Skip to main content


A History Worth Remembering

 Originally established by City Charter in 1861, the San Rafael City Schools has for generations understood the importance of providing a safe, challenging and culturally rich learning environment that provides our students with the opportunity to realize their maximum potential and prepare for the challenges ahead.

The first public school in San Rafael was established in 1861 with 25 students at the corner of Fourth and B Street.

San Rafael's first public school was located at the corner of Fourth and B Streets, in a building that previously held a private school, The San Rafael Institute. This school on B Street remained San Rafael's only public school for 26 years and laid the foundation for the many schools that would follow. As the city's population grew, so did the number of schools. In 1850, San Rafael claimed a population of 323. By 1920, it had grown to 5,512, and the San Rafael City Schools had grown to include four elementary schools and one high school. Between 1950 and 1970, as the city's population continued to grow, a new phase of rapid building ensued. Today, the San Rafael City Schools is comprised of twelve schools that serve over 5,700 students.

In accordance with the City Charter, the San Rafael City Schools represents two separate school districts: one for elementary grades (K-8) and one for the high school level (9-12). Both Districts are governed by one five-member Board of Education and share a Superintendent. Students of the San Rafael Elementary School District are part of the San Rafael High School District.

Learn more in this .pdf file.

B Street School
Grammar School 1887
Grammer School



The modern settlement of Marin County began with an adobe hut in 1776 and proceeded at a leisurely pace for the next 100 years.


The mission in San Rafael was established.


The Marin County Census shows 60 children, and a Mission School in San Rafael.


The Marin County Public Schools were established.


The first Marin County Public School opened in Tomales.


The Second Marin County Public School opened in Novato.


The third Marin County Public School opened in Olema.


The fourth Marin County Public School opened in San Rafael when the school on B Street was converted from a private school and the first trustees were appointed to the San Rafael City Schools District.


The Old Dixie Schoolhouse was formally established as the Dixie School District.


The San Rafael City Schools' second school, Fourth Street Grammar School, established at Fourth and Shaver Streets.


The First Marin County public high school opened in one room of the B Street School.


 A separate high school structure built on E Street to accommodate secondary school students.