The Top 10 School Districts in the Bay Area

|March 22, 2019

Thanks in large part to our collegiate institutions, tech-industry fame and innovative communities, the Bay Area is a famous destination for education. In the 2019 Best School Districts in California from Niche, the top two districts are in the Bay Area, and the remaining eight on our list can be found in Niche’s top 25. Though many are concentrated in Silicon Valley, you’ll also find ranking districts in the East Bay and Marin County.

We used Niche’s 2019 list to compile our top ten school districts in the Bay Area then provided further information on each one. The Niche ranking is based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, millions of reviews from students and parents, graduation rates, test scores, teacher quality and more. For more information on their methodology, click here.

And for more information on Bay Area communities, including housing market data, commute information, local activities and more, check out our Community Search here.

1. Palo Alto Unified School District

Based in Palo Alto  

best school district in the bay area

Operating for more than 125 years, the Palo Alto Unified School District ranks on lists of the best districts in both California and in the entire country. In the 2019 Niche rankings of the best school districts in California, they ranked number one, and the district’s average class size across all grades is 22.6 students for every teacher. They operate 13 elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools and an adult school in Palo Alto and Stanford.

2. Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District

Based in Los Gatos  

Operating since 1893, the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District is made up of two high schools, Los Gatos High School and Saratoga High School. Each of these institutions offers a huge lineup of honors and advanced placement courses as well as impressive test scores, graduation rates and college acceptance rates across the board.

3. Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District

Based in Mountain View  

best school district in the bay area

Serving the communities of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, the MVLA district is comprised of two high schools, an alternative high school, an adult education center, the Freestyle Academy for Arts & Technology, and Middle College. Across all these facilities, they provide their student population of more than 4,000 a comprehensive and diverse education, including more than 40 Advanced Placement and honors courses. Additional bonuses include a teacher to student ratio of 20 to one and mental health and wellness services.

4. Acalanes Union High School District

Based in Lafayette

Located in the communities of Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Orinda and Moraga, the Acalanes Union High School District operates four high schools, an alternative school and Acalanes Adult Education. Their comprehensive high schools, Acalanes, Campolindo, Las Lomas, and Miramonte, all rank in the top 60 of the 1,000 high schools in California based on the Academic Performance Index and they rank in the top 4 percent of all high schools in the United States for the strength of their Advanced Placement program.

5. Piedmont City Unified School District

Based in Piedmont  

best school district in the bay area

At the Piedmont City Unified School District, the motto is “Students come first.” And their kindergarten through 12th-grade curriculum results in some of the highest California Standards Tests scores in the state and more than 95% of graduates pursue a college education. This is accumulated over 2,700 students, 360 teachers and employees, and six school sites. Their facilities include three elementary schools, one middle school, one traditional high school and one alternative high school as well as an adult school that shares space with the district schools for evening and weekend classes.

6. Fremont Union High School District

Based in Sunnyvale  

The professional atmosphere at Fremont Union High School District fosters a collaborative, interdependent and professional community committed to the excellence of all staff, all schools and all students. And these students come from communities throughout Silicon Valley, including Cupertino, San Jose and Sunnyvale. Their facilities include five high schools in these communities and an adult school.

7. Pleasanton Unified School District

Based in Pleasanton

best school district in the bay area

Pleasanton Unified School District operates 15 schools in Pleasanton, including two preschools and one early education center, nine elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools, and an adult and career education program. The district also operates a Dual Language Immersion Program so students can acquire academic proficiency in both English and Spanish.

8. San Ramon Valley Unified School District

Based in Danville  

The mission at San Ramon Valley Unified School District emphasizes community involvement, student growth and continuous improvement for both their students and their schools. These schools include a preschool, 22 elementary schools with both transitional kindergarten and kindergarten options, eight middle schools, four high schools and alternative education programs. These are based in the communities of Danville, San Ramon, Diablo, Alamo and surrounding communities.

9. Tamalpais Union High School District

Based in Larkspur

best school district in the bay area

Located in the communities of Larkspur, Mill Valley and San Anselmo in Marin County, the Tamalpais Union High School District consists of 5,000 students across three high schools and two alternative programs. These institutions have received numerous state and national awards, including California Distinguished School and National Blue Ribbon School. The district also offers adult and community education courses, which serve hundreds of citizens each year.

10. San Mateo Union High School District

Based in San Mateo

Located in central San Mateo County between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the San Mateo Union High School District serves approximately 9,000 high school students across six high schools in the communities of Foster City, San Mateo, Burlingame, Hillsborough, Millbrae and San Bruno. In addition to these institutions, they offer a special Middle College program in conjunction with the College of San Mateo, an alternative high school and an adult school program. SMUHSD is also the authorizing district for Design Tech High School, an innovative, free, public high school in Redwood Shores.

Have more questions about the Bay Area?

If you want to know the ins and outs of living in San Francisco and our other Bay Area communities, follow along on Discover Your View, where we cover everything from school districts and community activity guides to the best places for oysters and fun things to do with kids.

Category Community Guides, East Bay, Marin County, Peninsula, San Francisco, Silicon Valley

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