The Urban School
I have one child at Bentley and another at Urban. We choose to send our son, who was admitted to both, to Bentley over Urban.
We find Bentley to have very good academics without having quite the homework load of Urban. There are definitely differences in homework load at the schools on your list! For example, CPS and Urban have more homework than Bentley. At this level of school, there really isn't any busy work at all. So those CPS/Urban students are actually learning more during those extra hours of work. The question you have to ask is how much homework do you think would be good for your child. We find that Bentley has been much more willing to consider and often honor our requests in term of things like class schedules. We find that Bentley is much more open to meeting with parents, while Urban insists that students advocate for themselves, This sounds good in theory, but when confronted with a panel of teachers/administrators who have all the power, it is extremely difficult for a lone 14-year-old to argue with them. (This occurred because the student wanted to take a higher level science course, not because the student had done anything wrong.) There is also the issue of the commute. Not only does this take time from the student's day, it impacts their social life. My son gets to spend more time with his Bentley friends because they are all in the East Bay. If you send your student to school in San Francisco, most of their friends will be less accessible. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My daughter graduated from Urban last year. We live in the east bay too and the commute was a consideration. I have to say it was an amazing experience for her and worth the hassle of commuting. We joined a carpool and I only drove once or twice a week at the most. The kids took bart/bus home in the afternoons. TA