Public, private schools among state’s best

If parents judged schools and educators judged parents like kids judge YouTube videos, Los Altos would likely rate five stars each.

Besides stellar standardized test scores, the 10 public and seven private schools in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills excel by many measures – resources, facilities, results and satisfaction.

And the support for schools, in hours, in tax support and in voluntary contributions, is also among the highest in the state.

In fact, the demand for the high-quality education offered in Los Altos is so great that while K-12 enrollment declines statewide, it’s increasing in the Los Altos school districts.

The community attracts parents who focus on education. “People look online and look at the scores, then try to decide if they can afford to live in the community,” said a community volunteer and former PTA president.

In Los Altos, the Los Altos elementary district runs six elementary and two junior high schools. Cupertino Union School District operates Montclaire Elementary. The only public high school in Los Altos is Los Altos High, although many students from the city also attend Mountain View High.

The public elementary schools regularly score in the 900s on the state’s Academic Performance Index, the 200-to-1,000 scale used for measuring academic achievement. In fact, four elementary schools score in the top 25 in the state, and both Egan and Blach junior high score in the top 15 middle schools.

Moreover, the schools’ success isn’t the result merely of favorable demographics – wealthy families, educated parents, low mobility and English spoken in the home. Los Altos elementary schools do well even against schools with similar demographics.

An assistant superintendent of the Los Altos School District credits parents who value education and demonstrate their support by getting involved. Almond Elementary School, for example, logs about 30,000 volunteer hours a year. That’s about 160 hours a day over the course of the school year, and nine hours per class daily, he points out.

“There’s a silent message in the modeling that goes on, when students see their parents and other parents involved in the school,” he said. “There’s an understanding that what we’re doing here is important.”

Such involvement extends to high school. Every day, about 20 parents are on campus at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools, helping tutor, selling food at lunch and supporting activities such as athletics, music and robotics. Parent involvement is “one of the things that really differentiates our schools from other schools” and contributes to success, said the superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District.

Even with stellar public schools, private schools thrive in the community.

At Pinewood, classes start with about eight students in kindergarten, and grow to around 14 at other grades. “Because of small class sizes, we have a really nurturing family environment,” Pinewood President said.

At the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, play is the foundation of elementary education. At the high school, the curriculum is interdisciplinary, focusing on moral reasoning and intellectual development, said Waldorf’s development director.

The community is generous, a former PTA President said. “They want to support their schools.”

 Note: This is a slightly edited version of a recent article, written by Sharon Noguchi for the San Jose Mercury News.


Los Altos Ranks Among The Highest In The Nation

American Community Survey

Los Altos made national news in December when the U.S. Census Bureau released data indicating that the city’s median family income ranked among the highest in the nation.

The new census information, part of the American Community Survey, reported that Los Altos at $158,745 was among only nine midsized towns in the country to have a median income exceeding $150,000. The other affluent towns were in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Texas and Virginia.

The census survey provides the first in-depth picture of Los Altos since the 2000 census and shows that the city’s basic character – a suburban bedroom community for Silicon Valley professionals – remains unchanged.

California had the lion’s share of cities reporting median home values of more than $1 million, including Los Altos, Palo Alto and Menlo Park. The Los Altos numbers were higher than Santa Clara County as a whole, which reported a median home value of $725,800 and a median income of $96,884.

Some of the new information showed significant change – the city’s Asian population, for instance, has grown from approximately 15 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2007.

Other shifts have been more subtle. Although the school-age population has grown, Los Altos’ average age increased over the last eight years.

In 2000, Los Altos tallied 27,693 residents with a median age of 44.2. By 2007, the median age was 45.2 and the population increased to approximately 29,000.

Los Altos continues to show a stark juxtaposition between young families – about a quarter of Los Altos residents are under 18 – and a senior population higher than that of any neighboring community. Approximately 18 percent of Los Altos residents are older than 65, and more than 3,000 households rely at least in part on Social Security income and receive a median amount of $19,933, more than $4,000 higher than the county average.

