56||54||45||41||40||36||-||450|
|French American (K-12)||77||76||73||72||70||67||65||66||63||-||629|
|Russian American Int'l/
SF Pacific Academy
|SF Waldorf (K-12)||67||29||23||21||30||28||30||29||23||-||280|
Declining enrollment going from K to 8 in language immersion schools (CAIS, FAIS).It's harder for language immersion schools to fill spots in the upper grades because new students at the school must be at grade level in both English and the immersion language. This can lead to a stituation where middle school enrollments can become smaller instead of larger, at an age when many students are developmentally ready for a bigger pond. In the past, CAIS has accepted SFUSD Mandarin immersion K-5 "grads" to their middle school.
Still working on SFUSD enrollment data...