Pinole in 2020


Thank you for all these informative posts about Pinole. Many of the posts are 2017 and earlier and I'm curious if anyone has insights in 2020...especially regarding the schools beyond elementary. The neighbourhood looks fantastic and we're open to looking beyond test scores.

Thank you in advance!

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RE: Pinole in 2020 ()

Pinole just keeps getting better each year! Pinole Valley High was just completely rebuilt, they also just became an IB school. The principal has been there for 7 years, Kibby Kleiman, and he is excellent, responsive and thoughtful. A friend is a teacher there and she raves about the school, and plans to send her own son when he's older. The high school students often come to Ellerhorst Elementary (a wonderful school!) to host things like Science Night or have the band play for the Halloween parade, and they seem very sweet. 

Pinole Middle has not been great in the past, and traditionally many families have chosen to send their children to a charter, private, or K-8 for middle school. However, the old principal that didn't seem to run a very tight ship left at the end of last year, and the new principal, Eric Mapes, was an assistant principal at El Cerrito High and has a strong reputation. I am cautiously optimistic that Pinole Middle, which has long been the weak link in the public schools here, may be about to turn around.

The city's politics are also trending more progressive than when we first moved here, there was a wonderful, peaceful youth-led BLM march recently, and the city council just flew the Pride flag for the first time ever in June of this year. The Bay Trail has had some major improvements down by the water recently, and there are miles and miles of gorgeous walking trails. The access to nature here is incredible, we've lived here for many years and just recently discovered a new network of trails at the top of the Pinole Valley neighborhood. We're also close to Kennedy Grove, one of the Bay Area's hidden gems. And of course Point Pinole!

There are slowly starting to be more independent mom and pop restaurants popping up in the historic downtown strip. We don't have as many choices as El Cerrito or Albany, but we have an excellent sandwich place (The New Deli), an excellent taqueria (El Sabor Latino 17), Korean BBQ (Nu Gu Na), delicious tacos (Que Onda), an amazing bakery that's been around for a century (The Bear Claw), good Chinese (Hunan Villa), great Indian (Tandoor Restaurant), an independent ice cream shop (Yumygurt), good Italian (Ristorante due Rose), an independent coffee shop (East Bay Coffee), an awesome, fairly reasonable gym/pool/tennis club (the Lakeridge), and etc. The local community pool is also nice, and hosts a swim team. We also really like the local youth soccer league, WCCYSL.

Come check us out on a Saturday if you haven't already: hit the Farmer's Market, get a cup of coffee from East Bay Coffee and a crumb donut from Bearclaw, walk down to Fernandez Park and follow the trail down to the water to feed the ducks and pick some wild blackberries. We love it here, and so do the other families who are new arrivals to our school. It's feels a bit lost in time, but in a good way, where neighbors know each other (I swear I see everyone at the Trader Joe's!) and kids ride their bikes all over town. 

RE: Pinole in 2020 ()

Pinole is great! We moved to Hercules - right next door - in 2016 after being priced out of Albany and we are so happy in the Pinole/Hercules area. Old Town Pinole is great - we love

the local coffee shop, Korean Restaurant, nice park, cute farmers market. My son goes to school in Hercules and we have been very happy  but people also seem happy with most schools in Pinole too. 

The area is beautiful and more relaxing than the inner Bay Area. There are some beautiful spots along the Bay Trail in Pinole and also Pt Pinole.