I am a current student at Berkeley High and it has been really hard. Teachers could care less about my thoughts and opinions in the classroom and discussions are rare. I mostly learn from packets, textbooks, and worksheets. I'm in IB and the kids are competitive and close-minded. Everyone only cares about themselves and their own grade and don't really care about what they're learning, as long as it gets them into a prestigious school. Dominant students get A's and introverts or students with learning challenges don't get any attention. If you are looking to send your child here, I would suggest looking to a smaller school if they genuinely love to learn and appreciate community-like learning.
Berkeley High is amazing in so many ways. Students are able to find such interesting classes: afro-hatien dance, video production, computer programming, forensic science. My kids (a junior and a sophomore in AC) have had an amazing experience overall. The principal is very engaging with the students and very communicative with parents. The staff, counselors, and volunteers are very helpful. Many of the teachers are excellent. The down sides are that it's an enormous school, so you really need to watch your kids on powerschool and communicate with them about typical high school problems (drugs, feeling lonely, trying to fit in, and so on...). If you advocate for your child, they will come out of Berkeley High being independent and worldly.
BHS is diverse; racially, economically, immigrant and intern'l (children of foreign scholars, expats), whose mastery of English is developing. This nuance is not reflected in the test scores, but it is one of the things that make the school and community rich and amazing. The extensive offerings of AP, honors classes ensures that the smart kids that test well of all backgrounds will be engaged and challenged. The sports, arts, and language programs are beyond belief in the many opportunities from beginner to advanced levels. Each year, 100s of college admissions counselors from all over the US and foreign arrive to meet with and recruit BHS students. Our student has attended both private and public schools, and I can say that BHS offers a world-class private school education for free. The extra taxes that Berkeley homeowners pay ensures class size reduction, full-time librarians, field trips and more. It's very easy to get involved at the school as a volunteer, so you can see for yourself. It's a large school and at first very confusing to sort it all out, but after 2 yrs, I can say that we're thrilled with the academic and citizen of the world experience our student is receiving.
BHS has many students from outside the district who are there without permission and contributing to overcrowding. They do help raise test scores, so...there you go. They are mostly in IB and AC. The school has many good, committed teachers, and are terrific examples of their profession. The principal is an excellent communicator and seems to really care about the well-being of the school community and stakeholders.
My granddaughter is a freshman . I am a retired teacher (from another school district) and really impressed with the leadership, the extensive programs offered by Berkeley High school and the amount of parent and volunteer participation. I just attended Back to school night and the quality of the curriculum and the teacher koowledge and organization of the curriculum was outstanding.