Palo Alto for Young Families

I am wondering about first hand experience for young families with both parents working and raising kid.

For us, commute will be great so we’ll have more time with the kids instead of commuting, but wondering if Palo Alto schools are really as good as private schools? We are weighting between living in Palo Alto vs RWC with private school. Our kid is going to KG next year.

Palo Alto high schools will probably be superior cohort-wise to Redwood City high schools. However, they are pressure cookers. A lot of suicides. If your kid is motivated, it might not matter.

PA elementary schools will depend on which one.

I’m in RWC. Many of the schools are “highly regarded”, but not like PA schools. You can also try to get into Northstar Academy or transfer to a different school using the school of choice program.

Which private schools are you looking at if you live in RWC?

What month is your child’s birthday? To what extent is he/she reading right now, and what level math are they doing?

The tradeoffs with PA public vs. RWC private are

  1. If you don’t like the public school, you’re stuck. If you don’t like the private school, you have flexibility. I’ve moved all my kids out of the original private school we were at to different schools. I wouldn’t have known their needs ahead of time, and PA schools may or may not have been sufficient for one of my kids.

  2. Appreciation might be higher in PA because it is well-regarded OR it might be higher if you buy in RWC in one of the least desirable school districts and wait 20 years to move while RWC gentrifies. Either way, the money spent on private schools is definitely lost whereas the money you put into the house/interest is partly yours to keep.

  3. Are you commuting North or South? PA vs. RWC will make a 15-20 minute difference each way on your commute.

How different they are? I assume it will be different based on the teachers but are they that different?

She is Feb born. Reading simple words that rhyme and such. Math is probably just basic counting and addition right now.

We are commuting to Menlo Park and North Sunnyvale, so ideally Palo Alto, Mountain View or West Sunnyvale would give us 15-20 mins commute for each. When I am considering Private school, I am considering house location like north of El Camino in both MV and Sunnyvale that school might be not that desirable.

Ok. So not private schools in/near RWC.

Probably depends on the principal’s philosophy and neighborhood demographic more than the teachers. I don’t actually know, but in Menlo Park, they are quite different.

Also–this was 2009, so things might’ve changed–my friends tried renting in PA and went to the district to find out whether her son would get into the school assigned to a particular rental. The district said that he could end up anywhere if the school was full and refused to tell her where he’d be assigned unless she brought in a signed lease.

I used to live in northern side of PA (i rented SFH there.). I guess it is best place in BA to live and raise your kids if you can afford to buy nice SFH in good neighborhood (except the place like ventura).
Now i live in cupertino district(Lynbrook high area) and compare to my kids’ current school, the pressure on academics was much easier in PA (There was 0 homework policy in my kid’ elementary). However, pressure on wealth(?) is there. I don’t think engineers who make $500k a year would feel very included in social circle of north PA.
I don’t know much about Gunn high area but in Paly area, there are about 50% asian(mostly chinese), 40% caucasian 10% others. Two majority groups are segregated.
Two working parents are not common and thus after school programs are not really great.
Most of two working parents have nannies.
I liked most of teachers, curriculums especially music and art. STEM teachers/peograms in middle school were not as good as cupertino schools though.


Is there a social circle in PA? I thought neighbors just communicated through their lawyers… lol

Maybe because my main interactions were on construction projects…

In Emerald Hills we formed a very active neighborhood group called First Friday’s . Every month 30-50 neighbors would have pot luck in someone’s driveway.

We joined a similar group in Tahoe. It is called the TRPA. Tahoe regional party authority.
50 women meet monthly for a women’s lunch. The husbands play golf. Plus there are parties weekly in the summer.

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I guess there is.
They talk about weekend trip to paris in their private jet and i really didn’t know what to say. Maybe that’s the way they pick right people to hang out. It was play date for the familes who started kinder that year.


I think best place to raise kids is actually los altos.

You should have Tagged along. that’s how you build network, and then wealth.

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My Woodside buddies kids were invited on to Ellison’s yatch. He wasn’t though.
People that fly private don’t need more friends…


Join the Menlo Circus club. Tennis and Polo…

I already gave up. :slightly_smiling_face:

However, i listened to TED radio this morning and the subject was “comfort zone”
Then, i realized how bad i have been in getting out of my comfort zone and expanding my network.
Well, at least, now i am aware of this issue. That is a progress. Right?


How so? I thought Los Altos has older caucasian folks only?

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More family friendly, achools seem to have better environment, larger lots and quieter streets, lots of space for kids to play.

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Los Altos is better for kids because there are no other kids around? :thinking:

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Who said there are no other fams? Palo alto streets are busy.

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