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Top Five Best School Systems in LA County

By Tabitha Naylor

According to 2013 API test results for K-12 school rankings San Marino, La Canada, Piedmont, Manhattan Beach Unified and Palos Verdes Peninsula School Districts come out on top. This article will look more closely at each of these top five districts.

San Marino Unified School District

The community has always played a vital role in the life of the Schools. In 1980 The San Marino Schools foundation was created which has helped the schools survive and thrive by raising the funds necessary to balance the District's budget. To date the foundation has contributed $18, 268,485 to the schools. This type of support is not found in many communities. The district has a highly skilled and committed teaching staff, a diverse and talented student body and enthusiastic and supportive parents who volunteer many hours of service to the schools. The academic departments include English, English language development, Health/P.E., math, regional occupation program, science, social science, special education, visual and performing arts, and world languages.

La Canada Unified School District

La Canada Unified School District is a high performing K-12 public school district located in Southern California just north of Los Angeles. There are three elementary schools, and one combined junior/senior high school serving a student body of 4000. Every one of the schools has been designated a California distinguished school and the High School has been named a national Blue Ribbon School. High on the list of initiatives is the implementation of a one to one student computing initiative that involves deploying a district wide wireless network and issuing every teacher and administrator an Apple iPad. The ultimate goal is to provide hand held computers to all students over the next several years.

Piedmont Unified School District

The slogan of the Piedmont Unified School District is "Students Come First." Teachers work hard to provide every student with a comprehensive, relevant and rigorous K-12 curriculum. Parent participation is a crucial component of the school district's success. All Residents show their commitment to community education through a parcel tax that contributes about $9 million dollars, or nearly one third of the annual district budget. The school district serves approximately 2,600 students with three elementary schools, a middle school, one traditional high school, and one alternative high school with a teaching, administrative and support staff of 360.

Manhattan Beach Unified School District

Manhattan Beach Unified School District serves 7,044 students with 1 preschool, 5 elementary schools, 1 middle and 1 high school. The school district ranks third out of all unified school districts in the state on API testing and has a graduation rate of 95.7%. The school district has 362 certificated and NCLB compliant teachers. The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation and PYA's actively support programs and services such as libraries, science specialists, lower class sizes, technology, reading specialists, music computer specialists, health assistants and classroom supplies by contributing over $5.5 million dollars to the district every year.

Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

This unified school district serves 11, 900 students in four peninsula cities. The school district's reputation as a quality education system attracts many families to this suburban area. The school district has two early childhood centers, 10 elementary schools, 3 intermediate schools (grades 6-8) two comprehensive high schools and one continuation school. The schools within the district continue to be recognized for outstanding achievements at local, state and national levels. Community, parent and the Peninsula Education Foundation make significant financial contributions to the schools to meet and supplement classroom needs.

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