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We are an Indian family( east indian from the sub continent of India) currently live in San Francisco in the outer mission area( so we suffer a lot of fog, and we drive everywhere)..we currently rent and have two boys( 4 years and 16 months), and my oldest will be starting K next year..we really cannot afford private education and would love to send our kids public all the way until High School?( we can probably do private for high schhol). The current lottery system in SFUSD is whacky..but we live in a low test score area and m ight have a good shot at a good elementary school..but not beyond. I am kinda getting tired of the fog, small home and lack of a useable backyard..we do have one but we hardly use it since it is mostly cold..we have veted the follwoing
1) Oakland hills: Love the area, the diversity and the beautiful green all around: Not sure: Crime in the hills, lack of middle school. We stumbled upon Hillcrest and was excited(k-8), we could probably rent there, but what if dont get in due to oversubscription to the school..we would have moved our family across( increase our commute:I drive to foster city two days a week), but still ended up with only an elementary option. Also it seems like the oakland hills is not very condusive to walking and we still might have to drive everywhere, and might not get a real yard..i so want Oakland to work for us..but it just seems like the odds are aginast us!!..or is it??
2)Berkeley:Heard that the 580 -80 interchange is really crowded in peak time and could affect our commute time..we dont actaully get a bigger house and is still lottery
3) Danville:Great house, great schools, great weather..but i am not sure we are ready for real suburbia yet..sometimes i think we should just do it and although we might not fit in there our kids would love the yard and benefit from good schools, but i worry about diversity.. Lafayette: I would have moved here in a heartbeat if I were white!..love the rural appeal!..but we are indian sand i am not sure how my kids would feel in the school, and how we would be welcomed in the community
So as you can see after several nights of debating, reading blogs, parents reviews of schools.we still have not found a place for ourselves in this is beautiful and expansive bay area???...
I spent a lot of last week driving in to appointments in San Francisco, and reminding myself how lucky I feel to live somewhere where I very rarely have to drive anywhere. We walk to school. We walk to the grocery store. We walk to the drug store. We walk to the library. And everywhere we go, we see friendly faces from our local public schools. I really love it. BART and the freeway offer relatively easy access when you absolutely must go over the bridge. Rockridge Public School Fan
In the oakland hills you may find the area in the montclair neghborhood to be walkable, but just outside that are curvey streets with no sidewalks, and some with fast traffic. ..and dont limit yourself to Hillcrest. There are many other good elementary and middle schools in oakland.
Albany is very walkable and diverse., with good schools. Lots tend to be small, but many parks. Same as north berkeley for your commute. Alameda is very walkable and bikeable - very flat - with good schools that are sometimes overlooked. Nice to be by the water. May work well for your commute.
From what i know of lafayette, the area near to the shopping district is walkable. I beleive you would be very welcome there. The population is probably more open than you are imagining. Many well educated folks live there. it likely has more income diversity (middle to upper income) than in danville. It is probably also not as hot in the summer as danville. But to commute you would have to deal with the tunnel and then with the Maze or with hwy 13. Hope you find a nice spot in the east bay. Anon.
Hello wise parents of the BPN. I am in the midst of house hunting to relocate to Berkeley Hills/North and I am trying to find maps for Albany vs. Berkeley vs Kensington school districts. I have been to the websites for the school districts but still can't seem to find this information. Am I missing something? Thanks in advance! New to the East Bay
Hi, I'm considering moving from San Francisco to the east bay this summer, and will base my decision about where to live based on both a good neighborhood and proximity to a good school. I do not have a high income, so that rules out many locations with better schools. My husband (we are seperated) works in Oakland. What resources can I tap to start the school search? Or does anyone have any good recommendations for schools? clueless about how to start!
''Not a high income'' means drastically different things to different people. Here are some suggestions in different price ranges.
Alameda as a whole has mostly strong elementaries, and decent options for middle and high school too. It's also a lovely place to raise a kid, bit of a sleepy town without being blandly suburban.
Berkeley is another relatively strong school district, however elementary assignments are only partially based on residence. So not a good choice if you want certainty of a good nearby school.
Strong elementaries in Oakland that draw from non-wealthy neighborhoods: Lincoln Glenview Cleveland Bella Vista Manzanita Seed I think these all go on to Edna Brewer, which is a relatively good middle school in Oakland.Good luck! bb
Hello, There are recent and older postings about Alameda or Albany schools, but we didn't see any comparisons of the two. We are thinking about moving to either Albany or Alameda from Oakland because of the good things we've heard about their public schools from k thru 12. We both work in Oakland, so the commute will not be much of an issue. We were wondering if anyone else had those two places in mind when choosing to move for the schools and how or what made them decide on one over the other. Also are there any pros or cons about either school districts or communities? We'd love to hear of your experiences. Thanks! undecided bet. Albany and Alameda
Socio- economically Alameda is divided and the schools reflect that. The west side has one enormous school - Ruby Bridges, and a few moderate sized ones Haight, Washington etc. I would hesitate to send my son to any. Paden which is also on the west side has a strong staff and a more diverse enrollment. The east side is the wealthier side. Houses are more expensive and the schools have a better reputation. I like Edison. It is small and has a neighborhood feel, but students have been turned away due to overcrowding. Otis, Lum and Franklin are standard schools with diverse enrollment. Bayfarm Island has two high performing elementary school - Earhart and Bayfarm. The students there are generally wealthy, and the parents have high expectations.
