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Upcoming Events at Almaden Valley High Schools

Almaden Valley high schoolsAlmaden Valley high schools Leland and Pioneer both have exciting events that you can attend over the weekend and next week.

On Saturday, October 20, the Leland Parent Club is hosting its annual music and dance event, the Dandiya Raas Mela. The Dandiya and the Garba are traditional ritualistic dances performed during the Indian festival of Navratri or the “nine nights”.

This event is one of the biggest fundraisers for Leland High School. A special highlight of the event this year is a performance by the “Naach” group, a students club specializing in Bollywood dance. Tickets can be purchased both online and at the door. All proceeds go towards enrichment programs at Leland High. For more information, visit:

Next week, from October 24 to October 27, students at Pioneer High will be performing twin fall plays, 12 Angry Men and 12 Angry Women.

12 Angry Men is adapted from the American courtroom drama of the same name, while 12 Angry Women is a feminist adaptation of the same play.

Advanced reserved seats may be booked through Tickets will also be available at the door. So, come with you family and friends to watch this classic adaptation from a highly talented drama team and help raise funds for Pioneer High. For more information, visit:

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood for You

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood for You…

Finding the perfect neighborhoodThe New Year is often a time for changes and new beginnings. For many, that means a new home in a new neighborhood. As exciting as this may be, choosing the right neighborhood requires a lot of thought. Here are some things to think about when finding the perfect neighborhood for you.

Evaluate your requirements

If you have kids, a friendly suburban neighborhood close to schools may be right for you. Or, if you spend long hours at work and would like to cut the commute or socialize after hours, staying closer to the city might be just the thing. Whatever your situation, start with a needs assessment that includes a checklist of must-haves and must-avoids.

Think about your lifestyle

If you are tired of living in the city, moving to the suburbs may be appealing, or vice versa. But think carefully about your needs. Do you need to hit the stores regularly, dine out, be close to the freeways, or perhaps be near medical facilities? Give it serious thought ahead of time to save yourself a lot of inconvenience later.

Consider your finances

You’ve just found the perfect neighborhood, but can you really afford it? Budget-wise there is a lot to consider besides just the mortgage. Look at taxes, upkeep costs, commute expenses, and any other recurring costs which may add on. The perfect place may not be so perfect if it causes a strain on your resources.

Crime and safety

While considering neighborhoods, safety is of utmost importance. Spend some time researching the crime rate of an area. For a crime map, go to Find out if the area has a Neighborhood Watch group, and talk to friends or colleagues that live nearby.

Research schools

If you have kids, considering schools is critical. Even if you don’t have school age kids, a good school district increases the potential value of your home and any rental prospects. To research schools, go to If you’re considering a new home within Santa Clara County or the Almaden Valley in particular, offers a full list of Almaden Valley schools as well as a comprehensive overview of Almaden Valley neighborhoods and their associated schools.

Visit the neighborhood at different times

Visit the desired neighborhood at different times of the day and week to get a better perspective. For example, drive through during rush hour to check out traffic, and late at night to see how well the street is lit up. You can also learn a lot about a neighborhood through social networks like

Talk to neighbors

Talk to prospective neighbors to find out more about the area. They are the best resource. At the same time, you can also assess if you would be comfortable with them. Nothing can mar the charm of a new home as undesirable neighbors. If they are unfriendly and unapproachable or leave their home and yard unkempt, these may be some tell-tale signs to watch out for. Messy neighbors could adversely affect your lifestyle as well as the future value of your property.

Think of the future

Try to picture yourself and your family a few years down the line. A change of residence is a long-term thing. If the prospective neighborhood will not meet your needs a few years ahead, think again. Finally, close your eyes and picture yourself actually living there. Does the thought make you smile? Do you like the neighborhood overall? Your instinct will give you the answer.

You can find more on choosing a new neighborhood in this guide found on RISMedia. And when you’re ready to buy, give me a call!

Los Alamitos Elementary School Fundraising Parties – UPDATED 2022


Los Alamitos Elementary School fundraising is accelerating in a variety of fun ways this season!

Ladies’ Wine Under the Stars

On Saturday, November 19, at 6 pm, there is the Ladies’ Wine Under the Stars party. Ladies, come out to enjoy an evening with friends old and new. Stargaze, nibble on delicious appetizers including a variety of cheeses, chocolates, and fondue, and savor great wine as an accompaniment. Tickets: $45.

