After-school Programs in BUSD

Parent Q&A

BUSD BEARS after school question Feb 22, 2020 (0 responses below)
BUSD - AM Care Jan 21, 2020 (3 responses below)
Aftercare programs with openings BUSD Apr 16, 2019 (2 responses below)
Live Oak After School program Mar 20, 2019 (3 responses below)
TK after-school care Jul 5, 2018 (2 responses below)
After care options for TK at Malcolm X Jul 17, 2017 (2 responses below)
BUSD afterschool programs for K Jan 26, 2017 (2 responses below)
BAM afterschool options Jul 28, 2016 (2 responses below)
  • BUSD BEARS after school question

    (0 replies)

    My child has been in the Berkeley public school BEARS aftercare program for a few years, and I’d like to touch base with other parents with kids currently in BEARS, at any of the schools. I’m interested in what activities and projects the kids generally do, primarily to figure out whether some issues are district-wide or site-specific. 

    Reply or messaging is fine. Thanks. Just current BEARS families, please.

  • BUSD - AM Care

    (3 replies)

    I am trying to identify the start times for morning extended care (BEARS, LEARNS, etc) at Sylvia Mendez and BAM. I'm unable to find it on their websites and neglected to ask when I toured. Thank you for any light you can shed on this!

    RE: BUSD - AM Care ()

    Hi!

    BEARS starts at 7:00 am.

    https://www.berkeleyschools.net/schools/berkeley-after-school-programs/b...

    LEARNS does not do AM care.

    RE: BUSD - AM Care ()

    You can contact the district coordinators:

    Aaron Jorgensen, Extended Learning Program Supervisor
    Tel: 510.644.7770 | Fax: 510.644.7726
    Email: aaronjorgensen [at] berkeley.net

    Angela Handy, After School Program Supervisor
    Tel: 510.644.8625 | Fax: 510.644.7726
    Email: angelahandy [at] berkeley.net

    RE: BUSD - AM Care ()

    Hi! I have a correction about what I said regarding LEARNS before care. The district website says: “LEARNS also has morning programs before school at Berkeley Arts Magnet, Cragmont and Rosa Parks.”

  • Aftercare programs with openings BUSD

    (2 replies)

    We moved to Berkeley recently and enrolled our kindergartner at Cragmont. We were hoping to enroll him in the onsite aftercare program, but it’s full. :(

    Does anyone know of any afterschool programs that currently have openings and pick up from Cragmont? Thanks! 

    My kindergartner goes to Live Oak Park. I think it says it's waiting list on the website, but there are a few spots. It's a city handled after school. They pick up from all the BUSD schools (I think). I know they do for Washington and Malcolm X. My son loves going there and they can use the fabulous park. Step by and ask for Daniel, the director. Good luck!

    Welcome to Cragmont! It's a wonderful community.  I know that some Cragmont kids take the school bus to the JCC and to New School to attend the afterschool programs at those sites.  My child attends the JCC and loves it.  Kids at the JCC have lots of opportunity to run around as well as tons of enrichment classes.  I hear great things about New School as well but have no experience with it.

  • Live Oak After School program

    (3 replies)

    I'd like to hear some experiences with the Live Oak After School program. The city website (https://www.cityofberkeley.info/2016_2017_Afterschool_Programs.aspx) is not very forthcoming. Our daughter will be attending K at MX in the fall, and the Live Oak Community center is so very convenient to our house.

    Thanks in advance!

    RE: Live Oak After School program ()

    My son (kindergarten) attends the after-school there and he absolutely loves it! I have to go pick him up not before 5.30 because he does not want to leave. They use the outdoor space (playground, crick, parc) a lot, so if your daughter is the outdoor kind (my son is) she will love it. They do a lot of plays and the people working there are great but it's not very structured which is perfectly fine for my child, but if your daughter prefers very structured activities maybe it's not the perfect place. It's also a much smaller group compared to the public schools after-schools which is I prefer, especially for younger kids (easier to make friends and not get lost, not confronted with older kids who are in another group). My son also loves to take the bus from school (he is at Washington) to Live Oak, it makes him feel independent. You might want to ask if the program will work next year though. They are doing construction work there this summer (the outdoor is gorgeous but the building is really old). Not sure when they will finish...

