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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > K-12 Schools > West Contra Costa County School District > About Richmond Public Schools


Questions: Reviews of Schools:

Stay in Richmond or move to a better school district?

August 2006

My husband and I are debating if we should stay in Richmond and send our kids to private schools or move to a neighborhood with better schools and send them to public schools. If we decide to move, where? What advice can you give regarding relocating and schooling? Thank you for your inputs! Kien


We too had a similar dilemna. Moving was not an option because we are happy where we live (home, spacious yard, and neighborhood) and for financial reasons. We opted for private school even though we really can't afford it! Our son goes to Windrush in El Cerrito and loves it. The school and afterschool program have been ideal for him and the family as well. Please feel free to contact me if you have specific questions. Elizabeth
I missed the original post, but we are staying in Richmond, have a 3rd grader in private school (and going into serious debt to do it, but renting elsewhere would be comparable to our current mortgage payments, then no equity, etc.) I am seriously considering an inter-district transfer for my younger one even though I love the private school. I think the schools are generally improving and will continue to with parent support (but my local school looks like a bleak prison and I am not inclined to consider that one......) satisfied with Richmond

Thinking about buying in Richmond Heights/Annex - what about the schools?

Feb 2006

My husband and I are looking at buying a home either in the Richmond Heights( a.k.a Richmond View) or Richmond Annex. We like the feel but are not familiar with the areas. Any advice on either area in general?-Mainly, Elementary schools? Safety? Diversity? Much appreciated


Hi. I live in the middle, El Cerrito, and know several families whose children attend the neighborhood elementary schools for Richmond Annex and View, Fairmont and Mira Vista. Each family I know who has children in these schools is happy with their school. Each family I know is also happy with the safety and diversity of their neighborhood. However, I chose to live in El Cerrito (and pay slightly more for slightly less rental housing), becaue I prefer the El Cerrito city recreation services (daycare, camps, and teams) and would end up paying much more for them as a non-resident. Another thing, if you plan to stay in your home long term, be sure to also consider and visit the neighborhood middle and high schools. --anon
Before last year, we had never seriously considered buying a property in Richmond or sendi ng our kids to a WCCUSD school, based on what we had heard about the area and the schools in general. When we did go round Richmond Annex to see it for ourselves, however, we got a strong feeling that it was a safe, quiet and interesting neighborhood. Going with our instincts, we bought our place. Since moving into our Richmond Annex home about 10 months ago, we have grown very fond of the area. Our neighbors are a mix of older folks and young families with kids. We have always felt safe when we go for long walks around the area, at times in the early part of the evening. In fact, since the Annex is close to El Cerrito, we get to walk to the library, Bart, the El Cerrito Plaza, the Pacific East Mall, the El Cerrito Community Center and almost everywhere within walking distance. As for the K-6 schools here, I can only speak for Fairmont Elementary (on Kearney at Stockton Ave next to the El Cerrito library), since my older son goes there. It is a small public school that has very experienced and caring staff, a hardworking, approachable principal and a safe environment where there are clear expectations for student conduct. It also has a very diverse student population, and I mean diverse in a wide sense of the word. We have students of different ethnicities and coming from various socioeconomic backgrounds. We also have students with disabilities. From what I see in my sonís classroom, the students are hardworking, motivated and respectful. And with the passing of Measure J last year, the school will finally get a facelift that it deserves. You may want to look at some data to start with, but please bear in mind that standardized test scores are standards of accountability within a narrow framework and donít give the whole picture. (Start looking at the 2005 Accountability Progress Report on the districtís website http://www.wccusd.k12.ca.us/index.shtml.) I would suggest visiting schools in whichever area you choose during school session (do take advantage of the kindergarten tours being held around now) and talk to parents who actually have kids studying in the schools.

For all that itís worth, here is my real reason for sending my kids to the neighborhood school -- I want my kids to learn in a classroom of kids from the same community from various socioeconomic backgrounds, so that out of this shared experience they will grow to understand the realities of the community they live in and learn to be responsible for the community. Please do not give up on public elementary schools in this district or anywhere else for that matter. They are fine, as long as we invest some time and energy offering our kids ample opportunities for learning outside the scope of formal schooling, which we should be doing anyway.


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