Approximately 23 percent of the Los Altos population is foreign born. A quarter of the population speaks a language other than English at home, with approximately 6,000 residents fairly evenly divided between speaking either an Indo-European language such as Hindi or an Asian language.

Los Altos has more school-age children than it did eight years ago, with approximately 7,800 Los Altos residents over 3 enrolled in schools, up from 7,012 in the last census. That figure includes 1,200 residents who study outside the city at colleges or professional schools.

The affluence reflected in the city’s median income originates at least in part in the specialized nature of the Los Altos work force. The majority of residents are privately employed in management or professional occupations, and more than 80 percent of those older than 25 had earned at least a bachelor’s degree. More had attained a graduate or professional degree (41 percent of that total) than those who had stopped at a bachelor’s degree (39 percent).

The census data provides a portrait of the community with details local groups could cite to spur social change. Los Altos’ commute statistics reveal a large crowd ripe for further low-carbon lobbying from the city’s environmental commission and citizen activists. The average resident has a 21-minute commute and drives to work – more than 80 percent reported they commute alone, although 307 residents reported they carpool and another 175 walk or take public transportation.

Note: This is a slightly edited version of a recent article, written by Eliza Ridgeway for the Los Altos Town Crier.


Fabulous 1939 Spanish Home – North Los Altos Close to Downtown

Posted on April 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured Story · Tagged:


This Property is no longer on the market

North Los Altos Home

3 Bedrooms, 1.5 baths, great bonus room, 12,000+/-sf lot in North Los Altos!

What an amazing neighborhood this is. North Los Altos has always been a highly desirable place to live. Whether you want fantastic schools, a walk to town location, or a quiet tree lined street, this home offers it all. As we started to meet the neighbors, it became clear that the buyer that purchases this home will make new friends quickly and will enjoy even more amenities than the home offers. Friends gather for the annual pumpkin carving in October and you may think this is just for kids but the word on the street is “kids” of ALL ages enjoy this event. 4th of July brings a block party to Sylvian Way.  The street is closed down so families can gather and the kids can play.  For those politically astute minds, you can always look forward to an election year forum where neighbors gather to gain knowledge on candidates and measures appearing on the ballot. This is another great gathering of neighbors that is both entertaining and informative.

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Map of Los Altos

Posted on April 20, 2009 by  
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Spring is in the Air!

Posted on April 15, 2009 by  
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What a great time to start thinking about Moving into Los Altos.  For all of you out there that have been thinking about buying a home in Los Altos, now is the time to jump in!  With historically low interest rates, and housing prices stabilizing, Los Altos Homes are more affordable than ever!  Many buyers that have been sitting on the fence just waiting for the right time to buy, have jumped off and purchased a home. 

For many years now, Los Altos housing inventory has been very low, with very little for buyers to choose from.  This created pent up demand and bidding wars on the few homes that did come up for sale.  In today’s market, with a larger inventory of homes currently for sale in Los Altos, buyers have more opportunity to find a home they love without the bidding frenzy of years past.  We have seen activity start to pick up over the last several weeks and we are encouraging all of our buyers to think about purchasing now while interest rates are low and prices are coming down.

Please contact us if you would like to find out more about the Los Altos Real Estate Market.  There are so many great things to look forward to in Los Altos over the next few months.  Buy now and start enjoying life in this great city.  Don’t miss the Annual Los Altos Pet Parade in May, the Los Altos Relay for Life in June, and the Los Altos Art and Wine Festival in July!


Beautiful Ranch Home Close To Downtown

Posted on April 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured Story, Sold Properties · Tagged:

190 Hillview Avenue – Los Altos

Sold in 24 Days!  March 2009

190 Hillview Avenue

Sold:  $1,425,000

190 Hillview Sold within 24 days of going on the market.  If you are ready to successfully sell your home, contact David & Carol today and let’s get started.

This wonderful home is in the heart of Los Altos. Conveniently located within a 5 minute walk to downtown shops, the local library, the community center and more! Situated within the award winning Los Altos School district, this 3+br/2.5ba home is ready for you to move right in.

Visit the website to see more about this great Los Altos property.

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