News


Amador Valley, Foothill among 5 in area given top high school honors

US News & World Reports ranks local schools among 3% considered best nationally

Five Tri-Valley schools have been awarded Silver medals as part of US News & World Reports' annual assessment of the country's best high schools.

In a report by Dublin writer John Zukoski, these schools are considered to be in the top 3 percent of all high schools in the U.S. They are:

• Amador Valley and Foothill high schools in Pleasanton;

• Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley high schools in Danville; and,

• California High School in San Ramon.

Dougherty Valley High in San Ramon was too new to be considered for this year's rankings.

Dublin High School was not awarded a medal or honorable mention in the 2010 rankings.

Mission San Jose of Fremont was ranked No. 1 out of all traditional public high schools (open enrollment, non-magnet, non-charter) in the U.S., Zukoski reported.

"The schools awarded with Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals and Honorable Mention were chosen based on their excellence in three primary areas," Zukoski said.

These are (1) performance on state high school exams, (2) performance of disadvantaged students, and (3) college readiness performance.

"The last criterion is an effective approach to winnowing out schools that purely 'teach to the test,'" Zukoski said.

"Remarkably, more than one third (9) of the top 26 traditional public high schools in the country are within 35 miles of (the Tri-Valley)," he added. "Four of the nine are in the East Bay (Mission San Jose, Piedmont, Campolindo, Miramonte) and the other five are in the South Bay (Gunn, Monta Vista, Palo Alto, Saratoga, Lynbrook)."

The median enrollment of these nine Bay Area Gold Medal schools is 1,500. The mean enrollment of the East Bay Gold Medal schools is 1,310: Mission San Jose, 1,970; Piedmont, 780; Campolindo, 1,208, and Miramonte, 1,282.

"The common belief has been that high schools require a minimum of 2,000 students to provide kids with the breadth and depth of courses necessary to achieve academic success," Zukoski said. "The average enrollment figures above seem to refute this conventional thinking."

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Gary Schwaegerle
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:06 am

Gary Schwaegerle is a registered user.

We are truly fortunate to live in such a desirable area; with Outstanding Leadership in Education - Keep up the Good Work - Thank You, Gary Schwaegerle Foothill High Class of 1979


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:13 am

This is why I and other people moved to Pleasanton. If you consider education to be important, this is the place to be raisning your children.


Like this comment
Posted by Benjamin
a resident of Gatewood
on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

Just another reason that I love Pleasanton!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Kent Young
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 16, 2009 at 10:10 am

Great news, but if we want to keep our high rating, we will need to either pass a parcel tax, or get more resources from the community. Pleasanton schools are indeed fantastic; let's do what we must to keep them that way


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Mom
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 16, 2009 at 10:15 am

I love Pls too, but my kids (one at Amador, one at PMS) tell me that drugs and alcohol are rampant. I personally would like to see a school rated on more than academics, ie, how "clean" the campus is.


Like this comment
Posted by D W
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Both great high schools need to work more closely with our police to crack down on substance abuse without compounding our economic woes. If it means the Council chipping in their two cents to discuss solutions, then by all means, let's enhance any private-public partnership we have along the PUSD.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:03 pm

This comment is off thread to the subject but I would like to respond to DW's comment above. Drinking and drugs are a family issue - not a PUSD responsibility. We already have several programs in the school that address drinking/driving and just say NO.

When my children were in high school....the last in 2008.....the kids continued to drink underage and ignored the "no passengers" law during the first year of getting a driver's license because their parents did not enforce the rules at home. Parents know kids are drinking at their house and know that passengers are being carried in the car and look the other way. Several of my child's friends were caught for MIP and passengers and nothing happened to any of them except that on occasion their parents were called. That is no consequence for kids today. Parents want to be a friend - not a parent. Perhaps if their cell phone was taken away - you might see a behavior change!!! In any event - let's continue to excel in education in our schools and leave parenting duties to the parents.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 17, 2009 at 12:37 am

Off topic as well...

If drugs are an issue while the offending student is on the school grounds during hours of scheduled instructions (normal school hours), I would think it would certainly be a PUSD issue...

If drug use is as rampant in PUSD as some suggest (this is not the first someone has posted about drugs in PUSD), one would think the school authorities would take notice and respond with the necessary corrective action. Surely school staff has attended programs related to drug use and would, hopefully, be somewhat familiar with signs of usage. Perhaps this isn't a high priority in PUSD...


Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:56 am

Clue in folks, drugs are rampant in high schools across the nation and have been since the late 60s. Surprisingly, use is higher as you move further away from urban centers.

As our youth get older thier freedoms and responsibilies increase, Parents who overprivledged thier kids and over coddled thier kids, find thier children ill equipped to make wise life choices in is likely to be the most challenging and most dangerous times in most of thier lives.

High school is a time of transition where you are still parenting, but also reaping the results of your earlier parenthood, and have to stand back and allow for some struggle (builds charachter) because every parent makes some mistakes and so will thier offspring! The schools atre not responsible for your mistakes!!

Our high schools are doing an excellent job educating our students, giving them a big chance of success, despite the perils of youth. Way to go PUSD!!!








Like this comment
Posted by reasonable parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:33 am

Seems like drugs and alcohol have been part of the picture for a long, long time, at all kinds of schools -- good, bad, rich, poor, urban, rural.

The difference that a high school can make is to offer a superior education, access to extracurricular and off-campus opportunities, and mentoring/advising to improve post-school outcomes and assist with the college application process. And it looks like our schools are doing a great job on all of these fronts.

Substance abuse has more to do with family expectations and freedoms, peer cliques, socioeconomics, etc., and most kids who experiment with these in school and college will still grow up to be successful, contributing members of society (and parents themselves!!).

While it's certainly healthier and safer, and less distracting, to avoid substances altogether, it is even more important to instill goals, responsibilities and a desire to achieve, and for schools and families to give kids the tools to do so. That will go much farther toward their eventual success than any "just say no" campaign.


Like this comment
Posted by Blah Blah
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Of course there are people are expecting the teachers to take care of drug and alcohol problems - what else do teachers have to do. As so many students today are on some sort of prescribed medication, I would guess its also extremely challenging to distinguish between kids who are legally drugged (or perhaps forgot to take their medication) vs ones who are taking illegal drugs (except if they wreak of alcohol).

To help the teachers out, next year there will be even more high school students in each classroom. That should make the problems go away.


Like this comment
Posted by Foothill Parent
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Dec 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Yes, it is true that drugs are available to those students who choose to use them. This is nothing new. Whether they are 'rampant', as some posters imply, is questionable. There will always be those kids who have too much free time, not enough supervision, and low self-esteem, and they'll choose to experiment.
However, back to the original post regarding the ranking of our local high schools - We have been impressed with the level of rigor, professionalism of the teachers, and the emphasis on college preparation that our child has received at Foothill. There is definitely a world-class education available to those who wish to seek it. At Foothill, there is tremendous support for the 'serious' student, and the expectation that most students will attend a four year college. Kudos to the teachers and administration for a continued job well-done!


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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