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BUSD Enrollment, Lottery & School Choice
How Does the BUSD School Assignment Work?
Waiting Lists, Appeals & the Second Lottery
Requesting a transfer to a different BUSD school
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Specific Programs & School Zones
Am I in Berkeley or Oakland school district? My son is eligible for Kindergarten next year but our property is smack on the Oakland-Berkeley line and I don't know how to find out where we are zoned. Neither school district includes our address on their zone websites. [in fact, a whole chunk of our street's addresses are missing -- weird!] The family who lived here before us sent their kids to private school. Our taxes and services are divided up between the two cities- Berkeley address, Oakland trash, Berkeley police, taxes prorated between the two, but we vote in Oakland. I thought I'd check here before calling the offices. Can anyone offer a lead? Thanks! confused mom
You might ask other neighbors whose homes are in both counties where they send their kids, or you could take your property tax bill and other proof of residency to the school district office of the district you prefer to find out if you have adequate documentation to put your child in their school. I am sure they have dealt with this issue before and have established some protocol.
It's good that you're already looking into this because you will want it settled before kindergarten registration. Another Parent with Dual School Districts
We live very close to a wonderful school that is out of zone for us. This school is walking distance, while all the schools in our zone are a car ride away. How frustrating! I know all of the schools in BUSD are good, so the idea of a ''neighborhood'' school is very appealing. Has anyone tried getting into a school that is not in their zone? What was the process? Does putting it as your first pick ruin your chances of getting your second pick (i.e., your first in-zone pick)? Am I silly for putting location as such a high priority when I know there are excellent schools within my own zone? I don't know if this matters, but I do not believe the out of zone school near us is necessarily the most popular in that zone; does that increase our chances? This process seems a bit more confusing than I originally thought (or I am making it that way!). Out of Zone by a Block
It is Wednesday, August 22nd, all my documentation has been submitted and accepted, i am only waiting for an ''unannounced'' home visit so that BUSD can validate i really live where i say i live. I have called the Admissions office numerous times and no one answers and the VM system says ''mailbox full''. What recourse do I have? Anyone have any direct contacts of people I can talk to? Should I skip work and go down there? Any help or recommendations would be appreciated! thank you! Signed, Waiting For BUSD
We currently rent in Berkeley where our kids currently attend elementary school. We love our school, the district, the City. However, due to financial constraints we are considering moving to El Cerrito. I know the kids can stay at their Elementary school until they finish but what about middle and high school? Will they be allowed to complete their education in Berkeley or when they are ready to move to middle school will they be forced out of the district? Is is possible to get a waiver and continue until graduation in Berkeley? I would like the facts and am not looking to hear from folks who just want to make comment about how its not ''right'' to have your kids in Berkeley schools if you arent actually still living here. Any personal experience or knowledge in this area would be welcome. Struggling BUSD Family
I'm sure you will get some nasty replies as this is a big issue. If you choose to do it I would just ask that you take some of the money you save and donate it to the schools PTA so at least you can help fund some of the programs that are being cut like cooking and gardening. BUSD Parent
Likely an old question, but we're new to Berkeley. Looking to buy a house, and terrified at the idea that our children might have to cross the city to get to their kindergarten. If we get assigned to a school we don't want, what recourse do we have? Is there any level of preference for assigning neighborhood residents to their neighborhood school? If not, are there realistic / good alternatives to public schools -- while still avoiding private school fees? Many thanks! G
Hi all!, I am tring to understand how the Berkeley elementary public school system works? I hear it is a lottery, but how does it works? When and where should I register for the school? Also, which schools are better, and are they OK? Thanks so much! Lora
I'd like BPN help on how to understand BUSD district, lottery system, and general information about the various schools. My son is only 1.5 right now so we are dealing with childcare and preschool most immediately but kindergarden isn't too far into the future. I'd like some help with resources to understand the BUSD lottery and kindergarden process. I've looked at the BUSD website but all it has is a form but not much help in understanding the schools or the lottery system. Where do people go to understand what the schools are like, particularly kindergarten.
Generally, my questions include:
* I am interested in the Spanish immersion programs, where do I find out about how parents feel about these programs and what does they entail?
* Do the programs differ betweent the schools in the district?
* How does that lottery system work?
* We live in West Berkeley but the NW zone is where I undertand the most ''competitive'' schools are? What does that mean and why are they that way.
* Yes, I can look at the test score sheets and all of that but where else do people get informationa about BUSD and the schools, particularly kindergarten?
* Is there a BUSD info session held about K-schools or some other meeting to know about?
*how far in advance should you start visiting schools to see what they are like (espeically since between now and when we want to go, school administration and character could change alot)?
Parent just beginning research.
1) When applying for a kindergarten placement to Berkeley public schools, if you really want your first choice of a school in your zone, is it better not to list a second and third choice? (We live within walking distance of Thousand Oaks and want our son to get in there.)
2) If you don't get your first choice kindergarten school at first, if you wait list and patiently wait is your child likely to get into the first choice school within a year or less? Thanks for any insights.
Hello fellow Parents, I am in the ever-stressful position of choosing a kindergarten for my daughter next year. I would be grateful to hear any and all recent opinions (as there is not much in the archives--I find hard to believe) of the following schools: Whittier Arts Magnet, Oxford and Cragmont (all in our zone) and Jefferson, which is not in our zone, but the closest of all of these to our house! At any rate, my husband and I did a tour of all these the other day, and those schools we had expected to really like and be impressed by, we were not and those we expected not as much from, we really liked. But how do you decide after an half-hour tour and a couple of info nights? I am interested in honest opinions of any of these schools. I know no one school is perfect or is going to offer all the things that I want in a school (strong sense of community, sense of social responsibility as well as academics) and that all schools have some issues. I am just looking for a good balance. Just want the best fit for my kid.
We have a child who will be starting kindergarten next fall. We're toying with the idea of moving to Berkeley for the public schools (from Oakland). However, I'm concerned about going through the tremendous work and expense to do this move and not be guaranteed the school of my choice in the zone we move to. Does anyone have any thoughts about the likelihood of getting one's first or second choice of Berkeley school if, for example, we don't move til April (after decisions have been made)? Would appreciate hearing from anyone who did this or anyone who might have general thoughts about it. Thanks.
We picked Jefferson as our first choice. Didn't get in. Neither did any of the other families we know that picked Jefferson first. The district assigned our daughter to our third choice, Thousand Oaks. We weren't crazy about that school, because the kids did not seem engaged in their classes (particularly in the higher grades). We asked for an explanation of this outcome and got no response.
