Advice on transferring to Piedmont Middle

My son's application for an interdistrict transfer to Piedmont Middle as a sixth grader was accepted, but we are torn (we really thought this was a long shot). He really wants to stay with his friends—understandable, especially at this age—but our local middle school in San Leandro has a pretty dismal rating and our son would definitely thrive in a more rigorous academic setting. On the other hand, while Piedmont's scores and resources are impressive, I worry about transfer kids being treated differently/lesser than by others (we are not a wealthy family). Can anyone share their experience transferring into the district, good or bad? Thank you! 

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We have an IDT into PUSD, and are not sure if we are treated differently by the kids (not by the district, as far as I know) as a result of not living in Piedmont. My son wishes that he could walk to and from school with the group - by not living there, we aren't part of the fabric of the community in the same way. Yet I haven't heard about families grumbling about us for not living within the district - it's more that he doesn't have as many playdates as the Piedmonters do because he can't as easily walk home with them. We have found the parents to be more welcoming and warm than the kids - we enjoy the parent community, but the kids are often cliquish and some of them so competitive that they gang up on anyone who excels in a particular area, but isn't part of their close, since K, friend group, since that person is perceived as a threat. One parent remarked that she thought that pandemic pods were a disaster for kids, because it made them more insular. It's possible that when all three elementary schools come together for Middle that it'll be easier to form a brand new group, so MS is probably a good entry point. I heard from another IDT student's family that they also don't feel totally part of the group, yet are glad they are there anyway. 

We have not found the district to be particularly academically challenging, yet it is well-resourced. It seems to have high scores because they devote a lot of resources to ensuring that all of the kids understand the material well enough to take the tests. If your child is accelerated in any particular area the teachers don't do much to meet that need; instead they seem to focus a lot of resources and attention on everyone meeting a middle line, both from above and from below. 

Despite the above, we are grateful to be part of PUSD, and somehow feel at home, even though we don't live there. The district is professionally run, the facilities beautiful, and the supplemental classes often more creatively taught than the core subjects. My child has found a variety of individual friends, but isn't part of one particular group, a social freedom which he is now starting to appreciate. We are glad that we made the switch, though it's not a panacea; it feels like it's where we are supposed to be. You could always try it out and switch back to San Leandro if he's unhappy. 

I grew up in Piedmont and my parents still live there, so my children did interdistrict transfers into PUSD (we live in Oakland). They were in elementary school when they transferred, but one is about to start at PMS and one just finished. There are several kids at the middle school who do not live in Piedmont, and/or who live part-time with a divorced parent who is not in Piedmont. It was not an issue for my older kid whatsoever, socially speaking. Then again, we are a 10-minute drive away and it's pretty easy to ferry her back and forth when she wants to hang out with friends. For better or worse, most hang-out time seems to be at school, online, and on the phone, though.

I will say, as I'm sure is obvious, that there are plenty of rich people in Piedmont and there can be a keeping up with the Joneses vibe (coming from my daughter, not necessarily peer pressure per se). But to us, these downsides are far outweighed by the amazing free education she is getting. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!