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I am moving to Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill with my husband & 2 children (2 & 4 years), and I would really appreciate some advice on good nurseries and schools in that area. My children attend a private day nursery in England 2 days a week from 9am-3pm and I would like to find something similar for them in the Bay Area. My eldest will be starting school soon and some advice on good schools and also how to apply etc would be welcomed. Are there areas around Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill that we should opt for over others?
Hello, Can people who have their kids at any of the Northgate area schools - Walnut Creek Elementary/Valle Verde, Foothill Middle, and Northgate High please tell me what your experience has been there?
We had heard these schools were great (high parent participation, high performing) but then looked on Great Schools reviews which had a good amount of the most recent reviews, which were not great - too test focused, teachers that don't care, waning parent participation, lower academic standards, etc. We know it's part of the Mt. Diablo school district which has had significant $ problems and worry about this.
We are an Oakland family who have loved their elementary school but are tired of the crime in our neighborhood and want a school with good parent participation, high academic standards, good teachers who care, and to live in a safe neighborhood.
We are also looking in Lafayette, Orinda,(although hard finding something within our price range here) and the Las Lomas area in WC. We might consider San Ramon (good performing, good reviews, friends who love it) even though my husbands commute to SF would probably be terrible! Thanks, C
My advice is to definitely avoid MDUSD and try to move to the Walnut Creek School District side of Walnut Creek. They raise parcel taxes and their schools are slightly better so are not nearly on as much of a decline as the MDUSD. But if you end up in MDUSD, it'll be fine. Not great, not inspiring, not getting better, but not terrible. I can't speak to any other district, but from what I hear, many are considered better than MDUSD these days. Former Creeker
My kids just finished kindergarten this year at Walnut Acres, and we really like the school and the neighborhood. The teachers got to know the kids very well, and I felt that they did a good job assessing their abilities to keep them challenged through the year. Also, the teachers were interested in working with us to help them grow academically and socially, and they were very approachable/responsive. I have had no problem having email or in person discussions with the teachers. Most of our neighbors have given us good feedback about Foothill Middle School and Northgate High also.
There is a lot of parent involvement at the school. There were probably at least 4 parent volunteers in each classroom every day, and a ton of parents for field trips and class events. The parent population is very educated. There were lots of parents (working and stay-at-home) that schedule time to be in the classroom. The computer lab is up-to-date, and the kids have access to computers and iPads to work on projects in the class. The Parent Faculty Club also funds several positions for teaching aids, a librarian, and a music teacher.
As for the budget issues in the school district, I think all school districts in California are facing the same kind of cuts. Fortunately, the parents in our neighborhood have the resources to fundraise and preserve the components we feel are important.
We love our neighborhood. People are pretty down-to-earth here. We live in the part of the neighborhood that was built in the 1950s, love the larger lots with big backyards. Walking distance to the elementary school, middle school, and the high school. It is pretty flat so we ride our bikes everywhere. There are several swim clubs nearby. Plenty of organized kids sports. We walk to the public library all the time. Mt. Diablo and Castle Rock Park are right up the road so we go hiking all the time. There are lots of kids in the neighborhood playing outside all the time.
Hope this is helpful for you. Walnut Creek Mom
My family is moving to Walnut Creek in July of this year, and we are looking for recommendations on great K-elementary school for my 5 year old. We are looking for school with great science as well as arts program, diverse student body and great teachers/parent community. I have read prior posts and it seems that WC school district is preferred by most parents. Our plan is to find '' the perfect school'' and then look to by a house in that area in a year or two ( will likely need to rent first year). One worry I have is that since we are moving in July I can not register her until July (any thoughts on this). I will be working in Oakland and will commute on daily basis however, we would like to settle in the area with best school/family friendly neighbourhood rather then one convenient for my commute. Please let us know of your experiences, appreciate all advice newbie in WC
All the WCSD elementary schools are good; my 'favorite' ones (from knowing people in other schools) are Walnut Heights and Parkmead.
The added bonus of the Parkmead area is that it's very easy to commute west on 24 from there since it's the furthest west itself and it's a quick hop on to the freeway. Avoid having to drive down Ygnacio Valley Rd. to the freeway at all costs -- the traffic on that road is a nightmare and can easily add 20 minutes to your commute. WC Mom
Hi. Thank you in advance for any responses. We are currently transferring my son to Palmer for second grade next fall. His current school is lovely but stress social development over academics. He is really bored. I would love to hear about other families experiences with the culture, amount of homework, academics and discipline at Palmer. Any info you are willing to share would be so helpful with my sons transition. Thank you!!!
My son is bright but has never been terribly interested in school. He wants to go to WCI next year with his friends, but I've heard both good and bad things about the school. Many parents I know are very happy with it, but I've also heard that a lot of kids fall between the cracks there. I'm worried that my son will find a group of like-minded friends who think school is dumb and who will reinforce his natural tendency to do the absolute minimum and not try for good grades. I'd appreciate any information or suggestions from parents of kids who've gone to WCI, especially kids who didn't start out being very academically inclined. anonymous
You mentioned being worried that your son would fall in with kids who think school is dumb. That is rare. Most kids there do well academically. But my son was bright and did the minimum and I think he did fall through the cracks--very few of his teachers engaged him. If you can afford private for a few years I would go for that, but if your son is really determined to go to WCI, use that as leverage, ''ok, you can go, but you have to have a B average otherwise you will have to switch schools'' or whatever... best wishes
Hi - We are hoping to have our son start kindergarten at Parkmead Elementary in WC in fall 2011. We currently live in Oakland and are looking for housing in that section of WC. In the meantime, we've heard one option might be an interdistrict transfer. Has anyone done this? Can you request a specific school (at least as a first choice)? Any advice on how to make this work? I've also heard you can get a transfer if you work in WC, at least 32 hrs week. Anyone know if this is true? I have called the district office but not yet gotten a call back. Thanks!
WC Parents - we are seriously considering a relocation to WC for the schools. Our son will start kindergarten in fall 2011. We have so many questions and would be so grateful for any advice - we've called several elementary schools, but have gotten limited information. So ...
We are separated and we will be renters, with both parents working f/t. WHICH elementary schools are in areas of WC that have rental properties (small houses and/or apartments)? Presumably some areas are only expensive houses. If you live in such an area, what do you think of your school? Also, we are concerned with sending our child to a school in which he may be unusual, with divorced parents and a full-time working mom. Any thoughts on this? Also, after school programs - what is available in that area, and what has your experience been like?
The schools have advised that we relocate by Jan 2011. Have you found elementary schools hard to get into after that timeframe?
Thank you so much! Sarah
You might do well to get a map from the elementary school districts (there are 2 that cover Walnut Creek), and then overlay that with apartment or rental home listings. I imagine (but don't actually know) that there will be rentals that feed to most of the schools. Good luck!
As far as elementaries with renter areas, Parkmead covers the condos/apartments on Olympic Blvd. & Boulevard Way/Saranap areas. Murwood covers the Creekside area (many apartments) and Indian Valley covers the downtown/Walker Ave./Sharene Ln. apartments & condos. Of all the WC elementary schools, I'd say only Walnut Heights would have a low proportion of renter families.
Parkmead has numerous two-household families, renters, divorced parents, and a few gay/lesbian families. I don't think your son would stand out as 'unusual' just because you don't happen to own a home or be together.
I haven't used Parkmead's after school program all that much, but I know many people who do and are happy with it. WC mom
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