    RE: Live Oak After School program ()

    I am pretty sure that the City of Berkeley afterschool program is no longer located at Live Oak Community Center.  It was there for a year, but I believe that that was a temporary location while another community center was being remodeled.  If you are looking for an afterschool program near Live Oak, I highly recommend the JCC on Walnut.  The JCC has tons of enrichment classes but also allows kids to run around on the playground if that's what they need.  At least in the past, there was a school bus from MX that dropped kids off at the JCC.  

    RE: Live Oak After School program ()

    Hello,

    Unfortunately, the Live Oak Community Center will be closed for renovations during the 2019-2020 school year.  The City of Berkeley offers a few other options, but currently only has bussing to the Willard and Frances Albrier Afterschool Programs.  Registration for those programs usually opens in August for new participants.

  • TK after-school care

    (2 replies)

    Hi, we just moved to the area from out of state and our son is starting TK at King CDC in the fall. Does anyone know what people there do for after-school care - is there a city or private program that most kids attend? We're having trouble actually reaching anyone at the school (probably because it's summer) - not even sure when the official school day ends! Thanks so much.

    RE: TK after-school care ()

    Hi! Welcome to Berkeley schools!

    The Berkeley school district runs two afterschool programs, which King TK kids get bused to at a nearby elementary school (probably Malcolm X but not sure): LEARNS and BEARS. LEARNS likely has a wait list at this point, but you could try:

    http://www.berkeleyschools.net/schools/berkeley-after-school-programs/be...

    BEARS is income-qualified, so you can contact them to see if you're in the right range:

    http://www.berkeleyschools.net/schools/berkeley-after-school-programs/be...

    The City of Berkeley after school programs and the JCC seem like they start at kindergarten, so it may come down to finding a private preschool that has "afterschool" spots. I think TK usually ends at 1:30, but King might be different. And yes, the district offices are closed until some time in August, so you'll have a hard time reaching anyone until then.

    Good luck!

    RE: TK after-school care ()

    Our daughter went to TK at King CDC two years ago. The on-site after school program is income eligible. If you don't qualify they will bus your child with other TK kids to the Learns after school program at another school - when we were there it was at Washington. But your child can also be bused to any private after school program of your choice. JCC is very popular. So is New School. We even made arrangements with the transportation dept to take our daughter to her pre-school (Mustard Seed) to spend afternoons there. If King CDC is not responding I would contact the BUSD transportation dept. I found them very helpful. We had a great experience at King! 

  • After care options for TK at Malcolm X

    (2 replies)

    Our daughter was assigned to Malcom X and we immediately registered her for the LEARNS after school program. We recently found out that we've been waitlisted. They said they are "really trying to get her in." However, they won't tell us where she is on the wait list until August, so it's hard to know how likely or unlikely it is that they'll find her a spot. After calling around to other after school care providers that offer transportation from Malcom X, we have been told by all providers that they are full and waitlist enrollment doesn't start for several weeks. Does anyone have any insights into the process at Malcom X or advice for finding an alternative after care program? I feel a bit like we're just hitting brick walls every place we look.  

    Thanks!

    I'm sorry that you have been going through this frustration.  We are in the same situation -- my incoming Kindergartener is wait listed for LEARNS at Malcolm X even though we got our application in on the first day.  I had tried to talk to the MX coordinator but she is apparently out until Aug 14.  I have had better luck reaching out to Aaron Jorgensen who is the LEARNS supervisor for all the Berkeley schools.  He acknowledges the need to add another K group (an additional instructor so they can accommodate more kids and meet required ratios).  The Board needs to approve it but Aaron is pretty confident it will be approved.  This would mean that a bunch of spaces open up.  I am surprised you are not able to find out your spot on the wait list.  Aaron told us over the phone -- try calling him (his number is on the LEARNS website).  It seems to be poorly organized which is super frustrating, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works out.  

    For aftercare, you should check out New School. Their website doesn't reflect it that well, but they have an amazing after-school program for school age kids. It's $500/month (compared with BUSD's LEARNS at $450/month) and much higher quality, from what I've seen. The BUSD school bus drops the kids off there, so you don't have to worry about transportation to another school site. Just in case it's not on your radar: http://www.newschoolberkeley.org/Also the JCC in North Oakland has aftercare and picks up the kids from MX. 

