Albany High or El Cerrito High

For an incoming 9th grade boy who has been at a small private school his entire life, which is a better fit? He doesn't have friends at either school.  1) Which school is easier to "break into" socially? 2) Which school has more focused academics with fewer behavioral disruptions? 3) Which school offers a better setting / environment for an after-school social life? (places to go/ hang out) 3) which soccer team is easier to get on?  Please share your experiences at either high school. Thanks!

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My kid started at El Cerrito last year as a 9th grade after a small public school and it was a great year of new friends, soccer and other sports. I don’t have direct experience with Albany. I’m happy to connect separately if you want to chat more about ECHS. 

  1. probably ECHS
  2. AHS has relatively few behavior issues based on what I hear from my student there. 
  3. Some students from both schools hang out at the EC Plaza. AHS students might also drift over to Solano Ave for ice cream or boba. I am not aware of there being any hard and fast hangout spots like the Peach Pit, haha.
  4. that I don't know and hopefully someone with an athlete can address it. Albany athletics strengths seem to be track/cross country and perhaps volleyball, perhaps leading to an idea that frosh soccer might be easy to get on but I really don't know and I for sure don't know about ECHS in this regard.

My daughter started Albany High as a freshman coming from an out of district middle school. She had a really hard time making friends and fitting in as friend groups had been established and solidified in middle school. She also found the competitiveness very toxic and experienced some intermittent bullying for which she was unable to get much support from the school. In short, it was a really bad environment for her, as someone coming in without a friend group, and she was pretty miserable all four years. 

So I would definitely vote for El Cerrito. 


My daughter started at Albany HS mid-year of 10th grade this past year.  She was also previously in a small private middle school.  Our experience has been excellent.  While she tends to have difficulties initiating socially, she has found friends of different friends sets.  The academic counselor and teachers have been friendly, accessible and accommodating.  She is very sensitive to behavioral disruptions due to bad experiences at her previous school, and has reported no problems at Albany.  My daughter is not academically strong, so I was worried about the reputation of Albany as a high academic performing school.  As it turns out, they have classes to accommodate the different levels of students.  They have tons of student groups/clubs that meet during lunch time to help connect through mutual interests.  The two schools are only a few blocks away from each other, so off campus is about the same.  In fact, my daughter has made a friend from El Cerrito as everyone hangs out at the El Cerrito Shopping Center.  Kids will also often go to Solano Ave.  BART and buses are nearby, making it easy to get around further.  I can't comment on the soccer team, or sports in general.  Just guessing, that might be stronger at E.C.  But the size of Albany HS is smaller than E.C., making it more similar to the small private middle-school where my daughter was happy.