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Top cities to live and learn in the Northeast 2011

What are most family-friendly towns in the Northeast? From cozy coastal hamlets to bucolic bedroom suburbs, we found the 10 best cities that rank tops in housing and public schools.

By GreatSchools Staff

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Falmouth, ME

Education quality score: 100.00
Median home value: $351,550
Population: 10,669

This quintessential New England coastal town may seem eerily familiar. Schooners aplenty and breathtaking beaches (and bracingly cold water) attract the eye – but your sense of déjà vu is courtesy of Stephen King, who set more than a few scenes in this quiet hamlet near his hometown of Portland. Horror, however, is not this town’s biggest claim to fame. Falmouth's got serious education chops, consistently outperforming state and national averages in achievement and earning the only perfect score on the educational quality index. The low student-teacher ratio (12:1), a generous dollars-per-pupil spend of $10,075, and a highly-educated staff (more than 60 percent of teachers have at least a master’s degree), add up to an all-star student body.

Last year, 90 percent of the high school’s graduates went to four-year colleges, including Ivy League and other highly selective schools. Recently visited by an accreditation committee, Falmouth High School earned kudos for its mission and academic results. The high school “takes the business of preparing students academically, emotionally, and socially very seriously,” the committee reported. To wit, every student must complete 30 hours of community service and present a senior discovery portfolio including student work, a copy of a college application, a resume, and copy of a current CPR card to graduate.

Learn more about schools in Falmouth, ME.

Photo credit: InAweofGod'sCreation

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

04/28/2011:
"East Aurora, NY has top school system, quality small historic town, with Fisher-Price toy company, Moog, astronics, and many other companies that are doing extremely well. This town should be included in your best cities and towns to live in."
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