Pre-Christmas Clothing and Accessories Swap

Up ahead on Thursday, December 8, is a pre-Christmas clothing and accessories swap party for moms. You can also enjoy light appetizers and drinks at the event. Tickets: $25.

Craft Beer Tasting Party

The fundraisers wrap up the year with a Craft Beer Tasting party on Saturday, December 10 at 6 pm. Here you can taste a variety of assorted craft beers, stouts, lager and much more. Food will be served as well. Tickets: $80.

Enjoy these great events while supporting Los Alamitos Elementary School! For more information, contact the Los Alamitos Elementary School PTA.

Leland and Pioneer High School Performing Arts 2016

High School Performing Arts

Don’t miss these two great plays presented by Leland and Pioneer High drama departments!

Arsenic and Old Lace at Leland High

Leland Drama presents Arsenic and Old Lace, by special arrangement with the Dramatists Play Service, Inc. Written by American playwright Joseph Kesselring, Arsenic and Old Lace is in the genre of black comedy. The plot revolves around the Brewster family, whose ancestors once arrived on the Mayflower, but whose members have now disintegrated into homicidal insanity. Performances are at Leland High School on November 16-18, 7 pm. Tickets: $10 for students and $12 for general admission. Limited seats, hurry and grab yours! For more information, visit

Godspell Jr. at Pioneer High

To ring in the holiday spirit in December, Pioneer High Advanced Drama, with its 80-member cast and crew, presents Godspell Jr., a musical by Stephen Schwartz, based on the Book of Matthew. The play reminds viewers that “in a world that feels crazy, community is what gets us through”. The production is hip and modern with new upbeat songs. Performances are at Pioneer High School Performing Arts Center on December 1-3, 7pm. Tickets: general, $10, students, $5. For more information, call 408.365.1615 or get tickets online at

Enjoy the drama season!

Pay It Forward Tutoring at Leland High in Almaden Valley

Pay It ForwardWhat does the term ‘pay it forward’ mean? It means if you have benefitted from a philanthropic act, you repay by helping another person in need instead of the one who was originally kind to you. In other words, instead of paying back, you pay it forward. In Almaden, a group of altruistic high schoolers are doing just that with ‘Pay It Forward Tutoring’.

The Pay It Forward team comprises a group of highly motivated students from Leland High who “understand the value and impact of education in their lives and in the community”. And their way of giving back to the community is by tutoring elementary and middle school children throughout the year in various subjects.

The program benefits Reading Partners, a non-profit organization that, in turn, works nationally to offer in-school, one-on-one tutoring to needy students as well as helps them develop literacy skills.

For their tutoring service, the Pay It Forward team accepts donations made out directly to Reading Partners. The team estimates that this year the donations received will help sustain individual tutoring for more than 1,300 students in the Bay Area alone. To this end, they expect to raise $10,000. So, if you have a child at home in need of tutoring, don’t wait. Reach out to and help pay it forward!

Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Back-to-school tipsSummer is over and school is officially in session! Here are some back-to-school tips to ensure that your child’s school year proceeds smoothly.

Plan healthy meals and snacks. Be sure your child gets breakfast before the morning school bell rings, because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For lunch and snacks, make sure your child has a combination of protein, fruits, and vegetables to give them energy to last throughout the school day.

Meet the teacher(s). Attend open houses and orientations, and make personal contact with each of your child’s teachers sooner rather than later to let them know you are involved in your child’s education and eager to stay connected with them.

Set up a routine. Routines help everyone stay on track, including you as a parent. In addition to night and morning routines, have an after-school routine as well. Consider allowing for a little bit of playtime before getting started on homework or beginning after-school activities. Most importantly, make sure your child gets some rest between activities and plenty of sleep at night.

Bullying. Talk to your child about the right course of action to take when he or she encounters bullying at or outside of school, whether it’s physical, verbal, or cyber-bullying. For more resources about bullying, click here.

Safety. Make sure your child gets to school safely. If they bike, make sure they wear a helmet. If they walk, remind them “Head up, phone down” to keep aware of their surroundings.


Are You a First Time Home Buyer?

First time home buyerWith the real estate market recovery on its way, many people who did not have an opportunity to own a home before now are likely to become homeowners in 2015. I frequently meet people in their early 30s who are shopping for their first home and they all face similar learning curves. Here are a few of the most important things first time home buyers need to know to make that all important decision the right one.