  • BUSD afterschool programs for K

    (2 replies)

    I am trying to learn about affordable, full time afterschool programs for students at Malcom X and Washington.  I'd like to hear from parents whose kids attend LEARNS at either school or the PTA run programs that are full time OR parents whose kids are at any BUSD school and attend the City of Berkeley programs at Willard, James Kenney/Live Oak, or Frances Albrier.  Do your kids like it?  What are the pros/cons?  Is the program well organized, good at communicating, etc?

    Thanks.

    We like Washington's Learns program a lot. It improved significantly this year with new leadership--the whole staff seems more organized and enthusiastic, the enrichment options are better, and there's been clearer communication about how the program is run. It doesn't have some of the bells and whistles that other places have, including the full array of PTA-sponsored, largely pay-as-you-go enrichment options that some other Learns programs offer. But the built-in enrichment provided within the Learns program is solid, including sports, art, games, engineering, and drama. There are also some on campus enrichment options you can add, such as Spanish and chess, which aren't part of Learns but can be coordinated so your kid does both. My kid also seems to get more physical activity on the yard with Learns (endless soccer, basketball, and kickball, among other things) than he did at most summer camps, plus there's a homework hour, which is reading time for the younger kids. No program is perfect, but our kid is often reluctant to leave at pickup.

    I have my kid in Trackers aftercare. They pick up from Washington on Mondays and Wednesdays. It is wonderful! http://www.trackersbay.com/

    I have him in a couple of days of LEARNS at Washington, too. Sadly, the LEARNS program at Washington is a real weak spot. He loves school, but the aftercare he has very mixed reports about. Sometimes he loves it, but by his own 8 year old description "nobody get's picked on in school because the teachers won't let you get picked on. But the teachers in aftercare will let kids pick on you." 

  • BAM afterschool options

    (2 replies)

    My son is starting K in August at BAM (even though we live two blocks from Rosa Parks), and I'm already wildly frustrated with the afterschool/before school situation.  Are there any current parents who can comment on the BAM afterschool programs?  What do the children do and where do they spend their time?  Are the K kids with the rest of the kids?  Who are the adults?  What about before school care?

    Also, are there any other solo parents out there?  People keep asking me if I'm excited about K but really it's turning into a scheduling nightmare.  The only bus home is right after school at 2:35 so I will have to figure out how to pick my child up later, across town from where we live and I work.  Clearly the BUSD is not set up to support solo parents or people without cars.

    RE: BAM afterschool options ()

    Yes, after preschool kindergarten (and the rest of elementary school) are a scheduling nightmare. Our kids are at BAM and we are  very happy there. After care is run by the district, the kindergarteners are kept separate and the care givers are lovely. So is the man who runs the program. All that being said, I really think you should push to have your child placed at Rosa Parks. I'm not experienced at this, so hopefully others can give tips, but what you are describing sounds completely unsustainable and very stressful. In general I support the BUSD lottery system - it has many benefits for the community - but in your situation (single parent, no car) I think you should absolutely be placed at a school within walking distance of your home. Crossing my fingers for you! 

    RE: BAM afterschool options ()

    Hey one option could be NEW school of Berkeley. Its just down the street from BAM. They pick up the kids from BAM. My boy goes to the aftercare there. and absolutely love it!

    Sindu

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions
 

After-school language program near Berkeley?

Aug 2015 

I am looking for an after-school foreign language program near Berkeley for my Kindergarten and 3rd grade kids. Spanish, French, Mandarin--anything that will get the language synapses firing! We are in a BUSD school without any real foreign language options. Thanks for any recommendations! East Bay Momma


Hi - You don't say what BUSD school you are at. Classroom Matters offers after school Spanish programs at Washington, Rosa Parks & Thousand Oaks. To register contact Tatiana at (510) 540-8646. If your not at one of these schools you can also discuss ways to get it there. My kids participated all year at Washington and I recommend it. Washington Parent.
 


