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Old 12-07-2011, 01:32 PM
 
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Hi there - just wondering if anyone out there has had a positive experience sending children through public middle and/or high schools in Oakland. I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice!
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:44 PM
 
Location: The Bay
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Originally Posted by snarkadoodle View Post
Hi there - just wondering if anyone out there has had a positive experience sending children through public middle and/or high schools in Oakland. I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice!

From volunteering in Oakland public elementary schools and hearing from the parents, teachers, kids, etc. talking about what the best middle schools were in Oakland, Edna Brewer (in Glenview) came up a lot. I've heard there is some bullying there, but frankly that's par for the course for middle school, public or private.
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
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I attended K-12 in the Oakland public schools, and had an overall great experience. Granted the student bodies of all 3 of the schools I attended is ecclectic and extremely diverse, I believe that added to the experience(in the most positive way).

People are constantly talking about how crappy Oakland schools but I think that stems from stereotypes on the news and not based on reality. First and foremost as in any environment you will get out your education exactly what you put into it, and Oakland is no different.

I have classmates who went on to Ivy League universities, Stanford, UC and the like. Others went to state universities, many found themselves at JCs(which are fine too) until they decided what path to take. Others opted for vocational training and others went straight into the work force.

Unfortunately some didnt do any of the above and found themselves in difficult situations, but you know that happens sometimes.
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:19 PM
 
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18Montclair, that's great to hear. Do you have any suggestions for a mom who is trying to figure out how to choose an Oakland school for her kids, as well as planning ahead for the middle and high school years?
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
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Originally Posted by snarkadoodle View Post
18Montclair, that's great to hear. Do you have any suggestions for a mom who is trying to figure out how to choose an Oakland school for her kids, as well as planning ahead for the middle and high school years?
Well, I would happy to offer a few suggestions and Im sure that others will chime in with their suggestions.

What area will you be living in?
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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What area will you be living in?


We are actually trying to figure that out. Obviously, a lot can change over a year or more, so I'm not sure if it makes sense to pick a neighborhood based on a high school, but it might help.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:47 PM
 
Location: The Bay
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Originally Posted by snarkadoodle View Post
What area will you be living in?


We are actually trying to figure that out. Obviously, a lot can change over a year or more, so I'm not sure if it makes sense to pick a neighborhood based on a high school, but it might help.

Just so that you know all of your options, I'd also look at all the private high schools (Bishop O'Dowd, Head Royce, etc.) and charter schools (OSA, American Indian, etc.) to see which ones look the most appealing. I know you said you don't believe in private schools because they tend to not teach much in the way of real life experience, but you might be surprised at how different Oakland private schools can be from the ones in other places, particularly regarding racial and socio-economic diversity.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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Ok, so what's the deal with charter schools in Oakland? Are they generally better than the "regular" schools, or are they hit or miss? If you want to send your kids there, is it pretty easy to get in, or is it totally random?
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
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Originally Posted by snarkadoodle View Post
What area will you be living in?


We are actually trying to figure that out. Obviously, a lot can change over a year or more, so I'm not sure if it makes sense to pick a neighborhood based on a high school, but it might help.
As far as K-5, Oakland's top scoring elementary schools are among the top tier of schools the entire state of CA.(API score 900+ out of 1,000)

None of the Elems below are charter schools btw.

Oakland Elementary Schools with an API of 900+, 200
Hillcrest 972
Lincoln 961
Thornhill 954
Crocker Highlands 952
Chabot 940
Peralta 937
Joaquin Miller 920
Cleveland 918
Redwood Heights 913
^This group can compete with any upscale suburban district's schools. A common thread at these schools is an environment that is condusive for learning fostered by a joint effort by parents, teachers and administrators.

Lincoln is located in Downtown Oakland and its student body appears to be heavily comprised of pupils who live in neighboring Chinatown.

Otherwise, the rest of the schools mentioned above are located in nice to posh neighborhoods scattered about the Lower Hills neighborhoods or Oakland Hills neighborhoods.

These 3 schools score less than 900 but I know from personal experience(attending 2 of them as a kid and volunteering at all 3 off and on now) that there is very heavy parental involvement and the teaching staff is superb.
Glenview 887
Kaiser 885
Sequoia 812

Once again, great neighborhoods, Glenview's namesake is the neighborhood that surrounds it-think trendy and family oriented craftsman style homes.

I wouldnt hesitate recommending any of these schools and would urge you to research the neighborhoods that surround them as well.

After Elementary school tho, I will be the first to admit that it gets tricky, but definitely still doable and it all depends on what exactly your expectations are from a middle or high school.

I attended Edna Brewer Middle School and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I will say this, the middle and high schools in Oakland are not as socio-economically homogeneous as many of the elementary schools are.

What that means is that aside from children similar to themselves, your child will be exposed to some kids(who are generally great kids, trust me) who come from broken homes, parents who have vices, are in jail, are immigrants(which is not a negative in the least, but the value of an education is sometimes less emphasized than getting a job is projected on to their kids---and Im the child of immigrants too so I kinda know how it can happen), are of divergent religious beliefs, every race and belief system under the sun, etc.

Honestly none of this was a big deal for me, and I dont think children think about such differences as wearily as we adults do. As far as teachers, many are incredible, others seem to be there solely due to their union affiliation.

Same goes for high schools.



Small tibit that made me laugh ever so hard(because of the irony), seriously many people I know who lived in Oakland and then moved out of state and were vocal in their disdain for Oakland schools arrive in their new promised lands only to find that their kids are actually ahead of their new peers. Hahahaha. Conversely my cousin moved here from Utah and her kids were all put a grade back in Oakland. Anyway take that with a grain of salt.

Last edited by 18Montclair; 12-08-2011 at 12:36 AM..
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:55 AM
 
84 posts, read 112,325 times
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Originally Posted by 18Montclair View Post
Small tibit that made me laugh ever so hard(because of the irony), seriously many people I know who lived in Oakland and then moved out of state and were vocal in their disdain for Oakland schools arrive in their new promised lands only to find that their kids are actually ahead of their new peers. Hahahaha. Conversely my cousin moved here from Utah and her kids were all put a grade back in Oakland. Anyway take that with a grain of salt.
Ha! That is funny. I guess it's all about perspective, huh? That's why this question is so tricky, I think. I know plenty of people (including plenty of my friends) who would never deign to send their kids to public school in Seattle, but I've been very happy with our local elementary. So when people rail against the schools in Oakland, I'm never sure exactly where they are coming from.

Anyhow, thanks for the input - very helpful!
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