Schools in Lafayette>Question Details

Lenore Wilkas, Real Estate Pro in San Mateo, CA

What are the schools like in Lafayette?

Asked by Lenore Wilkas, San Mateo, CA Thu May 24, 2007

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I cannot speak for the schools in Blackhawk and Alamo, but they are nice areas albeit very different. Blackhawk is much newer construction.

The gentleman below mentioned that there is a portion of Walnut Creek that feeds into Lafayette schools. You may want to look at the houses that are along Olympic Blvd., West of Hwy 680. That's the general area that feeds into the Lafayette schools (although you'd want to confirm any house w/the owner/realtor).

I'd say that another thing to take into consideration when you look at the three towns is location. W/Lafayette being on a BART line, it's far easier to get into SF during a work day than Alamo & Blackhawk. If you're at home but thinking about going back to work some time in the future, that's something to think about. You can get to SF, Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Ramon/Bishop Ranch and Pleasanton all w/in 45 minutes either driving or taking BART.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 7, 2008
A couple of thoughts ...test scores are averages. School test scores correlate to the socio-economic cross section of the population being tested more than anything else. If you are concerned about your child learning check how the test scores correlate to the socio-economics of the population. If the scores are higher than you'd expect that school is doing something right. If they are lower the school has a problem. As to Susan's decision about the neighborhoods in Lafayette, Alamo and Blackhawk if she is concerned about the schools remember that both Alamo and Blackhawk are in the San Ramon School District ... and many of the schools are impacted and she may not get her child in the local school just because she lives nearby ... and the school boundaries do not follow city or community lines (neither Blackhawk or Alamo are cities) and even in Lafayette there are portions of the zip code whcih are unincorporated and the kids go to either Mt Diablo Schools or Martinez Schools ... there are also portions of Walnut Creek where the kids go to Lafayette Schools. As to where to buy a house. Find a community and a specific neighborhood where you feel comfortable with what you see ... the chances are pretty high that the other people in the neighborhood will share a lot of your same values ... including being involved in the kids schools, their music program, their soccer team and the scouts ... then go talk to the school principal and attend the parent-teacher association meeting, you will be amazed at what you will learn. And find a good realtor who knows all the areas you are considering and then listen. A major plus to the real estate industry is the use of the internet by our clients so they can be active participants in the search. A major drawback is to think that all the information and guidance that they need is there making them experts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 7, 2008
I couldn't tell you 100%. If they do, it's a small percentage. Very small.

Look at the Great Schools website. Lafayette schools are ranked neck and neck w/the best districts in Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara Counties; as well as the City of Piedmont.

There are a small amount of apartments in Lafayette that may be a bit lower on the socio-economic spectrum, but I've not heard it impacting the quality of the schools.

In fact, our family (and I know countless others) move to Lafayette BECAUSE the schools are great. Yes, you pay more for a smaller home that you can get in other communities, but homes keep their values (relatively speaking), it's convenient to SF and its beautiful.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 6, 2008
Well, there could be some funny stuff going on amongst the older grades. My daughter just finished K, and the teachers were awesome, and they seem to be highly focused upon creating a positive environment for the kids. Heck, when I was growing up and in school, they made out my HS to be full of drug-crazed spoiled kids that are ruining the community (this was in suburban Dallas). Yes, some kids got into a lot of trouble, but the majority of students were good students that went on to be "productive members of society."

Re the market in Lafayette. Yes, there's been some correction in the market, but when you compare to 95% of the Bay Area, we're keeping our value pretty well. Pulling this data straight from Trulia, May - July -08 the avg selling price has declined 2.2% vs. the same time as LY. In this economy, I'd take that any day of the week!

If people are cutting their original asking price by $200K+, then my bet is that they had an unrealistic expectation of the market to begin with. Gone are the days (at least for now) when you can have a 94549 zip and just "assume" that the market will go up every quarter.

But we're just a short hop away from Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, etc where their values truly have dropped by 20% - 25%. Many of those who bought there are 1st time home buyers w/limited equity. I feel for them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 6, 2008
The schools are great, and the scores prove it. My daughter has an IEP, and she gets excellent additional support. Also, the parents are very involved and voulnteer/raise additional money to make up for state shortfalls.

No district is "utopia"- but I have not heard what Susan referenced and based upon some of her other posts about how Lafayette is "so overpriced and is due for a 25% market correction" I wonder what her movitation is in her under-selling the schools...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 6, 2008
Susan, you answer and reference reflects students not the schools. There are hard working people in the community trying to keep Lafayette schools at their well deserved high rating. Props to the parents, by the way.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2008
The schools are great, the community supports them with consistently passing bond measures which is very difficult with the 2/3 vote requirement - after all it takes resources ($) to pay for education.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2008
Generally, the incorporated portions of Lafayette feed into the Lafayette Elementary School District (k - 8) and then Acalanes High School (part of the Acalanes High School District which also includes Miramonte HS in Orinda, Campolindo HS in Moraga and Las Lomas HS in Walnut Creek). Additionally some neighborhoods with a Walnut Creek address along the Lafayette border also feed into Lafayette schools. Most of the un-incorporated areas of Lafayette feed into either the Martinez Schools or in a few cases along Pleasant Hill Rd and Geary Rd into the Mt Diablo School District.

The curriculum for all the Lafayette schools is outstanding for any child in the highest performance rankings ... some of the elementary classrooms score several grades ahead of their actual grade ... perfect and challenging for those kids working at that level, but it might be time to be cautious if your 5th grader (for example) tests out normal for a 5th grader ... and everyone else in the class is working at the 8th grade level.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 26, 2007
GreatSchools.net is a wonderful online source. It is very informative and user friendly!! You can locate schools, find ratings, do side-by-side comparisons and the MCAS results are readily available. Parents of students also post ratings.

Best of luck,
Melissa Mancini, Realtor, CBR, GRI
Web Reference: http://MelissaBMancini.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 25, 2007
Acalanes School district in Lafayette is one of the best in the state, and is commonly considered the best in Contra Costa county. However, much like many other towns in Contra Costa, part of Lafayette is in another school district - Martinez School district - which is not great. The price premium for Acalanes versus Martinez school district can be $50k or more depending on the buyer pool for the property (starter home for a family versus a empty-nester type home will obviously have different price premiums). I'd love to hear others chime in on the discussion.

-Josh
Web Reference: http://www.BayAreaREI.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 14, 2007
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