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McGill School of Success is the result of visionary community leaders who sought a quality education for the community's children.  Among these was the late trailblazer, Reverend George Walker Smith, who served as Pastor of The Christ United Presbyterian Church and was the first African-American to serve on San Diego Unified School's Board of Directors.  His passion moved community leaders to believe in the impossible.


The origins of McGill School of Success date back to the creation of The San Diego Innovative Preschool Project, Inc., a nonprofit, 501(c) 3, public benefit corporation, established exclusively for charitable purposes. The organization was founded in 1989 and was incorporated as a California nonprofit corporation on August 9, 1990. All business and affairs of the corporation were exercised by and under the authority of its Board of Directors.

In 1995, the corporation terminated its experimental program and sought to replicate the SOS model in an ongoing program. It entered into an enhanced collaboration with Head Start for the preschool program and applied for and received approval to establish a charter kindergarten under the San Diego Unified School District. The result was the establishment of the School of Success Innovative Head Start and the School of Success Kindergarten Academy.

With this focus, the corporation in 1991, established as its first project, a program called the San Diego School of Success (SOS) Preschool and Kindergarten, an innovative, experimental, research-based school designed to improve school performance and reduce the school drop-out rate among ethnically diverse, inner-city children from low-income families.  This was done through early childhood education and family intervention. The program was based on the premise that children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are not pre-destined for academic failure and that with early and appropriate intervention with children and their families, such children would do as well or better than their counterparts throughout their school years. The initial project was funded primarily through grants from the Weingart Foundation, the Lounsbery Foundation, and other private funds and donations secured by the corporation.

The school opened in September 1991, with 60 three year-olds. The goal was to establish a model six-year intervention program that would include three years at the school and three years of follow-up. Students would enter the program at age three and remain for three years (through kindergarten).

A year later, the kindergarten families wanted to prolong their children's education in a caring, small school environment.  As a result, they applied for a school charter under the authorization of San Diego Unified School District.  As a result Chancellor William McGill School of Success opened as a free public charter on September 4, 1996 as the state's 95th approved charter.  

McGill was named after one of its founding members, UCSD Chancellor William McGill.  For over 30 years, it has served South Park and surrounding communities of our region in providing children a home away from home where children are known on a first-name basis and can thrive in academics and social well-being.  Our small school has expanded its services to include music, art, Dance PE, 1-1 technology, a 6-6 program, and Spanish Enrichment.  As a 94% Title I school site, we thrive in providing all these services free to our families.

McGill School of Success is a testament of what can be accomplished by community leaders who believe and take action in making their hopes and dreams a reality.  


McGill School of Success .... "A little school with a BIG heart!"

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