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East Bay School for Boys (Berkeley, CA)
As a single mother raising a young man in today's society I thought very hard about where to send my son to middle school. He entered EBSB in Sept 2013. I was looking for a community who would partner with me to maneuver the challenges of these years. Passing from adolescence to adulthood is one of the most difficult and confusing transitions for a young male to make. We cannot assume that people automatically grow and develop into responsible, community-oriented adults. I believe that â€œadults are not born but made.â€ What connects us is our common beliefs and shared humanity. Today many of us face this passage without any social structure or tradition to help us through.
EBSB's intent is simple: to provide a sanctuary for our young men to develop the tools they will need to become healthy, culturally authentic, thriving young men. They accomplish this through an innovative curriculum building collaborative skills (math, science, language arts, history, life skills, backpacking, stewardship and the list goes on).
My son has found a place at EBSB. A few weeks ago at his student led conference he demonstrated the skills he had learned in his new environment. He was able to give feedback to his adviser on some of his concerns. This experience was powerful for him and as we left the building he told me how good it made him feel. Over the next few weeks he witnessed how his words motivated actions within the school. Our ability to change makes us sustainable, resilient, and honest. The ability to change while seeking creative solutions is one of EBSB's strengths all the while demonstrating a potent lesson to our young men. We are so happy to be here and look forward to our coming years creating in our new community. EBSB Parent
The hunt for middle school can be highly stressful. When that time came for us last year, my husband and I did not know what we were going to do. We had been in a suprportive and community oriented public school and we wanted something similar for muddle school. We attended numerous open houses and information nights for public, private, and parochial schools. We continued to cross schools off of our list until we were down to 2 schools. One of the schools was East Bay School for Boys. When our twins were accepted here, we felt that this would be the right fit for them and our family.
Now that we are 4 months into the school year, I can say with 100% confidence that this is by far the best place for my sons. I could go on and on about the fabulous projects, academics, and facillities, but what stands out the most to me is the care that the faculty has for my boys and the entire student population. I know that when I send my children to school everyday, they are loved and taken care of with true compassion. The faculty has high expectations for every boy and the boys rise to these expectations. EBSB has also taught my boys what real community looks like, and how they can be responsible community members. EBSB is am amazing place for young boys to grow durning one of the most complex times (adolescence!) of their lives. We found our dream school in East Bay School for Boys. Happy Mother of twin 6th grade boys
Re: Good middle school for boys
In your post you asked for parents who's sons were successful at the East Bay School for Boys and I am one of those parents so I felt inclined to share. When my son was ready to enter 6th grade I thought that he would be fine at another local school however the experience was far less than ideal for him and I felt like he needed an environment that was more hands on and project based, with an updated approach to technology and education, where he was thoughtfully engaged and encouraged to shine and to excel. I'm sure he would have been ok at another school but I wanted him to be more than ok. I wanted him to thrive and to feel confident and courageous while nurtured and guided to be an upstanding citizen. EBSB's mission is to empower the engaged, thoughtful, and courageous men of tomorrow and I wholeheartedly feel that they do just that. I've witnessed my son excel in Math and Language Arts and become incredibly engaged in his interactive online textbook for his World Cultures class. For the first time, he's excited about research and preparing his class presentations. In addition, he's made all kinds of new friends and is super excited to go to school each day. Not only that, EBSB moved into a new beautiful and centrally located facility. If you have any questions at all about their program I encourage you to contact the administration and get a list of parent references. Most of the parents that I know who have son's there will testify that it's the absolute best place around for them and are really very happy. Also, you may want to attend their next open house on December 6th. I hope this helps. Proud EBSB Parent
Re: How do average kids get into private middle school?
I think there are many independent schools with room for so-called ''average kids.'' I highly recommend you check out East Bay School for Boys. They're great with boys who may have fallen through the cracks in traditional schools. My son started there in 6th grade and is going to graduate this coming spring. EBSB is not just about academics, they really approach education as a ''whole.'' My son is confident, engaging, and loves school.