I've heard that you can ultimately get into your school of choice if you work at it. I also believe that there are wonderful parents that devote a lot of time and energy to the public schools and they get good results for their kids. But we decided to go private. Ann
We are in the thinking stages of possibly buying a house this next spring or summer. More than likely we will settle in Berkeley, however, I have some concerns over this due to what I have heard about the Berkeley School District. I am not sure if I'm basing my knowledge on hearsay or actual policies. So, can someone please enlighten me on whether the information I have is correct, or not.
I have heard that Berkeley goes by a lottery system, and that it won't matter where we live because my son could get bused to any school within the district. I.e. if we live across the street from Cragmont he could end up all the way across Berkeley at Columbia. The other thing I have heard is that there is no consistency on kids going to the same school year after year, meaning that they could go to school A this year, and then end up at school B the following year. This seems absolutely ludicrous to me. How are kids supposed to feel grounded or connected to their educational institutions with a situation like this. I am also amazed that my son could end up in a separate school from his next door neighbor. This certainly does not help create a sense of community.
I'd like to hear if the information I have is correct, and if it is how are people coping with it? Turning to private schools as an alternative to dealing with this situation? thanks! To the best of my knowledge, this is how it works (and I've simplified a bit): for the elementary levels, Berkeley is divided into three sort of pie-shaped slices that run from the bay to the hills. Each "slice" of the pie has 4 or 5 elementary schools from which to choose. In some cases, there is overlap of schools available in more than one pie slice when the school is sufficiently large to handle more students. Parents list their choice of elementary school in preference order, 1, 2, 3. The school district, however, assigns the children, paying attention to preference order, but also paying attention to things like socioeconomic mix. Therefore, it is entirely possible that you could select the two schools nearest home as your first two preferences and be given your third choice as the school for your child, and your third choice could be farther away. Or, as in the case of a friend of mine, none of her choices was given, and her child was assigned to one of the larger "overlap" schools.
I have not heard of many people who are successful in getting to change the district once the decision is made. In the case of my friend, she opted to send her daughter to private school rather than have her be bussed or driven halfway across town at age 5.
At the middle school level, Berkeley is divided into roughly two pie-shaped wedges going from bay to hills. If your house is in one part of the wedge, you get Willard, in the other, King, and Longfellow is offered as a "magnet" school in arts and technology and anyone from either district may put Longfellow down as a choice. Thus it is possible to purchase a home close to King, but be within the Willard district, and vice-versa.
There is only one High School.
Also, to the best of my knowledge, once your child is in a school that's it unless you move. So, there is that consistency once the assignment has been made.
Once you are in a school, you stay in that school and your other children will have top priority to the same school. You don't even fill out a new request every year unless you want to change.
I have checked the ratings of Berkeley schools online and have found that many of them are rated in the top 75 of the county, above Albany schools. And speaking of Albany schools, it seems they are not all they are cracked up to be. My son's friends have about 5 more in their classes than my son's class. I hope this puts your mind at ease.
Note: Generally, you choose a school at kindergarten and then at 6th grade (most Berkeley schools are K-5 or 6-8). You do not have to choose each year; once enrolled, your child remains at the same school for his/her elementary years, unless you are unhappy with the school and request a change.
All Berkeley schools have the same core curriculum, but each school has its own character and special programs. Three advantages that Berkeley schools have: (1) They are small (many are no more than 300 or so); (2) Berkeley parcel tax money (Berkeley Schools Excellence Program) provides funding for smaller class size and program enrichment; (3) local bond money has rebuilt and replaced a number of schools--most of the facilities are now far superior to other public and private schools.
There is a lot more information on the school district web site: www.berkeley.k12.ca.us. See the "Guide to Berkeley Public Schools," which describes each school site and the choice system.
One last piece of advice: Visit the schools, check them out, and make your own decision. It's helpful to hear from other parents, but be careful to sort out fact from rumor. Good luck!
All students who request a particular school are put into a prioritized lottery system where the priorities are something like this: first: students already attending the school, second: siblings of students in the school, then students from the same zone as the school, students from other zones, and lastly students from outside of Berkeley.
I have never heard of a student being forced to leave the school that he or she attended the previous year (although I know parents who choose to move their kids from school to school as a way of dealing with personality conflicts with teachers or principals). If a particular grade at a school fills up with students from within the zone (as tends to happen at Columbus elementary), then no students from outside the zone can go there. Students not accepted can elect to be on a waiting list.
The various kids on my block all go to different schools, due completely to the differences in their parents' choices. I find this sad, because my kids' friends from school are not nearby, and kids do not get acquainted with their neighbors through school. Of course, going to private school doesn't help with this particular problem.
A map of the zones and a brochure on the various schools is available from the Berkeley school district.
So just give them a call, work your way through the voice mail menu, find out which schools are in which district, and start visiting and asking around about the schools you think will be closest to you and fit your needs. One thing they try to do is make sure that each school, both elementary and middle schools, have something special to offer, be it performing arts, science, farm and garden, Mandarin instruction, or whatever.
A couple of more thoughts on requesting elementary schools...
(1) Once you have to get in the car to drive a child (or two or three...) to school, it's not the same as living so close that the child can walk to school.
(2) If you live far enough away to drive, you should check out the school bus option. BUSD provides those nice yellow buses for kids through 5th grade as long as they live a certain distance away are attending a school in their "zone." We found the transportation people to be amenable to creating a new stop to get our child within a block of our house.
(3) Having your child closer to your workplace (e.g., UCB campus in the case of Washington) may be much more convenient for drop-ins, teacher visits etc, than having the school closer to your home. (If home and work are in same place this is a simpler matter to analyze of course.)
(4) Check out what time the school day starts and ends at the schools you consider -- I found that varied by as much as an hour, and was important to me to know for coordination with another school as well as my work.
I think these are generic considerations for one's school selection, and they presume you are already satisfied with the core elements of academic quality, facility safety, etc. By the way, we live in northeast Berkeley (off Grizzly Peak) and my kid just "graduated" from Washington. It worked well for us.
RE: Berkeley Neighborhood Schools
The District will place your child where they think best. If you have strong preferences you may have to negotiate, or be willing to move your child as space is available after the beginning of the School year. You got a response mentioning "Oxford and Arts Magnet parents in our area who love their schools, too, so I can't say I'd base a decision on location alone."
In general I have heard good things about all the schools in the South zone of the BUSD, John Muir, Emerson, Malcolm X, and LeConte. Every parent I have ever spoken to who had a kid in one of these schools loves it and wouldn't switch if they could. These are all south of the UC campus area, or SE or SW, and there are lots of apartments in these areas for rent. Generally speaking, east of Shattuck Ave. is more crime free than west of Shattuck, but only in a very general way, as there are some very nice neighborhoods in the southwest part of Berkeley.
One criterion for making a decision is the availability of onsite childcare before or after school, if you will need that. LeConte has two programs: a YMCA kids club which is run by very nice, competent people, and the BUSD Extended Day Care program, which is largely subsidized for lower income folks. This last program also has good teachers, but a higher child:teacher ratio.
