Cultural & Racial Diversity in Albany Public Schools

Parent Q&A

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  • We are looking to move to either Albany or Berkeley.  Any minority perspectives out there regarding your experiences with either school district?  I've read a few negative things re: Albany which concern me, but am wondering what the current day-to-day reality is for minority children there.  We've had a horrible experience with WCCUSD so far (definitely not inclusive of minorities at least in our current school), so trying to guess what Berkeley or Albany might be like.  Thanks for any insight on either.  

    I have many friends with children of color in Berkeley public schools and they are very happy with their experiences. I can’t speak to Albany schools but as a Berkeley native I can say Albany tends to be less diverse.

    If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear what WCCUSD school you’ve had negative experiences with? We’re considering transferring our son from private to public in El Cerrito (possibly Kensington). As a family of color we’d hate to put our child in an unsupportive environment.

    Hello, my children are enrolled in the Albany school district and we are very happy with their experience so far. Very inclusive community, great teachers, staff and while I cannot compare to Berkeley, there is nothing that I could point out to be a negative, certainly not with respect to minority inclusion.

    When I was looking for schools for my child of color, I liked El Cerrito instead of Albany or Berkeley.  We knew POC who had been there and liked it vs other stories I had heard of the other two schools.

    On, you can look up the demographics of a school's student body to get a sense of how many student families share your specific race/ethnic identity. For example, Albany High is a majority-minority school, but only 3% African American.

    BUSD is majority-minority, and there's some thoughtfulness about including students of color (although it's not perfect I'm sure). You might want to look at the demographics of particular schools to see if any stand out as a better fit. Keep in mind that schools are selected based on lottery within each of the 3 attendance zones for primary and (soon) the middle schools. BUSD is phasing in an integration plan for the middle schools. (There used to be 2 zones plus an opt-in to Longfellow, but this gradually resulted in segregation. The middle school zones that are coming online closely track the primary school zones.)

    I think it depends on what minority you are. If you are Asian you would fit in well in Albany. That is the predominant group besides white. If you are something else I think you would do better in Berkeley. I think Berkeley tries to be inclusive. Also, there are just more kids of color in Berkeley than Albany. 

  • Albany schools/highschools for AA families

    (5 replies)

    Hello, I hope to be residing in the University villages of UCB next year and am looking for the best schools for my two children.  It's important that my children are surrounded by peers that look like them, and are provided a challenging curriculum. My daughter currently attends an "Aspire" school, which I absolutely love, but I'm unsure of the distance to any Aspire elementary schools from Albany. To my understanding Albany does not have a large black population, where are AA families sending their children? Does Albany bus children out of their district? What are some recommendations that you have? Thank you in advance

    Albany is ethnically diverse, but the AA population, especially those who identify as AA and not as "mixed race" on census forms, is small. The AA percentage of the school population  is somewhat larger than the AA percentage of the city population due, I assume, to out-of-district transfers into Albany from neighboring communities.  It is still not large.  I believe most AA families who live in Albany do send their kids to AUSD schools.  The number of families of all ethnicities who choose to both 1) pay the housing premium here and 2) pay for private school is fairly modest.  Most UC Village families use the public schools.  A few families manage to arrange out-of-district transfers to charters or other public schools (e.g., Oakland's Chinese immersion charter, Oakland School of the Arts, Berkeley High) but the few I've known to do this have provided their own transportation.  As far as I know, Albany does not bus children out of Albany (or within Albany, for that matter).    

    Hello; as an AUSD school board member I passed your question along to Alexia Ritchie, the new principal at Albany High, and here is her reply:


    As the new principal of Albany High School and parent of two AUSD alumni, I wanted to respond to this parent's concerns and highly recommend Albany schools for all families. I helped to start,  and continue to serve, on the AUSD Black Parent Engagement Committee both as a parent and district liaison. We have been working for the past two years to address issues regarding parent and student engagement both socially and academically in our schools. I am pleased to report that AUSD has worked collectively to increase math scores for AA students two years in row while at the same time, decreasing suspension rates for our AA students as reported in the latest California school dashboard. I invite you to contact me and to attend our next Black Parent Engagement Committee town hall meeting on October 3 5:30-7:00 at Oceanview Elementary school to learn more about our schools and our strengths as a community. 

    Best regards,

    Alexia Ritchie, Principal

    Albany High School

    (And welcome to Albany! - Ross)

    I asked my 10th grade child how many African American students are in a class. The answer-at most 4. AHS has a challenging curriculum for those who seek it out and a diverse population, but, unfortunately, few AA students. You may be able to apply for a district transfer to a charter school, but you would have to provide transportation. I wish you the best of luck in finding a fit for your family, and welcome to Albany. 

    Your children are very welcome in Albany! I second Ms. Ritchie's recommendation to look at the California School Dashboard Equity Report,

    All public (and charter schools, such as Aspire) have Dashboard Reports, this is the tool that the state has created to be a factual, impartial school analysis tool. There are Aspire schools in Richmond, which Google lists as a 16-minute drive, but is highly variable due to traffic. It takes 40 minutes to get there in rush hour. There is limited data on Richmond Aspire in Dashboard, because most measures are done as comparisons to the previous year and the Aspire schools are pretty new. Also, to avoid violating privacy, when there is a small number of students, Dashboard will not report out. 

    You may also want to look at the Albany High website,

    There is an Aspire school just south of the Oakland-Berkeley border on San Pablo (near Alcatraz).

  • How diverse are Albany public schools?

    (2 replies)

    Hi, we are looking to move back to Alameda County after a serious of pretty ugly and racist incidents at our school in Contra Costa County. I'm looking for some feedback about how diverse Albany high and the elementary schools are.  Or any feedback about how they handle bullying or racism. Thanks!

    I know you asked about Albany, but El Cerrito schools Harding, Fairmont, Korematsu and ECHS are so diverse that there is no majority ethnicity (a rarity nationwide in districts with neighborhood schools). Not to say that racism in some form can't happen anywhere no matter how diverse; my non-white child has not experienced racism, sexism or bullying in 17 years of El Cerrito schools. Also, a successful student will likely be successful anywhere, don't think you need to choose schools based on test scores (I think less diverse schools may have higher test scores). ECHS has many UC-bound students and great music, dance and debate programs, and a lot more.

    My child started in the Albany School District in kindergarten and is now at AHS. The schools' staff at all three schools they attended have worked hard to instill a sense of respect for all people, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Albany is not truly racially nor socio-economically diverse. It is mostly white, Asian and middle class, but the kids here are really tolerant. I asked my child for their input, and they said that they just participated in an assembly at the high school about the impact on bullying.