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Berkeley Public Middle Schools
Why does aftercare exist but barely and summer and holiday camps end at age 11 for middle school-aged kids? Do working parents have them home for many hours at a time? I will leave my 12 y/o home alone for 2-3 hours max (not in the evening), and I don't want to do this several days in a row. What do parents do if they want a more structured environment after school? I am puzzled by the lack of offerings - any advice?
Our relocation saga continues, but we are getting closer! We thought we had a great house to rent in the MLK district, but our friends who visited it were a little concerned about a few things, so I'm still looking (anyone have ideas how to find a rental home OUTSIDE of Craigslist? We have one small and one medium dog and they must relocate with us!) My real question is regarding middle schools. When we came out to visit that rainy week in March, we didn't have time to check out Willard (or Longfellow). We did go to MLK, and my 11-year-old loved it. She is change-averse and since she didn't see Willard, she is really not enthusiastic about considering it. My husband sort of feels the same way. She's been in a very sweet and sheltered environment through elementary school, in full-time gifted, and is quite gentle in her nature. NOW, since most of the 3/2 (or 3/1 even) rentals I'm seeing these days are in Willard, I really want to know the deal. If you have thoughts about either topic, please help us out. Older sis is cool with BHS.
How are academics handled in the Berkeley public middle schools? Are there different classes for students at differing abilities in math, English, etc? Or are students all grouped together without regard to academic level? And if there are different levels, how many different levels and how are class placements determined?
Also, are students who excel academically -- especially boys, and especially black boys or other boys of color -- teased for being good students and caring about their schoolwork?
Our son is now in fourth grade at a BUSD public school and is witnessing teasing of boys who are good students, and a general disrespect among some of the students who struggle academically for those who focus on their school work. This is really disturbing to us. In the younger grades, some students disrupted the class, but there wasn't the hostility toward those students who excel academically and/or focus on their academics. I'm afraid this is only going to get worse in middle school.
How do the BUSD middle schools handle this? a worried parent
It would also be a good idea to organize some kind of home-based support group for him and other gifted African-American male students. Book groups, math puzzling groups (Bay Area Math Circles has a good after school group at Laney College, that is diverse; you could also buy math game/puzzle books/toys at Lawrence Hall of Science and work through them with your son and his friends.) We have a group that we organized for our girls, and it has been a tremendous support for being a bright child at an age when many children are so critical. It does get better in high school, but your son is going to need a lot of guidance through the middle school years. anon
In regard to teasing, middle school is a hot bed of it -- regardless of race, sex, or socio-economic status. How an individual child handles the teasing is the key. Those with a close, supportive group of friends do better than kids who are loners. If your child's close friends are at the same school, he will probably feel more comfortable - providing that you like those friends!
All of the BUSD middle schools have on-site school counselors and many wonderful supportive teachers and staff.
We've been generally happy with the overall middle school experience. It's not perfect, of course. We've watched our daughter navigate some tricky situations successfully and seen her grow into a more resilient person. BUSD Parent
Our family will be moving to the Berkeley area this coming summer. Since we'll need to sell our house here on the East Coast before purchasing in CA, we thought we'd rent for the first year.
I need advice on how to get into our school of choice despite moving there so late in the year. It's my hope that my children will go to King. If we rent a house in the King district, and send in our School Preference letter in July, what are the chances that my kids will go to that school? Or that they'll be in different schools all together?
I thought perhaps we should look at Piedmont or Albany for the first year so we could be guaranteed to know where they'd go to school. On the other hand, we'd really like them to be in the BUSD because my older child will be in 8th grade when we move and I'd like him to feel socially okay to then go to BHS the next year. As for my younger son, he'll be in 6th grade when we move and it would be nice for him not to have to switch schools after a year (if we rented in Albany or Piedmont.)
It seems that even if we have a rental contract that states we'll be in the BUSD/King district come the summer, we still need to provide three other forms of information showing that we pay electricity, etc. Any suggestions? Thanks much! Bridgette
My 2 boys attend a Berkeley Public Elementary School. As a parent, I have found it really rough and would like a safe Middle School for them. Because of our finances, we will have to send them to Berkeley High School. What are your thoughts? I am thinking that BHS will be OK because of the ''small schools'' but can not believe they would be safe enough in the huge public middle schools.... Am I being silly? What are the pros & cons of the local independant middle schools? Which ones are nice? On or off list please share your experience?
