When looking at many local communities, home buyers will start by comparing the performance of elementary schools in terms of overall scores, parent involvement, and improvement in recent years. Many buyers expect that schools in some districts, especially Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Cupertino will score consistently high. There's no problem comparing school scores within each category, but buyers should consider the "package" of schools so they understand how school scores drive pricing.
One of the major factors in pricing homes in Silicon Valley is the range of drop in middle and high school scores from elementary schools. For example, in the southern area of the 95129 ZIP code, the elementary schools are good but the middle schools fall far short of better neighboring districts. As a result, it's not uncommon to see a 20-30% price difference for a similar home from one district to the next. To make it easier to compare, I'm pointing out all the middle school scores in each town.
- Terman Middle School (aka "Terman") API 940
- David Starr Jordan (aka "Jordan") API 938
- Jane Lathrop Stanford (aka "JLS") API 931
All these schools have a perfect "10" GreatSchools Rating and lots of good feedback from parents and students.
- Georgina P. Blach (aka "Blach") API 965
- Ardis G. Egan (aka "Egan") API 968
All these schools also have perfect "10" GreatSchools Ratings and lots of positive feedback. It's important to note that both Los Altos middle schools score higher than any of the Palo Alto middle schools. A common misperception of home buyers, especially those relocating from outside the area, is that Los Altos has weak middle schools. As you can see, that's not the case.
- Isaac Newton Graham (aka "Graham") API 814
- Crittenden (always just "Crittenden") API 764
In Mountain View, the two best elementary schools are Huff and Bubb. They both feed into Graham which has the strongest of the two middle schools. The neighborhoods that surround these schools include Waverly Park, Cuesta Park, and Springer Meadows. Waverly Park offers a good value in terms of homes (most over 2000 s.f.) and lot size (usually 8000-10,000 s.f.) which makes the area as close to Los Altos as you can get in Mountain View but at very competitive prices (20-30% lower than similar Los Altos homes.
- John F. Kennedy (aka "Kennedy") API 986
- Juaquin Miller (aka "Miller") API 983
- Sam H. Lawson (aka "Lawson") API 983
- Cupertino Middle API 928
- Warren E. Hyde (aka "Hyde") API 855
As you can see, the top 3 Cupertino middle schools easily outscore all the others but test scores alone don't tell the whole story. For example, Kennedy Middle School has an amazing site with gorgeous sports facilities including multiple baseball fields, upgraded basketball courts, batting cages, and others. Prices for homes in the neighborhoods around Kennedy, Miller, and Lawson are in line with entry level Los Altos and Palo Alto prices but you tend to get more home for the money. There are sections of Sunnyvale that feed into Cupertino Middle so bargain hunters can look there. Hyde is a bit of an anomoly but it still ranks very well.