Pleasant Hill v. Walnut Creek (neighborhoods and school Q)

Hi all! We currently live in Oakland, and are considering a move through the tunnel for hopefully better home and school options long term. Orinda/Lafayette would be great since so close to Oakland (where we have most of our family/friends), but I think likely prohibitively expensive. Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill both seem like viable options, but I know much more about Walnut Creek than Pleasant Hill since we actually know a few families there. I've heard generally positive things about the WC schools (both in the Mt Diablo and WC districts), but I haven't heard much about PH schools. By the number, WC schools on average seem a little stronger than the PH schools, but obviously those numbers don't tell you the full picture. I'd appreciate any insights into the PH community (particularly around Poet's Corner/Gregory Gardens and feeding into the Strandwood School as that area works best for our commute) and WC as well. I'm trying to find a way to really compare the two communities in terms of schools, diversity, and general "neighborhoody" feel. We're a biracial family, so diversity is a key component, and as my husband is in education, we really want to find the strongest educational options we can for our girls (particularly within the public school system). On that point, I'd love to hear about experiences with middle and high schools in both towns as I feel like that is often where it can get weaker for certain districts. Thank you!! 

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Hi there. We are a bi-racial family and we live in the part of Gregory Gardens that feeds into Standwood.  Our children went to Strandwood.  Strandwood is a great school - lots of parental involvement.  People come from all walks of life there, economically and culturally.  The neighborhood is also great.  Lots of people walk to school, to the park, to downtown Pleasant Hill and to eachothers homes.  Trick or treating and Halloween is a big deal around there.  Many people hang out outside, the front lawns are spacious and flat and you will see kids riding their bikes around, etc.  Pleasant Hill is only a few minutes from Walnut Creek, Concord and Walnut Creek, each of which is fun in its own way and so we feel that PH is the perfect balance.  People tend to be pretty down to earth and neighborly.  As for the schools, our kids ended up doing private school for middle and high school, but that would have likely been the case no matter where we lived.  Most kids go through the public school system K-12 in PH and they are what you make of them.  The high schools in Walnut Creek may have higher API indexes but that is mainly due to the socio-economics of the parents.  PH schools are less pressure-cooker like than those schools, and that could be looked at as a benefit.