California is lucky to have a number of excellent public school districts that provide excellent education to a wide range of students. Within the state, the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District stands out as an example of success and fairness.
What Sets the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District Apart?
About 3,200 students in grades 9–12 attend the Los Gatos–Saratoga Joint Union High School District (LGSUHSD). The students are split between two high schools, Los Gatos High School and Saratoga High School. Several publications and websites regularly rank both of this district’s high schools as among the best public high schools in the country. The district has a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence.
LGSUHSD is ranked as the best school district in California and the third best in the country in the 2024 Niche rankings. The school district got an A+ for academics, teachers, college readiness, health and safety, and diversity. It also got an A for sports, clubs, and programs. It also has a low student-teacher ratio of 19:1, a strong college readiness score of 95.8%, and an impressive 99% graduation rate.
But what really sets LGSUHSD apart is its unwavering dedication to fairness and inclusion for all students, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic position, or academic ability. The school 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. Among the district’s efforts to promote equality are the following:
- Offering professional development for staff on topics like cultural proficiency, implicit bias, social justice, and anti-racism.
- A multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) is being put in place to meet the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of all children through targeted, intensive, and universal interventions.
- Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Career Technical Education (CTE), and Special Education are just some of the courses and programs that are available to meet the needs and hobbies of each student.
- Making the school a safe and caring place where students, staff, and families can build good relationships, respect, and a feeling of belonging.
- Actively engaging stakeholders in constructive dialogues and collaborative efforts to address equity and inclusion issues within the district and the community.
Comparing Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District to Other California Districts
To understand what LGSUHSD has done, it helps to look at it in the context of other excellent and fair California school systems. The 2024 Niche rankings say the following are the top 10 school districts in California:
- Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District
- Palo Alto Unified School District
- La Cañada Unified School District
- Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District
- San Dieguito Union High School District
- Carmel Unified School District
- San Marino Unified School District
- Acalanes Union High School District
- Manhattan Beach Unified School District
- Piedmont City Unified School District
There are some things that all of these districts have in common, like high graduation rates, great academic success, and a low ratio of students to teachers. They are not the same, though, when it comes to variety, fairness, and inclusion.
LGSUHSD, on the other hand, has a more varied group of students: 54% are white, 28% are Asian, 9% are Hispanic, 4% are multiracial, 3% are black, and 2% are from other backgrounds. Some of the other schools, like La Cañada Unified School District (66%), Carmel Unified School District (71%), and San Marino Unified School District (75%), have mostly white students.
Additionally, LGSUHSD stands out because it has a clear and thorough equity plan, which can be seen on its website, which has a section devoted to equity and inclusion with detailed tools for staff, students, and families. However, 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 more general or vague.
The Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District is one of the best and fairest school systems in California. It gives all of its students, no matter what their background is or how well they do in school, a top-notch education. The district works to create an environment where everyone feels like they fit in and are treated fairly.
They do this by having a clear vision and a strong commitment to equity and inclusion, as well as many programs and initiatives that help students with their academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Other schools in the state and the country look to it as an example of how to make education great and fair for everyone.