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To piggyback on a recently posted question about Berkeley elementary schools in the Southeast zone-- John Muir vs. Emerson -- I am wondering what parents think of their respective after-school programs. Since the after-school portion of the day could be almost as long as the school portion, it seems like prospective parents should pay almost as much attention to the after-school offerings. Which has the best enrichment programs? How do you feel about the supervision? Is there enough running-around time? What is the balance between structured and unstructured time? What opportunities are there for gifted kids? (More responses to the original post would also be appreciated!) south berkeley parent
The afterschool program at John Muir is run by Kids in Motion, which is not part of the school district. It's a privately operated program. Your kids can bus from Emerson to John Muir, if you look at both programs, and you prefer Kids in Motion. It does not work in the opposite direction -- your kids cannot bus to Emerson from John Muir for the afternoon.
In my experience, there are some kids who thrive in both programs, some kids who prefer one over the other, and some who don't like either. I think both programs are good, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Your experience of the program is more related to your child, than the program itself.
This may or may not be pertinent for you, but BUSD also buses kids to other programs throughout the city. We are Jewish, and our kids could get on the public school bus and go to our synagogue's after school program, if we chose.
This year, we have a babysitter taking the kids most days because it's not more expensive than having both kids in afterschool programs, and we can choose more freely to have play-dates, hang out, or take a class somewhere else.
My point is that there are quite a few choices, and something that works for you and your child will be available, no matter which school you attend! emerson parent
Our daughter will be starting kindegarten in the Fall of 2012 and we're starting to look at schools. She's a smart, great kid and my preference is to send her to public school. But I feel like the low scores Emerson and John Muir receive from Great Schools are inconsistent with positive parent feedback. I'd love to hear from people who chose to send kids to either school or who could have but chose private and why. For Kindegarten, I simply want a nurturing, fun environment. But beyond kindegarten, i want to ensure she's getting a education that meets her academic and social potential. Thoughts on Emerson and John Muir for a bright, happy kid are much appreciated! S.
I would recommend that you visit the schools, sit in the classrooms, and talk to many parents. As you compare schools this way, you'll likely get a good sense of the ''right'' choice for your family. We chose Emerson because it is a warm, diverse community with strong academics. It also has darn good social studies, art, music, and cooking programs. We have many friends with kids in private schools, and they have both mostly positive, but sometimes negative experiences, just like we do in public school. As I watch my children proceed through their education, I feel less and less concerned that they are missing out on a better experience than that of their private school peers. Our family doesn't have the financial resources to send both kids to private school K-12. If we did, we might make that choice, but I don't think it would be a better choice, just a different one.
To answer your question about Kindergarten specifically, you will find that public school Kindergarten is not only warm and nurturing, but also quite academic, with a sophisticated curriculum that is in-depth and engaging.
Good luck! Emerson Parent
Hi, I am looking into the 4/5 multi-grade class at Emerson for my bright son with High Functioning Autism. I am kind of desperate since I have to find a place, move and start the process before school starts Aug 30th. Can anyone tell me a little bit about the school, the principal, how they handle inclusion and if the peers are supportive. Is there any bullying? I am considering both public or private in the Berkeley area that is well established for special ed. despite the budget cuts, and would appreciate any thoughts on good programs with last minute placements available.
We could not have had a better elementary experience for our son from the teachers to the parents to the other kids. Emerson has a absolutely no bullying policy and it is the only school I have ever seen successfully enforce and really educate. (i have a typical 25 year old daughter so we have gone through the Berkeley school district both ways.
Mr. C the full inclusion teacher there is an incredible human being. Without his support my son would never have had the community experience he had at Emerson.
Good luck. D.
My 4.5 year-old has been assigned to Emerson Elementary in Berkeley for kindergarten. I toured it and liked it, but don't know much else about it. Most of the info on BPN seems old. I'd love to hear from people about their experience there. My son will be very ''young'' with a September birthday, so also wondering if this is a good fit. Thanks so much! -Nora
About your son's September birthday: don't worry about it. He won't be the youngest in his class. The kids will have a wide range in age as well as in school readiness. And the kindergarten teachers at Emerson are especially sensitive to making sure the little ones get what they need to be up to speed. The first week our younger one (October birthday) was at school, her teacher worked with her on how to hold a pencil, and seemingly within minutes her writing was legible and she was able to draw with so much more detail than she could in preschool. It was amazing! happy at Emerson
I am interested in hearing from families with kid(s) attending Emerson elementary in Berkeley. While there are some posts online, only one is recent. How is the parent community? Teachers? How about the after-school program? What do you like and dislike about the school. Thanks for the input! sue
Re: John Muir or Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley
I have a second grader at Emerson and a fifth grader in private school and I can't say enough good things about Emerson. My child has been academically challenged and nurtured throughout her three years there and has had consistently outstanding teachers. The teachers in the School are very collegial and close and the principal (who was a teacher at the school for many years) really has the trust of the teachers and staff. The school is small enough that the children really know each other across grades and have lots of opportunities for interaction. The Librarian is outstanding and has done some great reading programs with small groups of children in various grades--last year my daughter got to do a podcast book review! I would encourage you to tour the school and contact some current parents! Happy Emerson Mom
Emerson? I'm looking to switch my 2nd grader (next Fall) from private school to public. I didn't start him in our local schools because, frankly, I couldn't stand the discipline problems there, and I wasn't terribly impressed with the programs. Education is very important to me. I have two very bright kids who currently like school. I'm afraid that they will not be challenged enough and that they will be distracted by the discipline problems in the public schools. I'm willing to be a very active parent, I believe in public education, and it's a struggle for me to afford private school. But is it worth taking the risk? Could I get more of our neighborhood kids to go to the local school in order to increase the parental and financial resources? What could be done to improve these schools? I'm ready to campaign.
What has struck us most at Emerson is how dedicated the principal, teachers (and staff) are, they truly go the extra mile to create a strong, spirited and welcomed community. The teachers actively practice teamwork both in the classroom and out. They work together within grade levels, put on musical performances at school gatherings, attend the fundraising events, etc.
The three teachers we have had have been excellent. The personal contacts we have had with the principal and teachers have all been met with respect and quick responses. Getting involved as a parent at Emerson is not a problem! There is an active PTA as well as teachers who are willing to incorporate parental involvement in numerous ways.
Academically, the education seems like a perfectly fine balance, our son is challenged and excited by what is going in the classroom, and always happy to go to school. As for discipline problems we honestly have not been aware of many -- if there are problems, I think they would be dealt with in a swift and serious way. The hallways at Emerson are quiet and the teachers and principal are all well aware of who is who and what relationships and personalities exist. Lisa
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