Top Schools in Berkeley, California
Berkeley 's culture has been proud to be a pioneer in public education since the founding of the University of California , Berkeley in 1868, and the establishment of Berkeley's first high school in 1879. In 1968, the Unified School District of Berkeley became one of the first school districts in America to disintegrate without a court order. What you need to know about the district:
- Students are the priority.
- They take pride in their diversity.
- They hold high expectations for themselves and their students.
- They treat each other with respect and act with integrity.
Berkeley Unified is responsible for educating more than 9,400 individual students in 11 public elementary schools, 3 secondary schools, one comprehensive secondary school and an alternative secondary school. In addition, the district has three pre-school facilities and an Adult School serving several thousand students each year. With a legacy of excellence rooted in a vibrant culture, Berkeley Unified Alumni have been national and international pioneers in business, civil society, politics, academics, sport and the arts. Students and staff in Berkeley Unified come from a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, surrounded by one of the most intellectually and culturally rich regions in the United States.
The Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals of Berkeley Unified are encapsulated in the four E’s:
- Excellence in Learning, in Teaching, and in Service to our Students and Families
- Equity in Access, in Resource Allocation, and Educational Outcomes
- Engagement with Parents, Guardians, Families, and Community
- Enrichment in Curriculum with Music & the Arts, Libraries, Gardens & Nutrition, Science & Health, Physical Education & Sports
In 2008, Berkeley Unified joined forces with the City of Berkeley, the University of California, Berkeley, the Berkeley Alliance, and other community partners to support the 2020 Plan for the Children and Youth of Berkeley. The vision was created to resolve the longstanding disparity in achievement between the various student demographics in the Berkeley Unified School District and to ensure the safety and well-being of all its students, regardless of race. The 2020 Partnership encouraged a new level of collaboration and agreement across the city on targeted priorities and the use of resources. The current shared priorities focus on key areas that affect student success: Kindergarten Readiness, Proficient Readers by Third Grade, Attendance, Math Achievement, and Career and College Readiness.
Low Class Size
Berkeley Public Schools are among the lowest class sizes in the state. Although other school districts have passed 20 students in kindergarten through the third grade, Berkeley has retained 20:1 since 1984, thanks to the BSEP tax increase. Grades 4 and 5 classrooms have an average student-teacher ratio of 26-1, again much lower than the state average.
- All Berkeley elementary schools have fewer students than the state average of 525 students — in fact the Berkeley average is 375.
- The average student-teacher ratio in academic classrooms in the middle school is less than 28:1, and many math classes are 20:1.
- The average student-teacher ratio in academic classrooms in the high schools is 28:1.
Since the Berkeley community understands that public education is the foundation of a prosperous, innovative and balanced society, all of our schools benefit from the generosity of money and in-kind contributions. Visit our "Community Help" page to learn more about the kindness and dedication of our supporters and how many different funding and charitable agencies improve each child's education at Berkeley Public Schools.