For a good school, head no further than Santa Cruz.
California's best public high school is in the sleepy surfer town, according to U.S. News and World Report, which compiled an annual list of the nation's finest secondary schools.
Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, a charter school, is the best high school in all of the Golden State -- and the 11th-best school nationally, according to the list. Its principal says that the school is a place "that you come to be intellectual," according to the Chronicle's parenting blog. So it's safe to assume the cool kids do calculus, not football.
The next Bay Area school on the list is another charter: American Indian Public High School in Oakland. The institution, which recently lost its charter from the Oakland Unified School District, is fifth-best in the state.
Lowell High School in San Francisco, an old-school public school that attracts the city's best and brightest from the school district, is eighth-best in California and ranked No. 43 nationally.
See the entire list here.