Our son started Kindergarten at Cragmont School this fall. My brief recommendations for getting through BUSD's "School Choice" system are:
1. Attend all the functions (school fair, school nights, class observations). You learn something different from each one.
2. If you don't get your first choice of school, don't give up. Get on the waiting lists. Our son was originally assigned to our last choice school, which we had been led to expect would not happen. By June he got into our second choice. The Thursday before school started, he was assigned to our first choice. So be as patient as you can be given your individual circumstances.
Regarding discipline: I would guess that it depends on both the teacher and the principal. Our son's teacher won't stand to have someone disrupt the class but when observing, we saw teachers who had little control over their class that day. I know from experience that Cragmont's principal takes discipline very seriously. Some schools have school-wide mediation programs.
NOTE: At least in the Central zone, if you enter the system in first grade then you have even less chance of getting your choice of school. Spaces open up mostly by attrition, and there seem to be a lot of kids coming into first grade from private kindergartens.
1. Despite what we pay in taxes for schools enrichment, those extra funds don't go very far. (I had nightmares after my first PTA meeting.) Fund raising is very big for PTAs.
2. Economically, students vary from to kids who can't afford $2.00 for a field trip to kids who attended expensive private preschools such as Step One.
3. We were told that some incoming kindergarteners will never have been read to before coming to school. I didn't see any direct evidence in my son's class, but it could be true.
4. Volunteering in the classroom on a regular basis (even 2 hours/week) helps the teachers and students A LOT. It also lets you keep a close eye on what really goes on in the classroom and the playground. It is also your only regular contact with the teacher if your child takes the bus.
5. It's true that Berkeley schools don't do well on the standardized tests. Cragmont only has money to give extra help to the two or so lowest scoring students in each class. But my guess is that parents can do a lot to influence how well their own children will do--read to your kids a lot, show your kids that you enjoy reading, help them with homework (my son has nightly homework). I was also saddened to find out that there is very little money for the GATE--Gifted and Talented-- program, which doesn't go into effect until the higher grades anyway.
Overall, we are very pleased with Cragmont and our son's class. It is a K-1 combination and works very well. Our son is exposed to first grade concepts and is intrigued by them. The first graders are respectful of and helpful to the kindergarteners and all the kids have bonded. (The teacher encouraged this and I saw it for myself when I went on a field trip a few weeks ago.)
The real drawbacks we've experienced are a result of Cragmont's current location: it shares the Franklin site with Thousand Oaks School and the physical setup isn't as good as it could be. But the principal is working on the problems and the school district has helped out some.
Regarding after-school programs: We chose JCC because it was close to our house, BUSD would bus our son there after school (JCC has its own vans to some out-of-area schools), and the program seemed very good. We have been quite pleased with it.
A parent asked about the ability to switch classes if a teacher doesn't work out. From what I've seen, this is allowable as long as there is room in another class (classes can't go above 20 students). There are probably issues of trying to maintain racial balance as well. My son's room started out with 17 students and has had some students come and go since then. In one switch, a student who could barely speak English (from what I could tell) was moved into the bilingual class after a few weeks and a few days later, an English speaking student moved from the bilingual class to my son's class. Given what I know about the situation, it wasn't a predetermined "trade"-- things just worked out.
Regarding registering for Berkeley Public Schools at this late date:
I recommend that you visit the Parent Access office of the Berkeley Unified School District headquarters as soon as possible and find out what the procedure is for registering at this point. Then visit the schools and decide your priorities, then go from there. My feeling is that everyone has their own ranking of the Central zone schools, depending on their personal circumstances.
An aside: We signed up for the March lottery (kindegarten) and were assigned our 4th choice. As soon as the June registration deadline passed, we were offered a slot at our 2nd choice school. Up to that point, we were 8th on the waiting list for the school. I don't know how many slots opened up, but it wasn't very many. Most of the people ahead of us on the list had already made other arrangements in the time between March and June. This experience supports what I had heard before on this list: the longer you can afford to wait, the better your chances of getting what you want.
Be pleasant and reasonable. Working in the Parent Access Office, especially this time of year, is hard. (If you think how nervous you are, and then multiply that by hundreds of parents, and try to imagine yourself as the person whose job it is to deal with it all... )
As soon as you get your assignment, show up at the Parent Access Office and get your child on the waiting list for the school you want. You can get waitlisted at more than one school, if you didn't get your first or second choice. Then do what they say. (Register at the school you're assigned to, etc.) You can call every few weeks to see if there's any news (always being pleasant and reasonable), but they usually don't start handing out lots of slots until June, when they see how many people have registered. If you can stand uncertainty, and can hang in there until the last minute, there's another big shakedown in late August and through the first few weeks of school. The district may not even know until then how many of each grade they'll have at each site, and often have spots open up when that all gets settled.
Good luck. Last year I listed first, second and third choices in my zone, and didn't get any of them. But in June, my child was assigned to my first choice school, and it's been great.
Parent Preference Forms will be available at all school, libraries and the district office after January 10, 1998. The forms are due by February 17th. Parents may visit schools any Tuesday or Thursday after January 13th. They request that you call in advance to verify that the class will be available for viewing. Amy
The lottery system for school selection is tricky. Be sure to make all filing deadlines and follow-up that your application was processed. Last year, our application, along with 50 others, was "lost" and not processed. Fortunately, we still were "picked" by the BPS computer to go to the school of our choice (Emerson) but others were not so lucky. The main office of BPS can be a "black hole" for questions but be persistent, and someone will help you. Carolyn
I have children in three different Berkeley Public Schools. My youngest child (last school year in 3rd grade) entered the system last year. Based on anecdotal information only (my own experience and conversations with parents I met), I think that most children who entered a Berkeley elementary school last year (and who were not entering kindergarten) were assigned to Franklin. Berkeley has a complicated zone system for elementary schools and parents can choose one of the schools in the zone in which they live. School assignment is then made based on criteria such as older sibling attendance (that is, having all children in the same family at the same school during the same school year, not previous attendance) and the effort to achieve gender racial balance at each school. Last year I met parents from all over Berkeley, all new to Berkeley Public Schools, whose children had been assigned to Franklin. (None of whom had requested Franklin. Me, I live within sight of Jefferson which was why it had been my first choice. Schools in my zone were Franklin, Jefferson, and Thousand Oaks. My second and third choices were schools in other zones that would have made daily drop off and pick up routines workable for me.)
My son had a wonderful year at Franklin, an excellent teacher, made some very nice new friends. Next year he is going to Columbus. (Completely impossible drop off and pick up, but now I'm used to it.) However, I personally wish that Berkeley would just go ahead and assign the kids without the rigamorole of the zones and the choice since I don't think that there is as much choice as advertised .I think that children are assigned where there is room and to achieve racial and gender balance and that parent choice is given the least weight in that decision.
