Margaret J. Kemp School


We believe in providing student-centered education that develops self-worth, promotes respect for diversity, and utilizes in-class instruction with real world applications. By providing empathy and character-based comprehensive education, we hold all of our students to the highest personal and academic standards. We view success not in terms of what we have accomplished, but as a standard to which we hold our students and ourselves accountable.


We believe that students of all backgrounds are entitled to a personalized academic environment, the opportunity to fully develop their potential, and the right to pursue their dreams.

Expected School-wide Learning Results

Positive Academic Experiences

Students will…

  • Think critically and problem solve in all subjects,
  • Increase verbal and written communications skills,
  • Develop technological competencies for the 21st century.

Personal Growth and Development

Students will…

  • Respect self, others, and the environment,
  • Learn to be responsible members of the community,
  • Take ownership of actions and choices, and cultivate new habits for success.

Successful Futures

Students will…

  • Practice and develop professional and social norms,
  • Explore career pathways and build employment skills,
  • Make realistic plans for both career and post-secondary educational opportunities

The County Office of Education (SMCOE) operates three court school programs in partnership with the San Mateo County Probation Department. These programs serve students who have been ordered by the court or the Probation Department. Court Schools provide education programs for students from eight to eighteen years of age, in both self-contained and single-subject classrooms. One of these court school programs is the Margaret J. Kemp School located on Tower Road.

Kemp School is designed to serve the specific needs of girls, by providing a therapeutic environment to support the girls’ social and emotional needs while also supporting their academic growth. All programmatic decisions are made with the intention of providing an environment for success for each student.  During their stay, many students experience academic success for the first time in their lives. Students in our program develop strong educational habits such as regular school attendance, study skills and assignment completion.

Students work with teachers at Kemp School in a ratio of no more than fifteen students to one teacher. Teachers are highly qualified to teach in their subject area and specialists provide additional services in the area of English language development, special education and High School Equivalency (HSE) preparation.

All teachers are aware of and are implementing a curriculum that is consistent with the new Common Core Standards and students are using San Mateo County Board of Education adopted curriculum. There is an active consortium within the SMCOE court schools themselves and between the SMCOE court and community schools and their feeder schools in the districts so that students have a smooth transition between county programs and back to district programs. Due to the inherent transiency of the students in the Kemp School program, consistency, collaboration and fluidity of movement between programs is essential.

Highlights of the educational program include:

  • Transcript analysis leading to appropriate course placement for credit toward a high school diploma
  • Specialized services for English Learners and students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • Credit recovery program
  • On-line learning program
  • HSE tutoring and testing for students who qualify
  • Career Technical Education Business course option
  • Workability and Work Experience Education options
  • Community College connections
  • Partnership with community-based organizations to provide services to support students’ well-being

As in all the court schools, the educational program at Kemp School will undergo both a formative and a summative evaluation process. Student attendance will be monitored. Students will also participate in pre and post testing in the areas of math and language arts.  Credits earned and recovered will be tallied as will the passage rates of the California High School Exam and HSE. Overall GPA, annual CELDT and STAR testing scores will be reviewed. The number of diplomas earned as well as college entrance information will be recorded. Information gathered from these sources will be used to inform and build the annual LEA Plan and School Plan for Student Achievement. These plans will then drive the work of the educators involved in Kemp School.


Sibané Parcels

Vice Principal

Shelly Johnson 


Beth Kassler

Alexandra Wolles 


Mary Mani