About Berkeley Public Schools (BUSD)

How It Works:
The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) assigns new K-8 students to schools based on the "zone" they live in. There are three zones in Berkeley, roughly three parallel strips stretching from the hills to the bay. BUSD created these zones in order to balance schools socio-economically by including both affluent families (in the hills) and middle-class and working-class families (in the flat lands). In each zone, there are 3-5 elementary schools and one middle school. All students attend Berkeley High School. To find out which zone you live in, see the District Map on the BUSD website.

For elementary school (K-5) you may request your top three choices in your zone, but ultimately, BUSD decides which school you are assigned to, based on the census tract you live in (income, education level, etc.). Once assigned to a school, you may request to be wait-listed at your preferred school, but there is no guarantee you will be assigned to a different school. See parent discussions about this.

  • Intra-district transfers: There is very little chance of attending a school outside your zone except in rare cases where your desired zone is under-enrolled.
  • Out-of-district transfers: Many Berkeley schools are over-enrolled so officially, BUSD accepts few transfers from other school districts.

See the Berkeley Unified School District webpage for information about how to enroll. For parents' advice and opinions, see below.


Pre-Schools and Pre-K

Elementary Schools

Northwest Zone

Central Zone

Southeast Zone

Middle Schools

High Schools

Programs

Frequently Asked Questions about Berkeley Schools

Comparisons

More Q&A about Berkeley Schools

Parent Q&A

  • First day of school, Fall 2018?

    (10 replies)

    I can't believe I have to ask this, but does anyone know what the first day of school is for the upcoming school year (2018-2019)? Yes, I checked the BUSD website, and there's no calendar there for next year. My child's school secretary didn't know (!), neither did the school secretaries of several of the other elementary schools in Berkeley (!!), and in repeated calls to different BUSD offices we couldn't get a single human being to answer the phone (!!!). I don't need to explain how stupid and exasperating and, frankly, unprofessional this is. So does anyone know the answer to this apparently obscure question?

    It's official now. First day of school is August 27. No one could answer this question for you until the calendar was finalized, for the reasons that others have mentioned.. http://www.berkeleyschools.net/next-school-year-academic-calendar-2018-19/

    I don't know, but I just want to agree with you that the school district makes it very hard on working parents. January and February is when we need to get summer camps lined up, request leave for our family vacation, and make plans with other family members who also have to request leave in advance. Not just for summer but also for Thanksgiving and winter break. But there is no official calendar so you are trying to guess which days are available and which aren't. I can remember some years when the BUSD calendar wasn't available until just before school let out in June.  Over the years I saw that school started back sometimes before Labor Day, sometimes after.  I think it is a shame that the district punishes working families in this way.

    I don't live in Berkeley, so I will admit upfront that I'm not super up on the BUSD governance, but generally, school boards approve the calendar developed by administration. No school or office staff can tell you the answer until an official calendar is approved. A good way to find out when they'll be releasing the '18-'19 calendar is to check when the board approved and released last year's calendar. Here in my district, the board doesn't even see a proposed calendar until their February meeting, and approves it in March. Knowing that helps me know when to start looking for it on the district website.

    Isn't it typically the day after Labor Day, ie. September 4? That's when my son's first day of school is at his Berkeley private school.

    I think you just have to wait. I have no idea when my school district's first day is next year - and I'm a teacher! Sometimes the calendar gets bundled in with other issues that are being negotiated between the unions and mgmt, and that can cause delay, or it could just be too early to know. 

    The calendars have not been posted yet for the next school year -- I think it gets posted in March.  The past couple of years BUSD has started on the TUESDAY before Labor day. However, prior to that it was the Wednesday before Labor Day.  Check the website berkeleyschools.net  It will be there when it is published.

    I believe the radio silence is because it is not yet finalized (nor is OUSD's, though at least they've announced the first day!), which is maddening given that summer camp signups have already opened! However, there is a draft calendar up on the teachers' union site with a first day of August 27th. No idea if that will stick but it would give you some guidance. It also shows proposed Thanksgiving and winter breaks, so worth a look.

