Private Middle School Using Technology Responsibly?

My son is currently in 6th grade at a middle school that relies heavily on an online learning environment and it is not working for him. The kids have somewhat free range on their dedicated chromebooks, which they use for planning and also all-to-often for out-sourced curriculum such as video tutorials and compendiums of different web links. I'm hoping to transfer him to a school for 7th/8th grade that does not eschew technology, but rather, uses it responsibly (e.g. limited time and no, or at least limited, video tutorials Khan). Any advice for a somewhat quirky and sweet and social boy who loves history and parents who want their child grounded in the basics (e.g. reading, writing, math) in a kind and stimulating environment? Not asking for much;-) 

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Try to get your child into King Middle School!  Having been a happy King parent (and still a King volunteer), I can honestly state that King offers the kind of education -- and support -- for which many parents across the country pay thousands of dollars per year.  Frankly, all three public schools in Berkeley are so good that I don't see any reason for any Berkeley adolescent to attend a private school (unless it's a religious one).

If you don't live in Berkeley, try for an inter-district transfer. Good luck!

I read your post and I wanted to suggest the East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante.  My daughter went there for 7th and 8th after public school. It was a life changing experience.  In the middle school, they can use technology but the coursework was not on-line or on chromebooks. She could do research on-line for projects. She is in high school now and everything is on the chromebook.  She misses the Waldorf approach where they read historical fiction on each historical period that they were studying and actually listened to a lecture and take notes by hand. They learned how to draw, did woodwork and built their own stools, put on historical plays etc.   If you son likes history, the middle school curriculum at the Waldorf school is so rich and in depth.  Please check them out and ask questions.  There are so many misconceptions about the Waldorf educational approach, it is worth visiting and seeing if it would be a good fit.  They have the rest of their lives to be on computers, so to learn in depth and use all of their faculties can be a great addition to their development.


Our son graduated from the Saklan School (private PK-8) last year. He would have been easily been sidetracked by tech free reign. They have an amazing academic program, loved his language arts/history studies and teachers. They have laptops but the teachers keep a very close eye (only one class per grade helps), and even in HW Club to keep them focused and on track. Incredibly nurturing and kind environment with advisory and family group programs that help them develop into self reflective and engaged learners. Believe there are openings in 7th for next year. In Moraga, but they offer bus/van from various locations depending on where parents are coming from, and only 15 minutes from Oakland. Happy to answer more questions!

I'm sorry to hear that your current situation is not working for you. From your description, it sounds like the teachers in your current school are not able to connect with your son and that the curriculum may not be engaging enough. Currently, my wife and I send our kids to the Academy in the Elwood district of Berkeley and we can't say enough good things about the teachers and the administrative staff that supports them. The class sizes are no more than 12-15 students which affords teachers the ability to give students the attention they deserve. Do they use Chromebooks? Yes, but they are used as tools to enhance their day-to-day lessons. Technology and the internet are incredible tools that are purpose-built for creative & curious minds. That being said, a tool only works well if you know how to use it. And that is where we, as parents and teachers, come in. We must teach them how to navigate technology's vastness, be critical of its content, and appreciate it as a knowledge base. And, because of the school's small class size, there is rarely a time when students can meander off on the internet.

If you're interested in learning more about the school, please check out the website at or give them a call at 510.549.0605. Hope this was helpful.