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Re: Moving to the Bay Area - which public school system?
If you are working in San Francisco, you should consider RENTING a place in Marin County (Mill Valley School District, MVSD). The rents are not much more than other parts of the Bay Area and you don't have to pay for private school. It's very expensive to own a home, so many families rent. Many families are moving to the area for the excellent schools, so the class sizes are starting to increase, but the class sizes are still smaller than other parts of the Bay Area. Mill Valley is an easy commute to San Francisco with excellent public transportation options (nice commuter buses and/or the ferry). The five public elementary schools in Mill Valley are excellent (high test scores, PE/Recess everyday, Arts/Music education, etc.). Parent
Great Charter High School !
My son is a great kid, straight A student and is very
interested in Technology. He has been complaining about school
all through middle school because he finds the curriculum and
the homework boring. We have looked at several high schools,
both private and public schools and finally found Marin School
of Art and Technology. We visited several tomes and my son
spent a whole day there. He just loves it. MSAT is an envision
school that was founded just 3 years ago. The staff and
curriculum is creative, new and exciting. The kids are very
involved. It is a drive for us from Albany, but it is worth it
for us to see that our son is both happy and get great
education. Best news it is FREE and they are still accepting
applications! We will be forming a carpool with other families.
Check out their website http://www.es-msat.org/. You can email
me if you’d like more information .
The Berkeley public school has not worked for us. Sadly, we are considering moving to Marin for the public schools. If you have any experience with the public schools there we would very much appreciate your information and opinions, positive or negative, specific or general. This is a difficult decision, and we need as much information as possible. Thank you so much. Sad to leave Berkeley
I am very interested in hearing about anyone's experience (or friend's/relative's experience) of San Dominico School in Marin County. From what I know, it is an all-girls school (a dying breed) and starts at K or 3; I can't quite remember which. Thanks for the input - Curious parent
There is a great Waldorf school in Marin County just off of Lucas Valley Road: the Marin Waldorf School ( phone 415-479-8190). They go from kindergarten (starting at age 3 1/2 ) through 8th grade. They have a wonderful site, great program, and fine teachers. My older daughter graduated from 8th grade there. Marin Academy is well-known as a good private high school, and there are several others whose names I can not remember at the moment. Good luck!
I live in San Anselmo, where my daughter is also 4-1/2. She attends San Anselmo Pre-School ("SAPS"), at 121 Ross Avenue. Both she and we love it. We love the professionalism and caring qualities of the teachers. You'd want to see it for yourself, no doubt, so I won't go into all the pluses. However, there are a few minor "down" sides that you would want to know about starting mid-year. (1) There are a lot of kids, lots of teachers and activities and it can be hard on some kids who start in the middle of the year, not knowing anyone - we know a little boy who might have been better off in a much smaller place. My daughter started in the summer and that was great as she got used to the teachers, routine and made friends before the Fall onslaught. On the plus side, your daughter would probably qualify for the "pre-k" program in which the oldest kids spend much of the day in a smaller group (12-14 kids with 2 teachers). Starting part time and shorter days might make it easier; be sure to talk to the director (Elizabeth) and head teachers. Another minor difficulty is that the teachers work only half days. This seems to do much for the morale of the staff but it can be difficult for students to have so much change at first, and for parents to have to wait a whole day (or weekend) to be able to communicate with a morning teacher (if, for instance, you want to know how your daughter is handling her adjustment). Again, make sure you talk with Elizabeth and head teachers about how to best get this information. And, again, if she is in the pre-K program it will be a little easier; although the teachers do not work half days, your daughter would have the same 2 teachers (who teach together) every day, whereas in the regular program kids have up to 4 different teachers during the week.
There are also several other full-time and part-time pre-school programs in the area, but we liked this one best; I know a few people who have used Robin's Nest.
I'm afraid I haven't done any research on schools but can tell you generally Marin schools are supposed to be good. As I understand it, Ross/Kentfield is the best district, San Anselmo is next, then San Rafael. I think that both the S.A. grade schools are "distinguished" schools, and we plan to use the public schools, unless we run into problems. Some of our neighbors have chosen private schools. I'm not sure of their reasons, whether it has to do with the quality of education or for other reasons. In general the schools are good, the area is full of families, there are tons of arts programs and classes and after school programs and the town keeps voting to increase taxes for schools.
I don't know how the public schools here compare with private ones here or in the East Bay; I'd love to know more if anyone else does!
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