    I don't know for sure about 2018, but in our years of experience with BUSD school has traditionally started on the Tuesday (occasionally Wednesday) before the Labor Day holiday.  Perhaps that gives you enough of an idea to make your plans? Since they didn't respond by telephone, did you email them?  (and of course I don't know how old your kid is, but if they're entering high school there are sign-ups/enrollment/class choice/ID issues that happen prior to the first day)  Good luck

    When I was teaching in another district, the next school year calendar was not decided on until spring of the current school year.  There had to be input and consultation by teachers, union, and district administration.

    Googling brought up a proposed calendar for 2018-19 that puts the first day of school on August 27.  But note proposed.  No idea whether that will prove accurate.

  • Technology in BUSD K classrooms?

    (3 replies)

    Hi bpn! Can anyone tell me about technology use in Berkeley Public elementary schools? (Specifically, Kindergartens in the Central zone.) 

    i.e., Do teachers use screens in the classrooms? For what? Do kids take tests on computers? (My niece in another state does, and I've realized I don't have any idea what happens here.) Anything else noteworthy?

    Thanks!

    It's worth noting that all students in California take state SBAC tests on computers beginning in third grade, so most schools do introduce technology well before then, and often as early as kindergarten. I can't speak to the specific Berkeley schools in the Central zone, but would be surprised not to see fairly regular technology use (iPads or Chromebooks) by second grade, if not before then.

    Our son is at Washington kinder and quite happy there. No screen time as far as I know. I think that might start in small doses by 3rd grade.  There are some folks in the PTA there who are trying to stave off technology in general that you can hook up with.

    HTH,

    This is going to vary greatly by teacher and you have no control over which teacher you get or the ability to switch teachers (at least in my experience). Our daughter's teacher starts the day with 10-20 minutes of YouTube videos for various songs (e.g. welcome song, ABCs, counting, days of the week etc). Many teachers also use Go Noodle at some point in the day. I know another K teacher at the school uses iPads in the classroom for some Math work. This teacher also has shown movies for special occasions (e.g. Frosty the Snowman before winter break). As far as I can tell, they aren't using computers for testing.  

  • Feedback on Berkeley Unified School District

    (3 replies)

    Hello,

    I am relatively new to the area and was hoping to get some feedback on Berkeley Unified, which my child will soon be attending. I am curious about both preschools -- I know the district has 3 -- and elementary and beyond. How are the teachers? Are they evaluated on a regular basis? Do teachers bring politics into the classroom? Can parents visit class whenever they want? What about music, arts and non-academic programs? I know it's been cuts, cuts, cuts in recent decades, but wondering what the situation is like now.

    Thanks!

    Welcome to Berkeley, Karina!

    My son attended one of the Berkeley public preschools (and now attends a BUSD elementary), so I can answer your questions about them.

    I am a low-income single parent, so public preschool was a lifesaver. My sense is that almost all of the families at his school income qualified for low- to no-cost preschool, and you also do not have to live in Berkeley to send your child to the BUSD public preschools. Each class generally has the state maximum of students (24) with three teachers. The teachers I met were all very caring individuals with a lot of teaching experience. That being said, it is definitely a standard, traditional public school experience. These are not like private, high-cost preschools with nature time and child-led play. Your child will eat some junk food from time to time, watch a Minions movie on a rainy day, and get their name written on the board if they act up. However, your child will also become accustomed to a diverse public school experience, and that is a huge bonus that I think outweighs everything else.

    The public preschools offer before and/or after care for working families who need it, and although parents could of course drop by class or volunteer at any time, most/all of the families had working parents, so I never saw that happening. Special education teachers work with the classroom teachers to be on the lookout for possible learning disabilities, which means kids can get support earlier than at private preschools.

