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Gate Academy

Private | K-8 | 45 students

We are best known for individualized curriculum.


Living in San Rafael

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $505,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,970.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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5 stars

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9 reviews of this school

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Posted January 2, 2011

Dunham Academy has been an absolute haven for my son. A place where he has been able to learn and grow and bloom. A place where teachers and the parent community understand that academically gifted children learn differently and develop asynchronously. My son's birthday was just a few days past the Kindergarten cut-off date and everyone told me that he was not mature enough for school and he would be better off with another year in preschool. He was an early reader and has a real love for math so another year in preschool would have been a disservice to him. We found the Dunham Academy and a whole new world opened up. In his previous school, when my son talked about the planets and ask questions about them, it was met with "There's a globe over in the library area, why don't you go look at that." Whereas at Dunham Academy, when he showed his excitement about planets, his WONDERFUL WONDERFUL teacher said "Do you want to learn about the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud that is also part of our Solar System?" This school has been a perfect fit...small class sizes, amazing teachers, and classmates/friends who understand each other. We are so lucky to have found the Dunham Academy.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 11, 2010

If your child is intensely curious and strongly individualistic, and tests in the gifted range on standardized IQ tests, this is the only school in the Bay Area for her/him! The school walks its talk about individualized education, and clustering with cognitive peers. It allows kids to move at their own pace within curriculum. The teachers "get" asychronicity -- just because an 8 year old kid is gifted in math or in language doesn't mean that they are emotionally or physically precocious as well. The year round program is amazing. It gives the kids a chance to explore deeply for 6-7 weeks, and then take a breather. The head of school understands play -- these are kids albeit with advanced minds, and they need to goof off and have fun too! This school has changed our lives - it's a place where our child is finally understood, well served, and happy.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 30, 2010

DA is challenging, but *could* work for the (gifted) child not fitting into normal schools, and that you cannot homeschool (last resort). If your only goal is letting your child heal (traumatic ostracizing) and be among peers this might work for a while, but think twice. No school is perfect, but the historical sky-high exit rates should be reason for concern. Most families leave after a few years from frustration, successfully going to homeschooling, other private or even public schools. Pros: Small (personal) High parent involvement (community) Teachers understand, respect gifted kids (some of them really terrific) Daily foreign language Beautiful setting Gifted peers Cons: Small (many limitations, patchwork, chaotic) Founders left (including founding gifted specialist) Head of school (after founders) leaving High parent involvement necessary (many cooks in kitchen) High drama Very high exit rates Academics could be stronger (very limited science, weak math program etc) Unstable financials Management
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 20, 2010

We are very pleased with the experience we have had at Dunham Academy over the past 2 years!! Our children are respected for their inquisitive nature and their ability to move through new material quickly. The school challenges (but does not "push") them academically, offering a rich curriculum that includes science, social sciences, art, music, PE and foreign language. The program promotes self-confidence and humility, and an appreciation and understanding of differences among peers. The kids have a fun and caring and supportive community at Dunham - and they are thriving in every way. We cannot say enough positive things about the school!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 30, 2010

My daughter has attended Dunham Academy for 1-1/2 years. She started as a Kindergartner. Our family is so grateful for Dunham. The teacher's are excellent, the small classroom size and year-round model make for an efficient and productive environment for their students. We have a wonderful community of parents who share common experiences in having gifted children. If your child needs specialized, gifted education, you should not hesitate in looking into Dunham as the solution to your child's education needs.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 10, 2010

Great school! Way above average! Could use better math teaching program.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 3, 2009

Exceptional program for gifted students - wonderful teaching staff, parent community and students!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 11, 2009

I feel so blessed to have found Dunham Academy after years of trying to work with public schools. Dunham Academy is a private year round K-8 school for gifted children in San Rafael. The school exists solely to serve the unique needs of gifted children. Dunham Academy understands gifted kids - that they learn differently, develop asynchronously, can be intense, highly spirited and sensitive. After my sons were tested, accepted and visited Dunham Academy for a day in October of 2008, they never wanted to go back to their old schools and just continued attending! For the first time, my children s teachers appreciate, nurture and challenge my kids. We have been at Dunham Academy for eight months now and I have been so impressed with the school, the other students as well as the wonderful parent community. My kids are happy, have great friends, and as parents we are ecstatic!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 14, 2008

I am so pleased with Dunham Academy. My son just transferred from public school in San Francisco. We have seen a huge transformation in our son. His interest in learning has come back and he is much happier in this setting in spite of the long commute. We love it! A gem for gifted children.
—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 State average
White 71% 26%
Two or more races 29% 3%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Asian or Pacific Islander 0% 11%
Black 0% 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Hispanic 0% 52%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Foreign languages spoken by school staff French
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

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Special education / special needs

Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Specific learning disabilities

Arts & music

  • Band
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Orchestra

Language learning

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

Health & athletics

School facilities
  • Access to sports fields

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Gifted / high performing
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
School Leader's name
  • Mrs. Marie Schutzendorf
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Block scheduling
  • Part-time study
  • Year-round
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
  • Nonsectarian
Fax number
  • (415) 491-0470 x1


Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Gifted / high performing
  • Independent Study
Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Specific learning disabilities
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Spanish


Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • Spanish
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Auditorium
  • Computer
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
School leaders can update this information here.



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1 St. Vincent Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
Website: Click here
Phone: (415) 491-4700


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