Emeryville Public Schools


Emeryville schools? How are the schools?

Sept 2007


We are looking to stay in emeryville, but our concerns are the schools? We have a 16 month old boy and soon school will be upon us. I have not read any current reviews on the emeryville public schools. Does anyone have 2007 info? thank you. ann

My husband works at Pixar, I am a Real Estate Broker and our 20 month old daughter goes to the Emeryville Child Development Center. I can not say enough good things about ECDC. It is diverse - racially, economically and culturally. Although Emily is less than 2 years old, she already loves books, music and drawing. She can open a book and identity many objects by name. She knocks out little tunes on her xylophone and she has great social skills. But most importantly is this - she can't wait to go to ''school'' in the mornings. I attribute all these wonderful developments to the love and support she receives from her teachers and fellow students at ECDC. The ratio of student to teachers is 3:1, so school is not cheap. We pay $1150 per month for 5 days of care, from 8:00am to 5:30 pm. However, since Emily is an only child, the friendship and love she gets from ECDC is priceless.

When she is ready for kindergarden, we are definitely going to send Emily to Emeryville's public elementary school, Alta Yates. We believe that Emeryville's schools are getting better every year,and schools get better when there is a critical mass of committed parents and dedicated students. Many of our friends, neighbors and co-workers are coming to the same conclusions and making the same decisions. Emeryville rocks! Amy


Anna Yates Elementary


Nov 2010

We are looking at Anna Yates as our neighborhood public school. My daughter would start K in 2011, but we are not entirely convinced yet. Could anybody give a feedback about the morning + afterschool program? What was your experience with the Kindergarten teachers? What does the school offer in regards to PE/art/music? How is parent involvement? Reviews for the upper grades and general functioning of the school are also much appreciated. Thanks! -Emeryville parent

Anna Yates has been very good for our daughter (started K this year). They have a full-time, very active art teacher, who even comes to campus some weekends in order to allow children to work in the studio. Even kinders get PE, and they also have activities over at the Rec. The Rec offered swimming lessons during the Fall.

There are some things that I would like to see improved, but that are, I believe, improving. The first would be communication to parents. It's difficult to make sure that your kindergartner gets home with everything in her backpack, so I'd like more consistent communication so that, with multiple attempts, we get the fliers, reminders, etc. I'd like to see a more formalized way for parents to interact outside of the PTO meetings--many of us are there on the playground during the morning dropoff. The school principal is on the grounds, watching the kids and talking with parents almost every morning, and she is very invested in the success of the school.

I would like less homework for our kindergartner. But actually, my husband doesn't agree with me on this. They get homework M-Th (not a lot--15 mins?), and often get it done at the Rec with the teen leaders they work with. I'd like the Rec to spend their time doing activities rather than homework, but that's just me. At Rec they also work on art, foodcraft, and other projects in addition to playtime. My daughter loves the leaders at Rec. She often doesn't want to leave when I come to pick her up. The teens that work there are simply wonderful with the kinders. Good energy, patience, and real kindness with the little kids. Responsible, thorough--the kind of young people that have a real talent for this. I'm grateful to them. We don't use the morning program, but we see the morning Rec kids walked over to the school (with absolute diligence about safety) and then they go to the cafeteria for breakfast--as many of the AY kids do.

I think more and more E'villers are sending their children to AY, and I believe there's good reason for this. The facilities are also very nice--we have a small library, a wonderful school garden and a science lab. I'd be happy to talk to you about any of this further, address specific questions, or try to connect you with other Kinder parents. jacqueline