    When considering public vs private preschool, I suggest that if the cost of private preschool is not a barrier then you should probably go that route, especially if you are looking at high-cost private preschools as a standard. If the cost of preschool seems unworkable, take a tour of one of the public preschools and check them out. Your child has to be at least 3 years old and potty-trained to apply; you can apply in June for the fall school year or just apply any time and be on the wait list for when a spot opens up. Your child will be in a vibrant, multicultural, multilingual school community which is about as instructive as anything else they could possibly learn.

    Best wishes with your preschool journey!

    BUSD is considered a desirable district to send your kids to. At every election, the city of Berkeley passes a bond measure to raise funds for the school- this funds music and arts and others.  At 3rd grade, students may choose a musical instrument to learn.  The district is divided into zones from in which families can rank their preferences for an elementary school. Then, by lottery, kids are matched with schools.  About 70% of families get their first choice.  Siblings are matched into the same school.  The result is that no school is better or worse off than others- all schools have the same proportion of socio-economically challenged families.  When I looked at the different elementary schools in our zone, they had a different flavor, but they seemed only to different in what their respective PTAs liked to focus on- one was into visual arts, another into sports, another into theatre arts.  We ended up choosing ours based on location (walking distance).  As for budget, in addition to the bond measures, our PTA tries to raise about $400/student per year, to pay or supplement other programming, like the garden, arts, music, and PE.  As for politics- I'm not sure what you mean.  As far as I understand, the district has adopted certain programs regarding bullying, conflict management, gender and racial diversity.  So on these issues, there's been some thinking to develop a uniform approach.  We've been very happy with our kindergarten teacher so far.  

    PS- we have some experience with the pre-schools.  They're very, very nice. Very nice facilities, very well maintained.  We had our kid at Bright Horizons (corporate  day care ) which was ridiculously nice, and these facilities are comparable.  The pre-school teachers we've met are very, very good: caring, experienced, professional, knowledgeable.  The program is mainly for  low income  families, with a few slots for kids with IEPs, and a few slots of paying families.  There is child care, reserved for the  low income  families.  DM me for more deets if you like.

    Welcome to Berkeley! Your inquiry is broad, really really broad.  I'll give you my perspective, but I'd highly recommend spending some time on this website in the "schools" and "BUSD" subsections.  You will find a lot of information from various parents over the years which will give you a flavor of the strengths and challenges of BUSD.

    In answer to your questions, I don't have any experience with the public preschools so hopefully others will chime in on those.  My two kids are both in elementary school and we have been very pleased with their experiences thus far.  Their teachers (we have had 7 between them over the years) have all been very seasoned educators.  I have always felt welcome in the classroom.  Some teachers have had a regular volunteer schedule whereas others are open to a "come when you can" approach with parents.  All of my children's teachers have communicated regularly with parents, usually through a weekly email.  If I have had any concerns, I have always gotten a quick response via email.  I don't know how teachers are evaluated by our principal or the district.  The facilities are amazing, particularly for public schools.  Unlike my friends in other districts, we haven't been given a list of classroom supplies to bring in on the first day of school. The classrooms are well-stocked with books, paper, art supplies, etc.  Our school's PTA also gives our teachers a stipend each year to augment their supplies.  The students at our school have weekly art classes, dance class, theater class, gardening class and PE class with a PE instructor.  They go on plenty of educational field trips, such as to the CA Academy of Sciences, the Lawrence Hall of Sciences, Berkeley Art Museum and to see performances at Cal.  My kids' peer group is very diverse both ethnically and socio-economically and is reflective of Berkeley as a whole.  Overall my kids are having a fantastic educational experience. Sure, there are problems.  We have had issues with disruptive kids in the classroom as well as limitations in differentiated learning to accommodate the varied educational levels.  I truly feel, however, that the teachers and principal are up to tackling those challenges and that they are striving to deliver an excellent education to each student. As your child nears school age, you should come to one of the elementary school's kindergarten information nights (each school has one sometime in January).  Those presentations will give you a flavor of each school. 

