REAL School Marin

Relevant Experience and the Art of Learning

A unique, private, middle school located in central Marin County, California. 

We offer a personalized, intensive and integrated education for exceptional students as they navigate the crucial transition from childhood to adolescence.


At A Glance:

  • Small, mobile, communal
  • Nourishing, intimate, and challenging environment
  • Engaging and stimulating curriculum without busy work or excessive homework
  • Hours that work for teens: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Home-like environment free of big-school pressure, bureaucracy and stress
  • Caring, experienced, committed teachers

Who We Are:

We are passionate educators who are rethinking school for teenagers. Adolescence is a time of tumult. It is when kids fight the battle to leave childhood behind and enter the real world, a world that demands confidence, critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, social grace, and strong self-reliance. To make the journey, teenagers need adults who are not their parents to challenge them, guide them and cheer them when they manage to overcome a modest challenge or reach the summit of the mountain. The skills they need come not only from academic curriculum but from everything that happens in a day- from consensus-building at Council to collaborating on planning trips; from responsible daily housekeeping to the self-discovery of outdoor play. We are the mentors who teach them to integrate real life experience with the traditional liberal arts of the classroom.

Our Mission:

  • To mentor students as they negotiate the early teen years
  • To inspire a lifelong love of learning
  • To meet rigorous academic standards meaningfully and authentically
  • To follow the principle, "sound mind, sound body"
  • To travel beyond the classroom and learn from the real world
  • To create a school community of participation and service


We Believe That:

  • The teachable moment is always now and always to be honored.
  • A small group encourages individuality, mutual respect and accountability.
  • Adolescence is hard work.
  • Travel provides avenues for tremendous self-discovery.
  • Mentoring inspires passionate learning and enriches intellectual growth.
  • Personal responsibility is everyone's job.
  • Emotional intelligence belongs in the curriculum.
  • Teens learn by doing. When they feel known and are emotionally engaged, learning is fun.

How We Teach:

RSM's core values are solid rules that guide us every day:

  • We maintain a relaxed atmosphere with an emphasis on kindness, politeness, sportsmanship, honesty and a generous effort on everyone's part
  • Students clean and maintain the school, promoting ownership and the development of life skills
  • As teachers, we show our own humanity as people who happen to be adults
  • We use laughter --- embracing adolescent humor and joking to form a bridge between adults and kids
  • We give rewards including lunches out, special short trips, little prizes, "passes" for some work in exchange for doing extraordinarily well on a test or etc., T-shirts, lollipops, trophies and so on.
  • We use competitions such as Jeopardy games that involve prizes
  • We take trips that include silly fun alongside intellectual exploration
  • We use logical consequences
  • We promote authentic social interactions and manage the day to day of school through Council
  • We hold strong boundaries about behavior, effort, manners and intellectual honesty
  • We expect and demand accountability every day
  • We maintain email contact with students past and present
  • We emphasize civic responsibility
  • We promote "tough love" and discourage parents from "rescuing" their students
  • We post quiz and test scores
  • Words we live by: "Learn to make it in this group and you will succeed anywhere, with anyone all your life."
  • We believe 50% of what kids say about their parents, and expect parents to do the same with the tales that students bring home from school!


Our Teachers

Marilyn Englander, PhD

East coast-raised, Harvard-educated, with a PhD from UC Santa Barbara. Her academic expertise spans writing, literature, anthropology, history, art history, French, Spanish and outdoor education. Marilyn is a wilderness enthusiast and an award-winning runner and cyclist. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience and two young-adult children.

Mark Biglieri, MS

Northern California native, world traveler, scientist, mathematician, biological and geographical illustrator, desert explorer and inveterate prankster. Mark has more than 30 years teaching under his belt, including 13 years collaborating with Marilyn.


Students manage the kitchen on a week-long trip

Students manage the kitchen on a week-long trip

REAL School Marin sweeps the honors at the St. Vincent's Speech Tournament, 2013

REAL School Marin sweeps the honors at the St. Vincent's Speech Tournament, 2013