e3 Civic High School

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e3 Civic High School
San Diego Central Library.jpg
San Diego Central Library;
e3 Civic High is located on the sixth and seventh floors.
395 11th Ave.
San Diego, California 92101

United States
TypeCharter school
Motto"Engage. Educate. Empower."
School districtSan Diego Unified School District
PrincipalCheryl J. Ward
Enrollment458 (2016-17)[1]

e3 Civic High School is a public charter secondary school in San Diego, California, United States. It is an independent charter school that opened in September 2013 and is accredited by the Western Association of Secondary Schools.[2] It is housed on the sixth and seventh floors of the city's central public library in Downtown San Diego and is billed as the first public school in the United States to be located inside a library.[3]


The city of San Diego had been studying the possibility of a new central library for years, and a site had been identified, but funding was insufficient. In April 2010 the city and the school district reached an agreement to house a school in leased space within the library;[4] the district's rent payments would help to make the new downtown library financially possible.[5] The sixth and seventh floors of the library, amounting to 76,000 square feet (7,100 m2), were designed from the outset as a school.[6] The city approved construction plans for the library in June 2010. A petition for a new charter high school, initially referred to as Downtown Charter High, was submitted to the San Diego Unified School District in September 2010.[7] Several other charter petitions were also filed, but the school district chose Downtown Charter and approved the application in August 2011.[8] The name was later changed to e3 Civic High (for "engage, educate, empower").

The new library and the school both opened in September 2013. The initial enrollment consisted of 260 students in the 9th and 10th grades. Additional 9th graders were added in 2014 and 2015; as of the 2015-16 school year the enrollment is 403, with a target total enrollment of approximately 500 students.[9] The first senior class graduated in June 2016.[2]

School operation[edit]

The school is open to all high school students in San Diego County. Students must submit an application to attend. If more applications are received than there are available slots, students are accepted by lottery, with preference given to students from within the school district and particularly those whose neighborhood high school is identified as underperforming.[3]

The school design includes variably sized rooms and open spaces. Most of the rooms have modular glass walls and movable furniture intended to facilitate collaboration among students and between students and teachers. It is described as looking "more like a Starbucks and less like a school."[10] Library patrons can see inside the school, though they cannot access it; the school has a separate entrance and separate elevators.[3]

The curriculum incorporates internships and other real-world experiences with downtown businesses, organizations and facilities. Local college students and library staff augment the faculty by mentoring students and teaching them research skills.[3] Students choose one of the school's two pre-professional pathways: biomedical health or digital media.[5] Students can graduate with both a high school diploma and a community college degree.[10]

The school does not have a sports program, although it does have exercise facilities, and there is some access to outdoor activities at nearby Petco Park.[3]


  1. ^ "e3 Civic High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "School Profile 2015-16". e3 Civic High School. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e Magee, Maureen (January 21, 2013). "New school nation's 1st in a library". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Downtown School/Library". San Diego Unified School District. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Calvert, Kyla (September 2, 2013). "Unpacking Big Visions For High School In New Downtown Library". KPBS. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  6. ^ Houck, Kristina (October 8, 2013). "Architect talks about new San Diego Central Library at Del Mar Foundation event". Del Mar Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  7. ^ "Independent Charter School Petition" (PDF). Downtown Charter High - e3 Civic High. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 3, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  8. ^ Calvert, Kyla (August 3, 2011). "Downtown Charter High School Gets New Library Space". KPBS. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  9. ^ "About us". e3 Civic High. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Magee, Maureen (September 3, 2013). "Central-library charter school opens". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved November 1, 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°42′32″N 117°09′14″W / 32.709°N 117.154°W / 32.709; -117.154