The previous year, when we first moved to Berkeley from Albany, I had a similar experience with my then fifth grade son. We dutifully attended open houses at King (a few blocks from our house), Willard, and Longfellow (identified as an arts and technology magnet school). Longfellow was our third choice, but that is where our son was assigned. The criteria for assignment to both King and Willard severely limited the options for students new to the district. Again, I would have preferred knowing right off that he would be assigned to Longfellow. It is difficult for parents to try to make a careful choice, visit the schools, talk to people, make lists, listen to their child, etc., then discover that there had probably never been much chance of assignment to the school of choice. This is of particular concern when some of the schools (like Longfellow's arts and technology program or Thousand Oaks' Spanish program) offer non standard curricula.
On the plus side, I have friends with children in all of Berkeley's elementary and middle schools and there are people happy with every single one of them. (We're even happy with some of what goes on at Berkeley High.) There are committed teachers, involved parents at all the schools. Any child's experience may be good or not but I have come to think that that experience has more to do with the specific teacher they have and the particular dynamic of the class and the school in any given year.
We just went through the lottery system in Berkeley as our daughter is entering kindergarten in the fall. We had a very positive experience. I called the BUSD Parent Outreach office several times with questions and received quick, clear answers from the staff there. We were delighted when we got our first choice of Oxford School.
We got our first choice, Columbus School, Spanish immersion. We were really impressed in the Fall with the school, and equally since our admission, we have been invited to several events at the school which has significantly lowered my daughter's anxiety about where the hell she was going next year. It has been an unequivically positive expereince to date. Also, our second and third choices would have been okay with us, especially since we debated which to put where. We are not indiscriminant, I am a child/adolescent analyst and my partner is a teacher and does a great deal with the education, so we had very high standards.
We got our 1st choice in NorthWest zone, and feel happy. This is in stark contrast to 3 years ago, when we got our 3rd choice, felt gutted, but were lucky to wait list our way into 2nd choice. Curious to take an informal poll here on BPN for people who went through kindergarten lottery this year, across all zones, did you get your 1st choice? 2nd choice? 3rd choice? BUSD claims somewhere around 80% of families get 1st choice, but I don't really believe that based on friend's experiences. It also seems to happen more often in the Central and South zones than in NW. Thank you for indulging this curiosity. Curious on ''the real'' stats in town
I might respond to you that I did get my first choice, but actually, I don't even have a kindergartener, and you would never know. Or, I might respond to you twice. You also are not going to get any responses from all the people in Berkeley who don't subscribe to BPN, don't read it, and/or don't even have internet access. You won't get responses from Berkeley residents who don't speak english as a first language. You won't get responses from people who have three jobs and don't have any time to read message boards on the internet. -- your methods are probably more biased than any that BUSD might use.
Hello, we recently relocated to Berkeley (South zone) and because our son is entering first grade, we did not get any of our three school choices. We are currently number 3 on the wait list for John Muir and Emerson and number 5 on the wait list for Malcolm X. We live in the John Muir/ Emerson zip code (our top two choices) and I understand this may be a disadvantage due to the need for diversity in the classroom. There has not been any change in the waiting list since June, it's been challenging to get information from the admissions office ( after 5 weeks of calling weekly had to go to the office in person to get a response!), and we were told that no spots will be filled after the first 2 weeks of school because it's too disruptive for the teachers. My questions: does anyone have recent experience being accepted from the wait list? Is there any chance we will be accepted to a school of our choice? Should we visit the schools directly? Are there exceptions to the no transfer after first 2 weeks rule? Any thoughts are appreciated. I am disturbed by how disorganized the admissions office has been and I am concerned that they are not filling openings past the first 2 weeks of school. After such a huge transition we are hoping to have some stability for our son, and school is just weeks away! Nervous Mama
So while it's really nerve-wracking, I am guessing that you'll get into one of the schools that you like. We live in the South district too and have been really impressed at the quality of the schools here!
Oh, and here's a tip that worked for us. You might want to go to the district office once a day on the week before school starts, to ask if there are any developments. If they see you there then you won't get lost in the pile. a formerly wait-listed family
We recently moved to Berkeley and entered our daughter, who will be entering first grade next fall, into the lottery for the Berkeley Unified School District. We were unhappy with the lottery results (were offered our bottom choice) and decided to have her name put on the waiting list for several nearby elementary schools.
Right now we are anywhere between #2 and #4 on the waiting lists for Malcolm X, Emerson, Washington and John Muir. I'm just looking to hear about the experiences of other Berkeley parents who have been on waiting lists in recent years. Would you say our chances of getting into one of these schools are good, poor, depends on the size of the school? Waiting with baited breath
That said, I'd guess you have a good chance of getting a different school, if only because your number on the waiting list is pretty high! Here are my other thoughts:
- If you're in the Southeast Zone you have almost no chance of getting in to Washington, which is a Central Zone school and is considered to be impacted by the overcrowding. Conversely, if you're in the Central Zone you have a better than would be expected chance of getting into a Southeast Zone school since there is not overcrowding there.
- Kids are assigned off the waiting list depending on what diversity index is needed to maintain a balance in the school, not just the number on the list.
- Malcolm X is a ''dual zone'' school this year to help with the overcrowding. This resulted in BUSD assigning almost entirely Central Zone families to Malcolm X, whether they wanted to go there or not. It's unclear what this will mean for the waiting list.
- First grade assignments are probably trickier than kindergarten assignments since there's already an established class. Obviously, there may be only a few spaces available for assignments, particularly in the smaller schools.
- I think there are a few ''waves'' of assignments off the waiting list. One right about now when they find out who actually enrolled. One mid-summer when they've done the second round of lottery. And another at the beginning of the school year when they see who actually shows up.
Good luck! BUSD parent
We got our third choice in the central zone. we then followed all the instructions and wait listed for our top 2 choices. we wrote a letter and persisted with the admissions office. We got nowhere. we moved 1 spot on one of the waitlists, which in my opinion is a bit suspicious. we felt completely powerless.
We declined the one private school we applied for, because we wanted to give BUSD a chance and we thought we might get somewhere on the wait lists, as we weren't very far on them.
After the first month of school, the head of BUSD admissions informed me that they no longer go by the wait list. and i also found out that one of the 2 schools we wanted was not full. so incoming kids 1 month after the school year starts were getting into the school we wanted. after we had followed the district's instructions, waited patiently, (paid a ridiculous amount of property taxes to own a home in Berkeley:)), to find out someone else could just waltz in midyear and get a coveted space we were waiting so patiently for. honestly, it just makes me sick.
