Mount Diablo School District

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi

    We are considering buying a home in Northgate area of WC.

    Although Northgate High seems to be a popular school, we have a 3 yr old child and our focus is on the elementary schools.

    The home is served by Valle Verde Elementary in MDUSD.

    I have read some pretty concerning reviews about schools in MDUSD not being funded like other WC schools and the quality going down consistently.

    Most of these are pretty old so I am not sure if these concerns are still current or something of the past. GreatSchools rating of VV is 7 which is not that bad but not great either.

    Would really like to hear first hand accounts from parents who are currently sending kids to VV.

    Schools are one of the main reasons we are considering moving to WC, so if there are red flags we would like to avoid the move unless there are other options.

    We are also considering NorthCreek Academy private school if public schools are not great, but we are not Christians and not sure how NCA would work out for our kid.

    We are Asian Indian, so apart from being non-Christian, our worry is if our kid is the only brown kid in his class - how that would affect him (good/bad/neutral)

    Not sure if you know this but Walnut Creek has 2 school districts, Mount Diablo Unified and Walnut Creek unified which has couple of highly rated elementary schools.

    The other elementary school option in Northgate is Walnut Acres Elementary. I have a child there and have been happy with the school so far, although the 2nd grade class sizes are huge this year. There is an active PTA and the teachers are generally pretty good. 

    Since you are considering private and not sure about going to a Christian school, I heard that Sonder Creek Academy and Seven Hill are both great. If you want feedback about Valley Verde from current families, the Walnut Creek mom group on Facebook could be helpful. 

    Hello, our daughter is a first-grader at NorthCreek Academy and we couldn't be happier with her school. All of the teachers and staff truly care about the kids and parents get feedback about six times a year either through detailed report cards or progress reports. Although the academics are strong, there is an emphasis on building your child's character and helping her be a life-long learner. Our daughter is Korean, so we were also concerned about racial and ethnic diversity, and this school has a good mix of racial and socio-economic diversity, both which are hard to find in this area. NorthCreek is a Bible-based, classical Christian school so the kids have a weekly Bible lesson, weekly chapel, and memorize a Bible verse each month. There are informational meetings about the school and preschool starting next week, so if you are at all interested, I would contact the school (or PM me and I can help). The waitlists have grown long since Covid and it's better to be early. I would say that academically the kids are about 6 months to a year ahead of the public school. There is a lot of skill building in reading and math, as well as emphases on public speaking and writing. The students also learn grammar, music, PE, Latin, and art.

    The Northgate neighborhood is very nice and you are close to a lot of the open spaces/recreation areas in Walnut Creek. One drawback is that you would be dependent on Ygnacio Valley Road to get to 680/24 and that road is congested most times of the day. You should go drive it in the morning and and evening to get a sense of what it's like. I would also either go to the Valley Verde playground or a nearby park like Arbolado park and talk to parents to see what VV is like. My experience is that most parents like their elementary school but will usually share the challenges with the school. You may also want to check out San Ramon if that's not too far. I know parents like the public schools and there are often more Asian Indian kids in some schools.

    Best of luck to you. Please reach out if you would like more information about NorthCreek Academy.

    Thank you @NorthOaklandMom & 3espressomom for your response.

    I am not on FB but will create one and see if I can join one of the groups in WC.

  • Hi,

    I will be moving to Walnut Creek in a month's time (in the Tice Creek/ Rossmoor area). My daughter is starting High School there (9th grade). While I can drop her to Las Lomas High School every morning, I don't have a way for her to return home on her own as I will be working in SF at least 2-3 days a week. She used to take a bus back from school, where I currently live. Is there an after school pickup/ drop off service that can drop her off home from Las Lomas High School? Any other solution that folks have used? 


    Does she/would she do a sport? Most Sports meet right after school for 2-3 hours. For Las Lomas the Sports are as follows (I copied and pasted from the Las Lomas Boosters page). Notably, Cross Country in the Fall, and Swimming and Track & Field, are no-cut which means she can just sign up and start with no prior experience. It's also an awesome way to meet kids, develop friendships, and integrate into high school. 