The East Bay School for Boys middle school in Berkeley has been a gem for my son. As a mother, I am grateful that my son attends a school that provides him with an excellent, academically challenging, and hands on learning environment that nurtures his mind, body and spirit. They integrate their top notch math, science and language arts curriculum with innovation and technology. In addition, they support each boy to grow into his own unique person while giving him the guidance and nurturance that he needs to maintain a high level of confidence in order to thrive. I feel that my son is fully supported academically, physically, and emotionally by this loving community of educators and administrators. I can't imagine a better place for him during these middle school years. Grateful East Bay School for Boys Mom
Hello prospective middle school parents of boys, We relocated this summer from Brooklyn, NY where our son attended a wonderful Quaker school. Therefore, fortunately, we have only had positive school experiences thus far. However EBSB has exceeded our expectations of what a private school could offer when its vision is in line with its daily practice. Our son, who liked school before, now says that he feels for the first time in many years that his teachers truly like him.He feels understood and seen. To my adult perspective this experience is directly related to the fact that EBSB is incredibly mindful in how they view our boys and how they relate to them. The boys are treated with respect and empathy, yet challenged to be their best selves at the same time and it should be self evident that when boys feel seen and heard, they will take responsibility for their own learning and growth.I think our society tends to forget this, as the energy and disposition of middle school boys can often leave us feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and worried that our boys will never ''get it together''. It is so inspiring to belong to a place that holds middle school boys in a place of honor and reminds us that they are capable of great things if guided with eye-level empathy and respect.EBSB is a truly special, unique gift to the community with middle school aged boys. It is grounded in nuanced, progressive educational theory and philosophy, without forsaking the importance of academic standards, and its work is implemented daily by passionate, gifted and tirelessly thoughtful educators who understand how boys learn and what they need to become thoughtful and engaged men. Nati
Re: Hands-on, no-homework private/charter elementary?
Hi. I don't know about an elementary School that fits your interests. The East Bay School for Boys in Berkeley sounds like it would be an ideal School for your family, however, its a middle School (Grades 6-8). Perhaps you can contact them. I'm sure they would have insight into elementary schools with a similar philosophy/programming. They also host a speaker series called Boys 2 Men that hosts panelists from like minded Schools/programs. You could always get on their mailing list. Happy EBSB parent
Anecdotes illustrating EBSB's successful and innovative approach to
teaching my son:
- Assessed Ancient Sumerian City-State unit by having a Sumerian Sand City-State building competition at Muir Beach (the stream represented the Tigris and Euphrates).
- Took 2 periods out of the normal schedule one day to learn the Maori war dance/chant called The Hakka.
- After school offerings this trimester include 'Edible, Medicinal and Hazardous Plants', 'Exploring Architecture through Cartography and Art', and Latin Dance
Every day when asked how his day was, my son replies, ''Great!'' And once he said, ''Even if I don't want to go to school in the morning, when I get to school I can't help but smile.'' What else is there to say? Jen
Last year I visited every possible middle school in Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda. East Bay School for Boys was the last school I visited and it was by far the best choice for my son. Throughout elementary school my son dreaded going to school. He is very intelligent, but he was hyperactive, and not well understood by many. I'm not sure what happened, but within a couple of months my son has transformed. He is no longer hyperactive and he absolutely loves school. He used to be very particular about his friends and didn't like many of his teachers. At this school he has nothing but positive things to say about the other boys and the teachers. He has made deep friendships, but likes everyone. I feel incredibly grateful to Jason and the staff at EBSB. I live 30 minutes from the school, and I was nervous about the long commute, but it is entirely worth it. Previously, I had always felt as if the schools were doing a disservice to my son. They seemed to be teaching to the learning style of girls, but not that of boys. This school understands boys and gives them the environment they need to thrive. As a person of color, my son has felt very safe, accepted, loved and understood. I deeply appreciate the school's dedication to creating a culturally diverse environment and community, where out of the box-thinking and self-advocacy is encouraged. Miko
We are considering sending our son to East Bay School for Boys . My daughter attended Julia Morgan School for Girls where she thrived. We loved it. My concern is with the newness of this school and potential for getting into private high schools. I would love to hear from parents with sons attending EBSB. How do you and your son like it? How are the academics? Thanks! Julia Morgan fan
So to answer your question about academics, I would say they are strong and appropriate for this age group and each boy seems to be stretching and growing and challenging himself. As for the high school question, I am confident that all of the ebsb graduates will be ready for high school and will find their best fit school. Having gone through the private high school process with my daughter, I realized that like her, many students at independent schools were well prepared academically, yet what set apart many of the JMSG girls was the evidence that they had been through a transformative experience in middle school, not just a well coordinated, well taught curriculum or "product." These girls had found their voices! I firmly believe this is and will continue to be one of the major outcomes of my son's ebsb experience and what sets it apart from other private MS options - it has been enormously transformative already and that was only 6th grade with 17 boys! They are now deepening their intellectual curiosity and learning new tools everyday (literally - the workshop is incredible). And what better time for such a transformation as middle school - the adolescent brain is growing and changing more than it has since they were babies, the pressures of identity development are huge and their bodies are changing too. Jennifer
Dear All. It's getting to be that time of year when parents make school choices for next year. At this time last year, we were considering sending our then-5th grader to East Bay School for Boys, which was just getting organized for its first year, and still didn't have a school site or even teachers. What it did have was Head of School Jason Baeten's vision of a school where all different types of boys would thrive. My husband and I knew instantly this was the place for our son. Our son was more reticent since it was small and he didn't know anyone.
