It’s been eight years since Moonshine Ink’s last education round up, and much has changed. Some schools we featured in 2011 are no longer in existence, still other schools have been founded and are now thriving. Bond measures have brought millions into the public school system to keep our local facilities and programs at the forefront of national innovation. To celebrate Truckee/North Lake Tahoe’s many diverse education options we’re exploring the pivotal steps local schools are taking to bring your kids into the modern world.

Public Schools



Donner Trail Elementary School

Est. 1940s | Grades: K–5

What sets this school apart? In a family-like setting, every child is looked at individually for what their strengths and weaknesses are. Ninety-two percent, of the kids are proficient in English Language Arts, which is the highest in the county in terms of ELA proficiency.

• Number of students: 67

Glenshire Elementary School

Est. 1995 | Grades: TK–5

What sets this school apart? In partnership with families and community, students will experience a balanced education addressing the needs of each individual child. For all children to succeed, it is necessary to integrate social, emotional, and physical development with a strong academic curriculum, within a safe, secure, and peaceful environment.

• Number of students: 538

Truckee Elementary

Est. 1959 | Grades: Preschool–5

What sets this school apart? Truckee Elementary is a High Performing Title I school with a diverse campus that serves students from preschool to fifth grade. Its staff, community, and students work together to encourage responsibility, integrity, and an enthusiasm for learning. Its primary mission is to provide students with a solid educational foundation that includes the arts, science, and character education.

• Number of students: 489

Alder Creek Middle School

Est. 2004 | Grades: 6–8

What sets this school apart? Alder Creek has established the principles of rigor, relevance, and relationships as a reflection of its values as teachers and professionals. These principles represent its shared purpose and continue to guide its educators. They want every student to feel welcome and connected to others during the crucial years of early adolescence.

• Number of students: 546

Coldstream Alternative School

Est. 1994 | Grades: 9–12

What sets this school apart? This school offers an innovative program developed to meet the needs of families who want more choices and flexibility in their child’s education. It provides small class sizes and personal instruction along with a rigorous, yet flexible schedule that allows students to work from home or while traveling.

• Number of students: 6

Sierra Continuation High School

Est. 1979 | Grades: 9–12

What sets this school apart? The school is an empowering learning environment, where students can challenge themselves both personally and socially in a dynamic educational setting. As one of the few alternative resources available to the Tahoe/Truckee community, Sierra High School provides individualized and personalized educational, emotional and social developmental opportunities. This increases the likelihood that students, who may otherwise struggle or fail in other more traditional environments, will successfully complete their secondary education.

• Number of students: 37

Truckee High School

Est. 1959 | Grades: 9–12

What sets this school apart? Truckee High offers several career educational pathways that utilize the nationally recognized Project Lead the Way curriculum including a Biomedical Science pathway and an Engineering pathway. Students are exposed to a very comprehensive curriculum with hands-on projects and high-level lab studies. Capstone classes are offered at Sierra College where students can earn dual credits — credits for both high school and college.

• Number of students: 756


Kings Beach Elementary

Est. 1958 | Grades: K–4

What sets this school apart? Kings Beach Elementary is a two-way immersion school based on the 90/10 model. The program provides an immersion model for English-speaking students, as well as an additive bilingual model for Spanish-speaking students. This means that all students learn a second language without compromising their first language.

• Number of students: 355

Tahoe Lake Elementary

Est. 1935 | Grades: TK–5

What sets this school apart? This is a California Distinguished School and a Gold Ribbon School, with a hands-on science-focus serving transitional kindergarten through fourth grade. Core studies are supplemented with explorations and enrichment including technology, Spanish, music, art, and physical education.

• Number of students: 236

North Tahoe Middle School

Est. 1974 | Grades: 5–8

What sets this school apart? In addition to offering high-quality learning opportunities in the core areas of math, science, social studies, and English, teahers utilize a daily 30-minute enrichment period in order to meet the individual needs of students whether it be through academic support or meeting the needs of accelerated learners. North Tahoe believes in the importance of supporting the social and emotional needs of each student.

• Number of students: 351

North Tahoe High School

Est 1974 | Grades: 9–12

What sets this school apart?The high school offers a phenomenal educational experience for students. Recently, the school was honored with California’s Title 1 Academic Achievement Award. NTHS also has a highly acclaimed band program including the popular jazz band, the fastest boys’ Nordic ski team in the U.S., a successful partnership between NTHS’s culinary academy and local restaurants, and an expanded Ski/Independent Study Academy. The academy offers customized study programs for students involved in sports/artistic pursuits who need a flexible schedule but want a comprehensive high school experience.

• Number of students: 438


Incline Elementary

Est. 1964 | Grades: preK–5

What sets this school apart? This public community elementary school serves Incline Village and the surrounding areas. The diverse student body is 33 percent English language learner and 15 percent students with disabilities. Instruction is organized around STREAM: science, technology, reading, engineering, arts, and math, and students have opportunities to receive daily STREAM instruction with their classroom teachers, participate in science labs and exploration with a grant-funded science instructor, and go on field trips to explore the Tahoe environment.

• Number of students: 310

Incline Middle School

Est. 1981 | Grades: 6–8

What sets this school apart? The community at this school strives to promote rigorous academics while cultivating positive character development in order to prepare students for the expectations of high school, college, and career.

