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Gillispie School, The

Private | K-6 | 165 students


Living in San Diego

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $810,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,690.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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26 reviews of this school

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Posted June 28, 2014

Although there are many strengths to the school community the academics are largely disappointing. Our daughter attended for two years and learned less than she would have gained in our local public school. During the summer between 1st and 2nd grade I ended up teaching her reading skills that should have been taught the previous year but were largely missed.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 13, 2013

We have been sending out son to Gillispie for the past year and a half in the school's Early Childhood program. I could not be happier. The teachers have surpassed my expectations greatly, and I am astonished by the intellectual caliber of the individuals who teach my 4 year old. The teachers are sharp, fully engaged, and caring. I trust my child with them completely. Gillispie also offers a great community. Even the teachers who have never had my son know him by name, as do the administrative staff. We feel like we are part of a larger family, and that is something I would have never expected from a school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 11, 2013

It's more than another school; it's an environment, culture and extended family we feel blessed to be part of. Gillispie completely squashed my preconceived notions of private/independent schools.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 30, 2013

This school is excellent. My son attended here many years ago and is now in High School. Although I feel there is a little bit less focus on academic curriculum than other schools, they absolutely encourage the kids to do great things and get them interested in technology from a young age. There's a great culture of independence and independent learning at this school. All the teachers and faculty are excellent, and many have been there for over 15 years. They've just added a new sports field as well for additional exercise. A few tips: If you want your kids to excel in a particular sport, get them involved early-on after school. The PE program provides decent exercise, but kids may be unprepared for Middle School PE or High School level Sports. Also, buy your kid a Mac very early. The culture is very Apple-centered and your child will be incredible with technology if they are able to self-develop their skills. After attending Gillispie through 5th grade, most kids move on to Bishops with all their friends. Although you can send them somewhere else, I suggest you send them there if you can afford it. Fitting in at a public school for can be difficult.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 17, 2013

This school absolutely celebrates each child throughout their career at Gillispie. The staff is extremely talented and the director, Allison is inspiring to our community and a great role model for our children. The staff really meets the needs of each child and they can largely due to the small class size.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 30, 2013

Both of my children go to Gillispie, and I can attest that it is a truly vibrant and dynamic place to learn. Our boys are thriving. The teachers are top notch and are willing to go the distance to ensure that each child reaches his/her potential. The head of school is outstanding, and her door is always open. The BEST news regarding The Gillispie School, is that it is expanding its campus! In just a couple of short months, there will be a new grass field for the kids to play on. The major expansion is going to be amazing!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 10, 2012

My child has been a student at Gillispie for three years. She is reading, writing, singing, dancing, socializing and loving it all - everything that we had hoped for. We love the play based learning - as it has created a fun way to learn new things. The Art is fabulous. Most of all, she is one happy little kid and she loves school. She is currently in Kindergarden, and will likely stay at Gillispie for the first grade as well. The school really is too small, first graders competing for play space with 6th grade kids. Thus, the four Stars. The kids have to play on the walk way - so as a Parent at Pick Up time, you're likely to be tripped or hit with a ball, and the kids don't seem to "care"... and there's really no other place to play. that's my one complaint.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 8, 2011

The Gillispie School is a welcoming,kind, and gentle school. I have one child that graduated from the 6th grade after attending the school for 10 years, and another child still attending the school. Our Gillispie graduate is currently thriving in middle school, and entered extremely well prepared by her teachers at Gillispie. The school does a wonderful job instlling compassion and understanding of others, and the older kids are great in their interactions with the preschoolers. We love Gillispie.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 27, 2011

We have been at the school for six years and what is most amazing about the school is the partnership between the parents and the teachers in educating our children. The teachers are never too busy to respond immediately to an e-mail, take a phone call or meet in person. They are dedicated to making our children's educational experience the best it can be while at the same time helping them to grown socially and emotionally and become good citizens and good community members. It is truly the ideal elementary school experience.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 19, 2011

My daughter has just begun her 10th year at The Gillispie School. She started out a few days a week in the preschool program and is now in 5th grade. She is receiving an excellent, well rounded education. The school offers a top notch technology, art, music and science program. A few years ago the school received an amazing $4.5 million gift to establish The Gillispie Endowment for Excellence in Teaching. This endowment is used to recruit, retain and further educate the teaching staff. The teachers have had the opportunity to attend a variety of top education conferences throughout the world and pass that knowledge onto the students. Thanks to the endowment and strong administrative leadership Gillispie has a excellent, motivated and appreciated teaching staff.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 17, 2011

This school is really something special. We are now beginning our 6th year at the school, with both my children beginning in the preschool program. The sense of community between teachers, children and parents is truly amazing. The way the older children recognize and greet younger children and help them along the way, instills such a sense of confidence in the child from the beginning of their school years. The academics are impressive, and the specialty teachers and small group work available to the kids provides us with a really unique environment. We love it!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 1, 2011

Our family felt welcome from the first day we arrived at Gillispie. Within days, it seemed that all the teachers and staff at the school knew their names. This makes the kids feel special and they have thrived as a result of being in such a nuturing environment. Gillispie does a great job of academically challenging the kids, but not in ways that undermines their joy of learning or frustrates them. I'm so glad that we found this school!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 20, 2011

