Schools & Camps for Kids Whose First Language is not English
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Schools & Camps for Kids Whose First Language is not English
Questions about Schools
I have an 11 year old Spanish speaking boy who has a basic level in English and
would like to enroll him in a School in the Berkeley area during his summer
vacations for him to learn and practice English. In Peru his summer vacations
are in January - February 2012. I would appreciate any information about
procedures, schools or programs that my son could apply to.
You might look at Walden Center & School, a private K-6 school in
central Berkeley. During the time my child has attended, several
foreign students have joined the school for varying periods of time
and have done well. At least two of the teachers speak fluent
Spanish, and many of the students also speak at varying levels.
My stepson, who lives in Germany, wants to spend a year
living with us in the US.
Here's the thing, my husband and I have never dealt with the
school system here and don't even know where to begin. We
don't have other children and are not familiar with how to
He'll be 14 in September, and has relatively good English
skills, but not quite fluent. We're not sure what grade he
should start in. He's small and still quite young for his
age. We can't afford private schools and live in Oakland. Do
we have to apply for magnets? Do testing, etc? When do
schools even start? We're clueless!
Does anyone know of a resource to help guide us through this
very overwhelming process?
My wife is very familiar with the German school system and
we have been a host family for several European students.
You first need to find out if you out if he is eligible to
attend school and then if they will allow him to attend.
This is something you should start doing now. One of our
exchange students wasn't allowed to attend school in
Oakland even though we lived in Oakland. (Has to do with
She wound up going to school in Berkeley. Piedmont and
Acalanes school districts are friendly to foreign
students. You might also inquire at Private schools as
many times they offer scholarships for foreign students.
You need to find out what classes he is taking and how he
is doing/grades. The school districts have information on
class equivalence. You should contact The German School of
the East Bay. (This might be your best resource.) They
meet in Oakland on Saturdays. If you need assistance my
wife and I would be hppay to assist, just post.
Oakland has the Oakland International School, a public
school located in the old Carter Middle School on 45th
Street near Telegraph. It is specifically for students who
have recently arrived in the U.S., so if he needs English
language support, this would be a good place to be.
We know a family that received political asylum in the US after
several family members were murdered for political reasons in
their home country. Their 11 year old daughter is about to
arrive in the US on her new visa in two weeks. Her family wants
to know how and where to get her into school and is very worried
about this transition. On the one hand, they are thinking it
might be better to wait and not enroll her right now. This girl
has been attending school in her home country, but she comes from
a very small Mayan village. Her first language is a Mayan
dialect. She learned Spanish in school but speaks no English.
They think that the culture shock might be too much trying to put
her in middle school as soon as she arrives.
At the same time, they want her to meet people and to start
learning English as soon as possible. She is a very smart girl,
good at basketball but rather shy. The family lives in the
Fruitvale District and so would be in Oakland Unified.
I am wondering if any BPNers have any advice. Should she try
to enroll now? Are there any special programs she should try to
Is there a summer school program, even a basketball camp that
she should try to get into? Is there an Oakland school that she
should TRY to get into?
Thank you for ANY advice on this. Eleven is such a tough age.
I want her transition to the US to be as easy as possible!
I know that there is a basketball camp for girls at
University, not far from the Fruitvale district. Not sure who
runs it, but it's worth looking into - it seems like a small
group, which wouldn't be too overwhelming.
Please let your friends know about Lighthouse Community Charter
School in downtown Oakland as a possibility for their 11 year
old, whether for now or next year. There may not be anyone there
who speaks her home language (tho it's possible that there is, I
just don't know), but many of the young people and/or their
families have experienced coming to the US and learning english
as a second or third language. Our 13 year old started there
midyear (february) in 6th grade a year and a half ago and the
school culture (compassion, respect, responsibility) made the
transition much better than I'd thought it might go.
An LCCS parent
Hi- You might check with Oakland Unified School District
regarding middle schools where there is primarily instruction in
Spanish with English Language Development as a large part of the
program. I'm almost positive they should have something like
this for situations just like this one. Best of luck to her in
finding the right school!
I would recommend Lighthouse Community Charter School in
Oakland - K-12 for the family coming from the Mayan villate.