Of note, i just read that BUSD has the worst learning gap between white and African American races in all of California. I do question whether busing kids all over the city, forcing people who live in the flats into schools in the hills and vice versa, and completely denying our kids any sense of a neighborhood school is worth it, because it isn't narrowing the gap.
Now we are reapplying to the private school for first grade. anon
Hi, I had missed the first deadline for the Berkeley school lottery, so I am planning to submit my papers for the 2nd round. Does anyone know what are my chances to get into the elementary school that I like? Thank you, kiki
The worse that will happen is that you get the school you don't want. But there is hope! As soon as you find out the school you have been assigned, all you do is go to the district and tell them what has happened. That you would prefer to be switched to the school you wanted. You have to do this right away. They will put you on the wait list. Parents usually decided after they get the letter their other choices. There are allot of switching around before the year starts, parents leave the Bay Area, because plans changed for them, or they move to a different local city, and some decide to go with private school they wanted instead. There is hope yet! But you have to be proactive.
Now this will be different if you applied for the immersion program as the waiting list is VERY long. I also know parents that were able to get into the program at the last minute, because they were proactive, and didn't give up. School assignments change between start of school year. Parents take a moment to register (fill out the paperwork) at the school they were assigned. Until all the parents are registered at the actual school, it is hard to tell. It takes a moment for the district to figure it all out. Some parents don't register until the first day of school. Switching can happen as late as the first week of October. So you see there is hope. I've never heard of the district turning parentsm away because they want a different school; I truly believe they make an effort to accommodate.
No matter what school you get. If you need the afterschool program, make sure you sign up RIGHT AWAY to get a spot. As if you change your mind down the road it will be harder to get an opening. The wait list is always VERY long after kindergarten.
I hope this helps. You'll get the school you want. Good Luck. Duffy
hi all - just received our KG assignment and are not sure how to proceed. We were assigned to our third choice school which was our third choice because it is the farthest from our house and has the lowest scores/percentage of parents who attended college etc. There were also many nice things so we're not devastated but we want to know how the appeals/waitlist process works and anyone's experiences. Our daughter has a younger sister so this school could be ours for the next 10 years and we would like it to be the best fit! Thanks in advance for your insight and advice! -lottery loser
In a month or so they will announce what your place on the wait list is.
In the mean time, if you have any compelling reason why your child should given first priority admittance to one of the other schools (aka he has a disability where he can't ride the bus or something like that) then write a letter to that affect and you will usually get put at the top of the list. But hopefully, your child doesn't have a disability.
Most people I know who appealed ended up being offered a spot at another school. before the beginning of the school year. Others got offered a spot at a better school a week or two into the year. -got my first choice thru appealing
My daughter was pushed down the stairs, hit repeatedly, and got a concussion at school, we filed paperwork asking that she be moved for safety reasons and the BUSD never even bothered to contact us much less move her, even though it would seem this was a liability issue for them.
There are great principals and teachers out there,but the central administrative staff that you need for enrollment purposes is a total nightmare. The give you the run around, you get different answers based upon who you talk to, and the waitlists do not work the way they are supposed to.
-Mystified in Berkeley
Anyhow. You should bring a letter to the office where you brought your kindergarten choice form earlier this year. THe letter should say that you'd like to be placed on the waiting list for a certain school or certain schools. You should date stamp and photocopy the letter. Call the office and find out the deadline for submitting such wait list request letters. Ask the office what the current process is for the wait list generation and notification. Ask them when you should call back to find out where you are on the list, when they will start to move people off the list (likely after the registration deadline passes.
Also, if it were me, I'd submit my registration info to the school we did get into, even if we hope for a transfer, otherwise you will not have your 3rd choice to fall back on.
And of course (as I'm sure you would anyway) please remember to be civil to the folks at the assignment office and at the school you are trying to transfer from. They all have very challenging jobs this time of year.
Welcome to the BUSD. Hope you have a fabulous time no matter where your kindergartener lands! So many great teachers and great families and great kids. We love it. BUSD Mom
Does anyone have experience with re-entering the school lottery for Berkeley public school assignments? We moved here over the summer and my children were placed in a school we are not thrilled about for a number of reasons. What are our chances of getting into one of our other two choices if we reenter the lottery during the first round next year? New to Berkeley
I don't know if BUSD does mid-year transfers within the district. If this is something you may be interested in, you should ask Francisco at the BUSD placement office. If it is possible, then it may be easier to switch mid year, than at the beginning of the year - however, you'll need to figure out the potential impact on your child. You may also want to give BUSD a letter saying you are interested in a a mid-year transfer, and keep in touch with them monthly, or so, to see if there are openings at the school(s) you'd like your child to move to.
If you are only interested in end of year transfers, then you should still make sure Francisco and his office know that. You may want to ask your friends at the other school(s), how full the particluar grade you are interested in is. They can also give you a reality check on the strengths and challenges for their school(s), since, as you know, no school is perfect. BUSD Parent
As a new parent looking forward to the school situation, I am concerned about the potential distance that my child may have to travel to get to an elementary school. The goals of the school district are laudable, but I wonder if the actual impact of a 1/2 hour trip each way to get to school (admittedly a worse case) is a tangible negative impact for very young children over the more intangible social impacts of school integration. I just wonder if there is any research about the benefits of limiting travel time for children, and if this factor should be considered in the school assignment criteria. How can a parent get involved in a discussion of the school assignment criteria? I believe this issue becomes less important as the child get older; my primary concern is during elementary school ages. A new parent in Berkeley
I agree with you about the travel time issue. Sending my child on the bus instead of being able to walk to school seems very burdensome and frankly, a waste of gasoline.
It also raises another issue for me, What about the detrimental effects of this lottery on the sense of community in a neighborhood? I remember growing up in a neighborhood when all the parents went to the PTA meeting together. They'd knock on each others doors reminding them to go. If I had known what school my children were attending ahead of time, I would have been supporting that school since the children were infants. Instead we get assigned to a school I have never even seen because its so far from our house.
I would also like to know how to get into a discussion about this issue as well. It seems like if you express any negativity toward it, you are stigmatized as almost racist. In the school we got assigned to, the 5th graders had a writing assignment up on the wall about the school assignment system. One child said, ''White families in Berkeley have teamed up with George Bush to try to go to school with only other white families...'' or something like that re: some past lawsuit to reverse the lottery system. So if this is the propaganda the schools are actually spreading to the children, no wonder it is so un-PC to bring it up.
