As a new parent to the school I am not impressed with the school. It is very large (approximately 1200 students), the dress code is loosely enforced, and the children are to very welcoming to newcomers. The most disappointing fact of all is the achievement levels of the students. Published test results indicate the school is in Program Improvement year 5, and has hundreds of children to failing to meet proficiency. My family is now searching for a private school. This is very unfortunate given the hype of Benicia schools.
We moved to Benicia and my daughter started sixth grade in the middle of the school year - not an easy time for a young girl to have to move. The kids were very welcoming and the first thing we noticed was how there are comparatively few cliques. Coming from the midwest, this school is so much more accepting of children of all backgrounds, races, etc. We are very pleased to be able to send our daughter to a school in such a great community. I'd have to say my only complaint is I don't think the administration handled one incident very well (a fight that happened at school). I do realize fighting will occasionally happen at any school, but I think they missed a great opportunity to talk with the kids about bullying and fighting, and how to avoid it.
This has been the worst school experience of my life. The teachers are constantly loosing papers & give you zeros. The principal & vice principals try as much as possible to not get into the situations going on at school. The counselor does not help either. Bullying is illegal in California and has been for a while now. I have been bullied myself at this school for absolutely no reason. Every time I went to the office they would not let me talk to anyone about the situation, they would not believe me, or say if there was not a witness it didn't happen. I eventually did talk to the vice principal and they did not do anything about it. The people who had bullied me did not get in any trouble at all besides getting talked to. I do not recommend this school!
i looooooove benicia middle achool and the entire district! i love the small town enviroment! im going to 8th grade and with the tools i've learned at benicia middle i will hopefully be able to complete 4 years at CAL berkeley, with a scholarship for dance and then later on train with the alvin ailey dance troop.
BMS is one of the worst schools i've been to. I grew up in one town, and then moved to Benicia during the middle of 6th grade. I was used to daily life at middle school, but have never exeperienced so much racism in my life. Not only that but, some kids picked fights with people just because of the clothes a person wears. I had two really nice teachers , but with all of the hurtfulness that racist comments brings, it was difficult to really focus on what was truley important, my education, not what color God made me or what clothes I have on. Hopefully next year things will be better for me and all of the other kids who are not apart of the cliques at BMS.
I absolutely HATE this school! They bully you just because of what you wear and have lots of emo people going here. Two people got arrested this year!!! 4 fights in one year! No discipline at all! The second star is for good looks in the classroom and funny teachers.
I dont know what they teach students at the middle school but nearly every student coming from the middle school seems to have the thought that the world revolves around them. I can tell you that my middle school years were someof the worst times of my life. I was nowhere near ready for high school. In seventh grade i was sent to the office 17 times for referals, everytime i was let off with just a warning. Where's the discipline? I even got to serve a saturday school in the teachers lounge because they wouldnt turn on the heater for a single room. If anything, I learned that I could get away with causing trouble.
My daughter attended 6th grade and is now in 7th grade at Benicia Middle School. We moved to Benicia last year from the East Coast, outside Philadelphia for a year and in MA for 4 years prior. I researched the Benicia schools and found them to be rated very high. Unfortunately our experience has not been as great as I would have expected. There is no transportation (except public transportation) - thankfully we live close enough for my daughter to walk. The school offers very few extracurriculars -- I've heard the band (brass only) is a great program but my daughter plays the violin, the sports programs have tryouts and more than half the kids that tryout don't make the teams, electives are offered in the form of a class so kids can't join yearbook and learn Spanish, for example. Additionally they offer a limited amount of advanced Math classes.
The best thing about BMS is that all my children survived going there. The teachers all have a policy of accepting no late work; which is fine if your 11 - 13 year old has mastered time management. If she/he has not, this policy is devastating. It doesn't make sense to be so tough on young kids just getting used to having multiple teachers since this policy doesn't follow through at the high school level. For many students, the no late work rule is simply punative. That said, the principal is a true leader, both at school and in the community. I would say about half of the teachers are exceptional and caring.
Fabulous music program. Great drama program. Growing art program. Stellar academics with fantastic teachers that care about kids. Parents are involved!
As a brand new parent of a new student at BMS, so far so good-- principal very positive, teachers great first impressions, atmosphere friendly and pleasant. That said, I am very concerned about the lack of transportation to and from school. It is very inconvenient for working parents and dangerous for kids. I am also disappointed that there is no after school program: elective classes, study hall, intramural sports, etc. Such a short school day is not right when 2 parents work, and yet the kids are really too old for traditional day care.
The academic programs are fine - the history department seems to be the most well run and there are a number of different math classes available at various levels. Unfortunately, there is not a wide variety of extracurricular activities but recent increases in funding should move this in the right direction. Lastly, parent involvement seems to be on the rise as well. What we (as parents) like most about the school, as well as my step-daughter, is the diversity and the feeling that my step-daughter can belong to a group of friends, the teachers are approachable and the principal is terrific!
My daughter has gone through BMS and had a very positive experience with the school. The teachers are for the most part very good, with only a few exceptions (true anywhere). My son is currently enrolled there, and also seems to be flourishing well. Sadly, most of the extra curricular school activities have been cut in recent years, however there are many options in the community (music, art and sports)through other venues. One significant positive aspect my daughter experienced was the track program, which is well run and while only a limited part of the year, was something she got a lot out of. As with any school, you get what you give. Parents need to be on top of their kid's studies (and other activities) and not rely on others to do their parenting.
If a child is going to get lost it's going to happen at Benicia Middle School. I'm a psychotherapist in Benicia and I've witnessed this for twenty years now. There is very little offered in the arts, and only people with money can have their kids play sports. Many people are turning to private schools which only makes the situation worse.
The teachers my child had were wonderful and very willing to help out.
Benicia does not have a GATE program or any other differentiated curriculum until high school where advanced placement and honors classes are offered. The district is considering cutting the one elective they offer 7th and 8th grade. There are no counselors nor any maintenance staff. The teachers still do not have a contract as of 8/04. Until recently, the school did not have many students in Algebra nor did the school offer geometry. Look to another community that offers more if you are looking to move. Check with district to see if they offer programs. The district has the lowest paid teachers and the lowest per student funding in the area hence the schools are $3-4 million short of their budget.
Besides the outstanding G.A.T.E. program there are little to no extracurricular activities. These are limited only to sports and even those are limited to only volleyball and basketball. Overall though, this school is one of the best in the county, so I send my children here.
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