Afterschool programs are full at John Muir

Sept 2014

Last week we found out our son got into John Muir for Kindergarten. Now we are scrambling to find after school program and am having problems:
1. Oakland JCC- turns out they won't pick up from John Muir- only Le Conte or Malcom X
2. The kids in motion program on campus is full.
3. I don't know much about the BEARS program.
Does anyone know of other after-school programs that I should consider? Or more information about BEARS (or LEARNS? I'm so confused and I haven't been able to get a hold of anyone at the office there)? Thanks in advance


I live in Rockridge and my son goes to Studio One after school care program. It's been only 3 days as of now. I think I am comfortable. I am not sure if they pick up from John Muir but you have the option of picking your child and dropping off at Studio One for $20/day. Mom


After-School Care: BUSD school programs v. JCC

Nov 2012

My child will be in kindergarten at a BUSD South zone school next year (of course don't know which one yet). I'm very confused about the after school options. There are almost too many! I can't seem to decipher why schools have more than one, the differences, and what makes one ''better'' than the other for a child. Also, how does the JCC program compare? We are Jewish, and have had the pleasure of our child attending a Jewish preschool, so like the idea of some continuation of jewish culture in the ''school'' setting (not a priority). Thanks in advanced! What About After School?


I'm a parent of a West Area BUSD first grader. My daughter participated in the afterschool program at her school last year - it was not a good fit for her (not enough time to run around outside, too much time parked in the cafeteria with board games that might or might not interest her on a given day, no real sense of enrichment activity, etc). That said, I understand that each school's afterschool program runs fairly independently, so your mileage may vary.

I can't speak to the JCC afterschool program, but the JCC summer camp (Camp Tzofim) is run by/hires a lot of the same folks, and it's really great. If I didn't love where my daughter currently is for afterschool care (see below), that's probably where she'd be.

Another Jewish afterschool care option (and this is where my daughter goes) is Edah http://www.edahcommunity.org/ (housed at Congregation Beth El on Oxford, with bus service from most BUSD schools, like the JCC afterschool program) and it is fantastic! Art and music in various forms happen daily, and there are ample opportunities for outdoor and self-directed play, as well. The staff does a wonderful job working with kids where they are, and I know my daughter's getting the support and encouragement she deserves after a tough day in first grade. Happy Edah Mama


I think the JCC in general, is a ''kinder, gentler'' option, and comes complete with Shabbat, challah, etc. The BUSD afterschool programs can be a bit wild and rough, with a much more diverse population. It depends on your kid. We've done both. Jewish BUSD mom of 3


Hi, I was massively confused about afterschool programs two years ago when we were applying to South Zone kindergartens. I am sure some of it was anxiety about the impending switch to elementary school but mostly it just wasn't clear what program was what (and they were different at different schools as you point out and add to that we weren't sure what school we would end up at). In the end we heard enough so-so reviews of all the BUSD afterschool programs (i.e. sort of glorified daycare) that we decided to sign up with the Oakland JCC so we would be assured of knowing where our daughter would be for afterschool even if we didn't know what school she would be at and that it would be a solid program. We chose the Oakland branch because it is a lot closer to our house. We've been very happy there, our daughter has made good friends, the diverse staff is sweet and are able to concentrate on activities as opposed to running around chasing after kids and they have some good options for classes (chugim). There is also a nice community feeling to the place which is enhanced by Parents Night Out evening programs (where kids can watch a movie on a Saturday night while the parents have a date!), community Shabbat events, etc. I love that there is recognition and celebration of Jewish holidays and traditions (but not so much so that non-Jewish kids would feel left out I don't think but not sure about that). I don't regret one bit that we chose the non-school program and am glad that my daughter will get to go there for years with some of the same kids. Also, the new director (Stan Berrin) is a sweetheart and I'm sure would be happy to give you a tour and discuss any details you are curious about. Oakland JCC Mom


We just started kindergarten in the south zone this fall so I can share what I've learned. Each school has its own after care program. At Emerson, it's called Kids World. I think theoretically you can go to a different after school program than the school you're enrolled at but in practice, they all seem to be oversubscribed so I'm not sure if that actually happens. You should definitely apply as soon as you find out what school you're assigned because they fill up fast.

