San Ramon Valley Public Schools


Parent Q&A

  • Hi,

    I have a 2nd grader and we're thinking of relocating to Contra Costa county (Danville, San Ramon) or Pleasanton.  Any private or public school recommendations?  Our child does better where she is challenged enough academically, where there are ample ways to be creative on the writing and musical front, and where teachers 'get' it that each kid is unique with different temperaments.  Is there such a place (ha ha)?  


    I live in Danville and speak to a few things here. Parents generally are pleased with all the public elementary and middle school options in the San Ramon Valley United School District (which includes Danville, Alamo, Diablo and San Ramon). The differences among the schools seem to be minor (school size, how new playground is, after school offerings). But my child isn’t school age yet so I don’t have firsthand experience. You may want to come out on a weekend to a park or school playground and talk to other parents who can give you specifics, especially regarding music and creative education. I know there’s a huge emphasis on reading and math, but that’s not unique to this district. 

    I also know there’s been declining enrollment in this district for several years that’s not attributable to population changes. Class sizes are big and I don’t know how much attention your child would get. I would say parochial schools are a popular choice when parents want smaller classes and more challenges but without the $30k price tags. 

    Bottom line is I would spend time talking with parents to determine whether the grass is actually greener here. I feel that often there’s a disconnect between reality and reputation and before going through the hassle and expense of relocating, try to learn what you can. Good luck! 

Parent Reviews

San Ramon has wonderful High Schools which are very rigorous.  The most rigorous is Dougherty High School but the other High Schools are rigorous also.   San Ramon is generally safe.   The community is diverse, the public schools are fantastic, it is safe and a family oriented community.  San Ramon has apartments but they also have very affordable townhouses and free standing homes.  The town houses are much less expensive than the free standing homes.   San Ramon is only 25 minutes from Oakland.  San Ramon has lots of neighborhood parks and Las Trampas East Bay Regional Park.  San Ramon is building a new outdoor shopping/walking around plaza which will feature a combination of living space upstairs (rental units) and shopping and a luxury eat-in movie theater 10-plex downstairs. Here is some information regarding the new plaza called City Center in San Ramon  There are also a lot of small businesses in San Ramon.

Hi. I just want to warn you not to come to Danville or San Ramon. The San Ramon valley USD is very difficult to deal with for special ed. Castro valley used to be very good but idk if it still is. Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Transferring from a San Ramon elementary school

June 2014

Hi there,

We are relatively new to the area and my children are at one of the large elementary schools in San Ramon. It's huge and we are all feeling very lost there. It is not a good fit for us, and we are trying to make some decisions about what to do for next year. I am considering transferring them to another school either within San Ramon's district or to another district and would love to have some feedback. Does anyone have any information about either Walt Disney Elementary, Bollinger Canyon or Golden View in San Ramon? What about Pine Valley Middle School (our oldest potentially could be there next year)?

We are also looking at out of district areas. Does anyone have any information about Joe Michell in Livermore? I love that it is a K-8 school with an IB program and they will take students from out of their district.

I have talked with a few friends who live in Castro Valley, and am impressed with a couple of the elementary schools there (namely Vannoy and Palomeres), as well as Creekside Middle School, but I'm guessing an out of district transfer would be difficult. We could potentially move, since we are renting and have some flexibility in location. Does anyone have other schools that they like, or feedback on the ones I have listed? We are really looking for a small close knit community that values academics, but also provides the extra, well-rounded touches that small schools often provide.

Thanks for any guidance you can provide! Seeking a Better School Fit

My daughter attended Goldenview in San Ramon. It is one of the smaller San Ramon schools and has a wonderful environment. The parent community is great and I have nothing but good things to say about it. My daughter thrived there. I would also try to get your child into Iron Horse. Iron Horse has a great principal and is a really good school. Joy

Hi, I can just tell you that you can forget about transferring to Creekside Middle school in Castro Valley. This is the smaller of the two Castro Valley middle schools, and they can't even accommodate all Castro Valley district children that want to attend this school. They only allow a very short period of enrollment for CV district parents, when it is over, everybody else has to attend Canyon middle.

If you want to enroll your child there, you would have to move to CV before the enrollment for the district students starts - that would be mid February, if I remember that correctly. (Though personally I can't understand the hype about this school. My oldest daughter attended Canyon middle and was very happy there - she still goes back on open house days to visit her old teachers - and my son is a very happy 7th grader at Canyon. From my experience the Canyon kids do just as well as the Creekside kids in High School). I wish you good luck finding the right school for your children, Tina

I don't have any on-campus knowledge, but I am transferring my children from a private school to Joe Michell this fall. I too shy away from the gigantic elementary schools out this way, even if they do have stellar scores. I absolutely love the small community feel of Joe Michell, and I am impressed by their growing IB program. The principal seems fantastic--I've heard nothing but great things about her and have really enjoyed my meetings with her. I think she is trying to grow this into a destination school for children and parents all over the area who are eager to embrace IB. I suspect there will be a few glitches as the program is implemented over the next year or two, but I am happy and excited to participate. East Bay transfer parent

Nov 2012

Re: Living in San Ramon in the older neighborhoods

We made the move 3 years ago - the summer before my son entered kindergarten. We are within walking distance to Bollinger Canyon Elementary (the west side off 680) . The school doesn't feel test driven, but, this is the only elementary that I've experienced as a parent so I'm probably not the best resource for this question. I do feel my son is where he should be developmentally and academically. And the 4 teachers we've experienced have been great. My son tends to like the warm fuzzy, caring type and for second grade his teacher was a bit strict in his mind. My mind she was fine and he just took awhile to adapt. The school has an art teacher, music program, computer teacher and librarian that is parent funded. I do feel like a lot of parents are really involved with the school.

Oct 2012

Re: Moving to Castro Valley from Oakland

Hello - If you have a GATE child then I would move to San Ramon and not Castro Valley. San Ramon is about 15-20 minutes away from Castro Valley. The San Ramon school district is light years ahead of Castro Valley and has a strong GATE program. There are two types of programs available Cluster Gate and ATP. You would need to apply for ATP if your child is a third grade GATE student living in San Ramon. If you need more detailed information please feel free to email me. Castro Valley schools are good but San Ramon schools are great.