I don't know one family who is happy with their assignment. I know a lot of families who are either moving away or choosing private schools. Its a shame. Berkeley really needs to think about the needs of their families and their neighborhoods. And if the point of all this is to increase diversity, that is great, but the fact is that we chose to live in a really diverse neighborhood. So if we all got to go to the neighborhood school, it would still be diverse. So if there are any organizations of parents trying to reverse the school assignment system. I'd love to find out about it and join up immediately. just don't get it
Also anecdotally, my observation is that VERY FEW kids in Berkeley actually live close enough to the schools they attend, public or private, such that travel time is less than 30 minutes one way, walking, driving, or by bike. If you live near a neighborhood school and can go there, great. But often, in ''school choice'', the school that's best for your kids is not necessarily the closest one. There's a private school in my neighborhood that doesn't provide transportation to the school, so I know parents, some driving from Oakland or further away, are in the car more than 30 minutes delivering their kids to school. They are choosing to do this. Most kids have been doing this type of commute since preschool-age. Actually, I find that it's hard to go much anywhere in the Bay Area where door-to-door travel time is 30 minutes or less, even within the boundaries of Berkeley. Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like your concern about travel time is a veiled concern about something else--kind of like bringing Al Capone to justice on tax evasion because he couldn't be caught for racketeering? If you have issue with the relative un/fairness of the BUSD school assignment process, there's plenty of advice in the BPN archives regarding whom to contact and how to address this directly with the district. BUSD parent
I'm very impressed by the ability of the school system to create balanced student bodies at the schools and think that the way it's done is actually fairly good. I'm not sure how they could make everyone happy by giving first choices without segregating the schools by race/income.
I'm not sure what we would have done had we not gotten a different placement. All the other families we know in our zone are happy with their assignments.
We wrote a note to the superintendant about the system- we thought that families who got their last choices should be given a higher number on the wait list than those who may have gotten their 2nd choices. The office read the letter and called us back to say they would try to alter the process in the future. happy with busd process
We just received our child's Berkeley kindergarten selection and it's a school that we did not preference at all. Has anyone had experience with waitlisting their child for another school in the district? Is there anything one can do to increase the chances of getting into a different school? Thanks. Berkeley Parent
In May we received a call that she had made it into the second choice school. We had to debate whether that was actually better than the third choice we were already in. We decided to make the move. When I called back to let them know, they told me a slot was open in choice #1 if we were still interested.
We're very pleased that she attends our #1 choice school, as it's very close to our home. However, we were really pleasantly surprised at how much we liked #3 once we got used to the idea.
Hope this helps, and good luck to you. happy K mom
You should get on the waiting list right away and check frequently to see how you rank. If you have extenuating circumstances, you can sometimes make the case that your child needs to attend a particular school because of hours, location, etc. tiara
My son was put into a school that I am not happy with (not any of my three choices). [A letter from the district] says that I can get up on a waiting list. My question is can I get on several different school waiting lists and hope that one opens up, or do I just have one chance? Has anyone done this? What is the possibility of actually getting in through the waiting list? upset mama
My child was #3 on her school's list. She got in before the end of May that year. A classmate of hers was #12 and he got in in July, I think. OF course it varies from year to year, as to when Francisco's office informs families. I think he tries to inform us as soon as possible. From what I hear over and over again, in past years folks who have stayed on the waiting list have gotten their first choice eventually. Most got it that summer. One or two started in their assigned school and then in the first week of classes got offered a place at their first chioce school. This may seem intense to us, but the kids all did fine with it. They weren't yet settled in, and considering the 6 years that they may be at the school, it's a wash. So, yes, get on those waiting lists for the schools you want and for dual immersion, too (if you want that). My last bit of advice is to please be patient and respectful of Francisco and his staff. They don't have an easy job, and in my experience, they have always been respectful and fair. Best of luck. We love our Berkeley school, and many of our friends love their kid's Berkeley schools, too. - staisfied berkeley school mom
There was an incredible amount of shuffling that first week of school and many more openings...I know of a few people who got their children into their preferred choice (different schools) that 1st week classes started. Hang in there. They definitely tried to accomodate me - I was always civil, polite and non-panicky but no doubt very persistant. Good luck. Persistant Mom
These ''composite attributed diversity categories'', as they are called by the BUSD, were made based on 2000 US Census data and take into account your neighboorhood racial composition, your average neighborhood income, and your average neighborhood education level. The school assignments are done to balance the number of students from each category in each school. Parents can request changes but changes will only be made if they maintain the desired balance of categories. For more information about how all this works, please contact Francisco Martinez, the Manager of Admission and Attendence (644- 6504, Francisco_Martinez AT berkeley.k12.ca.us), and Michele Lawrence, the BUSD Superintendent (644-8764, mlawrence AT berkeley.k12.ca.us). Ask for the BUSD Policy for Student Assignment and for the BUSD policies that described how transfers and waitlists are handled. If you are a parent with a child either entering kindergarten or already enrolled in the Berkeley Unified School District and you think that the BUSD school assignment policy that is based partially on race violates the Prop. 209 anti-discrimination provisions (Prop. 209 prohibits the use of race as a factor in admissions/assignments in California schools), and/or if you think that your child has not been assigned to the school of your choice in part because of her/his race (whether it is white, black, or any other), please contact the Paul Beard at the Pacific Legal Foundation (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Pacific Legal Foundation is interested (at their own expense) in mounting another legal challenge to the BUSD policies and is looking for a group of parents to represent. If you are interested in getting a copy of the BUSD School Assignment Policy, contact the BUSD Public Information Office at publicinfo AT berkeley.k12.ca.us or call 644-6320. -I'll remain anonymous since this is such a non-politically- correct position to have in Berkeley! anon
If you are a parent with a child either entering kindergarten or already enrolled in the Berkeley Unified School District and you think that the BUSD school assignment policy that is based partially on race violates the Prop. 209 anti-discrimination provisions (Prop. 209 prohibits the use of race as a factor in admissions/assignments in California schools), and/or if you think that your child has not been assigned to the school of your choice in part because of her/his race (whether it is white, black, or any other), please contact the Paul Beard at the Pacific Legal Foundation (email@example.com). The Pacific Legal Foundation is interested (at their own expense) in mounting another legal challenge to the BUSD policies and is looking for a group of parents to represent. If you are interested in getting a copy of the BUSD School Assignment Policy, contact the BUSD Public Information Office at publicinfo AT berkeley.k12.ca.us or call 644-6320. -I'll remain anonymous since this is such a non-politically- correct position to have in Berkeley! anon
BUSD has the very difficult assignment of trying to balance the educational needs of a very diverse community. They simply can't afford to spend additional money defending themselves from lawsuits aimed at the assignment policy. Money is in short supply and I'd rather see money spent educating the children of Berkeley instead of paying attorney fees. If anyone has issues with the assignment policy maybe they should go to a board meeting and voice their opinion directly instead of costly litigation. Ian
To the poster who thought that it was unethical to legally challenge racial discrimination, please let us all know what you think would be a better way to stop racial discrimination in our schools. If the BUSD doesn't want to waste money on a lawsuit, they could simply stop using race-based polices. Also, think of all the money that the BUSD is wasting on its ridiculously complicated assignment policy! -another angry BUSD parent
Here's why I think that: the current policy is driving families away from the BUSD in large numbers. I hear the same story over and over again: ''We applied for our neighborhood school, and we'd have been happy with #2 that's a little further away, but we didn't get any of our top 3 choices so we're going to private school instead.'' Or, ''we're home schooling instead''. These are people who REALLY SUPPORT the public schools but they don't want to be driving their child across town. In my neighborhood, it's actually easier to get your child on to a bus to one of the private schools than to cart them across town to their assigned school. I haven't met anyone in my neighborhood yet whose kids were assigned to the public school in our neighborhood.