We initially didn't need after care but now find ourselves desperately needing it and can't get into anything. It's been incredibly frustrating. We are on the wait list at Kids World with no idea if we'll ever get in. I tried the JCC but they don't pick up at Emerson or John Muir. In fact, if you're at Emerson or John Muir, it's like a black hole as a lot of places won't pick up there (I tried BUSD transportation, but they said it was too far for them). I don't know why the after care programs can't hire more people as it seems every year they're oversubscribed. frustrated with after care


Afterschool Program in North Berkeley for 3rd grader

Jan 2012

My 3rd grader is not liking the after school program at his school. I heard about a program in Live Oak Park called ''A World of Peace''. The site looks great and it appears BUSD will transport kids there. But I don't know anyone who goes there. Can anyone tell me about the program (its strengths and weaknesses)? Thanks. -Working Mom looking for good after school program


We didn't have great afterschool options and enrolled in a Trackers afterschool camp...they are awesome and focus on outdoor education and are very imaginative. Their website is www.trackersbay.com anon


our daughter loves AWOP (a world of peace) and has been attending many years. The staffing ratio is 6 kids to one counselor which is the highest of any afterschool program we looked at. It's also in Live Oak which has more open space than any aftercare spot around. We're very happy with it. b.


My son has attended A World of Peace at Live Oak Park for four years now. It's a great program, different than any other program out there. It offers a safe, nurturing environment for kids as well as offering a lot of fun things to do like woodworking and cooking. For us it's the perfect balance of structured vs. free play time. The director Karen Cagen considers the group of kids a community, and they gather daily to talk about ''factoids,'' (cool facts that she shares with them) or to discuss how they as a group can help others (they collected money and goods to send to victims of the Haiti earthquake.) Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like more information. kw


I have two third graders in the World of Peace (AWOP) program. They are picked up at the Live Oak bus stop by AWOP staff. My children love it, and it is a great resource for our family. Low staff to children ratio, different activities each day such as cooking and wood working, field trips on school holidays, and the director really knows and understands each child in the program. World of Peace parent


My son is a 3rd grader and in his 3rd year at A World of Peace After School Program (AWOP). There are many positive things I can say about the program, but what jumps to mind is the 3rd grade playground culture at his school. The boys who like to compete in sports now aggressively argue, insult or mock each other at every juncture, and they do with adult profanity and hostile tones. Many kids are too intimidated to play sports in this milieu; but not my son, he's very athletic so he's in the thick of it.

In contrast, when I pick up my son at A World of Peace I'm likely to find him playing a game of spoons with kids ranging from K to 5th grade and they're all having a blast. Often there's a game of wall ball in progress with a line of kids waiting their turn. If conflicts arise between kids, AWOP's director Karen Cagan gets involved. Karen knows how to listen to kids, how to talk to kids, and how to get kids to talk to each other. AWOP goes far beyond after school care. The program teaches kids how to play cooperatively and resolve conflict, and I really value this. Berkeley parent


Looking for after-school care in N. Berkeley

Oct 2010

Hi all! I recently moved to North Berkeley and my 5 year old daughter will be joining me in 3 weeks to begin Kindergarten. Berkeley Unified can't tell me which school she'll be enrolled in until she's physically here, so I'm in limbo in regards to after care and there's the possibility her school's after care will be full. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!! Angela


Hi Angela, I recently heard that The New School of Berkeley (www.newschoolberkeley.org) has afterschool openings. It's been a month since we started our son in their full-time daycare program (now full), and so far we're very happy with the caring and energetic staff. It's also conveniently located (Cedar and Bonita) and reasonably priced. Good luck! Anna


A World of Peace after school program is at Live Oak Park. It's run by Karen Cagen, apeacecamp [at] gmail.com 292-0263. It's a wonderful program that I can't say enough good things about, and every other parent I've talked to feels the same way. The kids love it. I consider Karen to be a wonderful resource and presence in my kids lives. There are several other recommendations in the BPN archives which attest to Karen's abilities, the quality of the program's activities, and its emphasis on teaching cooperative social skills. To what others have said I would add that Karen hires skilled young adult counselors who organize games, play with the kids, mediate arguments, etc., and most importantly give the kids attention. On most holidays and all the other days that BUSD schools are closed, Karen offers fun field trips. N Berkeley Parent


If your child is at Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM), the after school program is excellent with lots of homework support and devoted staff. After a bit of shaking out at the beginning of the year it looks like there are openings.

Not so much at New School-there's no homework support and the afterschool supervision of the kids is pretty lax (tho that is not the case with the actual daycare). My kids grades soared after a transfer out of NS into the BAM program.

The JCC is right down the street and is excellent as well and the newer program at Live Oak park has a good rep too tho i dont know that much about it.

BAM & the JCC are more $ than NS but you get what you pay for! -anon