Moving from overseas for a job in Pt. Richmond - where to live?

Hello all!

We are currently living overseas and relocating to the Berkeley area this fall to work in Point Richmond area. I have been reading online/searching past posts/etc... but would love to hear any thoughts/suggestions on how to tackle this move!

Our daughter will be Kindergarten age. Given that we won't have proof of address until Sept/Oct it seems unlikely that our daughter will be able to join a kindergarten class. Does anyone have any experience with this particular problem and suggestions on how to proceed?

I have read that schools are generally very good to excellent in Berkley and area but it's hard to tell if the various sites/ google searches that I have conducted are representative. We will be renting (and depending on inventory on arrival we may not have many options), but would love to hear your favourite areas for schools and/or for raising a young family!

I know these are broad questions, but any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance for your time. :)

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

I would personally live in Pt. Richmond and try to get a spot in the dual immersion program at Washington Elementary if I were in your shoes, but I have no idea how difficult that will be to do arriving late (probably quite!) You could also do private kindergarten and start in public in first grade if that is an option financially--there are some great programs in that area for that kindergarten year. North Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito would all be great options with an easy commute too, though. Albany and Berkeley have the advantage of having smaller school systems so there's a limit to how far away they can place you. (Point Richmond and El Cerrito are part of West Contra Costa Unified, which is a geographically large district and late-enrolling friends have found themselves assigned to schools that are quite far away.) Good luck with the move, and welcome!

I would recommend looking for rentals in either Pt. Richmond, Richmond Marina Bay, El Sobrante, Pinole, or El Cerrito. As the parent of a West Contra Costa graduate, these cities are all part of the West Contra Costa school district; the schools vary a lot, and it is impossible to tell in advance which schools will have space and if you/your daughter will like the school or not. When you have an address, follow the instructions for school registration, Find your home first, then worry about schools secondarily. For long term living, Pinole/El Sobrante at the moment is slightly more affordable than Berkeley, Albany, or El Cerrito, and the commute to Pt Richmond is not too bad.

Pt Richmond is a great area to live. I'd also recommend El Cerrito which has great schools and though she may not get her local zoned school I imagine they would accomodate her! Crestmont and Good Earth may be options for private kindergarten as well. 

Good advise on previous post.  Just avoid the area called Iron Triangle in Richmond.  That's the very danger area, esp at night.


Good luck on your upcoming move! I can only speak knowledgeably about Berkeley schools as that's where we live, and I will say they are generally very good. For the elementary schools, it is a choice system based on zones. Coming in a little into the school year (school starts August 16th), you will definitely get a kindergarten spot for your daughter, but it might not be at your top choice school (or the one nearest your house). 

Right now, it's a renter's market because of COVID -- both families leaving the area and students not attending class in person. UC Berkeley students will be back in the fall, so I'm not sure how much this will impact the rental market, but I suspect it will still be fairly easy to find a rental house particularly if you are looking farther away from campus. If you are commuting to Pt. Richmond, I would look in the Westbrae neighborhood which is lovely, walkable, and close to the freeway. Northbrae and Thousand Oaks are also nice and close to restaurants and shops on Solano Ave, but a bit further from the freeway.

I am not sure what your commute would be like, but I do believe it is against traffic. However, I-80 can be quite congested generally. Albany schools are supposed to be quite good as well, so that is also an option. 

Best wishes to you and your family!