Town Square

Foothill or Amador?

Original post made by ptownmama, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Dec 27, 2010

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 Another Pleasanton 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 Downtown
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 Verona
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 Pleasanton Meadows
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 Pleasanton Valley
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 Another Pleasanton 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 Robin
a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

My neices went to Amador and my kids go to Foothill. Both my kids have friends at both. They are both fantastic schools. Personally, I think it is best to keep your kid in his designated school.

Posted by dancermom
a resident of Vintage Hills
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 Downtown
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 resident of Amador Valley High School
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 Amador Estates
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 Another Pleasanton 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 Another Pleasanton 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 resident of Amador Valley High School
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 Another Pleasanton 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 Another Pleasanton 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 newpleasantonresident
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I am a new student moving into the pleasonton area. I would like to hear your opinion. Which school would be more welcoming to a new student? (Amador or Foothills) Thanks

Posted by imo
a resident of Another Pleasanton 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.

Posted by New student
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm

so um I'm moving next year to pleasonton and I just wanna know wut school is better known for welcoming "outsiders" thx

Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 6, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Jack is a registered user.

All the elementary schools are very welcoming. You might find the desks to be a bit small...

Posted by P-Town HS Teacher
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 9, 2014 at 11:27 pm

I have to admit I'm amazed that of all the topics on this site THIS is the one that has not devolved into typical-for-this-site ranting, raving, and name-calling. Not a single Tea Partier blaming everyone's problems on the teachers and unions. No claims about how the district and board destroying the world as we know it. No railing on about the politics of sports or griping about the "spoiled kids" and their "soccer mommies". Not a single person commenting about how they're glad their hard earned tax dollars aren't being spent on public education... and blah blah blah...

I mean, the original post is actually INVITING conflict. And no one took the bait. For once... ONCE... there's all-but-unanimous good will. I'm being a little sarcastic/cynical here, sure. But I really am pleasantly surprised at the responses to this post given the generally venomous environment of these forums.

Here's what I know. I went to one of those two high schools you named as a teen. I teach at that same school now. I'm one of DOZENS of teachers in this district who can say that. That, to me, says nearly all you need to know. The kids who are educated here realize how good they have it, and they come back. Yes, the Falcon/Don rivalry runs deep in my blood, for better than half my life. But even though it's hard to root on the sports teams across town, I will readily admit that the school across town is a great place to get an education, just like the one I teach at. The pluses and minuses (they exist) really are insignificant.

You're in good hands, whichever you choose. You can't go wrong.

Go Falcons! (sorry, I couldn't help it).

Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 12, 2014 at 9:28 am

Both are great schools.
I have been able to work with kids from both HS and watch them grow in fine young adults.
The scores change from year to year so I would be careful only using scores. This year FH is up 2 years ago it was AV.
Last year the AV boys rocked this the AV girls are on fire.
2 years a it was FH
Both have great bands and clubs.

Your childs high experience will be what he makes it not FH or AV.
Both school rock and we are extremely lucky to live n P-town

Posted by Mary
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 12, 2014 at 10:33 am

I've had children at both. To me from an academic perspective, Foothill is better. The biggest difference ive seen is that Amador focuses on getting kids to graduate whereas at least with the foothill counselor both of mine have had, she tries to help the kids set up for college with pre planning. So it's not just about graduating it's where they are going afterward. I have also found that Foothill better utilizes technology with the kids. Again. Just my opinion. Finally, we experienced a few Phone and iPod thefts at Amador and this has not been an issue at foothill with my kids now being at fotthill four times longer than Amador. I will say that we transferred to foothill after the second theft. Not trying to stir the pot as this could be an anomaly, but that's what finally got us to foothill and I'm much happier with the kids being there.

Traffic wise, foothill is worse. With Amador there are more options as to where you can drop off and pick up.

You truly cannot go wrong either way though.

Posted by Mary
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 12, 2014 at 10:38 am

I should add that we are in Amador's boundaries but choose foothill. I do agre that the proximity to downtown is more convenient for students, but I'm a parent willing to pick up and drop them off downtown or wherever else.

Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

To add to Maru comment.
If you contact the PPD and ask about crime at FH & AV they are the same.
Both have seen and increase theft this year. Both have about the same drug problem with FH a little high on the use of hardcore drugs.

Posted by Confused
a resident of Siena
on May 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I am in Hart Middle School, and I live where I have a choice on which High School to attend. Most of my friends are attending Foothill, but I'm leaning towards Amador. One thing that makes me hesitant, though, is the fact that Amador does not have a Model UN (MUN) club, something that I am in right now, and hope to continue. I also don't like the fact that there are more students at Amador, which equals more competition. What should I pick?

Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Confused: You better double check that your address has a choice of high schools. Amador is impacted. Easy to go to Foothill, not so with Amador.

Posted by to confused
a resident of Birdland
on May 5, 2014 at 9:47 am

Amador does have a Model UN club. It's just getting started this year, though.

Posted by momof2
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:47 am

Hi there looking for feedback on both High Schools. We are relocating from New York and I am trying to pick the area that has the school with the best fit for my son. Are there any academic differences between Foothill and Amador? Does one offer more then the other or one offer things that the other does not offer? Any feed back would greatly be appreciated

Posted by Whoopsie
a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Both schools have started up excellent Project Lead the Way programs. Amador started out with the Engineering program and Foothill with the Biomedical program. Foothill has since started the Engineering program as well, but for some reason Amador has not picked up the Biomedical. So Foothill is the only one with both options - there's a difference if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Posted by Joanne
a resident of Las Positas
on Apr 29, 2015 at 3:04 pm

This is a little off topic but I am wondering why neither school has gone to a block schedule. Having 4 periods a day with longer classroom time. Then every semester all your classes change. It is really much better. Thoughts?

Posted by Neither
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 30, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Neither. Run away, fast.

Read the posting about Jon Vranesh. Then move to Danville.

Posted by Ptown Mom
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm

Well given the anti-gay rally that was permitted at Amador I am going to say that Foothill is a much safer school.

Posted by Oh please
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 30, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Oh please, there was no anti gay rally at AVHS. My son actually attended the club meeting in question and gay and straight students alike were extended actual invites to attend. The club was very inclusive. No one that went was forced to stay either and the student present were definitely allowed to express themselves and their views even if they didn't agree with others that were there.

The nonsense about this so called "anti gay" rally was posted by some attention seeker who didn't attend the meeting nor did they have a child that was there.

Posted by unfair
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Jun 16, 2016 at 11:05 pm

We live close to Amador and the downtown area but are assigned to go to Foothill. Our area used to be an area with an open enrollment period for high school, but is not anymore due to the excess amount of students attending Amador. My main concern is with the traffic and the time it takes to get to Foothill. This topic has also heavily impacted the real estate market.

There are choice areas which get to pick their schools. That is unfair and our school dist. should edit the attendance area map. I think that students should be able to attend the high school that is closer to their home for convenience.

Posted by Larry
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jun 17, 2016 at 6:29 am

@Neither "Read the posting about Jon Vranesh. Then move to Danville."

What happened to Jon Vranesh anyway? Did he finally give up and move on with life?

Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

"This topic has also heavily impacted the real estate market."

I seriously doubt this has "heavily" impacted the real estate market, but I do believe it has an impact. So, 'unfair', I am assuming you are a homeowner, can you tell me how much less your house is worth because you are now in an FHS area, even though you live closer to AV.