The three Middle Schools are large and to me, seem very overwhelming. Some students do well, and some just get lost. The High Schools seem much the same.
That said, I live in Albany because I prefer it, and we love the schools. There are three elementary schools, and basically you choose which one you wish your child to attend. I have never heard of anyone who did not get their first choice, although it might be possible. You can tour all three any Tuesday without notice. Just show up at the office and let them know why you are there. My son attends Cornell which is medium sized with an ethnically diverse student body. The sense of community is astonishing, and the staff are caring and innovative - the Principal knows my first grade son by name (and not because he is a trouble maker :o) That said, it is not a fancy school. I like to say the parents are underpaid professionals, such as social workers, nurses, teachers, graphic artists etc.
There is one Middle School, and it is huge (900 students), but my friends who have children there are very happy with it. I'm not to familiar with the High School, but it has a good reputation.
Another factor is that pretty much everyone in Albany sends their kids to the local public school, which is one of the reasons why they're so good. In Alameda, a lot of people use the public schools, but a fair number also send to private & catholic schools there. For me, that doesn't build community as much, and I prefer a higher ratio using the local public schools.
Otherwise, they're both great areas. We love Albany - Solano Avenue, playgrounds, friendly people, etc., but I've heard wonderful things about Alameda also. Alameda has some really nice houses, and beautiful Victorians, which we lack:( Good luck with your choice!
RE: local schools My children have been in the Berkeley public school system since kindergarten - 9 years altogether - and I have generally been happy with their schools and their teachers. To the parent who is just coming into the area, here are remarks I have heard over the years from other parents and also my own biased impression of the general situation: There are a lot of excellent academically-oriented private schools but they are expensive ($500 and up per mo) However, it is possible to get a private school education at public schools around here. And don't forget all the wonderful "supplements" of the Bay Area: concerts, cultural events, museums, parks, recreation, etc. One person's ranking of local public school systems (1997) 1. Piedmont Just as good as private school but housing is EXTREMELY expensive and you may object to elitist "rich kid" mentality (which also may be found at private schools) Virtually no rental housing. 2. Albany Great schools but most neighborhoods are very homogeneous: white and Asian middle and upper-middle class semi-suburban. Sizeable contingent of grad student families and foreign students from University Village. Housing a bit higher than in Berkeley (?) (this varies) Rental housing can be scarce - mostly homeowners and single-family dwellings. 3. Berkeley Many schools are great but it can be very variable; neighborhoods range from rich Claremont/hills area to poor flatlands. Not much of a middle class. More desirable elementary schools are in the wealthier neighborhoods: Emerson, Oxford, etc. Many families in these areas do support & attend public schools. For some reason, affluent neighborhoods in N. Berkeley don't seem as supportive of public schools as the ones in Claremont/Elmwood neighborhood so local schools there (like Thousand Oaks) aren't as of this writing considered as good as in SE Berkeley. Poor neighborhoods closer to the Bay contain schools with lesser reputations. However, this changes from year to year depending on level of parent involvement and principal, staff at schools. Both junior high schools (Willard, King) are considered pretty good now, with many private school students returning for the 6th grade. Berkeley High is considered alternately great (college prep academics, music, arts, team sports) and terrible (PC politics, racial polarization) 4. El Cerrito/Kensington Reportedly similar to Albany situation with more working class neighborhoods in El Cerrito. Few poor families. Kensington is considerably more affluent but is in the Contra Costa school district - I don't know much about what happens after 5th grade. 5. Oakland Very variable. Depends on the level of parent involvement. Wild variations between affluent hills neighborhoods like Montclair & Rockridge and depressed flats. Oakland school district always in trouble financially so class sizes in even the better schools can soar unpredictably and resources can suddenly disappear. School board is prone to wacky political pronouncements. Many elementary schools in "better" neighborhoods are great and, like Berkeley, are supported by families that can afford private schools, but be prepared to pay private school tuition in some neighborhoods especially after 5th grade. 6. Richmond Some great neighborhood schools. In other areas, be prepared for private school tuition. Note: many people choose to move over the hills to Moraga-Lafayette- Orinda. These are affluent neighborhoods reportedly with great public schools, but: you have to enjoy the suburban life, living around a whole bunch of white people who may be politically more conservative than in the East Bay cities. Housing is expensive, with few rentals.
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