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Top education towns 2011:
Median home prices $800,000 or more

Clustered on the East and West Coasts, these cities offer wonderful public schools and plenty of other attractions, but be prepared for the sticker shock of million-dollar homes.

By GreatSchools Staff

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Lafayette, CA

Educational quality score: 89.58
Median home value: $811,210
Population: 25,035

Take a walk on the tree-lined streets of Lafayette, California, and you'd never know that prospectors tried drilling for oil here at the turn of the 20th century. Residents have long since abandoned working in oil fields in lieu of commuting to high-rise offices in nearby San Francisco and Oakland.

It's no wonder that San Francisco 49er Joe Montana has, like so many other deep-pocketed Bay Area folks, set roots here. Lafayette's sprawling, hillside ranch homes and manses cost well above the regional average — and median incomes are equally bountiful. The city's residents expect to get a lot from the six public schools in town — and they're seldom disappointed.

A local foundation supports Lafayette's education system by contributing $1.3 million a year in science, writing, and music classes, including creative writing classes for all 10th-graders in the district. This commitment to creativity may be one reason why Lafayette Elementary School  was among California's top Distinguished Schools in 2010. Impressive results in the Academic Performance Index put Acalanes High School in third place among all high schools in the state. The high school also secured a Silver Medal in U.S. News & World Report's most recent list of best high schools in the country.

Learn more about schools in Lafayette, CA.

Photo credit: crowbot

Comments from readers

"As a proud parent of 2 West School Elementary students, I know our teachers and administrators are tops and that my children are getting a fabulous public school education. Way to go NC!"