  • Withdrawing a child mid-year from Berkeley schools

    (4 replies)

    Has anyone had experience pulling their child out of a Berkeley school partway through the school year? Specifically if the child is five-years-old? As I understand it, CA doesn't make school compulsory until age six. Trying to figure out our options if we don't have a great experience in the Berkeley school system next year. If we're really not happy, I'll try to home school until we can move/come up with a Plan C. I'm hoping it might be easier since my daughter will be under six. Thanks in advance for any advice you're able to offer.

    If you don't have a great experience with the Berkeley school system, you won't have a great experience with any school system. None of them are perfect. None of the teachers are perfect. None of the administrators are perfect. ANYWHERE. Home schooling won't be perfect either. And plenty of people complain about private schools. You'd be much better off approaching the school as if it will work for you. There might be issues that you have to address (our son was getting way behind in reading and no one seemed to care until we made them care) but that's how it's going to be anywhere. My husband had the attitude that if we could only find the right school, our child would miraculously and immediately know how to read and start doing well in school. You can see how foolish that is. My husband didn't want to do the 20 minutes of reading at night because it wasn't fun. He didn't support me in making it happen so I was the bad guy all the time. It took paying a lot of money to a counselor for my husband to finally understand that if we wanted our son to read, we had to make him read. Why am I telling you this? It's because your post seems to indicate that you have unrealistic expectations about school like my husband had. All schools have their pluses and minuses. You think that by moving you'll find the perfect school district? You won't. Your child's success is going to largely be a factor of how much effort you put into your child's education, regardless of where he/she is going to school. You have to make the kids do their daily reading no matter how painful it is. Now that my husband is finally on board and isn't making excuses for our son to not do his reading and homework, our son is doing his work and succeeding (and he feels a lot better about himself). We could have moved our son to 20 different schools but he wasn't going to be successful until we got on the same page and my husband stopped blaming everything on the school/teacher and started accepting responsibility. The schools with the really high test scores are the schools with highly involved parents who don't accept failure. 

    Well, I think you're jumping the gun for sure. I bet you and your daughter will be very happy in a public Berkeley kindergarten. Why are you anticipating a problem? Of course you can pull your child from any school any time you like, but I don't think you will want to.

    So you child is not yet in kindergarten and you are already making plans to pull her out mid-year? Why? I'd guess that Berkeley Public Schools work out fine for north of 99% of students who enroll? Is there some reason that you think your daughter is going to be the exception? Why not go into the school year with a positive attitude that it will work out, rather than planning for failure? Even if there are issues you didn't mention, approaching the year with an optimistic attitude that you can work through any problem is more likely to produce a good outcome than coming in with backup plans because you are sure it will be a disaster.

    But to answer your question, there would be no consequences from the school district to a 5 year old dropping out of school, even if you weren't going to homeschool. Consequences for the kid emotionally and socially, yes. Penalties for truancy, no.

    Poke around on this site: http://hsc.org/withdrawing-your-child-from-school-mid-year.html

    and feel free to call their help line.  1-888-HSC-4440

  • How to tour BUSD schools

    (3 replies)

    Hi all, we're a small family currently living in San Francisco. My husband just got a job in Berkeley and we are considering moving there. Our son will attend Kindergarten next year. I've been researching and touring SF elementary schools but have little idea how to navigate BUSD. I'd love some advice on how to tour BUSD schools (do they even allow it even it's a lottery?), and how do I go about researching BUSD elementary schools (I've visited the BUSD and school websites). I've been told Jefferson is good and Rosa Parks is small (is that good or bad?). Thanks so much for your help!

    RE: How to tour BUSD schools ()

    Hi, there. There is a season for touring elementary schools, and the school websites are very helpful in informing you on when that is. When in doubt, reach out to the PTA leaders at the schools you want to tour to learn more; tours are usually run by parent volunteers. It's important to know that schools in Berkeley are assigned by "zones" - 3 strips running from the hills to the bay, in order to ensure diversity and balance at the school sites. Where you wind up living will assign you your zone; you can ask for an out of zone school, but odds are low on getting into it. All of the elementary schools in Berkeley are excellent, so don't worry - anywhere you wind up you will have a great experience.

