March 13th, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Author: Jessica Foote from Team Foote
This article originally appeared on
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“What are the best schools?” is by far the most common question I receive from my out-of-town clients. And, as a relocation certified agent, I get asked that question a lot. Since I am a local mother of three who has made some connections in the Poway Unified School District, I thought I would share the best ways I’ve found to search for the ideal school for your children, whether you are considering a public, private, or charter school.

Here are a few of the best websites you can use to determine the best areas to live in and schools for your kids within San Diego County. Since you are likely a busy parent and professional like me, I will share my favorite website first.

2015 Niche Rankings completed a ranking for the best K-12 school districts in California. IMHO, this is the best website overall to use when drilling down the areas you should consider living in. It takes a number of factors into consideration that provide an overview of the total school experience vs. strictly focusing on school API or school academic scores. I was impressed to see that Poway Unified was No. 8 on this list. Click here to see the methodology.

The remainder of the websites are also great tools: Shows the homes ranked by great schools rating, size of school and/or district, and average student/teacher ratio. You can search by private, public and/or charter schools, and refine to search by elementary, middle, and high schools. is a phenomenal, outlined way to look at the entire county of San Diego, broken down by city. Within each city, you can see what the schools are and their ranking. Specifically, you will notice that in Carlsbad and San Elijo Hills, the schools (elementary and middle) are almost all ranked as 10s. A few are 8 and 9 in Carlsbad.

Great Schools is a great resource if you generally know what area(s) you would like to live in. You can specifically drill down to the schools, by searching the city or ZIP code. This site shows you what parents are saying about the school, which can be helpful.

U.S. News and World Report High School Education Rankings by school district is a great tool to use to search for the best high schools in California. I thought it was interesting to look up the best high schools within the local Poway Unified School District.

School Digger is a data-rich site you can use to take a deep and detailed look at school information and data in multiple ways: by school district, by city, by school, etc. It’s not my favorite way to look at school data, but hey, we all like to see information in different ways!

California Department of Education: If you are a “numbers” person and strictly like to make decisions based on the data, this is the site for you. It breaks down the schools by their API or Academic Performance Index score. You can look at this information by school, county, district, or state.

Find Top Schools has a very handy District Rank search where you can see how they performed by API scores and API percentile. It can be a quick, at-a-glance tool for you to use.

As a San Diego native, parent, and someone with access to an insider at Poway Unified, I am a perfect resource when you are considering a move to San Diego, specifically the areas that belong and are adjacent to the Poway Unified School District.

All the best,

Jessica Foote
CALBRE #01861694

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