We live in Oakland on the Emeryville border and had an easy time getting an interdistrict transfer to Anna Yates. Our daughter is in kindergarten and is generally loving it. We looked into Peralta and NOCCS -- didn't get into NOCCS and got into Peralta the 3rd week of school and decided to keep her at Anna Yates because she was already settled and happy. We kept her there because the school is well run, feels safe, has a very down to earth community and family feel to it, we can walk to it, it's much more diverse racially and socioeconomically than either Peralta or NOCCS, won't be facing the same degree of budget shortfall as Oakland (which needs to cut 13% next year), and has more resources through the Emery Ed Fund (which raises money from local businesses so that the PTO isn't as responsible for supplementing the budget as it is at Peralta or NOCCS). Most PTO's at high performing schools in Oakland raise between $300,000 and $400,000 per year, which is great but which means a lot of work and financial contributions from parents. Emeryville has also maintained class size reduction in grades K-3 so our daughter's kindergarten class has 18 kids in it. It's a district with a good amount of resources -- librarian, art teacher, garden teacher, science teacher, school nurse -- all of which are sadly now considered extras in many schools, so are either cut or have to be paid for by the PTO.

I have mixed feelings about the curriculum and classroom management approach -- the curriculum is pretty prescribed and regimented, which I don't love, but our daughter is already learning to read and seems to be responding well to the structure. The classroom management approach in her class is less collaborative than I'd like, but again she seems to feel contained by the structure and isn't herself complaining about it.

The SES of the parents is very mixed, but it feels like one of the only schools I visited with a decent sized proportion of middle class parents. There are probably 3 kids from upper middle class families in each of the two kindergartens I know well. There are a lot of parents on the playground in the morning, particularly from the kindergarten classes, and parent involvement in our class has been high (on a recent fieldtrip there were 8 parent chaperones, from a class of 18).

These are entirely subjective impressions and I'd be happy to talk more via email if you'd like. Leslie

January 2005

Does anyone have any information on Anna Yates Elementary school in Emeryville (i.e., general impressions, parent involvement, special programs)? We've heard of the poor reputation and are concerned about sending our child to this school. Also, if we choose to enroll in another district, how hard is it to obtain a transfer? Any information would be appreciated.

Anna Yates is a terrific elementary school, and it's really a shame that there's still such a different perception out there. My daughter started kindergarten at Anna Yates this year, has been having a great time and is learning a lot. Her weekly curriculum, in addition to literacy and math, includes earth sciences, PE, art, computer lab, and library time. Here are just a few reasons why I'm happy having my child at Anna Yates:

1) Emery Unified is not working under a constrained budget. Two years ago the City of Emeryville passed a parcel tax that has contributed extensively. As a result, Anna Yates has, for example, a newly renovated library and a full-time librarian just for the elementary school (the same has happened at the secondary school). The district has also hired math and literacy coaches who work exclusively to train teachers in the district.

2) Emery Unified is supported by the non-profit Emery Education Foundation, which enables the district to excel in areas such as math, science, and the arts with grants from among others, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Bay Area Coalition for Essential Schools. See 'www.emeryed.org/programs.php' for more information about their support for Anna Yates and the Emery Secondary School.

3) Anna Yates is a teaching school, so graduate students in education from local universities are in the classroom with the credentialed teachers. That means the ratio of adults to kids in my daughter's kindergarten classroom is 1-10.

4) Anna Yates works hand-in-hand with the City of Emeryville's Recreation Department to provide before- and after-school care (from 7:30am to 6:00pm) in their brand new facility located one block from the Anna Yates playground. Rec Dept. counselors walk the kids to school in the morning, and pick them up when school lets out. The after-school program makes specific time for doing homework, and they provide additional activities including sports and environmental programs.

5) Anna Yates has a fully funded computer lab with a full time computer teacher.

6) Last year Emery Unified had the most improved test scores of any district in the State.

7) There is an active Parent/Teacher organization, and parents from each grade are active on the School Site Council.