    RE: How to tour BUSD schools ()

    All of the Berkeley schools are considered great, so there isn’t as high stakes as in other districts. All of the schools offer tours usually one or two mornings a week until application deadline. Honestly I only went to two tours and decided I was basing my ranking on proximity. All schools also do one evening open house AND there is a district fair one weekend so you can meet with people from admissions and each elementary school. 

    See you in school!

    — a proud BUSD parent 

    RE: How to tour BUSD schools ()

    There is a BUSD Kindergarten Fair on Sat 12/2/17 from 10am to 1pm at LeConte Elementary School - I'd suggest starting there! Also, if you call BUSD, they can give you a list of all the elementary schools in Berkeley and their phone numbers, so that you can book visits directly with the schools. I can't remember exactly (the paper is at home right now) but I think they're allowing tours on Tues/Thursday mornings through Dec 14th - but you have to schedule directly w/ each school you wan to visit. Lastly, in case you don't know, BUSD is a lottery system but heavily favors placing kids in your home "zone" (there are 3 zones) so it matters very much where you would be moving to in Berkeley! Best of luck!

  • Summer Reading Lists for Berkeley Public Schools

    (2 replies)

    Hi There!  We will be moving to Berkeley at the end of the summer.  My kids will be entering 3rd and 6th grades in the fall and attending public school in Berkeley.  Does anyone know where to find recommended summer reading lists for the district?  We are already on Summer Break in our current home town, so I'd love to get them started on the lists if there are any.

     

    Thank you!

    As far as I know, there aren't required summer reading lists. However, the public library has great reading lists, and the librarians help children find books they are interested in. Here are the suggested BUSD readings for different grade levels.

    https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/kids/books-kids

  • BUSD Bus Stop Locations

    (1 reply)

    We just got our assignment for Kindergarten, and we will qualify for taking the bus.  Does anyone know how far from your house the bus stops usually are?  Also, how long the average bus ride is?  Thanks!

  • Kindergartner getting bullied at BUSD recess

    (7 replies)

    There is a pattern of two first-grade boys who are bullying my kindergarten son at recess (K and 1st grade have recess together). After it became clear it was a pattern, I talked to the teacher. She then talked to the kids and their teacher and the bullying stopped for about a week. Then one of the kids bullied my son again just before the Thanksgiving break. (I am writing this over the T-Day holiday.)

    My son is an introvert and tends to be alone at recess, which probably makes him an easy target. I've observed recess (before the bullying started) and the yard supervisors literally sit on their butts. Most of the incidents have happened at the lunchtime recess, so the teachers are on their breaks.

    The bullying includes: walking in circles around my son and then knocking him over and/or punching him. He has had a bloody, swollen lip and another time, he bit his tongue hard and it was sore for a couple of days. Most of the time, grown-ups aren't aware of anything that's going on. I am working with my son on going to a grown-up for help!

    I have signed up for a Kidpower class, and in the meantime, I have coached my son to say loudly and strongly, "Stop [bully's name], don't push me!" (or whatever the bully is doing). The last time it happened, my son says that a grown-up (he isn't sure who) took the bully to the office after he strongly said "stop!"

    What happens after a kid goes to the office for this type of thing? Are his parents' notified? 

    I'm starting to wonder if I'm not getting the full story from my son (or if part of it is made up?). There are some details that aren't clear. My son says he doesn't know if it was a man or woman grown-up (odd that he wouldn't know that) who took the bully to the office, for example.

