K-12 Education

A Central Coast education means a solid foundation for the future.


Small neighborhood schools with active community support are hallmarks of the region’s education system. Inside classrooms, a principal focus is expanding STEM foundations, building the creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will equip students to succeed in jobs that don’t yet exist.

Programs spanning language immersion, project-based learning, entrepreneurship, digital media and more expand students’ horizons even further. With enviable graduation rates and education attainment levels — both well above the norm — Central Coast residents are well prepared to meet the demands of an increasingly complex global economy.


A few highlights:

  • The GreyBots, Atascadero’s high school robotics team, are three-time world champions in the FIRST Robotics Competition
  • Five Santa Barbara County schools were named among the 2023 California Distinguished Schools, and three were bestowed the 2023 California Exemplary Arts Education Award
  • Arts are promoted through programs such the Children’s Creative Project and Arts Collaborative.
  • Community organizations such as Santa Barbara’s Partners in Education and the San Luis Coastal Education Foundation deliver millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to student programs and experiences like innovation labs and internships.


high school graduation rate





boy with headphones at a computer in a classroom

San Luis Obispo schools

The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education supports 10 school districts with 75 schools serving 34,000 students.

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Santa Barbara schools

The Santa Barbara Office of Education supports 20 school districts with 123 schools serving 67,000 students.

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Allan Hancock college students walking at graduation

Higher education institutions

Three community colleges and two highly ranked state universities add up to a plethora of options for post-secondary schooling.

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