The 5 Oldest Schools In California Are Ancient

The 5 Oldest Schools In California Are Ancient

California became a state on September 9th, 1850. When you visit California, you will immediately fall in love with the natural beauty of the forests and beaches. Apart from the natural beauty, the rich culture is something to see. However, besides the natural attractions, the oldest schools in California also have a rich history worth exploring. 

This article will discuss the oldest schools in California. We will explore the history, vision, and statistics of each school. Whether you are interested in the history of California or looking for a school for your child, the schools on this list are interesting! 

Golden Gate Bridge seen from Marshall beach in San Francisco, California, USA
California is a beautiful place to visit, with a unique atmosphere worth immersing yourself in!


Torrance Elementary School, 1913

2125 Lincoln Ave. Torrance, CA 90501

Torrance Elementary School was the first school built in the city of Torrance after its establishment. The name was originally Torrance School and was a little two-room building. Sixty-six students attended here when it first became a school. The school stayed on its original site until 1963 when the high school started needing more room. Fun fact, the original two-room building still stands as a private residence! 

Vision for the School

Torrance Elementary School has a focus on helping students develop their potential. They also want to encourage students to look towards the future in order to become contributing members of society.

Statistics and Ratings

Statistics and ratings are a great way to see a clear picture of a school's proficiency ratings and details. However, it is essential to remember that statistics are not the whole picture. Use the information alongside other factors to decide your child's future education.

Torrance Elementary School offers grades from kindergarten to fifth grade. There are also 435 currently in enrollment with a student-teacher ratio of 26:1. The math proficiency is 45%, while the reading proficiency is 43%. 

Spring Valley Science Elementary School, 1852

1451 Jackson St., San Francisco, CA 94109

One of the oldest schools in California is Spring Valley Science Elementary School. This school rose up during the Gold Rush. In 1906 fire and earthquake destroyed the original school. However, a new one was built, which is still standing today. 

One of the most difficult parts of the history of Spring Valley Science Elementary School was its part in an educational discrimination case from the 1880s. Mamie Tape was denied the ability to attend Spring Valley Science Elementary School in 1884. Although her parents won the lawsuit, a different school was built for Chinese students in the area. However, through this and many more authentic and challenging moments in their history, Spring Valley Science Elementary School now teaches equality and inclusion to all students. 

Vision for the School

The educational future of their students is of the utmost importance to Valley Spring Science Elementary School. The curriculum is intense but enriching. Also, the school desires to push its students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers and enjoy their educational journey. 

Statistics and Ratings

There are 15 teachers and 274 students in enrollment at Spring Science Elementary School. The student-to-teacher ratio is 18:1. The reading proficiency is 45 to 49%, while the math proficiency is 55 to 59%. 

Happy elementary school girl
An elementary school is a fun place for children to learn more about themselves and the world!


Redlands High School, 1891

840 E. Citrus Ave. Redlands, CA 92374

In the late 1800s, three high schools were in the Redlands Unified School District. Now the only one of the three schools still standing is the Redlands High School, and it's still standing on its authentic site. 

Vision For the School

When it comes to its pupils, Redlands High School is student-focused. The goal is to help students reach their goals by focusing on creative and problem-solving skills. They also want to provide a safe place for all scholars to learn and continue reaching their full potential on their educational journey. 

Statistics and Ratings

Redlands High School offers grades ninth to twelve to students. It currently has 2,340 students in enrollment and 100 teachers. The student-to-teacher ratio is 23:1. Also, Relands High School has a graduation rate of 94% which is in the top 30% of the state. The math proficiency rating is 51%, and the reading proficiency is 76%. 

High school can help students figure out what they want to do in their future and explore all interests.


San José State University, 1857


San Jose State University has the honor of being the oldest standing college in the West. Its original name was Minns' Evening Normal School. The intention was to give school teachers more education. It was moved to San Jose from San Fransisco in 1871. Not even ten years later, the building went through a fire. 

In 1906 the earthquake stalled the use of the building. However, the school has been preserved and still stands today. 

Vision of the School

The success of their students is critical to this school. They provide an excellent curriculum to help students succeed in various fields. These fields include Accounting, Finance, Taxation, Entrepreneurship, and more. 

The school encourages students to be future-oriented and learn how to communicate and succeed. 

Statistics and Ratings

San Jose University is ranked sixth as the most liberal college in America. The acceptance rating is 84% making it less competitive than other institutions. Additionally, the SAT range is 1010 to 1240, and the ACT range is 19 to 26. 

The most popular majors at San Jose University are Business, Psychology, and Communications. The school also offers online courses making it easier for adults to graduate later in life. There are currently 23,015 undergraduates enrolled. 

San José State University in the News

On July 16, 2023, Mercury News reported that, after years of waiting, victims of SJSU's sex abuse scandal will finally get the chance to see the accused go to trial. Former sports trainer Scott Shaw is accused of sexually assaulting many student athletes as far back as 2009. Currently, the number of former athletes accusing Shaw of sexual assault totals roughly two dozen. If found guilty, Shaw faces up to six years in prison. The article draws comparison between this trial and the infamous trial of Larry Nassar, a sports medicine doctor now serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting more than 150 young gymnasts.

University of the Pacific, 1851


The oldest university in California is The University of the Pacific. It got its start in 1851. The school connects to the Methodist faith. Additionally, the founders of this school were Methodist ministers. 

Another fun fact about this university is that it was California's first co-ed university. Originally this college was started in San Jose; however, it was moved to Stockton in 1924. 

Vision for the School

The University of the Pacific takes pride in its school and its students. They desire to help all students succeed and build strong values they can use. Also, becoming lifelong learners is very important to this school. They also desire to help students become accountable leaders throughout their lives. 

Statistics and Ratings

The University of the Pacific has a 79% acceptance rate. The SAT range is 1120 to 1380, and the ACT range is 24 to 32. The student-to-faculty ratio is also relatively small, at 6:1. The most popular majors are Business, Biology, Liberal Arts, and Humanities. 

Currently, the University of the Pacific has 3,186 students in undergraduate, making it a small school. 

University of the Pacific in the News

On July 20, 2023, KCRA reported that the University of the Pacific is investigating whether it can offer a 2-year program. The study will determine the plausibility of offering associate's degrees, which have become increasingly popular due to the financial strain that a bachelor's program puts on many students. If the investigation determines that the university is ready to offer an associate's degree program, one will be established.

On July 16, 2023, Sierra Sun Times reported that Money Magazine ranked the University of the Pacific among America's best colleges. Only around 4% of the colleges in the United States ranked higher than this institution. The college received 4.5 stars out of five, as part of a new rating system that Money Magazine is using. Money hopes that this new system will be helpful for students trying to select a college. In their review, Money noted that many of the university's graduates earn much higher than average.

Back view of mature professor giving lecture to large group of college students in the classroom.
College can offer new ways of thinking for students and problem-solving as well.

©Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock.com


California is a diverse and large state. There are many opportunities for people with various interests as well! Whether you want to explore California for its natural beauty or are curious about the atmosphere, this state offers much. 

When it comes to the oldest schools in California, they all have an impressive and rich history that is worth digging into. There are elementary schools that have sad history, playing an integral part in changing the course of how we address diversity. Also, some colleges paved the way to succeeding in life, developing a collaborative culture, and more. There are many exceptional schools in California! If you are still exploring the history of the old school, be sure to check out some more of our excellent articles on the oldest schools around America. 

The Oldest Schools in America

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