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Elementary, Middle, and High School Age Children

General information for both public and private schools.

School Year Calendar.  Pasadena Unified School District (Pasadena public school) usually starts school in mid-August and ends end of May-early June. Private schools usually start in late August - early September and end in early June.

Enrollment. School attendance is mandatory in California.  When a child reaches five years of age on or before September 1 of the school year, he/she will enter Kindergarten.

School Daily Schedule.  Each school has its own schedule.  Classes usually start between 8:00 AM and 8:30 AM and end between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM, Monday to Friday.

School Vacations.  These are three vacation periods:  winter break (2 weeks), spring break (1 to 2 weeks) and summer break (3 months). In addition, there are a number of public holidays and teacher training days that occur during the school year.  Vacation calendars can differ by school or by district. 

School Lunches.  Because not all schools offer a lunch program, you may need to provide your child his/her own lunch and/or snack.

Food Allergies.  It is important that you let the school know of any known food allergies your child(ren) may have so that proper care can be taken to safeguard your child(ren)'s wellbeing.

Vaccinations.  California requires that children be up-to-date on their immunizations to attend school or child care.  You can also ask to your child’s pediatrician for more details. If your child will attend a Pasadena Unified School District, the PUSD Primary Health Clinic provides free immunizations. 

Parent Teacher Association (PTA).  Most schools have a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and one of its roles is to fundraise to provide equipment, supplies, and extra-curricular activities for students.

Volunteering at School.  Many parents volunteer at their child's school.  One of the ways to volunteer is to serve as a room parent.  Room parents help the teacher by communicating with other parents and they may also be asked to participate in class projects, accompany the class on field trips, and assist in the classroom.

Test Results and Reviews.  Both public and private schools have to publish their academic testing results every year. You can go online to find the most recent comprehensive school testing results:
California Department of Education Academic Performance Index
Great Schools
California School Ratings 

Public Schools

Pasadena Unified school District offers a large variety of education options (dual language schools, art and music, international baccalaureate, etc...). Please visit this page for more information.

Enrollment and Age Requirements. School attendance is mandatory in California. 

Kindergarten:  Your child must be 5 years old by September 1 of the school year, even if school starts beforehand.  If your child will turn 5 years old after September 1, there are alternatives:

Transitional Kindergarten:  Your child must turn 5 years old between September 2 and December 2 of the school year.

Expanded Transitional Kindergarten:  Your child must turn 5 years old between September 3 and the end of the school year.

Find a School.  To identify your local school in Pasadena, go to the School Locator and enter your address.  McKinley and Hamilton are elementary schools close to Caltech.  The middle and high schools close to Caltech are Wilson and Blair. 

You may also apply to a school outside of your neighborhood district.  You will need to complete an application during Open Enrollment for the upcoming school year.  Depending on availability, your child may be accepted in one of the schools you have selected or be placed on a waiting list. 

Caltech and Longfellow Elementary partnership. If you want more information about this partnership, please contact the Caltech Work Life office 

Registration.   In addition to the registration requirements listed on the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) website, non-US children will need to present a passport and immigration documentation. 

English as Second Language.  Your child may be placed in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class if he/she needs extra assistance with English. Public schools offer a free assessment by an English Language Specialist to determine whether your child is able to attend academic core curriculum in English or not yet.

After-School Programs. PUSD offers after-school programs in various schools in Pasadena. The Child Educational Center (CEC) offers a fee-based, after-school program close to Caltech on Michigan street, which provides transportation pick-up from certain local schools as far as South Pasadena (please, contact directly the CEC for more information).  

School Uniforms.  Most public schools have a core color uniform (navy blue, red, beige, white, or dark green) and closed toe shoes are required.  The average cost is approximately $80 per year per child.

Resources from Caltech for Pasadena unified School District
Pasadena LEARNs is a nominal fee-based after-school science program at Madison and Jackson elementary schools in PUSD. Caltech is partnered with LEARNs and works with their Science Olympiad team.
Caltech Educational Outreach gives information for teachers and parents of children attending public school
Rise Program is a free tutoring program in math and science for middle and high-school students who attend PUSD. It’s part of the Caltech Y

Parent Networks
Pasadena Education Network (PEN)
Pasadena Educational Foundation
Pasadena Education Foundation offers a summer enrichment program.

Private Schools

The alternative to public school is private school. There are religious and non religious private schools in and around Pasadena. Each school has its own curriculum, uniform requirements, daily schedule, and vacation schedule.

Find a School
California Association of Independent Schools
Pasadena Area Independent Schools

Tuition.  Tuition for private schools may be significant and it varies according to grade level and whether or not there is a religious affiliation.  For example, tuition for kindergarten in a non-religious private school starts around $11,000 per year and increases with higher grade levels.  Religious schools are often less expensive than private school but may require consistent participation from the parents in the school spiritual life. Most private schools have some financial assistance available. We encourage you to contact each school directly about their financial assistance policies. 

After-School Programs.  Private schools offer fee-based, after-school programs.  

Enrollment.  In addition to meeting the age requirement, your child must pass a test based on both basic academic and developmental/social skills.  Independent School Entrance Exam is a commonly used test.


DISCLAIMER:  The information provided on this website is for general information only.  Caltech does not endorse or recommend any of the organizations listed.  Caltech does not inspect the providers and cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information or the quality of the supervision or education your child will receive.  The choice of your child's care provider and/or school is your responsibility.