    I have polled all of my friends about this and they tell me that as this age, bullying has only stopped when they have personally talked to the parents. Everyone also says to talk to the principal, which I will be doing on Monday, I suppose.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this? Do I really have to go to the principal? Any other suggestions to empower my son to stand up for himself? I am not against him pushing/hitting back and have told my son that it would be OK to do that. I would consider martial arts, but everything I read says that kids aren't focused enough to do martial arts until they're 7. 

    Thank you, o wise ones!

    Yes, go to the principal. Let your son know that you have his back (literally). He's too young to have to do this for himself! He needs to know you will make sure he is safe and your actions will speak louder than your tutoring him.

    I'm sorry this is happening and want you to know you are not alone. It happens all the time, but that does not in any way excuse it or mean you shouldn't take action. I think it is perfectly appropriate to go to the principal: s/he is an available resource and should be able to help. You don't have to know the answers (including how much your kid may or may not be "exaggerating"): you just know that your kid is having a hard time during recess and he needs the adults in his life to help him out. Principals have a professional duty to make sure all kids are in a safe learning environment, and with any luck your principal will help you understand what is going on and help you come up with an effective response (hopefully involving the classroom teacher as well). Please don't be reluctant to use the principal as a resource. I don't think you should talk to the parents yourself, but this is something you can discuss with the principal, too. 

    I have a child who, when younger, seemed to attract bullies. I found that some principals are effective in the way they handle these things, and some are not. I think you stand a pretty good chance in BUSD of having a principal who responds well, but follow up and keep checking. You are your child's advocate, and I think it is very important to act and take what the child says seriously. In general, I think kids only complain about these things to parents when things are really a problem for them (I know there are exceptions, and every kid has a different way of interpreting and communicating these things, but remember YOU KNOW YOUR KID BEST, so trust your judgement about what he is saying. The exact details don't have to be 100% accurate: the point is that something is going on that is creating problems for him). 

    Kid Power is a great resource. Some martial arts studios offer classes specifically for younger children. We loved Studio Naga on San Pablo Avenue. They teach an Indonesia form of martial arts, and have a class specifically for 5 to 7 year olds (sometimes includes even younger kids, or beginners who are older). Studio Naga has a wonderful, inclusive, family friendly environment, lots of kids of different ages (many of them great role models), very kind and dedicated teachers, and experience with kids who are shy. One reason I love the studio is that the senior leadership are women, which tends to make it less macho feeling than many martial arts I've had contact with (though the leadership is still totally tough and bad-ass). Call them up and ask to speak with Louise, who runs the studio, and tell her your specific concerns. 

    Best wishes to you and your son. Sounds like you are being wonderfully proactive. Kids can really be mean, and it is the duty of adults to show them how to be kind and respectful. 

    You might read the chapter "Bullies" in the book "Boys Will Be" by Bruce Brooks (1993, Henry Holt).  A bit dated, a bit rough, but perhaps also a bit spine-stiffening.

    From this point on you must become a warrior with no patience who will absolutely not accept wishy-washy responses from cautious bureaucrats hiding behind Cali-soft peace-at-all-costs policy.  Your kid is getting intimidated & assaulted.  So be nice enough not to assault principals or teachers but DO intimidate them.  Do some research to find out the hardball consequences with which you can threaten hesitant adults if they hem & haw.  

    Understood, it's difficult for school officials to act decisively against bullies (especially in California, especially in Berkeley).  But be alert:  the instant someone seems to be afraid of going 'too strong' against bullies & hurting their 'confused' childish natures, you call "Bullshit!" & bring the attention back to yoyr kid getting assaulted.  The instant someone seems to be afraid of possibly angering the bully's parents, show that YOU are ALREADY angry & every bit as likely to take legal action as any defensive parents of rough kids.  

     

    Bullies & often their parents laugh at the counseling-style consequences brought to bear on their 'emotionally confused child' who likes to beat the crap out of a weaker child.  Bullies are not all 'misunderstood,' they are violent.  THEY HURT YOUR CHILD.  Doesn't that outrage you?  So show it & get results.

    Just in regards to your question about "do I have to go the to principal?" 

