Neighborhoods are defined in many different ways. In our area, two popular ways to look at neighborhoods, when searching for a residential property, are by beach, i.e. what beach area is the property walkable to and by school, typically public elementary schools. Below, both types of neighborhoods are defined by their proximity to a particular beach area and defined by some popular elementary school district boundaries. For example, this allows property buyers to search for homes that are only within the Capitola Beach area or properties that are only within the Rio Del Mar Elementary school district. It's a great way to drill down into neighborhoods that are most desirable for you.
These are neighborhoods that are attached by streets or pathways to popular Santa Cruz County beaches from Natural Bridges at the north to Pajaro Dunes at the south end of the county. The homes in these neighborhoods are generally within 6-8 blocks from the beach, a fairly easy walk with beach chairs, towels, boards, etc., making them conveniently located next to a particular beach area.
These are neighborhoods that are defined by public school attendance boundaries. Many home buyers think carefully about the schools their children will attend and choose their home location within the attendance boundary of highly rated schools. The public elementary schools listed here are the most highly rated according to Great Schools ratings and their Academic Performance Index (API) scores.
California stopped compiling API scores for public schools in 2013/2014 and in the school year 2014/2015 began to implement student assessment based on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Process System (CASPPS). This now includes the Smarter Balanced Assessment System (SBAS) which is based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. Until this new testing and assessment methodology has been fully implemented (and tested itself) it's still useful to use the most recent API score to help you assess the quality of a public school.