San Rafael, CA
I'm looking for information about Marin Academy--the only comments in the archive are from 2009. We have an artistic, academic kid who is in a high school that feels a little too mainstream, and might want to transfer as a junior next year. Any insights into MA would be much appreciated: Best and worst aspects? Is there a lot of academic pressure? What are the kids like? What are the families like? Thanks so much! East bay mom
My son is a junior at MA. He plays the cello, sings, and is pretty academic. What made a big impression on us when we were applying to schools was their music program and the outings program. My son recently got certified for scuba diving with their outings program. He took the chamber music class for two years and now is singing in a different music class called ''Roots'' that surveys the roots of modern American music and performs in bands. The classes are rigorous; they have moved away from AP classes and now offer Honors classes for kids that want a challenge. I've appreciated their emphasis on balance between academics, extra curricular, and life in general. That said, my kid studies for two hours + most days. After the first year, every kid gets an advisor who sticks with him/her until graduation, which is really nice for the kids and parents.
There is a bus that runs from Marin Circle to MA in the morning at 7 and drops them off around 4:30 and 6:30. Even though the drive is really not bad (20 to 30 minutes most of the time), it's hard for us to participate and be a part of the community as it is pretty far from Berkeley. It takes a lot more effort than walking down the street to BHS. yuko
Re: Which private school for North Berkeley family?
My son is a junior at Marin Academy, and we live in Oakland. It has been a fabulous experience even though there has been a lot of driving, but I have to say it has been worth it. My impression is that MA and CPS are very different schools. We live close to CPS, but my son never considered it because he did not want the academic grind it is known to have. Marin Academy has been a great fit. The kids at MA all seem to have at least one great interest - sports, music, art, but they are strong students too. You should go to schools you are thinking about and get a feel for the culture. Marin Academy seemed the most interesting and had the best energy of all the schools my son applied to, and the physical plant is beautiful. Worth the drive
We have one daughter that went to CPS and one that went to Marin Academy. Both were fabulous. We live in Berkeley and were in carpools for each school. If your daugther/son is interested in the arts (music, drama, arts, dance, photography, etc) as well as an academically challenging program, I would opt for Marin Academy. Per a recent reply, there were plenty of families and students at Marin Academy that were not wealthy and shared our values. Each school prepared our daughters very well for college. sm