District Information

The Pacifica School District is nestled in Pacifica, California, on one of the most beautiful stretches of the California coastline. The District is guided by our Strategic Plan, developed cooperatively with the Board of Trustees and the administration, teachers, parents, and other community members. Our "one District, two paths"  educational system provides a range of educational experiences, all of them  standards-based, rigorous, and focused on ensuring that our students leave our district with a solid foundation for success in higher education and throughout life. In addition to the rigorous academic program at each site, the District supports a Home School Program for families who wish to home school.

Our two educational paths are: Single School (K-8) and Dual School (K-5 + Middle School). The main difference between the paths is the school environment in grades 6-8. All education is based on the California curriculum standards and is taught by credentialed, professional teachers who are supported by continuing education. Both paths offer enrichment that includes music, visual arts, performing arts, and physical education. All 6th-8th grade students have access to an Instrumental Music Program supported by the Pacifica Education Foundation. The single school path provides class continuity from kindergarten to high school. The dual school path provides middle grade experience geared to easing the transition to high school and beyond. The path that works for any individual child is a personal decision. The District is happy to assist by offering information and guidance about each choice.

Within each path is an excellent set of schools, each with a slightly different focus. The following descriptions allow families to develop an understanding of our District and the distinct "flavor" of each school.

The placement of the transitional kindergarten class (two-year kindergarten) will be Ortega and Sunset Ridge.


Ortega Elementary School Principal: Marc Lorenzen
1283 Terra Nova Blvd. (650) 738-6670  

Ortega Elementary School offers a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum with emphasis on literacy and mathematics. Teachers provide targeted services to ensure reading and mathematics achievement, utilizing research-supported teaching strategies in reading, writing and mathematics. In addition, the school places great emphasis on the visual and performing arts.   Importantly, the Ortega Elementary School community actively participates and supports school programs. Our combination of teaching strength, enrichment programs, and family participation works for all!

Sunset Ridge Elementary School Principal: Eleanor Cundiff
340 Inverness Drive (650) 738-6687  

Sunset Ridge has a strong curriculum with an emphasis on literacy/language arts and mathematics. Literacy is the foundation for learning and is therefore the key program focus at Sunset Ridge. Technology enhances the curriculum. Sunset Ridge hosts several community programs such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Fencing, Drama, Dance, Basketball, and Raising A Reader training. Hosting programs like these helps position the school as a pillar of the community.

Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School (6-8) Principal: Daniel Lyttle
1427 Palmetto Ave.  (650) 738-6665  

Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School is focused on the needs of 11-14 year-olds, supporting and encouraging the growth from childhood to young adult. A rigorous curriculum, taught by credentialed specialist teachers, is enriched through partnerships with the San Mateo County Public Library System, Boys and Girls Club, full sports program, and numerous specialized programs, such as the applied technology laboratory, visual arts, instrumental music, and study trips, all focused on providing a well-rounded educational foundation and an easy transition to high school.


Cabrillo Elementary School (K-8) Principal: Thomas Stafford
601 Crespi Drive  (650) 738-6660  

Cabrillo School emphasizes the visual and performing arts; and substantial parental involvement. The principal, staff, and parents are committed to providing instruction for every child that includes music, art, and drama. Teachers present a rigorous academic curriculum, while many classes in the arts are parent-taught and teacher-assisted. Cabrillo was recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2008 due to teacher and parent collaboration and the high standards set for students.

Ocean Shore Elementary School (K-8) Principal: Karen Gnusti
411 Oceana Blvd.  (650) 738-6650  

Ocean Shore School is a parent-participation program that strongly encourages parents to be involved in all aspects of the school community. Experienced, credentialed teachers incorporate parental support to teach and enrich the educational curriculum. Together, parents and teachers provide instruction that maximizes student potential in small groups, with hands-on activities, frequent field trips, project learning, and the arts.

Vallemar Elementary School (K-8) Principal: Monica Lobao
377 Reina del Mar Ave.  (650) 738-6655  

Vallemar School offers an elementary program focused on the basics. The distinguishing characteristics of this school are a strong emphasis on academics and citizenship, teacher-directed instruction, and frequent reporting to parents. Music, art, technology, and other enrichments are included in the curriculum. The school's parent community is very active, providing a family atmosphere at the school.

The Educational Experience of Each Path

Grades K-5

The educational experience of each path is very similar through 5th grade. The students are grouped into classes, and each class is taught, most of the time, by its primary teacher. As in all of PSD, the curriculum is standards-based and rigorous, taught by wonderful, experienced teachers, and enriched with arts, music, and physical education.

Grades 6-8

In the single school path students remain together through 8th grade.  Students are blocked into core subject areas.  All students experience elective classes.  Older and younger students interact for mentoring.

In the dual school path students move to Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School at 6th grade. A student's day is structured into blocks of time with several classes daily; each taught by teachers specialized in each subject. In addition, elective classes are offered at Ingrid B. Lacy which include instrumental music and arts.


Community Partners