Our two kids have gone here since preschool, when they were both 2 years old. We are now on our 7th year. It's the perfect education for our kids--bullet proof academics, mixed with PE and other athletic games/challenges, all forms or art (music, traditional drawing/painting, sculpture, theatre), public speaking in class from the time they can talk, technology--there is nothing missing! Each early class has two full time credentialed teachers, and then about 5-6 specialty teachers rotate in each week for hard core science, reading support, PE, art, music, etc...About 7-8 teachers impact our kids each week, and it's not just a "generalist" trying to be master at everything. There is also strong cultural diversity of the kids and families, which we like. The families are friendly and grounded, and there is a true "Gillispie Community" that isn't just some sales job.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 28, 2011

The Gillisipie School nurtures young people who love learning. The teachers are supportive and kind. They develop academic and citizenship skills. The head of school has an open door policy. And the families are a community. The small class size and excellent teachers enable students to be individuals; and known for who they are as individuals. I am confident each of my three children will grow into the best each can be at this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 5, 2011

Gillispie is a great school for PS - 6th grade! They have an Early Childhood area for kids in PS-PK and an upper campus for the elementary school (K-6). In both, there is a very low student to teacher ratio that allows the teachers to really focus on making learning fun. As a result, the kids are excited to go school and are passionate about learning. Gillispie has a large endowment dedicated to excellence in teaching. This means they have the money to ensure that their teachers are at the top of their game (which, if you know anything about education, the #1 correlation to your kids getting a good education is the effectiveness of their teacher). That said, it's the academic excellence that attracts you, but it's the warm, loving, nuturing community that keeps you there - for students and parents alike. The older kids work with (and look out for) the younger ones doing things like "book buddy" programs. There is a lot of opportunity for parent involvement that creates a very cohesive parent community. There are a lot of good schools in La Jolla, but Gillispie is amazing!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 5, 2011

Great school! The teachers are great, the class size is small and the kids learn to be true "out of the box" thinkers.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 11, 2010

As an alumna, I cannot remember too many fond memories that Gillispie fostered. Many of the teachers, while outwardly caring towards parents, were controlling to students, especially in the upper grades. The lack of space only exacerbated the problem, for there were 6th graders competing for space with toddlers. While I attended, Gillispie still hadn't made its transformation into the 'new Gillispie', complete with a mascot and fundraising 24/7. Now, they have asked me for money every year after my graduation, even in 7th grade. I was very disappointed to go to Gillispie; the money was not worth the sub-par education and upbringing I received there. I only was able to excel academically due to attending a Montessori school before, and to get ahead.

Posted August 17, 2010

We absolutely love the the academic environment at Gillispie. The teachers challenge the students to become independent thinkers and truly take the time to get to know each student's strengths and weakness. They strive to teach strong socialization skills in the early preschool years while preparing them for the upper school. There is always two teachers per classroom and they keep class size low. They have a well rounded curriculum which includes science, Art, Music, Sustainability, Technology and Spanish. A graduate of Gillispie is VERY prepared to face the academic challenges in the Top Middle and High Private schools in the County as well as the top Public schools.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 15, 2010

Gillispie is a loving caring enviornment, I will give it that. Its toddler program is fantastic but that's it. Despite what the website leads you to believe, it is total play based learning. They do not bother to teach the children (pre-K and lower) their lower case letters, how letters sound how to write or higher #'s. And for the amount of money you pay to go here you think your children will be getting a quality education. Instead you end up with tons of quality art and kids that are way behind their peers from others schools. The school also puts a huge emphasis on fundraising and collecting money from parents for all sorts of functions. We get hit up for something every six weeks! If you are looking for a quality education with a Principal that cares more about just the bottom line, this is not the school for
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 3, 2008

Gillispie is a great school, especially for younger children. It does become a bit small by the time your kids are in 3rd grade because there is little outdoor play area and not a lot of variety in the types of children there. That being said, it is a loving, warm and academically strong place to enroll your kids.
—Submitted by a parent

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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 70% 26%
Two or more races 15% 3%
Hispanic 10% 52%
Asian or Pacific Islander 4% 11%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Black 0% 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
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School basics

Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
School Leader's name
  • Ms. Alison Fleming
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Phone
  • Coed
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
  • Nonsectarian
  • NAIS
Fax number
  • (858) 459-3834


Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish


Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Dress code
Parent involvement
  • The school values involvement by parents and grandparents. the school aspires to develop caring, responsible, citizens who will contribute intelligence, innovation, and social awareness to society. respect for self, others, and property is taught and modeled. students are encouraged to take risks, learn through experimentation, think critically, and make sound decisions.
More from this school
  • The school offers an intimate environment where the quality of instruction and the interaction between students and teachers are of primary importance. The teachers encourage students to excel academically,creatively, physically,and socially. The school provides the effective leadership of its administrators and the devoted teaching and guidance of its faculty and staff.
School leaders can update this information here.



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What does it cost?

Financial aid offered

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
The Bishop's School
La Jolla Country Day
Muirland Middle School
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7380 Girard Avenue
San Diego, CA 92037
Website: Click here
Phone: (858) 459-3773


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