Advice about Moraga Schools

Archived Q&A and Reviews


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Sept 2007

We're considering moving to Moraga and would like to hear impressions of the Moraga public schools from parents who have kids in those schools now, or have had kids in them recently. Please tell us: What do you like? What don't you like? What has surprised you? What changes are afoot? Thanks! Jeff

My child attends a Moraga public elementary school and this is what I like about it:

1) organized school curiculum so that each teacher cannot stray too much away from teaching the basics, but gives some leeway in style of teaching. You know they have very high STAR test scores.

2) Minimal bullying in schools, pro-active programs to teach kids to be nice and parents asked the district to prioritize living skills like consideration, kindness, etc... really great!

3) Kids are in general quite nice and inclusive of all racial ethnicities, not much ''racial'' cliks that I could see... the cliks I observe are as usual in other schools, but not racial: jocks, pretty girls, awkward and/or shy kids, etc... interesting how this happens even in elementary schools.

4) smaller community, so kids know each other and my son actually really likes living here and doesn't want to move.

5) Max # of kids in a class room is about 20 in Elementary schools and around 18 for K.

6) Moraga has two environmental/public health groups:

Sustainable Moraga and Parents for a Safer Environment that are progressive and where you can join when you get tired of the far righ wingers that are trying to develop the hillsides, care more about the convenience of getting whatever they want over the benefit of the planet and public health in the long run.

7) Great opportunities for after school programs, especially if your kid likes sports. It costs though, about $150 for each semester weekly program.

8) Lots of parent volunteers, so rarely are the teachers in dire need of help. In fact, in some cases, there is competition as who will get to go on a field trip to help, be the room parent cooridinating parties, etc... very unusual!

9) Parent volunteers raise over a million dollars for this relatively small school district every year. Each family is expected to chip in $500 per child... and the names are printed and sent to each home. So the school has variety of programs that many schools won't have such as music, art, P.E., etc..

10) Cafeteria food has been improving due to new parents bringing in better ideas about nutrition... so being catered by local restaurants. Haven't gone to organic, but I'm working on it!


1) Fewer than 10 African American kids, fewer than 30 latino kids, seen quite a few middle easterners and Russians, fewer than 30 ''others'' but about 20% Asisan kids in the entire school district of 4 schools. Bascially you see the ethnic groups that tend to do well academically/financially.

2) MANY parents are full of money.. one kid got $30 from the tooth fairy and he told his friends so now my kid thinks the tooth fairy stinks b/c he only got a $1. Next time, tooth fairy gave my son nothing for being a stinker.

3) Almost all kids get a car, whether used or new when they get their drivers license. So bad for traffic, for the environment, and for their safety!

4) There are many W stickers for Bush on huge SUV's all throughout town, fewer in 2007 I've noticed.... now I'm seeing more hybrid cars...

5) More than anywhere I've seen, there's a bit of homogenous look and attitude of the parents in the Larmoinda area in general... I've heard Moraga is less than Orinda and Lafayette.

6) Lots of business, high-end sales, lawyers here who do not work for the underserved... not as many down to earth folks who seem to be aware or as concerned about the earth, public welfare, the poor, etc... average income is probably around $110K/year

7) Almost no kids walk to elementary school or ride their bikes... there is paranoia about abductions in a place where this is statistically insignificant. You'll see everyone in their cars to even go one block! We're trying to change this : )

If you want your kid to go to a more diversified school, it would definately be Rheem school b/c it's the only one close to condos where you see a higher number of ethnic minorities. As you can see, there are more positives of the schools & community than negatives, so that's why I remain here... especially w/ the new enviromental/public health groups that have changed the town for the better, such as getting rid of all toxic pesticides in the 3 parks where kids play was done by Parents for a Safer Environment (pfse). In addition, pfse also facilitated the adoption of a least toxic pest managment policy, nutrition policy, and phase out of cathode-ray tube computer terminals (to decrease exposure to EMF) and safer cleaning chemnicals for the Moraga school district. Satisfied progressive parent in Moraga

We started in Moraga schools last year when my daughter started K. We also moved to Moraga for the schools a few years earlier. I could not be happier with my daughters experience so far. For me, the very best part is the individual attention each child gets to learn to their highest potential. Classes are small - her 1st grade has three classes with 16 kids or less and the classes are split for one hour per day so there are 8 or less kids with the teacher. Every class has an aid and most have a parent working in the class each day as well. Parents are asked to contribute $500/year which is used to ensure music, art, gym, library and computer classes are available to all. This is a voluntary contribution - families do what they can. Given how many families move to Moraga for the schools, you can be sure that nearly everyone is focussed on making education excellent which translates into countless hours of volunteers working in or on behalf of the schools. Finally, I have been so happy with the teachers my daughter has had thus far - it is all about making learning fun and fostering a love of learning. There has been very little turnover at our school in the last 10 years and the quality of the staff is outstanding from what I hear. I really don't have anything negative to say. The only potential change in the works is one of our elementary pricipals was recently moved to the middle school which is only good news for the middle school. There is a search in the works for his replacement. Good luck with your decision! Love Moraga Schools!