    FALL Boys Water Polo, Cheer, Cross Country, FootballGirls Golf, Girls Tennis, Girls Volleyball, Girls Water PoloWINTER Boys Basketball, Boys Soccer, Girls Basketball, Girls Soccer, WrestlingSPRINGBaseballBoys Lacrosse,, Boys Tennis, Boys Volleyball, Competitive Sport Cheer, Girls Lacrosse, Softball, Swimming + Diving, Track and Field

    We carpooled until my kids could drive. It’s tough to find a carpool when you just moved, but you could join the Facebook group (each class has their own) or try nextdoor to find other families that live near you.  Maybe reach out to the parent advisors for your class to see if they know anyone. 

  • Bancroft elementary in Walnut Creek

    (2 replies)

    We are considering moving to Berkeley or Walnut Creek so our bilingual kindergartener can attend the Spanish immersion programs at Sylvia Mendez or Bancroft Elementary. We have read Sylvia Mendez is impossible to get into but can’t find any info on Bancroft. We would appreciate any thoughts on how possible it is to get in or experiences with the school. Thank you! 

    Bancroft Elementary’s TWDI program is a very popular program, and it’s a lottery - I don’t know any statistics on how many get in, but even if Bancroft is your home school there’s no guarantee. If your child already speaks Spanish you may have an edge, since they are always looking to have more native Spanish speakers in the program. Bancroft usually has an info night for next year’s classes in January or February. If interested, make sure your home is in the MDUSD district - the program is so popular that they rarely accept transfers from outside the district (so you’re out of luck if you’re in the Walnut Creek School District, which covers the other part of Walnut Creek but is totally separate from  MDUSD). Hope this is helpful - good luck!

    Thank you very much for your response! We are feeling more hopeful that since she is a  fluent speaker we will get in!. Thank you so much!

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Japanese classes at Las Lomas High School

Nov 2013

Re: Public High Schools that offer Japanese

Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek has a wonderful Japanese program. Mr. Schreiber is the teacher. My son took the class all 4 years and had hopes of continuing in college as a minor. Unfortunately, his college does not offer it. The school web site is schroter

Hi there, Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek offers Japanese. My daughter, who is planning on taking it, says they offer 4 years of Japanese. WC Mom

Walnut Creek vs Mt Diablo Public Schools

August 2009

Does anyone have current involvement in the Walnut Creek schools? We are house hunting in the area and have heard that the best public schools are in the Walnut Creek District (Acalanes). I'm just curious if the Mt. Diablo schools in Walnut Creek are just as good (ie Northgate). Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. A concerned parent

Re: Acalanes High School. Just to be clear, Acalanes is not part of the Walnut Creek school district. It serves the residents of Lafayette, and other students from the Acalanes district of Orinda and Moraga. There may be a few homes in the area of Walnut Creek that borders Lafayette that are part of the district, but please be sure before making any relocation decisions. Lafayette Mom

As a general rule, Acalanes schools are better than Mount Diablo. The Mount Diablo school district has a lot of problems, leading to a lot of teacher turnover. anon

Regarding the poster who said Acalanes High does not serve Walnut Creek. That is true (except for those WC addresses that are Lafayette schools -- Saranap area). However, Las Lomas High is part of the Acalanes Union School District, which is where the confusion may have arisen. Las Lomas High serves the same part of Walnut Creek as the Walnut Creek School District -- the 5 elementaries in WCSD feed into Walnut Creek Intermediate, and then all those kids go to Las Lomas. None of the Walnut Creek School District elementaries go on to Mt. Diablo middle or high schools. WC parent

