920 Allston Way, Berkeley, California 94710, United States
It's hard for a visitor not to be distracted by the beauty of the Rosa Parks campus. Designed in the style of a child-friendly village, the school consists of small, colorful buildings surrounding the central playground. The multi-purpose center sits on one floor, overlooking the playground. The center is home to the Bayer Children's Science Center, the focus of the magnet school's environmental science theme. "This is the ideal place for what our students are doing," said the Principal. "Bayer is two blocks away, the Marina is not far farther away, not to mention the gardening and recycling centers whose workers are so eager to show us what they are doing.
Their neighbors were very, very generous with their time and financial support. Part of the excitement of this program is the partnerships they have formed with this scientific community. "Basic skills such as reading , writing and arithmetic are not forgotten — in fact , learning these skills is part of every science project and is addressed separately. As many of Berkeley's elementary schools, Rosa Parks, small—300—some students — fosters an environment where students and their families are part of the learning community.
Visitors may be distracted, but Rosa Parks students are firmly focused and on-task in the laboratory and classroom. The Rosa Parks plan covers three primary themes: Climate and Environment, Sea Life Research, and Urban Gardening and Ecology. Students study each area every year, with the material increasing in complexity as they progress through grades.
At Rosa Parks, science, along with the rest of the curriculum, is studied in two languages as part of the dual immersion program of the school. Students who choose to participate in the six-year program will develop fluency in both Spanish and English. One class at each grade level works in dual-language environments, and all dual-language teachers are completely trained as fluent bilingual teachers.
Rosa Parks offers a broad variety of after school programs, with child care and specialty classes in science adventure, puppetry, Spanish, and much more. The school is fortunate to have a social service component that includes individual and family counseling, dental care and health referrals. The Principal speaks with great pride of the conflict-resolution program that is practiced throughout the school. “We teach our students to be good scientists and caring individuals. It’s a winning combination!”