Arcadia Unified Named in the Top 5 Best Places to Teach in California
Arcadia Unified staff from across Arcadia Unified recently gathered together for the district’s 6th annual Staff Appreciation Night
Los Angeles County’s very own Arcadia Unified School District has been recognized as one of the top five best places to teach in California and has earned additional bragging rights for 2023 as the #1 Best Place to Teach in Los Angeles County and the #50 Best Places to Teach in America, according to Niche’s newest rankings.
In compiling its 2023 rankings, Niche, a prominent website for school and neighborhood reviews, examined over 10,750 school districts nationally, over 680 schools in California, and 78 school districts in Los Angeles County. Placing Arcadia Unified at the top in several categories, Niche also identified Arcadia Unified as the #8 Best School District in California and the #62 Best School District in America. In addition, Arcadia Unified received an overall A+ Niche mark, with additional A+ grades in academics, college prep, teachers, and administration.
“Receiving this humbling local, statewide, and national recognition is a true celebration of our commitment to creating a healthy school culture and climate in our district,” Arcadia Unified Board of Education President Fenton Eng said.
According to its website, Niche performs a rigorous analysis of public data sets, including those from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Census, and takes into account over 100 million reviews and survey responses to arrive at its annual rankings.
Arcadia Unified 2023 Niche Ranking Highlights:
- #1 Best Places to Teach in Los Angeles County
- #5 Best Places to Teach in California
- #50 Best Places to Teach in America
- #3 Best School Districts in Los Angeles Area
- #8 Best School Districts in California
- #6 Districts with the Best Teachers in Los Angeles Area
- #14 Districts with the Best Teachers in California
“At the heart of our work is ensuring our staff feels seen, supported, and valued,” Arcadia Unified Superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall shared.
ABC7 reports on L.A.'s very own Arcadia Unified earning top Niche marks.
Dr. Vannasdall explained that one way Arcadia Unified seeks to achieve this is through its use of “Interest-Based Bargaining” (IBB) with its district unions, such as the Arcadia Teachers Association, to create robust professional relationships rooted in trust and transparency.
As Dr. Vannasdall described, IBB steers away from hard-hitting negotiation methods. At its core, IBB operates with the assumption that win-win outcomes are achievable. Through IBB, everyone at the bargaining table works together as joint problem-solvers who discuss and search for solutions and agreements that are mutually beneficial.
Arcadia Unified also offers competitive teacher salaries. According to the California Department of Education, the average salary of California public school teachers in the 2020-21 school year was $85,856, while Arcadia Unified’s average teacher salary is more than $111,000, not including benefits. Arcadia Unified, which gave every employee a 6% raise last school year, ranks as one of the highest-paying school districts in Los Angeles County.
Another example of how the district keeps its focus on team bonding and relationship building that Dr. Vannasdall shared is the district’s built-in collaboration time for its educators and staff every school year, as explained in this Arcadia Unified Digital Education Station installment.
With fortuitous timing, the release of these Niche rankings came the same week as Arcadia Unified held its 6th annual Staff Appreciation Night. Arcadia Unified’s Chief Communications Officer Ryan Foran, whose team plans and hosts this event, said that the district’s Staff Appreciation Night aims to bring together staff from across Arcadia Unified’s six elementary schools, three middle schools, alternative learning program, Arcadia High School, and district office departments in celebration of the exceptional collective work they do to support the youth and families of Arcadia.
This year’s event included a pre-Arcadia High football game tailgate for district staff and their families held on the Arcadia High campus. Arcadia Unified staff then had the opportunity to walk across the Salter Stadium football field to be recognized ahead of Arcadia High’s game against Pasadena High School.
Arcadia Unified staff had the chance to be celebrated ahead of Arcadia High's football game against Pasadena on Oct. 13
“It meant a lot to be able to share [at Staff Appreciation Night] that Arcadia Unified was not only named the best school district to work for in LA County but that we are a top school district to work for in our entire state,” Foran noted.
Adding to its Niche nods, over the years, each Arcadia Unified elementary and middle school has been recognized as a California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education, and Arcadia Unified’s Foothills Middle School was recently honored by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School. For more information about the Arcadia Unified School District, visit www.ausd.net, and for more information about Niche’s rankings and ranking system, visit www.niche.com.