Piedmont Public Schools vs. Private School

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Sept 2010

Hi, I would love to hear from folks living Piedmont who have decided to send their kids to private schools (or who strongly considered it, but ultimately went back to public). I recognize that the teachers at the Piedmont public schools do the absolute best they can, and that the town has a commitment to education. Having said that, after having my oldest go through such a loving and supportive preschool, I am having angst about the impersonality of the public school. I know it seems a little outrageous to have moved to Piedmont for the schools, and then decide to do private schools anyway, but I am considering it! I would love to hear from parents in the same situation.

We have not considered sending our children to private school but our three children have been in the Piedmont public schools for the last 12 years, all of them starting at kindergarten. They are not perfect but they are very good. I would not assume that they will NOT be warm, loving environment and a private school will be....go visit the elementary school your child will attend. The community really supports the schools and we have made many very good friends here over the last 12+ years. Good luck. Piedmont mom

My three sons have gone through Piedmont schools (they are now out of elementary school and one went to a private middle school in the area). About 15% of kids in Piedmont go to private schools according to the last census. I think parents should do what they think is best for their kids.

At the same time, I would never describe any of the three elementary schools in Piedmont as impersonal (though I can imagine that any institution would be impersonal if one doesn't have a personal relationship with it).

In a rough sense, two of the three elementary schools have one class per grade, and the newly/beautifully reconstructed Havens has two classes per grade. We adhere to class size reduction, so classes are small in the lower grades. Teachers know the kids; parents know each other's kids; I chat with teachers and the after-school staff as I run into them around town 15 years after my oldest first started in kindergarten. My kids would regularly visited their elementary school teachers once in middle school. The schools are far far from an impersonal machine--they are the basis of the ''it takes a village'' feel Piedmont has.

If you want to send your child to private school, you definitely should. But I wouldn't do it because you fear the public schools in Piedmont are impersonal. Piedmont Mom

I can relate so much to your angst, as I just went through this with my 5yo girl. We moved to Piedmont one year ago thinking, hey, we'll be in the Beach district and no longer in the Piedmont School on Piedmont Ave. district. But then I got such cold feet as the school year started. I bought myself a year by putting her in Montessori kindergarten, so that she could be an older K or in 1st grade next year, if her school doesn't meet our expectations. She's doing her preschool follow up in a what looks to be a wonderful school, so she can only benefit and sharpen her skills. For now, after school, we are putting her in schoolmates, which is cheaper if you're a Piedmont resident, as she is a very social child and is happy to see kids from the neighborhood, from church and from her preschool. Don't be sorry that you've come here, because there are a lot of benefits, including that it's safer with no car break-ins (we had 14 in five years in Oakland, sometimes just for pocket change or a catalytic converter or to break a window for fun), lots of family-oriented activities, no limits on street parking and great parks in very good condition, including for now, the pool which has several free days for residents... Oakland has cut their police force by 75 and no longer takes police reports, even for in home robberies, while Piedmont's crime rate is at a record low. It's all still fresh in my mind, so feel free to write or chat. Best wishes, and btw it's not crazy to love your child so much and want a high quality of life! T

We live in Piedmont and have children in private schools (8th and 10th grades). To be fair, we did not move to Piedmont 6 years ago for the schools (we needed a larger house and didn't want to build onto our Upper Rockridge home in a real estate bubble - obviously, our premonition proved true - Piedmont homes have held their value better than those in the better neighborhoods in Oakland). Our children were already in a private school we found to be AMAZING (The Berkeley School) and we knew they'd stay there. Over the years, we have regularly compared our children's learning (after all, we needed reassurances too!) to other kids (in our neighborhood, on their sports teams, etc.) -- and felt that the education that our children got came out FAR ahead on ''all counts'' (academically, socially, emotionally). Also, we recently shopped for high schools and seriously looked at Piedmont High -- and chose a private high school (for some of the same reasons why we kept our kids in elementary/middle school private school). That said, I think a Piedmont home is still well worth it -- it retains its value better and the services (fire/police) here are GREAT!! It's truly a great town to live in -- there's more here than just the schools. Hope this helps. I'd be happy to chat with you more offline if you wish. a