The California Department of Education (CDE) just released the recipients of its California Distinguished Schools award, which honors the "exemplary and inspiring" schools across the state.
Typically only 5% of schools are awarded with the California Distinguished School title, which schools are allowed to use for four years --- and in 2007, there were 21 Silicon Valley schools (11 from San Mateo County and 10 from Santa Clara County) that received the honor.
Elementary and secondary schools are evaluated in alternating years and, this year, it was time for the middle and high schools to go under the microscope.
As frequent readers here know, I'm a big advocate of not only looking at real estate in established educational powerhouses, but also finding up-and-coming schools. After all, schools power real estate demand --- even if you don't have kids --- and people looking for the "next big thing" in terms of appreciation need to look beyond what's already been priced into the market.
There were some big winners this year in Silicon Valley and this article kicks off a week of market analysis homing in on key cities in these school districts. Here's a whirlwind tour.
Fremont Union High School District (South Bay)
Fremont Union primarily covers the Silicon Valley staples, Cupertino and Sunnyvale, but also includes areas of other Santa Clara County cities including Los Altos, Saratoga, and San Jose.
Three of Fremont Union's five high schools received the California Distinguished School award this year. Monta Vista High School and Lynbrook High have both amassed five of the awards, while fellow 2007 winner, Cupertino High, has been named a California Distinguished School three times.
The Fremont Union High School District web site has a PDF map that shows the areas each school in the district covers.
Sequoia Union High School District (Peninsula)
Sequoia Union covers a wide stretch of Silicon Valley and the Peninsula, serving the San Mateo County cities of Atherton, Belmont, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, and Woodside.
Three of Sequoia Union's four comprehensive education high schools (Sequoia Union has one vocational high school) won this year. And of the award winners, both Sequoia High School and Menlo-Atherton High School have won the award twice, while Carlmont High School has won the award three times.
The Sequoia Union High School District web site has a handy tool that lets you check what school any given address in the district feeds into.
The Campbell Union High School District has two up-and-coming schools that are brand new winners this year, Del Mar and Branham High.
And, further north in the San Mateo Union School District are two more first-time winners, Burlingame High and Hillsdale High.
I'll post the latest home values in the 1SiliconValley.com Housing Market section.