Art in the BUSD

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Moving to Berkeley, need arts program for 2nd grader

Jan 2007

My son and I are moving to Berkeley soon. I am looking for a good school for him, so I can find housing in the right zone! He goes to a charter Arts school now, which is a good fit. He is bi-racial, very active, very tall, beautiful and a bit uncivilized. I'm thinking BAM or Malcolm X. He needs to be interested, and needs good structure. I'd love any pertinent feedback as this is a complicated move, and I must be truly strategic. Thankyou! this Mama's moving...

Yes, Malcolm X, from what I hear from my friends who are there, has a fabulous theater program. It is in the north zone. I don't know much about Art's Magnet, but I think my friends who have children there like it. I have direct experience with Cragmont as my child goes there. Cragmaont has a great arts program with an amazing visual arts teacher. The kids in 1st through 5th have a half year of visual art so that they can have longer classes. The art teacher also runs a very popular after school art program. The dance teacher is truly wonderful and works with the kids all year long. There are many mixed-race kids and families at Cragmont. It provides a good and safe structured environment in which keds and adults are treated with respect and are expected to act with respect. Cragmont and Arts Magnet are both in the central zone. If you can come to town and visit before your move, I would highly recommend doing so. Call the schools well ahead of time to get an understanding of how they do visits. Each school does it differently. Cragmont Parent

My son is in second grade at Malcolm X now. He's been there since kindergarten, and I pretty much moved to South Berkeley (from San Francisco) so that he could go to this school. I have been thrilled with the school. Lots of ''extra curricular'' stuff: art class, drama class, music, dance, gardening, and cooking. Thoughtful teaching. The student body is very, very diverse and there are lots of biracial children. Nanu

You got some good suggestions, but just in case it's not clear: moving to a particular neighborhood in berkeley does not guarantee you a particular school. You will enter a lottery for the 3-4 schools that are in your zone. Since your son will be entering 2nd grade, there will be far fewer slots open, thus lower chances of getting your first choice. Transferring to a school outside your zone has very low odds. Many of the schools that have been suggested to you are very popular, and may be the first choice of many, many people. So, just keep that in mind. Good luck, and welcome to Berkeley!