It used to be that the argument against private schools was ''but at private school their schoolmates are from all over the East Bay. It's so much better for them to go to the same school as all the other kids in the neighborhood.'' We can't make that appeal anymore. I think it's really costing our district.
Not only are we losing our per-student money from the state from all these kids going to private school and home-schooling, but we are also losing the families in Berkeley that have the money to make our schools really great. Without those affluent families, we have no after-school programs and extra-curricular activities. My Berkeley public school got a new playground because parents paid for it. The K and 1 teachers all had assistants because parents paid for them. There were language classes, movement classes, and music classes because the parents paid for them. I wasn't one of the families that could afford to do that. The families that can afford to write out a check for a new playground are the families that are being driven away by the current policy.
I know that the assignment policy is well-intended and I do understand the great divide of wealth in Berkeley and the reason behind the policy. But there's got to be a better way. How can we improve our schools in the less affluent neighborhoods without taking neighborhood schools away? I'm worried we are ruining our schools for ALL our kids, rich AND poor. How come with so many smart people in Berkeley, we can't do better than a policy that drives so many families away? Is a law suit the ONLY way to fix it? BUSD parent
1)BUSD is trying to do a noble thing and attempt to distribute parent resources throughout the district. This means that yes...some people in Berkeley have more resources to contribute to the educational system than others...some of us make more money, have more flexible schedules, don't have to work on weekends...whatever...its a FACT that some of us have more to give than others. So why not make this your way of giving back to society...sacrifice and let your kids go to one of these schools across town from your house. If you've got money you can help out some kids who may not have as much as you and teach you kids that there is more to life like relating to people from all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds...they can get some of that critically acclaimed REAL WORLD experience...something not offered in private schools.
2)At my kids school we have lots of kids from all over Berkeley ..kids of different races...kids of different neighborhoods...kids of different income levels...some get bussed in...some walk and some have their parents drive them. Many of these kids are not attending a school in their own neighborhood. They have to travel across town to a school way up in the hills. It seems to me that everyone who attends this school is getting the same treatment regardless of their race, economic situation or location. I don't see the racial discrimnation of the assignment policy at least at my kids school.
3) I grew up in the hills and I got bussed to Columbus (now Rosa Parks). A bunch of us from the hills all went to that fine school down by the freeway and it was no big deal. Later on I even got bussed to a better school... Kennedy High in Richmond (looks like San Quentin). I survived and I learned enough to get by. My point is we're a village and everyone needs to pitch in. You can make a difference and your child has opportunities regardless of whether your child goes to a school in your neighborhood or not. Yes I agree it may be a hassle to haul across town every day to drop your kid off at school. I know from personal experience. I spent many hours riding busses to and from school.
I would be happy if my kids went to a school that was on the other side of town as long as the teachers were good and the principal was on the ball. This is the case for any school my children would attend. In fact, there were two schools in our district and IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD that I was not satisfied with and didn't want my kids to attend. If we got assigned to them I would have had an issue because I didn't like the way the staff interacted with me. Our second pick was the furthest away and it was second only because it started at 8am. If it started at 9am I would have been there. Parents should focus their energy on the quality of the particular school, not its location. Any person can have a profound influence on the quality of the education at any school. Each school offers its own character and specialties regardless of location and that has to work for your child and you. Decisions shouldn't be based simply by location of the school...it should be the quality of the staff at a school...that's what you should fight for. Even our school in the hills has its daily issues with conflicts, class disruptions, shortages of materials and lack of support. Just because its in the hills and close to our house doesn't make it good. We are there like many other parents are..donating time and resources by helping out in class, giving money and supplying lots of support. This happens at all schools, not just in the hill! s. If you are choosing schools simply on location then the district isn't discriminating, you are. Ian
My son will enter kindergarten in the fall and we looked in depth at a number of schools in and out of our zone and I was pleased by what I saw. In addition to some great learning going on, evidence of the benefits of the diversity that results from the desegregation was abundant at all the schools we looked at. So benefit #1 is for my child and other children in Berkeley public schools.
The second benefit I'll mention goes beyond children to the entire community. Having a school assignment system organized by zone rather than by local school boundaries changes the local economics. We were able to consider buying our house anywhere in Berkeley, knowing that some or all schools in each zone would be of interest to us. This discourages the skyrocketing home values that result when just one or two schools are considered desirable and there is great pressure to buy in those boundaries. (not to say that prices aren't high enough...) This phenomenon of artifically inflated home prices based on a small number of desirable schools in a given district is thought to contribute to the high personal bankruptcy rate and general overuse of credit common today. See The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke by Elizabeth Warren & Amelia Warren Tyagi for more detai! ls on this. One of the great things about living in Berkeley is that enough people usually vote to fund things that are important to families like schools and libraries - and this not only benefits me and my family directly, but also benefits the many very disadvantaged families within Berkeley's borders. Let's keep it that way. - desegregation fan
To remedy lose-lose, we want a reevaluation of a forty year old system. Why shouldn’t the standards of schools benefit from the obvious sums of money going to what are perceived to be more effective educational institutions, namely private schools? (We went to public school) When we arrived over eight years ago, even before thinking of having children, we heard again and again just how dismal the BUSD was, whether justified or not. Now with Governor Schwarzenegger further distressing the school system statewide, this is a time to think quickly about just what community minded schooling really means and further dispense with the idealism that in our view (maybe only ours – you tell me) does not promote the best local resources to educate our kids but instead remain splintered and disorganized.
