Foothill or Amador? Schools & Kids, posted by ptownmama, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm
Not sure if this topic has been discussed already but would love to get other parents' thoughts about our high schools' pluses/minuses. My son will be a freshman next year, he's a B+ student and a decent athlete. He is leaning towards Amador even though Foothill is our assigned school. I noticed both high schools had a drop in california's public high school ranking this year, but Foothill still ranks higher. I know those standard tests are not everything and we can't lose with either school since they are both in the top 10% public CA high schools. Still hearing first hand experiences with either one of these schools would be great.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 27, 2010 at 7:38 pm
Amador is impacted, enrollment is higher than at Foothill. If your attendance area is Foothill, you may not be able to get into Amador unless you have a good reason (like a sibling already at Amador, or if your son was displaced into a middle school that feeds into Amador due to overenrollment at his assigned middle school...)
I am not sure why so many students that should be going to Foothill are at Amador, but that has created an uneven enrollment (more students at Amador). We are in the Amador attendance area and love the school, but have seen too many students that should be at Foothill attending Amador.
I think both high schools are good, so if your assigned school is Foothill, I suggest your son goes there.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Dec 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm
I don't know what sports your son plays, but Matt Sweeney's Foothill football program is second to one. And that one (De La Salle)happens to be one of the best in the country. As far as public schools? Foothill's second to none!
Posted by Molly, a resident of the Verona neighborhood, on Dec 27, 2010 at 10:19 pm
If your child wants to get a good education, both schools are wonderful. My child attends Foothill, and I couldn't be happier. Her teachers have been second to none, holding credentials from prestigious institutions, and we are confident she will be more than prepared for college. FHS is a great school; not sure why the Amador push.
Posted by Third time, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Dec 28, 2010 at 8:23 am
Having had three children in the Pleasanton HS system, and attending both schools, we have a unique perspective.
Academically it is hard to say one is all that much better than the other, each having their pros and cons, but based on our kids, I would give Foothill a slight edge on the quality of academic programs and teachers. The administration has been fluid the last several years but it sounds like Amador is experiencing that also.
Our oldest two attended Amador and were multi=sport athletes so it was a great fit because of the fantastic booster program to keep costs down. Foothill always seemed to best us in competitions they participated in, but knowing what costs are at FH, if sports are going to be constant and money is an issue I highly recommend Amador solely on affordability...if you want him to play on a winning team then FH is the historically better choice.
Posted by Former AVHS Mama, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Dec 28, 2010 at 8:45 am
Wow, ptownmama, you certainly are going to stir the pot on this topic. Both schools are terrific - a few points difference in test scores means very little as there are so many factors to consider such as socioeconomics, i.e. if one school has a higher income level therefore allowing parents to seek extra help (tutors)for kids, there is a good chance the scores will be higher. As to the sports, history shows it can go either way. Re: sports and academics, concentrate on your child and focus on his effort & success. You'll drive yourself crazy listening to others and comparing. Keep to the high road and refrain from dissing the other school or their program and you'll be much happier. We had 3 attend Amador, all ended up at a university and all played college sports. I'm sure if they had attended Foothill, they would have had the same outcome. They are both very good schools.
Posted by reasonable, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:18 am
We have a son at Amador and couldn't be happier. Most of the teachers are outstanding and none are bad. He is developing a true love of learning as well as playing sports. Amador is (I believe) a bit more socioeconomically diverse; it is also a very big school and being on a team has really made a difference in terms of having a close group of friends. For us, the location and traffic considerations were key, as we also had a choice. Our son also loves the fact that he and his friends can walk to Tully's, Safeway or to the library after school, giving them some non-car-based independence. We love AVHS.
Posted by dancermom, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Dec 28, 2010 at 10:06 am
We are zoned at FHS, my kids go to AVHS, I work at both schools and they seem like one big school in different buildings. They share many teachers and with Facebook and texting, the kids all go to the same parties, and hang out together as a big group from both high schools.
Depending on the year, each school outperforms the other. The difference seems to be in who is teaching or coaching a particular subject or sport in any given year and the make up of the middle school classes coming into the schools every couple of years.
When we first moved here 16 years ago, FHS was rumored to have a drug problem, a few years later AVHS was rumored to be full of rich Ruby Hill kids, a few years later FHS got the freak-dancing rep, a few years later people were down on the AVHS principal, a few years later FHS was all the Asian students bringing the test scores up, blah, blah, blah...
