Manzanita Charter Middle School

Community Subscriber

Charter School
Email: admissions [at] manzy.orgPhone: 510-222-3500
Richmond, CA
Editors' Notes: 
  • There is an elementary school in Oakland with a similar name: Manzanita SEED

Manzanita Charter Middle School is a public cooperative charter school in Richmond. It is designed to educate middle school students whose parents and guardians value participation in their student's learning. While participation hours are not required, they are encouraged and valued. We opened our doors in the fall of 2000 with one class of 6th and 7th graders. We now serve 130 students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades with a maximum of 26 students per class. 

Our Vision: Manzanita Charter Middle School prepares students academically and socially to be well-rounded individuals who contribute positively to themselves, their families, the community, and our world.

Our Mission: Manzanita Charter Middle School places a strong emphasis on an academic curriculum, taught within a secure and safe community in which all students belong and feel that they are part of a family.

Application Process: Materials required for application include the application packet, proof of residence, and full immunization history (including TDAP booster for 7th and 8th grade applicants). We encourage interested families to attend an information night (offered in late winter) or schedule a tour. Interested students are also welcome to shadow for half a day. Most of our families live within the WCCUSD district. However, we are able to accept out-of-district students.

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2011

I'm looking for any reviews or other info about Manzanita (charter) middle school in West Contra Costa. The BPN reviews are all quite glowing-- but are 7 or 8 years old and I'm concerned that the school has changed in recent years. According to Great Schools, the test scores, etc. are just as pitiful at Manzanita as they are in the other (non-charter) WCCUSD schools, though I know of course that tests aren't everything. If you've had a kid at Manzanita, or if you've decided against going sending your child to Manzanita, I'd love to hear about your experiences or thoughts. Thanks! --middle school eek

I teach at Berkeley High School and have had two students come from Manzanita recently, and I have to say that they are pretty spectacular kids. I also had a senior placed there for his senior service project and he was very impressed with Manzanita. I get the impression from these students that it is a close community. love those Manzanita students

Nov 2004

Re: School for bright 7th grader diagnosed with Selective Mutism
Look into Manzanita,, a public charter middle school, which begins at 6th grade so perhaps she could even transfer now if her current school is not the right fit. And for high school, look into Middle College High School,
a west contra costa parent

For the parent of the young girl with selective mutism, I would like to recommend Manzanita Middle Charter School in Richmond. It is a free public charter school within the WCCUSD. My daughter graduated last year and there was a girl in her class who has selective mutism. The school was able to accomadate her and in fact she was selected as class valedictorian. One major accomodation for her was that of course she could not make a speech at graduation. All the kids knew she was the likely valedictorian and couldn't figure out who was going to make the speech. When it came time for the valedictorian to speak, the teachers surprised the class by announcing 5 valedictorians (including my daughter)and asked them only to stand. It was a wonderful accomodation that both honored her and her classmates without putting too much spotlight on them. As you can see by this one example, the school and students managed her situation beautifully. The school is likely taking applications now, there is parental involvement required if your child attends. Because its reputation is spreading, it is getting more and more competive to get in (Manzanita outscored all other middle schools in WCCUSD) and if you do volunteer hours now, you can have your application status raised. They rent from, but are unoffialted with, the church on 33rd and Barrett in Richmond and also have a website: Good luck.
proud parent

Oct 2004

Re: Private Schools with No Bullying
You didn't say what area you are in, but I can suggest a non- private alternative that may be what you are looking for. My daughter attended Manzanita Charter Middle School in Richmond. It is based on a parent cooperative model, is a public charter, therefore free, but there is a required parent/family 6-10 hours per month contribution. It is small, 125 kids total, 25 kids per class, with a close knit dedicated staff. They are very concientious regarding bullying and for the past 2 years the parents contributed money for the school to participate in Challenge Day, a non profit that comes in amd does team building, anti-bullying full day programs. Usually Challenge Day works with 100 kids from a school and the kids act as examples and influencers in the larger environment. Because Manzanita is so small, the whole school participates. Also, there are many ways for children to engage socially -alot of sports (something like 2/3 or more of the kids were involved in the sports program) and an academy program on Friday afternoons where the kids break up into small interest based ''classes''. Because it is small, and there are alot of parents around during the day, problems are quickly identified and dealt with. Academically, the school outscored every middle school in the district and I believe had a 10 API. Because it is small, getting in has become more competitive(there is only 1 6th grade class, 2 7th and 2 8th). You can gain a priority application standing by doing volunteer work in advance of submitting your application (which will be Nov - Jan). Check their website at This may be what you are looking for. We hadn't planned to send her there and originally applied as a back up, when she didn't get the public school transfer we had hoped for, we sent her. We have called it the happy accident and she got a much better education than her friends with little or none of the drama common to middle school and she came away with a wonderful set of close knit friends. a grateful parent

not private- public charter middle school in Richmond called Manzanita is a charter parent co-op school, so requires some level of parent participation, has many students coming from Crestmont (elementary) which has conflict resoltion, no exclusion, anti-bullying strongly integrated in curriculum. Chris

December 2003

Manzanita Middle School, a free public cooperative charter will be having their information night for 2004-05 enrollment on Saturday, January 10 at 11:00 am at the school, 3200 Barrett Ave. in Richmond.

