Salinas City Elementary School District (SCESD) is an award-winning elementary school district that serves students from Transitional Kindergarten through Sixth Grade at 15 elementary schools. As an established leader in PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) and Family Resource Center services in the State of California, SCESD leads the way when it comes to innovation in education, in supporting our District families and in helping our students achieve to the best of their abilities.


    Salinas City Schools began on Monday, Oct. 12, 1868 in a “house” located on South Main Street belonging to Francisco Soberanes.  Sophronia Harvey was the first teacher with 9 students, including her sister, Mabel. The total cost of the school for the first year was $475.16. Miss Harvey received $60 per month as her salary.

    Salinas City was growing rapidly as the Gold Rush came to an end and word of the fertile lands and temperate climate of the Salinas Valley became known.  By the second year, there were 120 students and in 1870, the decision was made to build East End School. A parcel tax of 70 cents per $100 of value was passed to pay for the new building, which was a two-story wooden structure. East End was located near where Hayward Lumber is today.  By 1874, the number of students had increased so dramatically that West End School was built on the current Roosevelt site.  John Steinbeck attended West End School.    

    The course of study in the 1920s focused on the fundamentals. Superintendent Walter wrote the following in the District handbook for 1924, “No matter what may be said to the contrary, it still remains true that there are certain subjects that are fundamental and that should be given special emphasis.  Some of these are reading, spelling, arithmetic and language.  One who can read well seldom has trouble in mastering such subjects as geography, history, civics and hygiene.

    "In addition to the above, music and drawing are peculiarly fundamental," he wrote. "Music is so because of the universality of its appeal and the influence which it has on the emotions. Drawing is also fundamental because of the influence it has on the aesthetic development of the individual and because of the practical phase of it. Almost everything in our modern world has to do with drawing in some one or all of its forms. In recent years, much of the discussion relating to schoolwork has centered around the question of character training. The school consciously endeavors to arrange its work so that it will have the greatest possible result in character building. This is not only done by precept, but by the habits developed, attitudes produced and the social relations established through the varied types of study and activities.”    

    In 2018, the District celebrated its 150th anniversary. The festive event celebrated the many accomplishments through the years. In the summer of 2021 the District celebrated the Ribbon Cutting of the Salinas City Virtual Academy (SCVA). From our district's beginning with nine students in a house, we have grown to over 8,600 students at 15 elementary schools.