Their purpose is to focus on the underserved in the Fruitvale
district. The majority are Spanish speaking students and
families. Most teachers are bilingual. (I'm not sure how to
address the need to learn English though. I'm trying to find
such a program for my 15 year old nephew. It seems like a lot of
the programs are for adults.) Anyway, Lighthouse might be the
place for this family and they may still have room in her grade.
Questions about Summer Camps
My friend is bringing her son and his friend for a visit in July. The boys are 10 years old
and speak some English, having studied it since kindergarten. They are wonderful
kids...artistic, friendly, and love animals. I live in Montclair but work in SF during the
summer. Any recommendations?
How long will the boys be here? If long enough, I'd highly recommend
Adventure Day Camp
in Walnut Creek. They have a bus service and will pick up
from and return the kids to your house each day. They are a quintessential
''summer camp'' with all the things offered that one thinks of when thinking
of camp...sports, skits, horses, sailing, crafts, swimming, performances,
silly dress up days, tie dye, an overnight camp out, etc. The sessions are 3
weeks long and the kids get really close to the other kids in their group as
well as their counselor and bus drivers. My kids LOVE it and will be there
for two full sessions each.
Happy ACD parent
Hi: this summer a friend of mine is coming to visit from
Germany with her two children (10 years old). She would like
to enroll them in a summer camp in Berkeley or Oakland so
that they can have fun, meet new friends and improve their
English language. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!
You might try the summer camp at Walden Center & School in
central Berkeley. Their phone number is 510-841-7248. My
10-year-old will spend a couple of weeks there this
summer. It's a fun, low-key camp with a few field trips
to places like swimming pools. Last summer a camper from
France had a good time at the Walden camp.
Italian family, coming in Berkeley from 7/21 to 8/10, is looking for
day camps for the
boys (16, 13 and 5 yo). They really like team sports or playground
sports. Any tips?
I think you and the kids would be very happy with
Cal's summer camp
Check it out on
line-look for Blue Cubs, Blue Bears. There are a few foreign kids that
have fun and
make friends at the camp. Best of luck!
The 5 yr old and 13 year old might like the Strawberry Canyon/
Clark Kerr sports camps run by UC Berkley Recreation Department.
They run for 2 week sessions. The kids do a variety of sports
each day. The 5 yr old would likely be at the camp at the
Strawberry Canyon pool. The older child would be at the Clark
Kerr campus. But they really are't very far apart, and doing
both drop offs or pick ups is not so difficult.
I'm not sure how many 13 yr olds go to the camp. You could tryp
to get a feel for it from the camp director.
You can look on line at the site for uc berkleey rec. department
for the camps. The exact name is not so clear - Perhaps
''strawberry canyoun'' or ''golden bear''. Just check out the site.
Another programrun by Cal Rec department is Cal Adventures.
Those kids do kayaking, rock climbing, sailing and other stuff.
More specific (and pricy and shorter) sport-specific camps are
run by the Cal athletic department. You can find those on line
too. Most of them do not run on Fridays.
The older kid, if he has good english skills, cold be a CIT.
I am a faculty member at a university in Turkey and my wife and I
will be visiting UCB for 9 months starting from July 1st, 2007.
Our son (nearly intermediate-level speaker) of 12 will stay with
us in Berkeley till the end of Sept, then return to Turkey for
his school. We therefore search a summer/language/activity school
for him between the dates of around first weeek of July and mid
September. Our aim is to have our son improve his English as well
as making him busy during the day time since we both will be
working at the lab on a full time basis. Any
help/recommendation/directive info would be much appreciated.
Best wishes for all from Turkey !
I recommend the programs offered by UCB, Cal Youth Programs.
They offer mainly sports summer camps: For 12 year olds, there
is a huge variety of fun stuff like rock climbing, sailing, sea
kayaking, etc. They also do mixed science in the morning and
sports in the afternoon. My son (albeit 5 years old) went last
year all summer and loved it, and will go again this year. The
cost is reasonable (in comparison with other camps in this area)
and it would be very convenient for you since it is located on
the UCB campus. Check out the web site:
This does not help you with the English, but perhaps just
spending all day speaking English with kids and teachers would be
enough? Otherwise, maybe you could hire an English tutor once or
twice a week. I bet you could find a UCB student willing to do
it for reasonable rates. It may be difficult to find exactly
what you are looking for, as clearly, most camps are set up for
kids living here who (mostly) already speak English.
Good luck and I hope you have a great summer here in the
beautiful Bay Area.
Love CAL Camps
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