    Yes! That's what she's there for. Bullying shouldn't be tolerated. And the monitors should be actively monitoring your son and the others at this point. Ask the administrator to sit in with you and the teacher. Not because you want to get the teacher "in trouble" or anything but because you are a team. 

    I think it's appropriate that you speak to the principal, and teachers. Afterwards, write an email thanking them for meeting/speaking with you, and recap what you discussed. Print out the email and keep it in a folder, along with a piece of paper noting any incidents, as far back as you can remember. Hopefully this will get straightened right out, but if not, you have a record. The teachers may already be aware of these first-graders, and there may be other kindergartners now or in the future who will be a target. Yours can be part of a communal response to help the first graders understand the meanings/consequences of their actions.

    As far as the accuracy of your son's reports: believe him. He needs you to believe him, AND you can assume that you don't know all sides of the story when you speak to the teachers. It doesn't surprise me, for instance, that he can't remember if it was a male or female adult who took the kid to the office - your son was stressed out from the incident, and wasn't thinking clearly, as anyone would be.

    The kidpower class sounds great, and my concern about encouraging him to hit back is that HE would then get in trouble, which would be so dang unfair! My kid was bullied in K/1st too, and I spoke to the principal who spoke to the parents, which worked.

    Ari F-M

    Of course you go to the principal! Why would you hesitate? Are you feeling shy or are you worried it'll blow back on your kid? Listen, you have to advocate for your kid. There's only so much a kindergartener can do. And even if you could get him martial arts training, what is he gonna do, give the bully a karate chop and then get sent to the office for being the aggressor? That's what's going to happen, and the bullys' moms will be all "waah waah waah, our snowflakes are the victims here." Talk to the principal, say this is completely unacceptable. Do not let the principal tell you the solution is to keep your kid inside while the bullies get to be jerks to someone else's kid. Demand that the school get a Playworks coach -- they teach the kids schoolyard games to keep them engaged so they don't become bullies out of sheer boredom, and they also teach the bullied kids how to change the interaction (but kinder is really too young to expect this!!!). 

    I don't think it's odd that he wouldn't know who took the bully to the office. 

    The teacher should be better at intervening and changing this behavior. The school should have an anti-bullying policy. At our school (in WCCUSD), the teachers of the young grades (K-2) are geniuses at redirecting the energy of aggressive kids and drawing out their better selves. I've watched it happen. They are not usually terrible kids, they just need an abundance of guidance. 

    Go forth and advocate! Give 'em hell!! 

Parent Reviews

RE: School for "nerdy" boy? ()

As the parent of two "nerdy" boys who survived middle school bullying--one thriving at Princeton and one pursuing his artistic passion successfully--I want to say that your son sounds like a wonderful person who will be appreciated and valued as a friend and human being and have a satisfying life beyond eighth grade.

But the truth is, middle school is where bullies rule, and you owe it to him to do what you can to reduce the stress and toxic environment. One option is private school. East Bay School for Boys is well-regarded in terms of being sensitive to social issues. Some of the other private schools have bullying issues, but may be more responsive to concerns when problems occur.

A friend's child was seriously bullied at King Middle School and the teachers and counselor didn't really do anything until the family said they would pull him out and file a grievance. Then the intervention picked up, the bullies were dealt with by the school, and the problem was solved to the point the student stayed for three years. Families in BUSD hesitate to file a grievance and kids certainly shy away from attention, but the truth is, this is the only way sometimes that the intervention procedures can be activated. It's good for our kids to see how they can stand up for themselves, and it's good for the bullies to be called on their behavior. You might talk to the counselor asap and say this is serious, something must be done or you will file a grievance, which by the way is not a mean, personal whine, but part of the district process to be taken seriously. This isn't the jungle, the adults at the school know better and we need to hold them to their public avowal of a safe environment for all students. Outside counseling might help, too, because bullies do inflict harm that deserves support and understanding. I hope your son finds a place where he can be himself and feel safe very soon!