Having finished half of a year, I can say that my husband and I are thrilled with EBSB. Most importantly, our son absolutely loves it.
We were hoping for a school where our son would, among other things, develop a love for learning, learn, develop intrinsic motivation, and grow emotionally. All these things are happening. For the first time, my son loves school--more than just PE, recess and lunch. He's much more engaged in his schoolwork and with his family than in years' past. The depth of his growth in these few months is amazing, and while some may be developmental, we attribute most, if not all, to what's happening at EBSB.
The teachers are great, and wonderful role models--key in these middle school years. He's making strong friendships.
Some have asked whether it's ''risky'' to go to a brand new school. My feeling is no--the staff is experienced, and is using that experience to develop a curriculum and culture that seems mature but fresh. Others have asked whether the school works for ''sporty'' and ''non-sporty'' boys. My experience is yes--all boys are stretching themselves. Others have asked whether since it is private it is ''snooty.'' My experience is no--the families are down to earth, and the school is dedicated to keeping it that way.
Sending our son to EBSB is probably the smartest parenting decision we've made.
Good luck to you all in making your decisions. EBSB Parent
As a parent of the first class at The East Bay School For Boys (ebsb), I wanted to speak to what has evolved beyond a vision and is now a reality. Anyone who knows Jason Baeten from Julia Morgan School for Girls knows that he inspires students in ways they never forget. Jason has chosen a team of teachers that are equally as inspired, compassionate and enthusiastic about providing a challenging, enriching and fun middle school experience. Each day begins with either capoeira (a mix of martial arts and dance) or yoga. Boys are encouraged to move and be active; they exercise their bodies and their minds. The creativity and fun sometimes disguises the rigor, but our son is for the first time, enjoying math, not complaining about homework, and he seems so much more inspired to challenge himself in ways he hasnC-t before.
At ebsb, the teachers pay careful attention to individual learning styles. There are daily opportunities for hands on learning and great utilization of technology, but there are times where the boys sit (at desks they built themselves) and learn. Given the space to run, climb trees, throw balls around and play, they have a greater capacity to sit, focus, and enjoy learning.
Lastly, a very unexpected bonus for us is that the school has attracted a compassionate, energized, fun parent community who are equally as passionate as we are about the school and its growth. We are so grateful to have found this gem.
I went to an information night last night for a new middle school- 'East Bay School for Boys' and LOVED it. How refreshing to hear educators express a clear mission - to empower middle school boys to cultivate their intellectual, physical and emotional selves to become the engaged, thoughtful and courageous men of tomorrow, and to have a concrete plan and commitment to providing it for a diverse set of boys. The acknowledgment that boys need active, engaged learning environments, to be taken seriously as thoughtful beings, and to integrate subjects in meaningful ways gave me chills all night. My son loved it too! They showed a short video, which is on the website, that will bring tears to your eyes. I have a 5th grade son at a great independent school, who performs above grade level on all tasks, but who is hungry for more science and math and making connections to his universe. School stifles this in the pressure to conform to the norm, which behaviorally is obedient girls. He would do fine anywhere, but I had the epiphany last night that he would really THRIVE in an environment like this. Check it out: www.eastbayschoolforboys.com Inspired mom
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