The fruitful education of all children is a deeply held dream by everyone, right? It ! is an awesome problem. On the local level, we don’t think BUSD is handling assignments which have financial, neighborhood and educational implications in nearly the best way it could. There is simply too much intellectual firepower around for this to be happening. If you are in the system maybe you’re satisfied with the status quo; then again I am willing to support your child’s teachers’ welfare if I am given fair treatment by BUSD. I look forward to responses because this is only my perspective. What’s up out there? another parent
So, while I'd love to have a neighborhood school for my children to attend, I see a bigger picture. And, I've come to see our across town school as being part of our family's community if not part of our neighborhood - and its a better community because of its diversity. part of the other perspective
I need some Berkeley public school advice...my child has a spot at Cragmont for kindergarten in the fall, while my older child was placed on the waiting list with a sibling priority for a third grade spot. She is second on the list. Parents Access office doesn't have any new information to give me, and as the summer progresses , I am feeling anxious about the uncertainty! Does anyone know of a second grader leaving Cragmont for another school? If so, could they kindly let the BUSD know so their spot would free up for another child (and nervous mother)? Any advice to give me from others who have gone through this? Much appreciated!
As of two weeks before school started, when we went on vacation, there was still no place for her at Jefferson, and she was slated to go to Washington. The office told me that there are almost always openings during the first two weeks of school, because some people who moved away have not told the district office. But they wait two weeks to see if they might show up (they said some people don't quite get the message that school starts before labor day and don't show up till after, and they don't want to give away their spots.) We didn't like the idea of moving our daughter to a new school during the third week. So we braced ourselves for having two kids in two different schools and started introducing her to the yard over at Washington.
The day they said they would post the class lists, my husband and I kept running over to check. Finally they were posted -- we were there and reading over the shoulder of the poor person taping them up! Not reading, actually, but counting. Our daughter's name was not there, but we counted each third grade class -- twice -- and one of them only listed 19 names. It was about 4:30 pm, and we sprinted home and called the parent access office to tell them there seemed to be room for her at Jefferson.
They said they would check and get back to us. You could hear the phones ringing off the hook over there. They called us the next day -- about three days before school began, I think -- to say that yes, she was in.
We spend the entire summer in an unsure state, and the anxiety got worse before it was resolved. But it did work out. People say that it's all done by computer and it doesn't matter what kind of communications efforts you make, but I don't believe it. Whatever you do, be really nice to the person at the parent access office. It's a hard job, and they get a lot of anger thrown at them. I always joked about taking her cookies. I never did, but always was friendly and nice -- ''just checking in to see if there is any new news.''
It will help to be very clear on your plan B. A third grader is old enough to understand that the first choice might not work out. Decide if you would be willing to move her after two weeks. And good luck to you. It is a screwed up system that has siblings sweating like this!
Our child is enrolled in Kindergarten at John Muir Elementary in Berkeley. We are not too happy with the school and would like to switch to Emerson Elemenatary (in the same zone) next fall. Has anyone done this successfully? Are there any tips for doing so, especially since Emerson is so popular? Thanks in advance. anon
I definitely think transferring is worth a try if John Muir isn't a good fit for you and your family. Every school in BUSD has it unique strengths, and finding the right one for you is important. I don't feel comfortable identifying myself since I am hesitant for anyone to figure out which school we left, but if you ask around at John Muir, you can probably find me. I have do some tips, but again, it would be much better to share them offline.
I also wonder if you have spoken about your concerns with your child's teacher and the new principal, Javier Mendieta. They are first in line to help you and your child have a positive experience at school. Mr. Mendieta seems very accessible and responsive. In addition to approaching the teacher and the principal, you can also talk with PTA and SGC leadership. There are structures in place to support you, and I encourage you to reach out. Whatever choice you end up making, I wish you and your child the best. BUSD parent of a happily transplanted child
We are trying to get the BUSD to transfer our 4th grade daughter to another elementary school, but have run into a wall. She has been at her current school since kindergarten. Two weeks before school started she confided that she could not bear to return, due to longstanding problems with certain students. We went to the BUSD Parent Access office at the busiest time--the start of the school year--and filled out the paperwork, listing several schools we would transfer to. I wrote out a lengthy explanation of the reasons on the back of one of the forms. When we followed up today we were told that our daughter could not be transferred out of her current school if it altered the representation of our demographic at the current school. Then the person said, ''but maybe your daughter's group is over-represented.'' I understood this to mean that the 3 categories--race, income group, and parent's education--are taken into account when we are asking for a transfer for cause. This does not seem fair. Has anyone else had experience with trying to transfer within the district? We are very disheartened because we know for a fact that there is a small minority of students of our daughter's particular race at her current school. Why doesn't the BUSD consider the merits of our request, namely the serious harassment she has been exposed to, in makng their decision? Any advice is appreciated. Berkeley mom
Greetings Families: I have a child that attends Le Conte Elementary. They will be entering the 4th Grade this September. I would like to transfer to Berkeley Art Magnet, North Berkeley. My decision to transfer is solely because Berkeley Art Magnet is closer, and in walking distance of our home.
I'm currently driving to South Berkeley every morning and afternoon just to drop off and pick up my child. I have no other business in that area in the mornings or afternoons. Environmentally it is better for us to attend a school closer to home.
I'm seeking a parent that is currently attending Berkeley Art Magnet, that possibly might be living in South Berkeley and would like to attend Le Conte. My child is on the waiting list for BAM, but I was wondering if I could make anyone's life easier by maybe switching with a parent who would like to go to Le Conte? Le Conte is a great school; it is out of my way and is in opposite directions of where I live, and where I need to drop my preschooler and 4th Grader. There is a possibility, that my child might get into BAM before school starts in September, they are #4 on the waiting list. BAM is already full for the 4th grade, which it's also possible that they might not get in.
I hope there is a parent out there that can consider a trade. I really need to make this happen. Thank you. Really wanting to be environmentally sound!
Our daughter, who is now in 4th grade and in a local private
school,will go to a Berkeley middle school when she reaches 6th
grade. We have lived in Berkeley for many years, but I confess
we know little about the school assignment process in the
Berkeley public schools. We have heard that parents can list 3
choices for elementary schools, but what about middle schools?
The BUSD web site says that kids are assigned to middle schools
based on their home addresses. Do we have to send her to King,
which is near our house, or can we request Willard? If we
request Willard, how likely is it that we will we get in? (our
race is caucasian). What is the process for appealing the
school assignment decision? Is there a waiting list for the
middle schools? We are very concerned that King, which is so
big, will feel too overwhelming for her, coming from a small
private school. She also has dyslexia, which I think will not
be well-served by placing her in a school of that size. Any
information would be helpful. We realize that this process is
months away, but have some friends with 5th graders at a local
Berkeley elementary school who have just received their middle
school assignments, and they told us that there is virtually
nothing we can do to alter the BUSD assignments for middle
school students. Is this true?
We currently live in Berkeley and my daughter would most likely start kindergarten at Oxford or Cragmont in the near future. We hope to buy a house in Berkeley eventuallty but might not end up in the Central District. Does anyone know if she would be grandfathered in to the school? I called the BUSD and the response I was given was a tentative ''I think so''. Is my daughter guaranteed a spot for the rest of her elementary school years no matter where we live in Berkeley? Thanks.
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