We know the old public/private debate is an old one, but now that we're in it...we are wondering whether middle school is a good time to consider private school (in Berkeley) -- age and development-wise, can private schools offer more guidance and stronger academics so a child is better prepared to navigate Berkeley High? The middle school years seem like critical years, and we're wondering what other parents that have gone through this concluded or learned through the process. Thanks. -making tough decisions
For example, if she felt overwhelmed by the boy factor, Julia Morgan middle school (for girls) could have been a great alternative. I understand that many of the families there do private school only for the middle school years. It sounds like a truly wonderful school. Since my daughter was doing fine in public school and was well grounded, we decided to go for public middle school in Berkeley.
The 3 Berkeley middle schools each have excellent academic programs with wonderful teachers. In addition to the academics, music and athletics are quite accessible to all kids. I have heard that, on average, Berkeley middle school kids come to Berkeley High with more advanced math skills than many of the local large private schools.
Do you know any Berkeley high teachers? you could ask them what they think of the skills kids bring from the different middle schools. Do you know parents of kids at the middle schools or high school? I encourage you to ask them directly. There is no one solution for everyone. For our kid, attending a public middles school in Berkeley is giving her lots of wonderful academic challenges and she is having a lot of fun, too (and we are saving money for other things like her cell phone bill - just kidding). BUSD Mom
(Editor Note: See this page for additional responses to this question.)
We are relocating to the area this summer. Need advice on the whole 'school registration' process. wanting that the process goes smoothly...HELP! We are open to private and public schools, half day or non- traditioal school setting...even home schooling, but not sure about the requirements for CA. 1. How does this work - really. 2. Since I am not a current resident, how do I choose the right school for my 11 year old son, [6th grader]? 3. Can i pick 'any' school, or would I be limited to the community where I [will] reside or work? 4. What can I do RIGHT NOW? 5. Any advice is appreciated & helpful at this point.
To get the latest from the district on how to apply if you don't yet have an address, contact the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD). Their web page is at http://www.berkeley.k12.ca.us/ The phone number at the Admissions Office is (510) 644-6504. They are open 8 am - noon and 1 pm - 4 pm. The deadline initial deadline for folks in Berkeley applying to Middle School is Friday Feb 8 at 4 pm. In addition to Berkeley and Oakland, you could also consider the neighboring Albany school district. BUSD Parent
Hello, I am planning to move to Berkeley next year from San Jose as there are so many positives things that Berkeley has to offer. I have a child who will be middle school age when I move and I am concerned about what life will be like in Berkeley middle school for my child. The posts on the parent network are fairly old so I was hoping that some parents of Berkeley middle school children could offer me some insight on the pros and cons of the different schools. Also, if you would be willing to spend a few minutes on the phone with me to discuss this more in detail as well I would really appreciate that too. Thanks, Love Berkeley, Want To Love The Schools too
I can tell you that in Berkeley there are two middle school geographic zones (see the web site for a place where you input an address and find the zone). The North zone is for King (on Rose Street), the South Zone is for Willard (on Telegrapsh). From time to time there is talk about moving the line southward as King has the most kids. Longfellow (on Sacramento) is a magnet school and does not have a geographic zone. Many of the kids who came up through the great dual Spanish-English programs go to Longfellow.
Definitely try to get input directly from families with kids in a given school, as even within Berkeley families without direct experience at Willard or Longfellow may put them down. I hear from families with kids at those two schools, and from teachers there, that they love those two schools. BUSD Mom
I would like to ask people to volunteer information about the lack of articulation between middle school science and high school science curriculum. I have heard from numerous parents that their children were woefully unprepared for the science classes at BHS.
That is not to say that the middle school teachers are not doing a good job. After talking to the head of the Science Dept. at Willard, we learned that what they teach is mandated by the district.
When we asked our daughter what she was studying in science we discovere d yet another semester devoted to the same health education topics: drugs, STD's, conception or avoidance thereof, etc. etc. etc. I have no problem with my children learning all this. However, they have had classes on these subjects since 4th grade.
I understand that in the spring of 8th grade chemistry will be covered. But apparently there is a gap. I may be wrong about the reason - it may not be because they are using science for health ed. & sex ed, but I'd like to hear from other people.
The teachers' hands are tied if the curriculum is mandated by the district.
Therefore, possibly the curriculum needs to be fine tuned.
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