Experience with Mira Vista Elementary or WCCUSD Transfer?

My child will be starting Kindergarten next school year, and our neighborhood school is Mira Vista Elementary in West Contra Costa County. From what I hear, it is a diverse school with a strong community, both of which are important to me. However, I am concerned about its low test scores (only 34% of students scored at or above the proficient level for math and 40% for reading) and very limited afterschool program (most families need to arrange aftercare somewhere else). I know people say not to put to much emphasis on rankings and scores, but the difference with other higher performing schools nearby is very significant and hard to overlook. Also, both parents work full-time onsite (not remote), and we don't have very flexible schedules. 

My first questions are for families with children at Mira Vista: What are your thoughts on the overall quality of the education and the teachers at the school? Are you and your child happy there, and do you recommend it? How are you able to arrange afterschool care?

My next questions are for families who have requested WCCUSD transfers: What is the likelihood of successfully requesting a transfer to Madera, Kensington, or Harding Elementary? Would I have better luck with the elementary schools in Albany? Will schools even consider need for full-time childcare and preference for stronger academic programs as reasons? What do you advise? (Due to costs, I prefer to try all public school options before considering private school.)

I also have questions for families who have had to go through making similar decisions for their children: This is my first child, and I am struggling with the decision between neighborhood school and diversity vs academics and aftercare. All of these are important to me, and I wish I could have them all. How do I know which option is the best fit for my child? Based on your experience, what has worked for your family? Am I worrying about this too much? 

Parent Replies

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Madera often does not have room for the students zoned for the school and you would be unlikely to get a transfer there.Other schools vary from year to year how hard they are to transfer into.Having more TK kids each year probably does not help.

Our child is at a different WCCUSD school, although we have several friends with kids at Mira Vista who are happy with the school.  In terms of test scores, I would recommend you continue to research the factors that go into the test scores, for this district they are very tied to parent income and the high level of english language learners at many of the district schools.  Mira Vista draws students from a more diverse area of Richmond, leading to the lower test scores.  If you are an involved parent, it is likely your child could do well at many of the schools in this area. 


We do know parents who have tried to transfer and especially at the kindergarten level it is nearly impossible.   All of the El Cerrito schools (Madera, Harding and Fairmont) and Kensington are very overenrolled with waitlists for kindergarten for parents who live in their zoned areas.  I have also heard WCCUSD is losing so many students they are cutting down on approvals of out of district transfers.  It is unlikely they will approve a transfer for Albany or another city unless you work or live there, you have to meet one of the approved transfer reasons.  They will definitely not consider stronger test scores as a reason to transfer, the WCCUSD transfer office is not well organized or easy to deal with. 

I would suggest going on the kindergarten tours that Mira Vista and other schools usually hold in December and January and to talk to parents in your neighborhood about their experience at the school.  I suspect you might be happy there, give it a chance and look at other options like private, charter or the WCCUSD immersion schools that are open for transfer (Washington and WCMS).  Good luck!