Piedmont Schools vs. Private Schools
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Piedmont Schools vs. Private Schools
Hi, I would love to hear from folks living Piedmont who have
decided to send their kids to private schools (or who
strongly considered it, but ultimately went back to public).
I recognize that the teachers at the Piedmont public
schools do the absolute best they can, and that the town has
a commitment to education. Having said that, after having
my oldest go through such a loving and supportive preschool,
I am having angst about the impersonality of the public
school. I know it seems a little outrageous to have moved
to Piedmont for the schools, and then decide to do private
schools anyway, but I am considering it! I would love to
hear from parents in the same situation.
We have not considered sending our children to private school but our three
children have been in the Piedmont public schools for the last 12 years, all of
them starting at kindergarten. They are not perfect but they are very good. I
would not assume that they will NOT be warm, loving environment and a private
school will be....go visit the elementary school your child will attend. The
community really supports the schools and we have made many very good
friends here over the last 12+ years. Good luck.
My three sons have gone through Piedmont schools (they are
now out of elementary school and one went to a private
middle school in the area). About 15% of kids in Piedmont
go to private schools according to the last census. I
think parents should do what they think is best for their
At the same time, I would never describe any of the three
elementary schools in Piedmont as impersonal (though I can
imagine that any institution would be impersonal if one
doesn't have a personal relationship with it).
In a rough sense, two of the three elementary schools have
one class per grade, and the newly/beautifully
reconstructed Havens has two classes per grade. We adhere
to class size reduction, so classes are small in the lower
grades. Teachers know the kids; parents know each other's
kids; I chat with teachers and the after-school staff as I
run into them around town 15 years after my oldest first
started in kindergarten. My kids would regularly visited
their elementary school teachers once in middle school.
The schools are far far from an impersonal machine--they
are the basis of the ''it takes a village'' feel Piedmont
If you want to send your child to private school, you
definitely should. But I wouldn't do it because you fear
the public schools in Piedmont are impersonal.
I can relate so much to your angst, as I just went through
this with my 5yo girl. We moved to Piedmont one year ago
thinking, hey, we'll be in the Beach district and no longer
in the Piedmont School on Piedmont Ave. district. But then
I got such cold feet as the school year started. I bought
myself a year by putting her in Montessori kindergarten, so
that she could be an older K or in 1st grade next year, if
her school doesn't meet our expectations. She's doing her
preschool follow up in a what looks to be a wonderful
school, so she can only benefit and sharpen her skills.
For now, after school, we are putting her in schoolmates,
which is cheaper if you're a Piedmont resident, as she is a
very social child and is happy to see kids from the
neighborhood, from church and from her preschool. Don't be
sorry that you've come here, because there are a lot of
benefits, including that it's safer with no car break-ins
(we had 14 in five years in Oakland, sometimes just for
pocket change or a catalytic converter or to break a window
for fun), lots of family-oriented activities, no limits on
street parking and great parks in very good condition,
including for now, the pool which has several free days for
residents... Oakland has cut their police force by 75 and
no longer takes police reports, even for in home robberies,
while Piedmont's crime rate is at a record low. It's all
still fresh in my mind, so feel free to write or chat.
Best wishes, and btw it's not crazy to love your child so
much and want a high quality of life!
We live in Piedmont and have children in private schools
(8th and 10th grades). To be fair, we did not move to
Piedmont 6 years ago for the schools (we needed a larger
house and didn't want to build onto our Upper Rockridge
home in a real estate bubble - obviously, our premonition
proved true - Piedmont homes have held their value better
than those in the better neighborhoods in Oakland). Our
children were already in a private school we found to be
AMAZING (The Berkeley School) and we knew they'd stay
there. Over the years, we have regularly compared our
children's learning (after all, we needed reassurances
too!) to other kids (in our neighborhood, on their sports
teams, etc.) -- and felt that the education that our
children got came out FAR ahead on ''all counts''
(academically, socially, emotionally). Also, we recently
shopped for high schools and seriously looked at Piedmont
High -- and chose a private high school (for some of the
same reasons why we kept our kids in elementary/middle
school private school). That said, I think a Piedmont
home is still well worth it -- it retains its value better
and the services (fire/police) here are GREAT!! It's
truly a great town to live in -- there's more here than
just the schools. Hope this helps. I'd be happy to chat
with you more offline if you wish.
this page was last updated: Oct 27, 2010
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