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Center for Progressive Education

The Center for Progressive Education at Presidio Hill School (CPE @ PHS or the Center), which opened in the fall of 2015, is building on the school’s nearly 100-year legacy of progressive education to, as the school’s mission states “carry a just share of the responsibility within and beyond the walls of the school.”

The Center has several overlapping goals:

  1. To strengthen Presidio Hill in its core mission and solidify its place as an exemplary progressive school
  2. To contribute to the larger community a resource for progressive education by partnering with like-minded educators from other institutions in order to learn from each other and expand the depth and reach of progressive practices
  3. To give back to the city that has nurtured Presidio Hill by sharing that which we know and do best

To achieve these goals, the Center has several programs in progress or in planning. These include:

  • An apprentice teacher program in collaboration with the University of San Francisco (USF) School of Education. Apprentices are Master’s level and credential students at USF, who spend two years attending classes to learn the theoretical aspects of good teaching while at the same time working in a Presidio Hill classroom with a mentor teacher in order to learn the practical aspects of implementing progressive practices. Graduates of the program will go on to teach in schools both public and private in the Bay Area and beyond. Our inaugural cohort of apprentices graduated from the program at the end of the 2016–17 school year and are now teaching in public schools. Two additional apprentices are currently on staff at Presidio Hill.
  • A library of books, articles and films on progressive education. Teachers from Presidio Hill, teachers from other schools, parents at Presidio Hill, graduate students and apprentices will all have access to this library.
  • A Summer Institute, with keynote speakers and workshops led by teachers from Presidio Hill School and other San Francisco and West Coast schools, where like-minded educators come together to learn from each other about progressive philosophy and pedagogy. The first such institute was held in the summer of 2017.
  • A lecture series focusing on progressive education as well as seminars where participants will discuss and think deeply about the future of education.
  • An elementary school site where graduate students will carry on educational research on teaching and learning.

And specifically for the 2017–18 school year, the Center will be taking on these projects as well:

  • Winter and Summer Institutes: on topics of mutual educational interest for local progressive educators
  • Book Club: on topics of mutual educational interest
  • Learning Walks: visits to progressive classrooms and subsequent discussions
  • Research: on topics in progressive education and student learning

If you are intrigued by the work we are doing and have set out before us, we welcome your interest and support. Please contact us at to learn more.


The mission of the Center for Progressive Education at Presidio Hill School is to develop, sustain, and champion excellence in teaching and learning grounded in the philosophy and practices of progressive education. 

In the service of this mission, the center is committed to:

  • develop expertise in progressive education principles and practices among educators both within and beyond the walls of the school.
  • collaborate with like-minded educators throughout the community to learn from each other’s experiences implementing progressive education methods.
  • disseminate best practices to the widest possible audience so as to support excellence in teaching and learning and to help inform the public of the value of progressive education in this effort.