8) Anna Yates has an extensive visual and performing arts program including: Artists from the Kala Art Institute teaching weekly art classes (www.kala.org), dance instruction from Nancy Karp modern dance troupe (www.nancykarp.org), a jazz band program beginning in 4th grade led by renown Bay Area musician James Carraway, an animated movie project on-site at Pixar for 5th graders, and a Shakespearian drama program for 6th graders (this year is Macbeth). You can read the entire Visual and Performing Arts plan at: 'http://www.emeryusd.k12.ca.us/publicdocuments/eusd_vpa_plan_03-04.pdf'

9) The kindergarten day goes from 8:30am to 1:30pm, but there is an optional after-school enrichment program for kindergartners extending until 3:00 that includes international dance or cross-curriculum science and math.

10) Ms. Allen, the principal at Anna Yates is on the playground every morning when I drop my daughter at school, and I speak with her often. Last year the district came out from under State control, and hired a new superintendent who is hands-on and very accessible to parents. The school board is made up of parents and people active in the Emeryville community. They are also very accessible.

11) Each teacher has a direct phone line and email access in his or her classroom. I am in regular email contact with my daughter's teacher about her school progress, and more than once her teacher has called me directly from her classroom because she had a question or my daughter wasn't feeling well. We don't have to rely on office staff to get messages to each other.

This is really a small slice of what's going on at Emery Unified. You can find more information at: www.emeryusd.k12.ca.us, www.emeryed.org , and www.emeryednet.org. The question should not be how to transfer out of the district, but how to get in from other local districts. I would be happy to discuss Anna Yates with you further. Feel free to email me. Ruth


Emery High School

Feb 2000


I would like to know if any one has heard anything positive or negative about Emery High School. This HS is located in Emeryville. Emeryville is a small town located between Berkeley and Oakland. The City of Emeryville is really building up this area and I am wondering about the HS. Thanks

I wish I could recommend Emery High, or any public school in Emeryville, but unfortuntely there are serious problems in the district from the Admnistration and the School Board on down. The only way that this is likely to change is if the state takes over...which may happen in a couple years. I forget the time frame, but because the district has low performing schools, the district agreed to receive extra monies from the state to work on the problem, with the agreement that if they fail, they will lose control of the district after three years, and the state will then investigate and make changes to turn the schools around. Historically, the district has been in the hands of a superintendent that has the school board in his pocket (the only people who can fire the superintendent of schools).

Here's an example of his style, witnessed by one of the candidates for city council this last year. The superintendent was making a speech at a graduation or awards ceremony and when some of the students were cutting up in the audience he harshly criticized them. Said they were not deserving of an education and ejected them from the event. I heard this anecdote at a campaign event when a question about the schools came up, so I may not be remembering the details exactly, but it does fit in with the other things I've heard over the years, about this administration. Lack of teacher support, etc. It's a very sad thing and I hope there's a chance at turning the schools around soon. It's frustrating to see all the capital and growth coming into Emeryville and the schools remaining an island unto themselves. The schools have potential but most likely with new leadership


Thinking of moving to Emeryville - how are the schools?

March 2004


I'm thinking of moving to emeryville. I am wondering if anyone has any updates on the situation at the Emeryville School District? Are things getting better? I would appreciate information on both the schools and the school district. thanks

Emeryville's School District is doing great. The voters approved the City's first parcel tax to support school operations. With the parcel tax funds, the school has added art, music and dance programs, hired librarians and counselors, and added instructional coaches to coordinate instruction between all grade levels. The City and School are working together to coordinate after school activities. The Chamber of Commerce is working with Pixar, Chiron and other businesses in town to provide tutors, mentors and additional resources. The City's Recreation Department now runs the swimming pool located at the High School. The parent organizations at both schools are working with the Principals to shape how each school is run and the School Board supports the work of the Parents.

As for the District, the State will return local control in June. The District is in the process of hiring a new Superintendent who will start when State control ends.

It's not perfect, but there's a strong coalition of City, businesses, neighborhood activists, parents, and students who are working together to make Emeryville schools the best in the area.

Each of the two schools has about 400 kids. With the resources of Emeryville now focused on the schools, they are well supported. My oldest daughter will start Kindergarten in the fall, so my husband and I have gotten very involved. Let me know if I can answer any other questions. Ruth