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Bakersfield School Districts [2024] | ?‍? What Are the Best Schools in Bakersfield?

Last Updated on: 18th January 2023, 09:53 am

Are you moving to Bakersfield with kids? One of your biggest priorities is probably choosing the right neighborhood or suburb to ensure your children are in one of the best Kern County school districts.

Exploring school districts in Bakersfield – and determining which schools can best help your child achieve their potential – is no small task thanks to separate elementary/middle school and high school districts plus nearly one dozen districts just serving the city! This guide will cover the top school districts and excellent schools in each one to help you narrow down your options. If you’re looking for great preschools, you can also check our guide to the best Bakersfield preschools.

As you compare the top school districts in the Bakersfield area, it’s helpful to look at the School Accountability Report Cards (SARCs) for the districts and individual schools. Established by Prop 98, these report cards give you information on the academic performance of schools in Bakersfield as well as facility and teacher quality, enrollment, and more. Note that we linked to 2019 report cards as standardized testing and reporting was suspended during 2020.

Here are the best middle schools in Bakersfield, CA, top high schools, and the highest rated private schools to explore.

Panama-Buena Vista Union School District (P-BVUSD) | Bakersfield, CA

The P-BVUSD school district serves Southwest Bakersfield with 23 schools from kindergarten through middle school. What makes P-BVUSD one of the best school districts in Bakersfield, California? The district has been recognized for its outstanding music education which is an integral aspect of the curriculum. Certified music specialists provide comprehensive music instruction for grades 3 to 8. Access to orchestra, band, and chorus is available from grades 5 to 8. The district’s English/language arts performance also exceeds the standard and state average.

The district’s Stockdale Elementary School is one of Bakersfield’s top elementary schools and it was one of 8 Kern County elementary schools to receive the Distinguished Schools award for 2019. The district’s GATE program for gifted students offers advanced classes for grades 4-6. The GATE program is held on the Stockdale campus at the Stockdale GATE Center. Their 6th grade students consistently rank in the top tier of the West Coast!

Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) | Bakersfield, CA

Bakersfield City is California’s largest elementary school district. The district serves K to 8 students in Bakersfield with 44 schools. BCSD has 34 elementary schools for students up to 5th or 6th grade and 9 middle school and junior high schools for grades 6 to 8. In 2018, BCSD made the California Exemplary District List recognizing districts that have implemented model practices that have improved student outcomes.

While Bakersfield public schools usually aren’t the best in the region, some of the best elementary schools in Bakersfield are in the district. Cesar E. Chavez Elementary is the top-rated school in the Bakersfield elementary school district. It was named a California Distinguished School in 2019, one of just 6 elementary schools in Kern County and 323 total to earn this statewide recognition. The district’s McKinley Elementary School was the first Kern County school to earn a California Green Ribbon Schools award.

Looking for the best neighborhoods in Bakersfield for elementary schools? You can use this tool to see the BCSD boundary map and schools by address.

Kern High School District (KHSD) | Bakersfield, CA

The Kern County School District is the public high school district in Bakersfield with 18 comprehensive campuses, 5 alternative high school campuses, 4 special education centers, and two career technical centers.

The district’s Dual Enrollment program allows students to earn college credits at California State University, Bakersfield or Kern Community College. Students can also benefit from career and technical education (CTE) programs to earn career certificates and skills with a range of athletic programs and clubs.

The district is one of the best school districts in Bakersfield for students with high achievement potential. The Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program offers enhanced learning opportunities for 9th and 10th graders and it’s separate from GATE programs in other Kern County school districts. Several schools have earned state recognition like West High School which won a California Gold Ribbon award for its “Freshman Academy” program to support struggling 9th graders. The program increased the number of students passing to 10th grade from 84% to 95%.

The district’s top-rated school is Stockdale High School, rated the second best high school in Bakersfield thanks to its high college readiness score, 98% graduation rate, and 41% AP participation rate.

Fruitvale School District | Bakersfield, CA

Fruitvale is one of the top school districts in Bakersfield, CA and serves Northwest Bakersfield and Fruitvale with five elementary and middle schools. It’s one of the most desirable districts with high-performing schools.

Endeavour Elementary was the only school in Kern County to earn the prestigious California Distinguished School award for 2021. The school district frequently earns national and state recognition with several schools that have won National Blue Ribbon awards, California Gold Ribbon and Distinguished School awards, and National Schools to Watch awards.

You can see the Fruitvale School District map here to help you choose a good neighborhood.


