This School District Has Been Named One of the Best/ Most Equitable in California
California is lucky to have a number of excellent public school systems that provide excellent education to a wide range of students. The Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District stands out as an example of success and fairness in the state.
What makes the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District unique?
There are about 3,200 students in grades 9–12 in the Los Gatos–Saratoga Joint Union High School District (LGSUHSD). These students go to two high schools, Los Gatos High School and Saratoga High School. This district has a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence. According to many publications and websites, both of its high schools are regularly ranked as some of the best public high schools in the country.
In 2024, LGSUHSD is ranked as the best school district in California and the third best in the country by Niche. The district got an A+ for academics, teaching, getting ready for college, health and safety, and diversity. It also got an A for sports, clubs, and activities. A strong college readiness score of 95.8%, a low student-teacher ratio of 19:1, and a graduation rate of 99% are some of the school’s other strengths.
But LGSUHSD really stands out because it is dedicated to fairness and inclusion for all students, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic position, or academic ability. The district has made a detailed equity plan that includes its vision, goals, strategies, and actions to make sure that every student has the same chances and tools to do well in school and beyond. Some of the district’s efforts to promote equality are:
- Offering professional development for staff on topics like cultural proficiency, implicit bias, social justice, and anti-racism.
- Setting up a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) that meets all of the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students by providing targeted, widespread, and intense help.
- Offering a wide range of courses and programs, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Career Technical Education (CTE), and Special Education, to meet the needs and interests of all students.
- Creating a safe and caring school setting where students, staff, and families can build relationships based on trust, respect, and a sense of belonging.
- Actively engaging stakeholders in constructive dialogues and collaborative efforts to address equity and inclusion issues within the district and the community.
How does the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District compare to other school systems in California?
To fully understand what LGSUHSD has done, it helps to look at it alongside other exceptional and fair school systems in California. Based on the 2024 Niche results, these are California’s top 10 school districts:
- Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District
- Palo Alto Unified School District
- Acalanes Union High School District
- Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District
- San Dieguito Union High School District
- Manhattan Beach Unified School District
- Piedmont City Unified School District
- La Cañada Unified School District
- Carmel Unified School District
- San Marino Unified School District
These school districts all have great academic success, high rates of college readiness, high graduation rates, and a low ratio of students to teachers. But they are not the same when it comes to variety, fairness, and inclusion. Of the students at LGSUHSD, 54% are white, 28% are Asian, 9% are Hispanic, 4% are multiracial, 3% are black, and 2% are from other groups. The student bodies in some of the other areas, like La Cañada Unified School District (66%), Carmel Unified School District (71%), and San Marino Unified School District (75%), are mostly white.
LGSUHSD also stands out because it has a clear and thorough equity plan, which can be seen on its website, which has a section on equity and inclusion with lots of tools for staff, students, and families. On the other hand, some of the other districts’ websites either don’t have a part on equity and inclusion or have plans that aren’t as well thought out and have policies or statements that are too general or vague.
The Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District is one of the best and fairest school districts in California. All of its students, no matter their background or skills, get a great education there. The district actively promotes a culture of respect and belonging for everyone by having a clear vision and a strong commitment to equity and inclusion. They also have many programs and projects that help students with their academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Other school systems in the state and the country look to it as an example of how to make education great and fair for everyone.