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McKinley Elementary School History

Original McKinleyAt the turn of the century, Burlingame's population hovered around 200. This changed rapidly after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The town's population grew rapidly to 1,000 in only a year. At that time, children were schooled through the county at the Burlingame School on Peninsula Avenue and County Road (El Camino). However, as Burlingame grew, the residents wanted a school they could call their own. Therefore, in 1911, Burlingame residents voted to establish a school district and began plans to build a permanent school. Well-known architect William H. Weeks was hired to design the school. During the construction, a temporary 8-room schoolhouse was used which was located on Howard and Primrose called “the little red schoolhouse”. By  September 1913 the first permanent school, located on the corner of Oak Grove and Grange (now Paloma Avenue), was ready to open its doors to the children of Burlingame.


Originally named Burlingame Grammar School, McKinley Elementary has always been a vibrant school. In the early 20's there were cookbook sales, Fathers' Club events, plays and other events. Many of these traditions are  still carried out today.

Currently, McKinley serves a culturally and linguistically diverse student population reflecting the richness of its community. There are 28 native languages other than English spoken by McKinley students, with Spanish being the most prevalent. Thus, special emphasis is placed upon creating a school environment that encourages students to explore and appreciate our cultural and linguistic diversity.

McKinley is also home to the Burlingame School District Spanish Immersion Program, a full bi-directional learning opportunity that enables students to become fully bi-lingual and bi-literate in English and Spanish.


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Vision and Mission

The McKinley community is a diverse, committed educational team of staff, parents, and students. We collaborate in creating a progressive, engaging learning environment where hard work results in success for every child everyday. Students will leave McKinley with the skills to be thoughtful, responsible and productive citizens.

McKinley School’s Mission is to:

  • Recognize and celebrate the worth, dignity and leadership capacity of every individual.
  • Provide a safe and stimulating environment that will nurture creativity, critical thinking and social skills.
  • Ensure a positive, student-centered climate where problem solving and risk taking are a part of the learning process.
  • Instill accountability and a shared responsibility for the ongoing pursuit of knowledge.
  • Foster confidence in our students through high academic and behavioral expectations.
  • Support the efforts of a committed dedicated, well-educated staff in partnership with the continuing involvement of family, businesses and the community