K-12 schools

Kids come first at Chico schools

THE RIGHT STUFF These kids at Sierra View School prepare to enjoy a healthful snack.

THE RIGHT STUFF These kids at Sierra View School prepare to enjoy a healthful snack.

Photo by Tom Angel

Chico is a growing city, and that means lots of kids around town. Choosing where to send your children to school can be an important decision, and public and private Chico schools offer a variety of different experiences. Chico always makes education a priority, from kindergarten to high school and beyond. Dedicated teachers and quality programs compensate for a tightening budget, making sure that Chico kids always come first.

Public schools

Chico Unified School District
The CUSD includes 14 elementary schools, three junior highs and three high schools (including a continuation school). While the budget is tight, and elementary enrollment is down, the CUSD still offers a high-quality education. About 13,150 students are in the CUSD, and the district has a policy of letting parents send their students to the schools of their choice, as long as there’s room. Several campuses have special programs, like Spanish-English immersion, open structure and Academics Plus. Test scores and other state measures of achievement are kept at the district offices at 1163 E. Seventh St. (891-3000) The CUSD also offers a homeschool program and oversees one charter school, Chico Country Day School. www.cusd.chico.k12.ca.us.

Chico Country Day School
The aforementioned charter school is supervised by the CUSD, but directly run by its own administrators and parents. There’s no tuition, of course, since it’s technically a public school. It’s K-8, with small class sizes, curriculum aligned to state standards and before- and after-school programs. There’s also an on-site preschool. 895-2650 ex. 201.

Butte County Office of Education
BCOE oversees all the public schools in the county, along with countywide programs such as Regional Occupational Programs (ROP), migrant education, Head Start and community schools. BCOE also oversees two charter schools in Chico: The Blue Oak Charter School, which opened in 2001 and uses Waldorf methods of teaching, and the Four Winds of Indian Education. BCOE offices are at 1859 Bird St. in Oroville, 532-5650. www.bcoe.butte.k12.ca.us

Private schools

Progressive Schoolhouse
This 19-year-old K-8 school moved from Paradise to Chico in 2000. Each student gets an individualized program, and the school focuses on developmental stages. Tuition plus a materials fee totals about $3,500 a year. 2400 Notre Dame. 345-5665. www.progressiveschoolhouse.net

There are also several schools in Chico operated by religious interests, not to mention the many high-school students who ride a bus 40 minutes north to attend the Catholic Mercy High School in Red Bluff (www.mercy-high.org). Here are some of the bigger ones:

Notre Dame School
Notre Dame is a Catholic elementary school serving kindergarten through eighth grades. It’s been here since 1928 and was expanded in 1953 and again in 1979. It has 300 students, with learning coordinated closely with area parishes. Uniforms are worn. 435 Hazel St. 342-2502. www.ndschico.org

Chico Christian School
Affiliated with Neighborhood Church, this is a K-6 school. (There’s also a preschool.) Uniforms are worn. 2801 Notre Dame Blvd. 343-6051. www.chicochristian.org/ccs/index.html

The Pleasant Valley Baptist School
The only K-12 Christian school in Butte County, this school is affiliated with and housed by the church at 13539 Garner Lane, north of town off Highway 99. 343-2949.

Champion Christian School
This 7-12, interdenominational school has been in operation since 1992. The teachers integrate Bible studies into each subject. Champion has competitive sports teams. Enrollment begins each April, and tuition is about $3,000 a year. 1184 East Ave. 345-8008. www.championchristianschool.org