Scotts Valley: Points of local pride

Scotts Valley High School is one of few schools in the state to offer an international baccalaureate certificate program.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Schools: Scotts Valley’s public schools are the highest-ranking in Santa Cruz County and some of the best in the state. Boasting a 96% graduation rate, nearly all the students continue on to two- or four-year institutions. Scotts Valley High School is also one of few schools in the state to offer an international baccalaureate certificate program — an internationally recognized diploma program akin to the education standards in Europe. The IB program draws many international Silicon Valley workers to the area. “The community is very intentional about watching out for the kids and encouraging them to succeed, and that’s why we continue to draw in families,” council member and former mayor Derek Timm says. A current high school student reports that most students choose not to do the full IB program, but rather sample a few classes from the more challenging curriculum over their high school careers.

Scotts Valley Haunted House: In its 19th year, this well-produced event is a favorite for the students and staff involved and community members who are brave enough to enter. Choose between the family-friendly version or the scream-your-socks-off version. Each year offers a fresh and terrifying theme, and 100% of the proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Scotts Valley Art Wine & Beer Festival: Each year, the Scotts Valley Art, Wine & Beer Festival draws thousands of artisans, volunteers and visitors alike to Skypark to enjoy the last days of summer. The festival is often one of the largest gatherings in the county; in fact, the 2021 event had the best turnout ever, drawing an estimated 15,000. Featuring local artists, musicians, food and drink, there is no better way to spend the weekend. Don’t miss the best dog lookalike contest.

Performing Arts Center: Just last year, the Scotts Valley Community Theater Guild signed a multiyear lease for the operation of the Scotts Valley Performing Arts Center adjacent to the library and close to the Hangar. While construction paused during the pandemic, the location will host events and performances and serve as a cultural hub for the community when it opens. This is the first step in the guild’s long-term goal: to convert the 9,000-square-foot space into a performing and cultural arts center that will host hundreds of events annually.

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