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The top cities to live and learn in the South 2011

What are most family-friendly towns in the Southern states? From beachfront beauties to swanky suburbs, here are the 10 best cities that rank tops in housing and public schools.

By GreatSchools Staff

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Parkland, FL

Education quality score: 95.98
Median home value: $426,390
Population: 25,106

Parkland is a small, prosperous city located halfway between Miami and West Palm Beach. As its name suggests, Parkland boasts plenty of green space, which it protects with strict zoning laws. There are acres of parks, trails, and wilderness preserves, where visitors may catch a glimpse of a coyote, or even an alligator.

Parkland has managed to avoid the fast-food restaurants and big-box stores that cover so much of Florida, and takes pride in its small-town atmosphere. Its retail and business sections are clustered together village-style, welcoming bikers and pedestrians alike.

Kids in Parkland attend neighborhood schools in the Broward County school district. The district, which includes 230 traditional schools, 68 charter schools and one virtual school, routinely receives top marks from the Florida School Recognition Program, and boasts the state's first district-wide, anti-bullying program. Florida’s constitution mandates class size limits for all public schools. Up through third grade, classes cannot have more than 18 students, and even high school classes are limited to 25.

Westglades Middle School features state-of-the-art technology in its classrooms and labs, and offers a large number of advanced classes. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, named after the journalist and environmentalist who fought to protect the Everglades from development, has been repeatedly recognized by Newsweek as a top U.S. high school.

Learn more about schools in Parkland, FL.

Photo credit: Carl Mikoy

 

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

05/10/2011:
"As a teacher in Anne Arundel County Public Schools, I have no class smaller than 30 students, so I don't know where Great Schools is getting their student-teacher ratio!"
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