Your student will get a GREAT education at both schools and we are so fortunate to have those kind of choices in one small town. For us, it came down to a decision based on location (close to us, to downtown, and to their orthodontist) and where their friends from middle school were going. Kids seem to transfer back and forth after freshman year fairly easily, so it doesn't have to be a decision carved in stone.
Posted by Dad of 3, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Dec 28, 2010 at 10:39 am
No wrong answer here. We are blessed to have 2 great options. IMHO public school doesn't get much better in either case. Trying to decide which is "better" is like splitting hairs. My son participated in Comp Civics at AVHS. It was a life changing experience for him. I see and hear around town lots of complaining about whats wrong with our town, but in the big picture we live in an ideal place.
Posted by Toni, teacher and parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Dec 28, 2010 at 10:48 am
Thank you, Former AVHS Mama, words of wisdom. As a parent and teacher at AVHS (and have worked at FHS as well). Both schools will provide your child w/an excellent education/school experience, also the two administrators are well respected, and exceptional in their leadership skills.
You chose a great town to raise your family in, just relax and enjoy the time with your family and allow your child to be a kid in a great community.
Posted by Shannon, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:20 am
I am always amazed when people compare one school in the same town against another. People move to Pleasanton because of it's schools. I don't rely on the school testing scores alone. I seriously do not think your son will have a problem with either school. They both are great.
Posted by Both schools are good, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm
Both schools are good. The advantage of AVHS, which we like, is location: kids can walk to downtown, the library, etc, after school. On football game nights, kids can hang out and have dinner downtown, then walk to AVHS and watch the game. But if your attendance is FHS and you live close to that school, FHS should be your choice because being able to walk home from school is definitely a consideration for students not yet driving.
Academically, both schools are good. The difference you see in the test scores have to do with diversity at a particular school. Many Amador graduates go to Ivy League Schools and other top universities, and play sports at their colleges. Same thing, I assume, happens at Foothill.
I am not sure why FHS area residents think they can choose AVHS. Amador area students tend to stay in their assigned high school. I do not understand why FHS area students try to go to a high school not assigned to them, since both FHS and AVHS are excellent schools.
Posted by reasonable, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm
The reason some kids end up at a high school outside their assigned area is that many kids want to go with their middle school friends. And since some middle schools (i.e. PMS) split down the middle, and some kids go to elementary schools outside their neighborhoods due to full classrooms, their friends may not be assigned to the same high school. In our neighborhood (theoretically AVHS) we have had neighborhood kids going to both high schools. And they all went on to good colleges.
Posted by AVHS Parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Dec 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm
Both are great schools. We do not have an open enrollment policy in PUSD except for a few neighborhoods that are able to choose, I think this is because the neighborhoods are split on where the students go to middle school and the history of the area such as the Meadows which has been assigned one or the other high school over the years and now they can choose which high school to attend. Send your child to the high school they are assigned. If the students can pick, decide based on what works for your family in the long run. If you live within walking distance to Foothill have your child go there it will save you a lifetime of headaches in driving.
Posted by anne, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm
I live in one of those neighborhoods where you can attend either school, so I went through this very same research a few years ago. My conclusion echoes those of the other posters here: no real difference. The v small edge in numbers (of Foothill) seems not significant, with all the other factors that a parent does not yet know about (which teachers, your child's individual issues, etc.). Everyone I talked to said the same thing: both schools are very good. And yes, go to the one that's more convenient to home -- so it's easier to make friends who live nearby.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 29, 2010 at 7:44 pm
Our two daughters went to Foothill while a lot of kids from our neighborhood (Pleasanton Hills) went to Amador. We were a bit concerned as Foothill was ranked lower then but they both got 1600 SATs ,went to Stanford and Duke for undergrad. and are dermatologists now after graduating from Duke Med and UCSF. I can't think of any school that could have been better but they would have probably done equally well at Amador. The student and parents are as important as the school.
Posted by imo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm
Both schools are equal in the way they welcome new students.
You cannot just choose what school to go to: your parents made a choice when they decided where to rent or buy. Yes, some students are allowed to attend Amador when they really belong at Foothill (from an attendance area view point), but that is usually because they were sent to a school other than their home school in elementary or middle because their school did not have enough room for them.
Our attendance area is Amador, and while we do not mind having Foothill attendance area students, we wish everyone just went to their assigned school because Amador has about 300 more students than Foothill.
For some reason, we also have people who live outside of Pleasanton renting a small apartment in order to attend Amador. Unless Amador builds a bigger campus, we cannot afford to see the endless transfer of out of attendance area and out of district students into Amador.
Go to Foothill if that is your attendance area. Go to Amador if that is your attendance area. Both schools are good. Both schools welcome new students.