Saint Mark's School

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Saint Mark's School
Grass courtyard surrounded by sidewalks, small trees, blue-gray single-story building
Butterfly garden at Saint Mark's
39 Trellis Drive
San Rafael, California

United States
Coordinates 38°0′25″N 122°33′17″W / 38.00694°N 122.55472°W / 38.00694; -122.55472[1]Coordinates: 38°0′25″N 122°33′17″W / 38.00694°N 122.55472°W / 38.00694; -122.55472[1]
Type Independent school
Established 1980
Headmaster Joe Harvey
Faculty 30 full time, 6 part time
Grades K-8
Enrollment 380
Campus type Suburban
Color(s)      Blue and
Mascot Sky Lion
Newspaper Hip Pocket

Saint Mark's is a coeducational, independent, kindergarten-eighth grade school in San Rafael, California, in Marin County. The school was established by an Episcopal parish in 1980. Within a few years, it moved away from the Episcopal Church and is now an independent school with no religious affiliation.[2] Joe Harvey has been head of school since 2011, succeeding Damon Kerby, who had served as head since 1987.

On 23 May 2014, it was announced that the school's name will be changed to Mark Day School, taking full action on 1 July 2014.[3]

Special programs and curriculum[edit]

Saint Mark's provides hands-on learning, Guided Reading in the lower grades, daily physical education, a chess program, social and emotional learning (SEL), and visual arts, drama, and music. School plays are performed at the Marin County Civic Center's Showcase Theater. The school has adopted the Bridges math program

Saint Mark’s offers curricular Mandarin beginning in kindergarten.

Famous persons who have spoken at the school include Melba Pattillo Beals, astronaut Leroy Chiao, Holocaust survivor Dora Apsan Sorrel,[4] and Olympic swimmer Matt Biondi.

In 2006, Saint Mark's initiated Northern California's only all-female chess tournament.

School partnerships[edit]

The school has built a global education program that is supported by local and international relationships.

In 2000, Saint Mark's established a partnership with eSibonisweni Primary School in KwaZulu, South Africa. In addition to raising funds for food programs, school supplies, and infrastructure projects, Saint Mark's sends a delegation to eSibonisweni every other year; the group consists of faculty members, parents, and students, who do joint academic and art projects and assist with building maintenance and beautification. In 2011, six students and five teachers were brought to the United States to spend two weeks at Saint Mark's.

The program has no overhead costs for either school, so all funds raised and goods provided go directly to those who need them. Saint Mark's has helped other independent schools develop similar partnerships.

In 2003, Saint Mark’s partnered with Canal Alliance, a nonprofit center supporting the Hispanic community in Marin County on immigration and education issues. The two organizations created an ongoing language-tutoring exchange between students.

Saint Mark's also has a teaching-exchange relationship with Beijing No. 2 Experimental Primary School. In fall 2008, the school welcomed its first guest from Beijing, Liying Ma.[5]

central courtyard of Saint Mark's

Environmental stewardship[edit]

The school has made environmental awareness part of its program and has a native-butterfly habitat garden and an organic fruit, vegetable, and flower garden that has been recognized by Marin Master Gardeners as a model for school gardens. The garden program has its own teacher and has been integrated into the curriculum for Lower and Middle School.

Accreditation and memberships[edit]

Saint Mark's is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and the California Association of Independent Schools. In 2008, CAIS accredited Saint Mark's for six years.[6]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Saint Marks School
  2. ^ "History". Retrieved February 6, 2010. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ McKay, Harry V.; Crystal M. Land, Sue Slotnick, and Cheryl Ting (2008). "Report of the CAIS Visiting Committee". Santa Monica: California Association of Independent Schools.