Top High Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area (page 2)
Below are profiles featuring the top 12 high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. In order to be featured as a Top High School, the school must have a 2010 Education.com TestRating of 10 out of 10. The TestRating compares a school's standardized test scores for a given year with scores from other schools in the same state. Find your school and see how it compares.
Oakland Unified School District
Since the American Indian Public High School serves a large free and reduced lunch population, the public charter school provides personal support and all the resources students need to attend a post-secondary school after graduation. The school focuses on college preparation and has a rigorous curriculum including an extended school year.
Free SAT prep classes are provided for each student and the school covers the test registration fees for the SAT and PSAT tests. Each student is provide with all the tools needed for success, including AP prep books, calculators, and school supplies. The school also pays for college application fees for each student and provides free tutoring whenever needed.
Personal support and mentoring is a priority with the staff. An on campus counselor walks the students through college application and financial aid processes, and many students receive full scholarships to top schools. After graduation, the school keeps in contact with graduates and provides support through college. The school hopes to have sports in the future, but currently only offers extracurricular activities, such as student government, chess, and scrabble.
“Our kids work incredibly hard and come into school knowing it will be difficult. By setting high expectations for our students and giving them the resources, our students are successful,” said Rebecca Cisin, Administrative Assistant to the Director.
San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Parental and community involvement at California High School helps the school provide excellent programming and support for the students. During the recent budget shortfall, the parents banded together to supplement the allocated budget. In addition to an athletic booster club, the school also has booster clubs to support Academics, Choral Music, Drama, Instrumental, and PTSA programs. Community and business partnerships are also integral to the success of the school.
Students benefit from new and renovated athletic facilities, including an aquatic center, tennis courts, and a softball/baseball complex. Other new building projects include a new main building, Fine Arts building, theater, and gymnasium. The school offers winning athletic and academic teams. For those who aren't feeling athletic, other campus activities include clubs and the performing arts program.
An academically rigorous environment is provided through many AP courses and honors course. Dual enrollment options are also available at nearby colleges. Students can pursue future careers through the Regional Occupational Program. Two academies are offered for interested students – Biomedical Academy and Biomedical Sciences Academy.
Acalanes Union High School District
Campolindo High School uses a challenging curriculum and the latest technology to create a high performing school. The administration is impressive and the principal received the honor of California Principal of the Year in 2009.
The AP program offers an extensive selection of courses and attracts many students. Through the Learning Skills program, high performing students tutor struggling students.
One of the highlights of the school is the integration of technology into the school and instruction. The school has an on campus architecture, digital photo, and video production lab. The students have access to iPads, smart pens, digital cameras, and computers, and many classes are equipped with Smart Boards that teachers actively use in instruction.
Athletics are competitive and Bob Wilson, Campolindo's Athletic Director, received statewide recognition in 2010. The school is known for having a first rate swimming pool that is used for many competitions on a high level. The school also places on an emphasis on the arts and has over 30 art classes for students to choose from.
Palo Alto Unified School District
The community members living near Henry M. Gunn High School, even those without children enrolled at the school, provide incredible support through volunteering, voting for funding, and donations. The school gives students advanced opportunities through many educational partnerships, including working with Stanford and San Jose State for instruction. Local companies also provide equipment to enhance the classroom studies.
Technology education is also emphasized through courses in computer science, virtual animation, robotics, and automotive technology. iPads are currently being piloted at the school and technology is integrated into the curriculum.
The school offers many AP classes and many academic teams take top honors in events. To promote the whole child, the school provides many opportunities for exposure to the arts including choir, several bands, ceramics, theater, and video production. Athletics are popular and competitive on campus, and a high percent of students playing a sport. While some 135 clubs available are focused on fun, the majority of the clubs focus on service.
“Because our school is in Silicon Valley, there is definitely a feeling here and an environment that supports and permeates of feeling of inquiry, knowledge, and drive,” said Katya Villalobos, Principal.
San Francisco Unified School District
Students at Lowell High School are focused on post-secondary education and over 97 percent of them are college-bound. The school is a magnet school for San Francisco residents and students are admitted based on an application process.
Lowell uses modular scheduling with 21 modules each day so students can schedule in activities and free time. When students have a free module, they can use one of the resource centers on campus. In the second semester of the ninth grade, students begin self-scheduling their classes.
Student participation in activities is one of the hallmarks of the school and over 80 clubs are offered. Top honors are often taken home by the Speech and Debate Team and Mock Trial. The Junior ROTC is also very active on campus.
The school holds the record for city championships among San Francisco public high schools and currently has 27 sports teams. Dances throughout the year and the Cardinal Carnival are popular on-campus events.
The school's philosophy, as detailed on their website, reads: "Lowell endeavors to create a just and equitable society where individual responsibilities are clearly defined and personal rights guaranteed. It endorses the concept of an integrated school where cultural and social diversity enrich the lives of all students."
Fremont Union High School District
School spirit runs high at Lynbrook High, from students showing up to cheer on athletic teams to participation in school activities. The students are also very involved in the community and complete many service hours, even though there is no community service requirement for graduation. The teachers base their classroom instruction on research and participate in extra professional development.