Why The Marin School?

A high school that is small by design, offering a college-prep curriculum with a creative approach.

 

The Marin School is an independent, college-prep high school in San Rafael. Our small, supportive environment inspires our students to take risks and explore new ideas.

Small by design, TMS students thrive in a challenging, collaborative environment where dedicated faculty set high expectations and encourage each student to realize their full potential. We offer a UC-approved, thought-provoking curriculum, with a creative approach to everything we do.

 

experience what makes The marin School so unique.

Take a guided campus tour and chat with a member of our Admissions team, schedule a shadow visit, or attend an event!

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CONFIDENCE
 

TMS students thrive in a challenging academic environment where dedicated faculty members encourage each student to set high expectations and realize their full potential.

Our mission is to provide a collaborative learning community that inspires confidence, creativity, integrity, and academic excellence through a deep belief in each student’s potential.

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CREATIVITY
 

Creativity is encouraged and embraced at all levels of the learning process, in the classrooms and across disciplines. We celebrate project-based learning and STEM programming, including integrative use of coding and hands-on tools in our Fab Lab and coding classes. Creativity is also celebrated in our Visual and Performing Arts electives.

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ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

We are designed to be a small school where faculty truly know and understand their students - who they are, how they think, and what motivates them to learn.

Our small class-sizes allow our faculty to reach students at all levels, provide the support they need in areas of growth, and instill them with confidence and future-ready skills.y

TMS Curriculum
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Welcoming, Inclusive Community

At TMS each student is seen and celebrated for who they are, as they are. This warm, welcoming culture lays a foundation where self-confidence, personal growth, creativity, and learning can thrive.

Collaboration and Connection

At TMS, students and faculty thrive with a collaborative approach to education.  Our teachers, counselors, and administrators establish a strong rapport that fosters a community of mutual respect.  Students' strengths, passions, and areas of growth are supported at all levels.

Focus on
Balance

A balanced approach to academics with meaningful, manageable coursework.

With a focus on the whole student, the curriculum at TMS emphasizes mindfulness, with a goal of reducing anxiety and inspiring intellectual curiosity.

College Prep with a Creative Approach

Go beyond the mountains of busywork and endless, repetitive homework. Our classes focus on engagement and depth of understanding.

Frequently asked questions

How many students are enrolled at The Marin School?


Over the last few years, we have enjoyed an average enrollment of 95 students. Our enrollment will increase gradually over the next few years to approximately 130 students. This maximum enrollment will allow us to fulfill our mission and maintain our unique program.




What is your academic focus?


We provide our students with a college preparatory education that meets the requirements for the University of California. Our goal is to ensure that every student who spends four years with us will be eligible for a UC or comparable school. In addition to completing the prerequisites for UC, students choose from a variety of unique academic elective courses to complete their course of study.




Do you have an arts program?


We offer a dynamic arts program that includes classes in both the visual and the performing arts. Students are able to take four years of fine arts, three years of photography, four years of drama, or four years of jazz band. Students’ work is displayed in local art shows, and we also offer fall and spring drama performances and jazz concerts. Each year, our jazz students record a CD of their repertoire in an on-site recording studio. The culminating event for our arts program is the spring visual and performing arts show, a showcase of our students’ creative expressions in all areas, including film. We strongly encourage our students to include a visual or performing arts class in their program every year.




Is there a “typical” student at The Marin School?


What makes The Marin School unique is that there is no one “typical” student at our school. We are fortunate to enroll a wide spectrum of students including gifted students who thrive in a challenging, personal environment, creative students who love the opportunity to explore their artistic side while maintaining an academic program, students who love learning and are excited by the opportunities a small school offers, and students who have great potential that can be realized in a small-school environment.




How well do your students do on standardized tests?


The majority of students achieve scores in the range that qualifies them for the University of California and/or the California State University System. Each year, we have a small number of students who qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program based on their PSAT. In order to support our students in their preparation for college entrance exams, we offer test prep workshops designed to help them prepare.




Does TMS offer Advanced Placement courses?


Advanced Placement, or AP, courses are classes whose content is prescribed by the College Board, the same organization that conducts the PSAT and the SAT. Though originally intended as college-level courses for high-achieving students, AP courses are no longer accepted for credit by many colleges and universities. The Marin School does not offer AP classes and does not plan to do so. We feel that the smaller, more intimate nature of our classes allows our faculty to tailor curriculum to meet the individual needs of each of our students, and to challenge each of them in ways appropriate to their abilities.




Will the lack of AP courses affect my student when applying to college?


Colleges evaluate a student within the context of their school. When evaluating an applicant’s transcript, colleges also receive information about The Marin School, which provides context, including the statement that we do not provide AP classes. Colleges and universities do not penalize applicants for something that is not available to them. As our college acceptance list attests, our graduates have gone on to selective colleges and performed well, without having taken AP classes.