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I've heard from my daughter that there's a kid who chooses not to
speak much and yet he's not stigmatized. Lots of the kids are into
a punky/goth-type look, but it's quite benign. Music, art, video and
drama are a big part of the program, as well as outdoor education
and social justice. My daughter has been really happy there so far
and is much more self-motivated to do her homework and pick up
a book. It's a little far from Richmond, but you might find someone
to car-pool with. It's definitely worth a visit.
A mother who's been there
Re: Private Schools with No Bullying
Our daughter is very happy at the Community School of the East Bay. It's a very small, progressive 7th & 8th grade school with a focus on social justice and the environment. The staff seems to do a good job of steering kids away from forming cliques and bullying. Last year they showed the film, ''Get Real'' which is an excellent documentary on the harmful effects of bullying and how it can cut so deep. I recommend seeing the film with your son as a way to discuss the issue and your concerns as you look for the best learning environment for him. Good luck!
My son is in his second year at Community School of the East Bay, and our experience has been wonderful. The school recently relocated to the old Oakland Hebrew Day School site in the Piedmont Ave. area of Oakland. Academically, the program challenges each student where he or she is (providing for example 4 levels of math, including high school level geometry, in a 7th and 8th grade school). The teachers are accessible and committed, and their assignments require the students to think hard, question assumptions and find their own voice. Last year, for example, students were asked to read publications across the political spectrum to find and analyze articles on a current topic (e.g. Iraq), resulting in an essay, oral presentation and extremely lively in class discussions. In this environmnet, our son has been inspired to produce work that surprises us with pleasure on a daily basis.
Beyond academics, the school offers an large array of arts classes, as well as three outdoor trips a year (a weeklong trip to Yosemite, white water rafting overnight and a ski/snow trip). The school also strongly encourages student self determination and community. Adolescence is a ''challenging'' time (in all senses of the word), and, through devices such as town meeting and advisories, the school helps 7th and 8th graders to take responsibility for self governance.
Community School has been a great place for us. Our son has grown academically and socially. He enjoys going to school and wishes they had a high school. Meri
The Community School of the East Bay is a tiny school currently only for 7th and 8th grade students. Its tuition is modest for a private school--it has been located in the basement of a church on Scenic for several years. Fierce supporters of public schools, we pulled our daughter out of King Middle School after the 6th grade: though the teachers were wonderful and concerned, the physical and verbal violence, social cliques, size, lack of playground supervision, racism--all created a depressing atmosphere for a sensitive, intellectual child. She has been very happy at Community School, made wonderful friends, and enjoys the fine rigor of the academic program and social consciousness of the director, teachers, and parents. Kids are required to do community service, to pay attention to world politics, to learn how to get along with one another. Faculty and staff really listen to kids and vice versa. Kids help make decisions about field trips, materials, and social activities. If you have a child who thrives on attention yet firm guidance, who is bi-racial, eccentric, adopted or thinks of herself or himself as ''different,'' I highly recommend Community School of the East Bay. Its new location will be in Oakland. Berkeley parents will carpool, etc. next fall. Gloria
I have a son in 7th grade at Community School of the East Bay (CSEB) (and a daughter to enter in September), which is just a couple of blocks north of the Berkeley campus. It is a small, private middle school (7th and 8th grades only) sponsored by Walden, Park Day, Berkwood Hedge and Montessori Family elementary schools. It sounds like it might be a good choice for your nephew. There is no "superior academic" screen, which means that the student body runs the gamut from those who find academics easy across the board to those with a great variety of learning differences. The classes are small, the kids get a great deal of teacher attention, and there are a variety of electives included in the school day, such as drama, web design, video production, "tinkering," dance, and skateboarding in addition to a complete academic program. Student town meeting, community service, art and P.E. are also part of the regular program.
This year, CSEB costs around $9000, and next year around $10,000. So far, it has found a way for most families who want to attend to do so, by giving out more scholarship tuition credit than, I believe, other private middle schools. There are a great many single parent families at the school, as well as two parent families who couldn't afford the full tuition. Scholarship families are asked to help out with necessary tasks for more hours than non-scholarship families, but this is not a fixed amount and takes into consideration the actual time available in the person's life! Inquiries can be directed to the school at 510-649-0505. Joan
The Community School is a new middle school formed this year by Park Day School, Berkwood Hedge, Walden and Montessori Family School. It aims to be a socially, economically, and racially diverse school that has its students working in the community as well as studying. It's a work in progress. Its headmaster was the former assistant headmaster at Windrush in El Cerrito. Its listed in the phone book or your friend could get the number from Park Day School in Oakland. Franny
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