A previous poster said that Acalanes Unified District may only include homes bordering the Lamorinda area. I don't think this is true, but you should probably check this out officially. The Las Lomas HS in WC is part of the Acalanes Dist. There are 4 HS in the Dist. and if you are in the WC Unified Dist (and not Mt. Diablo where some WC neighborhoods are part of) then you can go to Las Lomas, Acalanes, Campolindo, or Miramonte HS. Anon

Reviews of schools

May 2008

We are moving to contra costa county. Our school district will be Mt. Diablo. My son is currently only 2.5 years old, but already I am worried and concerned about which school(s) he will attend. We know nothing of the schools in this district and would very much like to get feed back (both good, bad and downright ugly) from parents whose children attend schools in this district. I know this will be subjective but need a starting point from where to begin the process. We would prefer (of course) a superior academic program which also focuses on the arts, music and physical education (i know it's kindergarten, but...) which we don't have to pay for, but also may have to resign ourselves to paying for a private school. A friend, who's children are grown, said she had heard good reports about Wood Rose Academy (private) and Sequoia Elementary (public) - any reports about either and other schools greatly appreciated. Thanx to all those who take time out of your busy lives to respond. Truly appreciated. A

I thought I would reply from my external knowledge, as this listserve doesn't get many contra costa respondents. I know someone at Sequoia who loves it. This is a magnet or charter school and there is a long wait list. It is in Pleasant Hill. The Bancroft elementary and assoc middle/high school are excellent, but I have not heard many good things about the other schools. Th Montessori school in WC that is in the Mt. Diablo district is called Eagle Peak, and I did check it out as a potential school, but again there is a wait list. Anon

We are a Kindergarten family at Sequoia Elementary School. So far we have had a very positive experience there and look forward to that continuing. Please note that if you would like to have your child attend Sequoia, because it is not a ''neighborhood'' school, you will have to have your child placed on a wait list when he turns 3 and a lottery will be held to determine if his number comes up and he is able to attend. That said, I would look for houses in the Woodlands neighborhood of Walnut Creek (Valley Verde Elementary, Foothill Middle School, Northgate High), if you will be confined to Mt. Diablo schools. They are all good schools from what I have heard. I would shy away from Ygnacio Valley Elementary and Fair Oaks Elementary in Concord as they are two very poorly rated schools. I don't know about any of the others. Good luck in your search! Happy Sequoia Mom

When we were looking for houses 8 years ago, we utilized test scores as a way to find out what schools were better than others in the Mt. Diablo district. You can use to find out what schools are assigned to what neighborhoods. Our realator was able to find a map so we could see whole tracts of street assignments at once and so she had an easier time knowing what neighborhoods we were interested in.

Bancroft Elementary, Walnut Acres Elementary, and Valle Verde Elementary are all outstanding elementary schools in the district, as far as neighborhood elementary schools go.

Foothill is one of the better neighborhood middle schools.

Northgate is one of the better (highest scoring?) neighborhood high schools in the district.

There are a number of alternatives to your neighborhood school to consider. Sequoia is one of the back to basics programs, as is Monte Gardens (but I think this school is only for parents in the neighborhood). There is Eagle Peak Montesorri, as well as Cornerstone Parent Participation elementary. Sequoia Middle School. I don't know about high schools; check the mdusd web site for additional information.

You should know that there is a movement to get Northgate HS & some of the feeder elementary and middle schools moved out of MDUSD into WCUSD (the idea being that WC schools would all be in WCUSD instead of three different districts). Moving into certain neighborhoods in Concord that feed into NHS may be excluded from NHS in the future (ie, Shell Ridge & The Crossings & any other housing developments in that area that feed into Foothill Middle & Northgate HS).

We ended up at Walnut Acres elementary and for the most part are extremely satisfied with it. There are large numbers of parent volunteer hours logged every year; they try to garner additional dollars through various fundraisers to pay for extra music, additional supplies, etc.; and have been named a CA Distinguished School on a number of occasions. My main complaint is the large amount of homework sent home, which if often a lot of busywork instead of an introduction to time management & additional experience with new concepts.

I hope this helps you and good luck. Stephanie