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Synergy School

Private | K-8 | 190 students

We offer a hands-on progressive approach to education honoring the whole child.

 
 

Living in San Francisco

Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $675,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,590.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
No new ratings
2013:
Based on 5 ratings
2012:
Based on 1 rating
2011:
Based on 2 ratings

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19 reviews of this school


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Posted September 17, 2013

I am both a teacher and alumni parent at Synergy School. My daughter attended Synergy in the 90's. She is now a very successful defense attorney and an extraordinarily articulate, competent and successful young woman. I firmly believe that Synergy gave her the foundation for her ability to speak up, advocate for herself (and now for her indigent clients) and to be the strong and outspoken person she is. As a teacher, I know that Synergy is providing a strong academic program, a progressive environment, freedom to make choices and a belief in social activism and change. Our student body and staff are very diverse and our community is strong and supportive. I am proud to work here and I am grateful for the education Synergy provided my daughter.


Posted September 16, 2013

I am the parent of 2 children at Synergy and we couldn't be happier there. We are 2 working parents and rely heavily on the nurturing environment provided by the school and afterschool programs. As parents, we firmly believe that "what goes in comes out" and that we are responsible for the successful development of our children. However, we also know that an enriching school environment can help our children thrive. At Synergy, the teachers and staff engage us as parents in the development of our children. The curriculum is balanced to promote a rigorous learning environment and to promote the development of good study skills. This is a great school for those who value both social and academic development.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 13, 2013

The two latest review for Synergy call for a reasonable response. They both have a point but I doubt Synergy will destroy your child's self esteem but it is not all that academically great either. Some good things happen there but there is also a lot of mediocrity. Biggest advantage is price. If you can't do Catholic School and you don't want to shell out big bucks for the other private schools this place is OK. Harsh but true. Teacher quality depends the grade but that is probably true at every school. Parents have complained for years about many things in grades 4 & 5 but nothing changes & that is true with new administrators. One of those teachers is an administrator! Middle school has been so-so. Science is the only really hands-on class in the school. Lots of projects are assigned and all must be done at home. There are heaps of handouts and mostly fill in the blank tests. Middle school math is good for kids who come into 6th grade with strong skills. If not lotsa luck. My kids have made good friends and love farm school , trips and sports. New teachers coming next year so maybe things will change in 6-8. The whole school needs to pay attention to the rough edges.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 9, 2013

My child graduated from Synergy and is now at an academically rigorous high school and he is thriving. He is the first to admit that while he had some gaps in math, the critical thinking skills he developed at Synergy helped him to overcome what shortcomings there were. I understand the math program has since undergone changes, more math instruction and smaller class sizes. As far as Spanish and music are concerned, I don't remember ever being told the goal of these programs was to enter high school at Spanish 2 or to be able to read music. On the whole, I am so grateful for the education my child received. He was given something valuable - the ability to think critically, to advocate for himself, to be able to self-reflect and have personal relationships with his teachers who cared and nurtured him. Synergy may not be for everyone but for our family it was a wonderful experience. I find the teachers there caring, professional, and dedicated. The new administrators are very responsive to parent feedback.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 21, 2013

While very happy now in high school (and vastly relieved to be away from Synergy), having graduated from Synergy with an 'A' average, sadly my child is ill prepared in any high school subject involving math and the more technical sciences. Writing is strong in terms of content and structure, but poor in terms of grammar and spelling. Nine years of Spanish will place your child in Spanish 1 for high school, as basics are not covered at Synergy. Nine years of music will not give your child the skills to join any music group in high school that involves reading music or music theory. It was acceptable that the drama teacher scream at the students and other teachers. In terms of social environment, while in hindsight the administration and teachers acknowledged serious problems within the dynamics of the female students, they did nothing to intervene or improve them. Communication was poor and they really did not wish input from parents unless it was approving. The administration as well as many teachers were extremely defensive to any criticism and reacted punitively in retaliation. I wish I had removed my child earlier, before serious damage was done to their self esteem.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 22, 2012

This is an excellent school for your child. The teacher's care. You can call them on the phone. They want you to be in the classroom. The school feels like a community. Someone on this board had an issue with Fundrasing. The bottom line is that EVERY private school will make you fund raise. Expect that it's part of every school and mandatory. We were only this this school and then moved the the suburbs. If you can afford it go for it! This is a gem of a school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 25, 2011

I am still a parent here and I have to say that I am slowly losing confidence in this school. We have been here quite a few years but I find myself less happy each year. Some of the teachers are great and some are fairly mediocre. I receive emails from the teachers with numerous spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. The teachers seem to give the more outgoing children more attention (say larger roles in plays and things of that sort) and let the shy children languish. They constantly nickle and dime the parents (if they want another two thousand dollars from us, just put it in the tuition rather than asking for it under the guise of DONATIONS or FUNDRAISING.) Obviously, if I ask friends for money for our fundraising event, they are just going to ask ME when it's time for their kids. Just tack it on to my bill and be done with it. I feel like the academics are lacking, the sports disorganized, and the arts hit or miss. At one time, they had a really good art instructer but she left several years ago. The music program is decent but the person running doesn't seem to like children particularly. The drama is poor in the lower grades, and hit or miss in the upper grades.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 19, 2011

