About West Contra Costa County Public Schools

Parent Q&A

  • We are moving just a few blocks away, but this has shifted our school zone to Kensington Hilltop rather than El Cerrito. My rising kindergartener is not enrolled there, and I understand that they are at capacity for the fall. This is our first experience of the public school system. I would like to know how it works if your child is placed on the waitlist but does not get into their zoned school in this case. Does she get placed in the closest local school with space? (Harding and Madera are both also at capacity already.) Is it a totally random and inscrutable assignment/process? When do you find out? I know that Kensington has been oversubscribed for many years and thus, there must be many out there who have experienced this confusion before. Would love some guidance. Thank you.

    Please note "El Cerrito" is not a school zone. But I take your question to mean that you have moved out of the zone of one of the EC elementaries into Hilltop's zone; they are all in the same district, WCCUSD. Go to the office of the school you were enrolled at (most will be open next week) and discuss with the staff there, bringing your new proof of residency docs. They will call Hilltop for you and get the staff's direction on how to proceed. The instructions kind of vary year to year. Harding is not at capacity. Madera and Fairmont are. I have no idea about Hilltop. You should be aware that you are now a late registrant and may not find out your placement until right around the start of the school year if you don't want to stay where you were enrolled.

    We applied for an intra-district transfer during open enrollment to a number of schools, and were told over the phone by the district that all the kindergartens in EC were full, and that they were developing a plan for the "overflow". We received a wait-list spot at Harding, with no further information since the official letter. It appears the story from WCCUSD is not consistent. At this point, with many schools planning kindergarten welcome events, we've had to make back-up plans for the back-up to the back-up. To many parents I've spoken with who have children entering K or who did so in the past couple of years, school enrollment can be difficult with little transparency at the district level.

    I agree with the earlier poster that maintaining communication with the individual schools is the most important thing you can do at this point.

Parent Reviews

Since in your district 6th grade is a time of school change, you might want to consider a transfer to a school in the West Contra Costa district, where 6th grade is still in elementary school and there are a couple of K-8 options. In our experience, this made the social component a lot less stressful. It is also so much easier on the 6th grade students to remain with one teacher rather than having five. Good luck.

I agree with the previous poster! Schools in West Contra Costa and San Leandro/Hayward may not have great test scores, but many of the students do very well and the schools are very diverse. In fact, Korematsu Middle School in El Cerrito is the 4th most ethnically diverse middle school in the entire US. The basic curriculum is the same at every public school in California.