• Number of students: 233

Incline High School

Est. 1968 | Grades: 9–12

What sets this school apart? The mission is for all students to graduate ready for college or career in the global 21st Century. Incline High’s belief statements promote integrity, humanity, and scholarship. The school develops responsible individuals who contribute to society and provides a comprehensive education in a rigorous, supportive, and safe environment.

Number of students: 294

Charter Schools


Creekside Charter School

Est. 2014 | Grades: TK–8

What sets this school apart? The school has three main foundational pillars including an emphasis on building relationships, an independent study program that offers classes four days a week, and many students ski on Fridays. It offers enrichment opportunities such as rec center classes like science, yoga, and rock climbing. Lastly, it also features strong academics, high state test scores, and tailored education to high achievers.

• Number of students: 197

• Lottery for enrollment: held on March 25; tuition-free


Golden Valley Charter — Tahoe School

Est. 2018 | Grades: TK–4, plans to grow to TK–8

What sets this school apart? The school uses an artistic approach to every subject. It encourages movement, storytelling, outdoor experiences, Spanish, and Earth stewardship. It fosters deep relationships between teachers and students as well as student peers: students have the same class throughout their time at the school.

• Number of students: 38 students and growing

• Tuition-free; lottery is based on priorities written in the charter

Forest Charter School

Est. 2002 | Grades: K–8

What sets this school apart?This independent study-based school offers flexible schedules for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school has block classes and multi-age co-ops. There are flexible programs and high parental involvement.

• Number of students: 185

• Tuition-free

• Enrollment process: enter an online enrollment interest form

Sierra Expeditionary Learning School

Est. 2010 | Grades: K–8

What sets this school apart? Its curriculum is unique. Students work on one project at a time including making films, books, and completing field work from young ages. Students engage in project-based expeditions and community service both locally and globally.

• Number of students: 212

• Tuition-free; lottery: family info nights in March, attendance is required in order to receive lottery application, lottery drawing is end of March/beginning of April

Private Schools


Lake Tahoe School

Est. 1997 | Grades: preK–8

What sets this school apart? The school is deeply rooted in the Tahoe community and has an all-inclusive, comprehensive education. It strongly emphasizes emotional and intellectual learning, sending students to high school all over the country at boarding schools and prestigious academies. It is invested in giving kids a well-rounded education in arts, athletics, academics, and outdoor education.

• Number of students: 140

• Tuition:

• pre-K3 (5-days-a-week/half-day): $8,725

• pre-K4 (5-days-a-week/full-day): $12,055

• K–4 Grade: $23,050

• 5–8 Grade: $24,270

• Financial aid: need-based financial aid program


Squaw Valley Academy

Est. 1978 | Grades: 9–12

What sets this school apart? This academy has small class sizes (around five to six students), individualized attention, a rigorous outdoor program including ice skating, kayaking, skiing, rock climbing, and some students are on the Squaw Valley ski team. College counseling is integrated into the curriculum and the school has a 100 percent college acceptance rate.

• Number of students: 60

• Tuition: $52,000

• Financial aid: merit-based scholarships


Sugar Bowl Learning Academy

Est. 1998 | Grades: 6–12

What sets this school apart? As a ski academy it offers expert knowledge in nordic, free ride, and alpine skiing. The mission is a dual pursuit of high level academics and high level athletics. The school doesn’t want students to compromise one or the other. It features strong AP classes and college placements, and strong athletics, with students competing in college and the Olympics. Parents love sending their kids to Sugar Bowl Academy because they’re watching their kids passionately pursue their dreams.

• Number of students: 75 full-year students, 35 winter students

• Tuition: 2017/18

• Boarding: $54,000

• Local day student: $35,000

• Winter term program: 4 months

• 6–7 Grade: $6,000

• 8–9 Grade: $24,650

• Financial aid: need-based, $1 million in financial aid each year


Tahoe Expedition Academy

Est. 2011 | Grades: PK–12

What sets this school apart? TEA stretches the imagination by teaching outside the walls of a traditional classroom. Students are not confined to a desk or a standard. Instead, they engage in real-world experiences designed to push them to the boundaries of their intellectual, social, and personal comfort zones, where the learning really happens. TEA students spend 30 to 40 days a year in the field interacting with real-world experts and professional organizations.

• Number of students: 225

• Tuition:

• K–6 Grade: $18,437

• 7–8 Grade: $19,467

• 9–12 Grade: $25,647

• FLEX Tuition Program: families pay what they can afford. Thirty-three percent of the student body receives some form of financial aid.


  • Molly Wilcox

    A San Francisco transplant, MOLLY WILCOX is exploring a full-time commitment to her love of writing and the outdoors. When she’s not on the slopes in winter or on the water in summer, writing, reading, and long conversations entertain her. As the new office manager and reporter at Moonshine, she’s hoping to merge her passions for creativity and the world around her, while getting to know the Tahoe community.

    Connect with Molly

    Call: (530) 587-3607 x1
    M-Tu, Th-Fr 9:30am - 6pm
    10317 Riverside Dr
    Truckee, CA 96161
    Email: molly (at)