This is our 5th year at Synergy. They have been very supportive to my family, and having before- and after-school services onsite (for an additional fee) has been a lifesaver. The diversity of families and teachers, along with the supportive, bully-free atmosphere is phenomenal and aids my child's academic development along with his socio-emotional growth. It seems that most other schools in SF, whether public or private, suffer from de facto segregation. At Synergy there are students and teachers of all ethnicities, and a plenty of LGBTQ families as well. Synergy is the only school I've discovered in the City that actually reflects the City's diversity. Be warned: as a parent you are REQUIRED to participate in many ways. This is a great policy, but challenging at times. Like many of the families, we take advantage of their generous financial aid package. Academically, my work in other elementary schools in the city has shown me that my child's curriculum thus far has been more rigorous than the classrooms I have observed. Additionally, the team taught K-3 provides the students with the extra attention kids need to learn well.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 2, 2010

Synergy has been a wonderful place for our child and our family. I always feel like I am walking into a big, warm, cozy house when I walk into the school. The academics are truly great - my child is stimulated, loves school, and is challenged. The teachers are masters of their craft - I marvel at their creativity, kindness, and cohesiveness. Choosing Synergy was one of the best decisions we have ever made.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 20, 2009

Synergy is like one big family. Its such a happy place. Usually extra activities happen outside of the normal school day, at Synergy they include everything such as music, drama and art in the normal school day.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 25, 2009

Very welcoming! My fifth grader is looking forward to a year of academic, social, and emotional growth at Synergy. We feel very fortunate that he got in.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 3, 2009

We have three children 1 high schooler, 1 middle schooler and 1 in Kindergarten. Two are currently attending Synergy. Synergy has worked with our income so we can afford it, and the kids love it.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 24, 2009

Great school with a engaged and dynamic teachers. We've had three of our kids here (two presently) and the quality of education and the strong community involvement is what makes this K-8 school terrific.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 5, 2006

A great small school with a wonderful summer program available to all. Engaged, diverse parent and teacher community with music and art integrated into their curriculum. Classes are combined and the overall student population is small so it may not be suitable for all middle school students.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 27, 2006

Some parent absolutely love this school. We went for a year and, although the staff is earnest, found it an odd combination of open-minded, left-wing, open classroom and strident and single-minded. This didn't work for our child or family. Our child needed kept being reprimanded in ways he didn't understand (for a kindergartener). They have a strict discipline code: if a child doesn't follow rules in any way, his behavior is written down and if it happens a few times, he's put on 'contract.' We found the communication between parents and staff frustrating: They would listen to your comments but be inflexible in terms of change.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 23, 2006

Synergy has been a great school for my daughter from kindergarten through eighth grade. Kids are respected, every teacher knows and looks out for every child, and big kids are buddies with younger children. It's a caring, supportive environment. Parents help in the classrooms, library, and schoolyard. Synergy is unique because the teachers run the school along with other directors who are parents and founders. They know what works in their classrooms and they do a great job. The basketball teams for grades 4-8 are fun and competitive, a real learning treat for kids who may never have played ball before. The music teacher is a gem and art is integrated throughout the curriculum with the classroom teachers as well as an art specialist. Synergy costs a bit less than comparable private schools and as a result there is quite a bit of fundraising and volunteering expected of the parents.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 7, 2005

Overall a good school. Less economic diversity every year. Synergy presents a picture of more individualized instruction than it actually provides which canbe frustrating. Good leaders in the school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 14, 2005

It's a great school. The big draw is the teacher cooperative structure which gives the teachers real ownership of the program. They are a very dedicated staff. The school has a wonderful feeling of community...of family. Parent involvement is high. The academic approach is progressive and very child-centered. Art, music, drama and spanish are included. Community service is required. I think it's a wonderful education for my child. He really enjoys school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 25, 2004

Great school. High parental involvement. Teaching a great philosophy of equality.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

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
White 45%
Asian 22%
Hispanic 17%
Black 15%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Source: NCES, 2009-2010

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Math specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Reading specialist(s)
Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
Special education coordinator
Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Spanish
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
Staff resources available to students
  • Special education coordinator

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Outdoor learning lab

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
  • Improv
  • Poetry
Clubs
  • Yearbook

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 3:00 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 7:15 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Multi-aged
  • Project-based
  • STEM
  • Teacher-run
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • None
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • None

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
  • Reading specialist(s)
  • Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
  • Special education coordinator
  • Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Art room
  • Audiovisual aids
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Playground
Partnerships with local resources and organizations

After School Care (after school program)

About the program
  • After School Care is available to all students. Structured homework time, free play, as well as classes such as art and yoga are offered.
Types of activities
  • Academic
  • Arts
Operated by
  • Ariel Leighton
Days offered
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
Start time
  • 3:00 pm
End time
  • 6:00 pm
Is enrollment limited to students who attend the school?
  • Yes
What grades can participate?
  • K-8
Is there a fee for the program?
  • Yes
Is financial aid available?
  • Yes
How can parents find out more about fees?
  • Visit website
Website

Synergy Summer (summer program)

About the program
  • Two four-week sessions offering enriching, fun, safe classes and trips around the city.
Operated by
  • Ariel Leighton
Days offered
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
Is enrollment limited to students who attend the school?
  • No
What grades can participate?
  • K-5
Is there a fee for the program?
  • Yes
Is financial aid available?
  • Yes
How can parents find out more about fees?
  • Visit website
Before / after care
  • After
Website
Phone number
  • 415-567-6177
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Soccer
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Soccer

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
  • Improv
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Eco-Team
  • Lesbian, gay, transgender club
  • POCIS
  • Student council/government
  • Yearbook
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events found for this school
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School culture

Dress Code
  • Dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Coach sports teams or extracurricular activities
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Monitor the playground
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

Submit your application by

January 10, 2014

 
 
Apply now
 

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2013-2014 school year
$16000 - $17000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Independent/Parochial
Public
Charter
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

1387 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Website: Click here
Phone: (415) 567-6177

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