Manzanita is a small middle school,with a total enrollment of 125 students, 25 students per class (1 6th grade, 2 7th grade and 2 8th grade classes). All of our teachers are credentialed and work as a team. Our academic progress grew 103 points this past year, far surpassing our goal of 10 points and ranking us higher than the district's other area middle schools. Manzanita is free, but as a cooperative charter school requires and depends on the families to provide volunteer hours. Admission priority will be given to families residing within WCCUSD and who contribute at least 10 volunteer hours. Higher priority is given for families with 75 volunteer hours.

Check out our website at, come to the information night, download our application or call the school at 510-232-3300 for more information.

(Note: Manzanita is located in but is not affiliated with St. Luke's Church). Hallie

I would like to recommend Manzanita for an alternative to both the public and private middle schools in West Contra Costa County. My daughter is now in 8th grade and we have had a wonderful experience there. The school is made up of children from Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, and north as far as Hercules and Vallejo. IT is a small school - only 125 children in 6-8 grades. Classes are kept to 25 max. All the teachers are certified and wonderful. Last year, Manzanita posted higher scores on the STAR testing then all the other WCCUSD middle schools.

There is one 6th grade class and 2 7th and 2 8th grade classes. The 6th grade is a dedicated 6th grade class, while the other 4 teachers operate as core subject teachers (english, math, history, science) with the 7th & 8th graders rotating through. There are also art and PE teachers. They operate on a modified block schedule (2 core subjects on M/W, the other 2 on T/R, everything on Fridays. This means the kids only have homework for 2 subjects on any night. On Friday afternoons all the students come together and divide up into Academies, based on their interests. Academies include newspaper and writing, music, cooking, leadership, auto repair. These are taught by the teachers and volunteers. If the kids have an interest, they can create their own academy. Last year my daughter started the school's newspaper because it was something she was interested in and they didn't have one.

There is an extensive sports program. We have JV and Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball programs, over half the student body is involved in just basketball and the Girls Varsity team was undefeated last year. Other sports are also available.

This is a public charter and there is no charge. The school is set up as a parent cooperative and you are required to volunteer 8-10 hours per month and also attend a monthly meeting. If you work, there are plenty of areas to volunteer at night or on the weekend. Extended family members often assist with obtaining volunteer hours. The school is located at 33rd and Barrett in Richmond. We currently rent space at a local church but we are also looking for a new site that would allow us more room and maybe some small expansion. It is the intent of the school to remain small and personal.

If you are interested, please contact the school office at: 232-3300. You can also check out hte website at: You can also contact me via email if you have specific questions.There will be a series of open houses and applications for next year will be available soon. There will be openings for 25 6th graders and 25-30 7th graders. There may be limited openings for 8th grade, but generally all the 7th graders will remain for 8th grade. If you acquire volunteer hours over the next few months, you will be able to apply for priority admission. hallie

January 2003

I have not heard much said about another middle school possibility. A group of parents and educators fomed a Charter Middle School in the WCCUSD district over three years ago. The first class that has attended all 3 yrs will graduate this June. Manzanita is a diverse and interesting opportunity all families in the area should know about. Grades 6-8 with self contained 6th and then roving 7th/8th. 2 7th and 8th grade classes, 1 6th for now and maybe 2 this fall. 25 kids per class. The school is still growing and changing and there is still much to be done, but overall I am thrilled that my son has had this chance! The staff is overall enthusiastic and unbelievably committed to their work.. and there is a lot of it! Particularly strong programs in Language Arts and Math and Art. Fantastic 6th grade teacher too! It is a parent coop so parents must step up to make this work and they are. A free public education where families can make a huge difference! Located in space rented from a church at 3200 Barrett Ave but moving to a larger space as soon as the right one is found. It bears checking out! call school for info dates etc 232-3300 Jennifer

My daughter is attending Manzanita Middle School this year and we are all thrilled. The classes are small, the teachers wonderful and for a small school (125 children), both the parents and children are extremely active and supportive. Many of the families that we know at Portola and Adams are now trying to get their children into Manzanita. We don't have to worry about the safety of our child and she is being challenged academically. Manzanita also operates on a modified block schedule. She has 2 major classes each day, alternating Mon/Wed, Tues/Thurs. Pe daily, art several times a week. This means she only has homework for 2 classes each night. On Fridays they have all their classes plus Academy - a special session where the students choose an area of interest - Web design, computers, literature, etc. My daughter was unhappy with her academy and the staff worked with her and she and several other students began a school newspaper that has been very successful. That experience alone is something I had never experienced in public school! The school is a parent cooperative model and a public charter. There is no tuition but families are expected to contribute hours each month - either during the day, helping with afterschool activities, making phone calls, cleaning, etc. This small school also has a very active afterschool sports program, currently we have 4 basketball teams (2 girls, 2 boys)! There will be an information night on Thursday January 23. You can go to the school website for more information: Hallie '