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Delano Joint Union High | Delano, CA

Considering moving to Delano, CA? Delano Joint Union High School District serves Delano, the second largest city in Kern County after Bakersfield. The small district has five schools serving grades 9-12 and adults. Delano has some of the best high schools in Kern County and it was the only Kern County school district to earn the prestigious California Exemplary School District award in 2019. The district excels at helping students who have fallen behind and those who can benefit from alternative learning models, occupational training, and special programs to reach their full potential.

3 of the 5 best high schools in Bakersfield, CA are in the district!

All three of the comprehensive high schools in the district have been named as America’s Best High Schools by US News at the Bronze or Silver level. Cesar E. Chavez High School is a National Title I Distinguished School and Title I Academic Achievement Award winner. Robert F. Kennedy High School was ranked as the best high school in the Bakersfield area by U.S. News with an impressive 47% AP participation rate. 94% of students at the school are economically disadvantaged yet math and reading proficiency exceeds the California average.

Delano’s other school district – Delano Union School District – is also recognized for its excellence. The elementary and middle school district’s Morningside Elementary School earned the California Distinguished School Award for 2019 and 2020 plus it was named an Innovative and Impactful School by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. In its first-ever ranking of public elementary schools, U.S. News and World Report also ranked Morningside as one of the best elementary schools in America.

Muroc Joint Unified School District | Edwards, CA

Muroc Joint Unified School District is a small school district in Kern County with less than 2,000 enrolled students. Serving the unincorporated community of Edwards and surrounding areas just outside California City, many of the students attending the district have parents working at the Edwards Air Force Base.

Despite its small size, the district has earned recognition for Desert Junior-Senior High School, ranked as one of the 3 best Bakersfield high schools. The school has an AP participation rate of 77% — far above any other high school in the metro area, with an impressive 100% graduation rate. It also has one of the lowest student-to-teacher ratios. One of the school’s teachers, Jason Spitzer, won the 2021 Kern County Teacher of the Year award!

Best Private Schools in Bakersfield

Interested in enrolling your child in a private school? There are several options but note that most Bakersfield private schools are non-secular, Christian schools.

  • Bakersfield Christian High School (9-12) is frequently ranked as one of the best private high schools in Bakersfield. This nondenominational college preparatory school is dually accredited so students can earn credits that can be transferred to colleges and universities.
  • Graces Memorial High School (9-12) academically prepares students for college with spiritual education that readies them for life. 96% of students are accepted to college and 4% go on to trade careers or the military.
  • Valley Schools (K-8) offers a Christian education in a fully accredited facility with after school care, clubs, and athletics. It’s one of the top private elementary schools in Bakersfield, CA.
  • Olive Knolls Christian School (PK-8) has over 300 students and 31 certified teachers and one of just two Bakersfield schools with WASC and ACSI dual accreditation.
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe School (PK-8) offers students a strong Catholic education with affordable tuition and many extracurricular activities.

Bakersfield School Districts FAQs

What is the best high school in Bakersfield, California?

There are several top Bakersfield high schools including Robert F. Kennedy High School, Stockdale High School, Desert Junior-Senior High School, Delano High School, and Cesar E. Chavez High School. Three of the top 5 high schools are in the Delano Joint Union High School District.

Does Bakersfield have good schools?

While Bakersfield schools usually aren’t among the highest performing in the state, the region has a high share of economically disadvantaged students and migrant students. This impacts school ratings. You’ll find excellent schools in Bakersfield but there is often a large disparity in quality between schools within the same district.

What is the best school district in Bakersfield?

Delano Joint Union High School District (along with the Delano Union School District) is arguably the top school district in Bakersfield, CA. However, some of the best high school and elementary schools in the area are in the Bakersfield City and Bakersfield High districts.

What school districts are in Bakersfield?

Bakersfield school districts include:

  • Kern High
  • Bakersfield City
  • Panama-Buena Vista Union (Southwest Bakersfield)
  • Fruitvale (Northwest Bakersfield)
  • Rosedale Union (Northwest Bakersfield)
  • Greenfield Union (South Bakersfield)
  • Norris Elementary (Northwest Bakersfield)
  • Rio Bravo-Greeley Union Elementary (West Bakersfield)
  • Edison Elementary (Outer East Bakersfield)
  • Beardsley Elementary (North Bakersfield)

Now that you know more about the best schools in Bakersfield, you’re ready to begin the challenge of deciding where to live! Check out our guide to the best Bakersfield neighborhoods then give us a call once you’ve narrowed down the options to discuss how we can help you relocate!


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