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Old 12-09-2011, 08:22 AM
 
36 posts, read 85,416 times
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Hello, I am back with a new line of inquiry. As I posted in an earlier thread about Private Schools (http://www.city-data.com/forum/san-f...ally-your.html) we are trying to relocate to the Bay Area. We have decided we are not able/willing to commit to the timeline for private schools this far in advance (when our plans are still not very certain).

Several of you mentioned Lamorinda schools, as have other friends. I would love to get opinions about the reality of diversity (ethnic, socio-economic, and political insofar as not too conservative) at their schools (middle and high school).

For example, we love Berkeley as a community and I think we liked certain areas of Oakland too. But from what I read, we'd be doing our kids a great disservice by moving to those districts... I know that Berkeley High has a reputation "from jail to Yale," and on the other end, schools like Piedmont, I have heard, are very cliquey and exclusivist.

My 8th grade daughter is experiencing some alienation from and boredom with her "gated-community" cohorts at our current school (which is one of the finest academic offerings in the US). She desires to be in a more urban area, but she is not used to being full-on in a "jail to Yale" environment. It's very hard to know, as a parent, what to aspire to!

I think we like Albany school district for that reason but housing there is challenging, from what I see (we would not buy for quite some time; too hard to unload a house later if you aren't pleased with the community fit...)

What real options are there for a family seeking this balance of 1) very strong learning opportunity; 2) good familial/community involvement/support 3) diversity but not to the extent where harmony and safety are compromised (that sounds ridiculous and I'm not expressing myself correctly)... 4) not overwhelmingly conservative? and not willing to pay $50K we don't have for two girls to go to private school

Thanks!
Feeling we might have to stay put...

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:00 AM
 
Location: The Bay
6,920 posts, read 11,028,790 times
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Lamorinda schools are not diverse by any stretch of the imagination.


And honestly, the "jail" kids aren't paying attention to the "Yale" kids at Berkeley High... they're messing with the other jail kids. Safety at Berkeley High wouldn't be my main concern...
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
3,783 posts, read 7,001,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineties Flava View Post
Lamorinda schools are not diverse by any stretch of the imagination.


And honestly, the "jail" kids aren't paying attention to the "Yale" kids at Berkeley High... they're messing with the other jail kids. Safety at Berkeley High wouldn't be my main concern...


I LOVE the schools and community here--no, not super diverse but diverse enough to where every one of my children have friends from different backgrounds-economically and culturally. It's certainly not going to be anything like Berkeley/Albany though.

Overall the population here is financially better off than many places but again, my kids seem to have plenty of friends that aren't well off financially at all. There are plenty of renters and apartment dwellers, particularly in Lafayette. There are a LOT of ex-San Franciscans and ex-Oaklanders here. Politically it's liberal leaning but people don't really make a big issue out of it, particularly kids. Some schools would be slightly more diverse than others--depending on the neighborhood (dm me if you want specifics).

Despite my having similar worries initially about not having them in a more diverse place like Berkeley or Oakland, I also haven't witnessed any racism or problems with cliques, safety, or stereotypes.

A bit off topic, but I always attended very diverse schools growing up and I found the separation of races astonishing in hindsight. The Asians hung out with the Asians. The black kids stuck to their own, the Filipinos and Pacific Islanders stuck together, and the Mexican kids did their own thing. The only real intermingling was between the "jocks".

Let me add, that if your daughter is looking for a more exciting and urban school, then it wouldn't be a great fit in this regard. She might feel that there's not enough action (which is how I might have felt as a kid!). I will say that the area has one of the highest rates of college educated parents--this tends to filter down to the kids high value on education also and plenty of support from the families here.

Last edited by clongirl; 12-09-2011 at 12:22 PM.. Reason: addition.
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:58 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 10,566,752 times
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Well if you want to live in an upscale suburb like Lafayette and Orinda, you're not going to see much diversity.

Fremont is a super diverse city and I know it has pretty good public schools. The Peninsula and Silicon Valley should be similar, though it is expensive to live in the towns with good public schools there.

Maybe look into the ethnic makeup at schools in Albany and Alameda.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:24 AM
 
36 posts, read 85,416 times
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Thanks for the replies.

Nineties... that's some good perspective! Thanks. However, I have heard so many stories of girls getting jumped by other girls and whatnot. I was in high school 30 years ago (!) and even back in that day, there was jealousy and other issues. Still though, appreciate this consideration and I'll give it some more thought.

Clongirl: I am going to em you with more questions. Thank you so much! Your comments are quite helpful! The high education level of the parents is a major draw. Where we are now, there are many middle class parents, but they aren't very interesting to talk to. In fact it's some of less well-off parents who hold the more compelling conversations...!

Mayor, my kiddo is OK with living in a suburban setting IF it's close to an urban/cosmopolitan center. Right now we live in Albuquerque. The city itself is surburban and the downtown is a small, sleazy joke. I'll look into Fremont as an option thanks. From what I saw of the peninsula, it was pretty hard to imagine finding an affordable home (to rent).. but I didn't conduct the deepest of due diligence.
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:19 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
25,854 posts, read 44,608,782 times
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I went to public schools in Lafayette, the DeLaSalle (private) high school in Concord. DeLaSalle was far more diverse than Lafayette schools, and from family still in the area that hasn't changed though there are more lower income apartment dwellers than back when. Still, they are among the best schools in the country. Diversity and good education are not mutually exclusive though those schools with both are hard to find. Sometimes you have to settle for less diversity in favor of the education, and find the diversity in other ways than school. For example, while in high school and college I volunteered in elementary schools in Oakland,
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:44 PM
 
36 posts, read 85,416 times
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Thanks Hemlock! this is a good point to keep in mind. My only concern is -- i have heard Piedmont, for example, is quite snobbish and that if you aren't blonde/blue eyed/preppie/mega-rich, you can be shunned. That would devastate my daughter, as she has always got along with all kinds of friends and has quite a few of the prepsters in her circle of pals now. I guess I should not make up worries where they don't exist!
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:23 PM
 
Location: San Leandro
4,577 posts, read 7,196,624 times
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Greatschools.net shows the racial make up of the high school as 71% white, 10% asian, and not really many blacks or mexicans at all.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
3,783 posts, read 7,001,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Dude View Post
Greatschools.net shows the racial make up of the high school as 71% white, 10% asian, and not really many blacks or mexicans at all.
So in other words, 19% are "something else" then.

I wasn't aware that racial/cultural diversity strictly meant black or Mexican. So someone from Egypt, Germany or South Africa doesn't really count?
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:46 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 10,566,752 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poochini View Post
From what I saw of the peninsula, it was pretty hard to imagine finding an affordable home (to rent).. but I didn't conduct the deepest of due diligence.
Yeah it is super expensive especially in towns with good schools. Places like Cupertino will have large Asian and Indian populations but a basic single family house there easily goes for a million or more.

Also Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill are right next to Orinda/Lafayette and are a bit more diverse and more middle class, and have good schools too.
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