Brightworks School

Brightworks School Photo #1
  • Brightworks is a learning community that strives to create a meaningful learning experience for students based on depth of inquiry, collaboration through trust and creativity, and development into capable, adaptable citizens of the world.
  • We use real tools, real materials, and real problems to encourage students' love of learning, curiosity about the world, ability to engage, tenacity to think big, and persistence to do amazing things.

Top Placements

Brightworks School places among the top 20% of private schools in California for:

School Overview

School TypeSchool with Special Program Emphasis
Grades OfferedGrades Kindergarten-12
Year Founded2011

Student Body

Total Students85 students
Student Body TypeCo-ed
% Students of Color
State avg.: 44%
Students by Grade Brightworks School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers15 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio6:1
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size10 students
Classroom Dress CodeCasual

Finances and Admission

Admission DeadlineNone / Rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost$33,400
Tuition NotesTuition assistance available; please fill out an application and submit tax documents through SSS to be considered.
% on Financial Aid
Admissions DirectorJustine Macauley
Admissions AssociateLibby Catzalco

School Notes

  • Learning happens everywhere: at school, at home, out in the world. At Brightworks, we bridge the gaps between those three places in a child`s life by fostering a mindset of curiosity and interest and an environment of exploring and questioning at school that weaves learning and life experiences together.
  • A cornerstone of the Brightworks education is helping children understand that their learning is a lifelong process that happens everywhere they go. We work to help the students see school as being part of the community, country, and world. In practice, this means leaving the school frequently and easily when the need or opportunity arises, and welcoming outside experts and community members. Within the school, students are organized in mixed-age bands and are encouraged to pursue projects with partners of different ages, genders, and skill levels.
  • The arc is how we structure our curriculum and think about the pedagogy. Students work in mixed-aged bands in their everyday life at Brightworks. Our teachers are called collaborators to remind us that learning happens by working together. Various program components bring us together as a learning community and provide opportunities to dig deep.

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  • School Location Miles Grades Students
  • San Francisco
    Grades: NS-8 | 70 students
    2.4 miles
    3741 Buchanan Street
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    2.4 NS-8
  • San Francisco
    Adda Clevenger School
    Adda Clevenger School Photo - The Adda Clevenger School is an independent elementary school providing an accelerated academic and arts curriculum to San Francisco Bay Area students grades TK-8 since 1980.
    Special Program Emphasis
    Grades: PK-8 | 136 students
    3 miles
    180 Fair Oaks Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    3 PK-8
  • San Francisco
    Grades: NS-8 | 91 students
    3.6 miles
    300 4th Street
    San Francisco, CA 94107
    3.6 NS-8
  • San Francisco
    Cathedral School For Boys
    All-boys (Episcopal)
    Grades: K-8 | 255 students
    3 miles
    1275 Sacramento Street
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    3 K-8
  • San Francisco
    Grades: NS-8
    2.1 miles
    735 Fell Street
    San Francisco, CA 94117
    2.1 NS-8

School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (4 reviews)
My son has been at Brightworks (BWX) for 5 years and is now 14yrs old. Although BWX is sometimes seen as a "maker-school" the main thing I feel it allows our son to make, is his own education. BWX allows him to have ownership over his learning. It empowers him. He isn`t passive in his learning, he is in charge of it, crafting it. One recent example of this: he is currently working on a group project; they are building a website tool to help people create better habits in their lives. One of the kids who wanted to do the project with them, was unsure if he`d be able to, because his parents had hoped he`d do a project on his own. Our son and one of his teammates wrote an email to their friend`s parents outlining the project, trying to alleviate the parent`s concerns, and listing out exactly what their son would learn from the group project. It was fully from their own initiative. BWX has taught them, if you have a problem (here, they wanted this kid on their team), figure out a way to try and solve it. And in this case, it worked! And now they have this extra motivation, they want the project to do extra well because they`re responsible to themselves, but also to their friend`s parents. it just feels like life skills they are learning.In the Bay area, we sometimes hear anecdotal stories, from friends, about younger workers/interns in the tech industry who have difficulty being self-guided, who need to be told what to do and how. I can`t imagine a BWX kid being described that way.Now that so much knowledge is accessible to us through the internet, it feels like schools need to teach us not facts, but more what we should be doing with all that knowledge. And I believe that`s what BWX does.BWX also has a huge heart. The collaborators care and give so much. Our son calls BWX his second family. He feels safe and secure enough there to be vulnerable, take risks, and aim big. There`s a lot of interaction between students and they are constantly communicating and learning from each other.We love it.
- Posted by
We've been at Brightworks 4 years, starting with K. Our kid is super happy, interested every day, and thriving. We love how engaged he is with his teachers and with the work they do in the school.
- Posted by
I love this school! My daughter has attended Brightworks since Kindergarten and is now a fourth grader. She is excited to go to school every day. Since the curriculum is project-based, she is learning useful skills and how to solve problems on her own. She is developing a "can-do" attitude and often has solutions for problems that come up in our daily lives. There is no homework or tests but when I see 12 year old girls designing and building a real tiny house with sky lights and porch swing or baking cupcakes in their homemade solar oven, that is inspiring! You need to tour this school to see the amazing projects.
- Posted by
We have been thrilled to find Brightworks and I can say with complete confidence that it has changed my son's life. He is so excited to go to school each day, both for the learning and the chance to engage with his peers. Allowing my son to learn in this encouraging environment, with freedom to explore his interests alongside his peers, has reinvigorated his creativity and joy in school. I couldn't recommend Brightworks more highly!
- Posted by

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Did You Know?
The average private school tuition in San Francisco, CA is $20,222 for elementary schools and $30,141 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in San Francisco, CA is 61% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).