A-Plus: Silicon Valley Tops List of California’s Best 2017 School Districts

An aerial view of Palo Alto High School, operated by California’s best public school district, according to 2017 rankings by Niche.com.

Silicon Valley usually makes headlines for its tech innovation and high-paying jobs (not to mention its extreme housing prices), but a new set of reports focuses on another reason why so many homebuyers strive to live there: The region’s public school districts are the best in the state.

Niche.com recently released its rankings of California’s best K-12 2017 public school districts based on 10 criteria, ranging from academics to extracurricular activities to sports programs. Bay Area school districts took nearly half of the top 20 spots, with Silicon Valley communities leading the pack.

The company ranks the Palo Alto Unified School District as California’s best public school district in 2017, grading it an A-plus or an A on all 10 factors. Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District ranks No. 2, followed by Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District at No. 3. Both of the latter school districts earned an A-plus or an A on nine of the 10 criteria.

Other public school districts around the Bay Area to make the top 20: Tamalpais Union High School District in Larkspur (No. 6), Acalanes Union High School District in Lafayette (No. 8), San Mateo Union High School District in San Mateo (No. 11), Pleasanton Unified School District (No. 13), and Piedmont City Unified School District (No. 16).

Niche.com also ranked California’s best public high schools for the coming year. Once again, Palo Alto shines, with the city’s Henry M. Gunn High School ranking as the Golden State’s best. On a national level, the school ranked No. 19, the only California public high school to crack the top 20.

The Bay Area is home to half of the state’s top 20 high schools. Besides Gunn, the other Bay Area best-ranked California high schools are Orinda‘s Miramonte High School (No. 3), Saratoga High School (No. 4), Palo Alto High School (No. 5), Los Altos High School (No. 8), Larkspur’s Redwood High School (No. 9), Mountain View High School (No. 12), San Francisco’s Lowell High School (No. 13), San Mateo’s Aragon High School (No. 16), and Burlingame High School (No. 20).

While top-ranked public schools are a perennial draw for Bay Area homebuyers, some prefer private institutions, and the region’s educational system also stands out in that respect. More than half of Niche.com’s top 20 private high schools in California are located in the Bay Area. Four rank among the top 20 in the U.S.: The College Preparatory School in Oakland (No. 7), The Harker School in San Jose (No. 8), Stanford Online High School (No. 10), and Castilleja School in Palo Alto (No. 17).

(Photo: Flickr/Ross Mayfield)

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