  1. Choosing a Location – Location of the property is probably the most important factor to consider while buying a home. In fact, choosing the right location is more important than the general condition of the house since one can always upgrade or remodel later, but the location cannot be changed. In general, single family homes in quiet, serene neighborhoods are more desirable than those on larger streets because of noise and traffic. Homes which offer a view of the hills, a lake, or a golf course hold their value because of the visual appeal as do homes that afford privacy. However, if you have a busy lifestyle, enjoy evenings out or want to save on commute, a townhome or a condo near the downtown areas may be just the thing for you.
  2. School District Matters – Look for a home which is in the neighborhood of good schools. This is important even if you don’t have school going children, since homes in good schools areas are more in demand and have better potential for both selling and renting out in the long run. For school information you can check the local school district website or go to If you’re considering a home in Almaden Valley, take a look at my Almaden Valley Schools page, which has a list of all the schools plus school locator links if you want to know what school is associated with a particular address.
  3. Neighborhood Amenities – Look for a vibrant community with good amenities for the entire family in the vicinity. Shopping, libraries, community centers, sports and recreational clubs, medical care and senior citizen facilities should be ideally within a five mile radius. Access to freeways and other arterial highways is also important; ideally not too close and yet not too far. If you’re considering the Almaden Valley, I offer this comprehensive overview of all of the Almaden Valley neighborhoods.
  4. Neighborhood Crime Rate – This is another aspect to investigate. The local police station will have statistics on crime or go to, enter your zip code and find the relevant information.
  5. Comparing Similar Homes – While choosing a home, ask your agent to do a comparative analysis of at least three similar homes in the neighborhood which have sold recently. This will give you a realistic indication of the market situation and what kind of amenities you can expect to have in a house in that price range.
  6. Independent Home Inspection – It is important to verify all details about the house – i.e. size, age, condition of the structure, from foundation to roof, and all other amenities. Check for potential water concerns – this includes, but is not limited to, wetness in the crawl space/ basement, grading around the house, signs of roof leaks – and pest or termite infestations. All of the above can be verified by having a thorough home inspection independently done.
  7. Permits of Remodeling Jobs – Ask for permits of any remodeling work that’s been done on the house. You can save yourself a lot of headache and expense later on dealing with construction that may be deemed illegal by the county authorities.
  8. Having a Buyer’s Agent – You will also benefit from engaging the right real estate agent who will represent you, the buyer. A buyer’s agent has access to all the properties on the market as well as some not yet on the market. The agent will, first and foremost, safeguard the buyer’s interests. Once you zero in on a desired location, it is best to engage an agent who specializes in that area and can quickly scout out the best home deals.

While touring properties, do not dismiss one because you think the listed price is too high or some features are not up to the standards you desire. Remember, the listed price is only a starting point and it is possible to redo a bathroom, the kitchen or even the yard. Offers can be made after factoring in any potential expenses towards upgrading the home.

I am happy to provide any consultation to both sellers and buyers. Feel free to call me on 408.656.8240, or email me at: In 2014, I closed $75million in sales and was among the Top 10 agents in Santa Clara County.

Therese Swan Launches Tool for Searching Almaden Valley Real Estate by School – UPDATED 2022

graphic: Search by School and API ScoreTherese Swan, Almaden Valley’s #1 Realtor, has just released a new tool to help Almaden home buyers find the home of their dreams. Buyers can now search Almaden Valley Real Estate by School and/or 2011 API School Scores!

UPDATE: Therese has since enhanced her website with the following pages that provide even more comprehensive tools to achieve your goals:

  • Almaden Valley Schools: The updated Almaden Valley Real Estate schools page contains links to all Almaden Valley public and private schools as well as links to their GreatSchools ratings. The Almaden Valley Schools page also has school locator links to all districts associated with Almaden Valley.
  • Almaden Valley Neighborhoods: The new Almaden Valley Neighborhoods page contains a list of all neighborhoods complete with demographics, unique features, and all real estate activity within the last six months.
  • Custom Email Alerts: Sign up for free, no-obligation email alerts that include MLS Listings in the Santa Clara Valley with your special criteria: property features, location, school assignments, etc.
  • Contact Therese directly for any additional help with your search.

Read more

Winter 2011 Open House Schedule for Almaden Valley Private Schools – UPDATED 2022

At the beginning of every year the private schools in Almaden Valley hold open house and open enrollment for prospective and returning students.

Almaden Valley is home to a number of private schools for students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school. Following is the Winter 2011 Open House Schedule for Almaden Valley Private Schools: [EVENT IS CLOSED]


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