Students enrolled 412
School leader Kristin Collins
Transportation options Yes
District Berkeley Unified School District
Before school Yes
After school Yes

Contact this school

1645 Milvia Street
Berkeley, CA 94709

(510) 644-6225
(510) 644-6265
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Map of Berkeley Arts Magnet at Whittier School address.

4 stars
Based on 21 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

September 27, 2013
BAM is a school with a fully engaged principal, completely committed staff, and an active family community. It also has a very nicely run after school program with exciting after school enrichment offerings. Although it has little green space on the yard, it's nestled in a residential neighborhood on quiet streets in a lively and fun Berkeley neighborhood. Most BAM teachers do an excellent job of providing differentiated learning in the classroom and, with rare exception, are extraordinarily sophisticated and dedicated-- far more than you might expect but exactly what you would hope for in this college town. In addition, BAM has a lot of great connections with the University, including Saturday engineering classes for girls run by Cal grad students. What makes BAM particularly special, though, are its very talented, hard-working teachers and staff. Add to that, progressive ideals and a truly diverse student body, and it's near-perfect. You can't go wrong with any Berkeley public school, BAM especially.

- submitted by a parent
September 24, 2013
BAM is a great school with a hard-working and thoughtful principal, creative and dedicated teachers, and a giving and involved parent community. We are a diverse group, with students from all different backgrounds and the principal and teachers work hard to create a welcoming, safe, and engaging learning environment for all the kids. BAM's parent community is dedicated to supporting the school with lots of volunteer coordination and crucial fundraising for critical programs such as PE, counseling, arts enrichment, field trips and more. We have had 3 kids go through BAM and are grateful to be part of this community.

- submitted by a parent
September 24, 2013
This our first year at BAM, and so far we have been very impressed with our son's teacher and Principal Collins. Our son is sensitive and can be challenging at times, so we have made efforts to keep open lines of communication with his teacher. She is always very thorough with her responses, and she has made time to return emails and phone calls. The school seems very organized - newsletters, paperwork going back and forth to school, etc. We are so happy!

- submitted by a parent
September 24, 2013
BAM has a strong set of teachers, an amazing principal, and a very involved parent community. During my four years so far at BAM, I have seen things only get better for the kids, the school and the community. There is a very engaged and diverse PTA with representatives holding seats for African-American Affairs, Latino Affairs, LGBTQ Afffairs, Special Education, Asian and API Affairs, etc. We have been able to find help for anything we have needed - and here is a special Thank You to the counseling and special ed department - they are a talented and dedicated crew.

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2013
Great Teachers, Administration and community! My children have been very happy here and had great experiences with their teachers and classmates.

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2013
Berkeley Arts Magnet is a great public school with dedicated teachers, staff and parents/caregivers. The kids at BAM have the opportunity to participate in all kinds of arts enrichment. The teachers and staff are so dedicated to the academic success of all the children.

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2013
Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM) is an excellent school from K thru 5th. The school is led by an exceptional principle who cares deeply about her staff and students. The teachers set high expectations from the children and form strong relationships with both the children and their parents. Their effective teaching creates an enthusiastic culture in which to learn. Reading, math, geography, art, music, dance and much more are taught by high quality teachers. BAM staff realize that they have a profound impact on the students lives and take it very seriously. They are a dedicated group. Additional support services are available at BAM, such as mental health services, reading support, as well as a District-wide practice to provide early and appropriate intervention as determined by the school based on needs assessment(s). And BAM parents care very much about the school and it shows as a result of the high degree of parental involvement. BAM PTA offers a variety of after school enrichment classes that are great fun for the kids. A group of parents formed a "greening committee" that is making lasting changes to the big yard and K yard to foster more creative, stimulating play. We love BAM.

- submitted by a parent
September 22, 2013
Berkeley Arts Magnet is strong public school located in an urban environment. Being near restaurants, coffee shops and other stores makes it a very convenient place and the strength of the leadership of the principal and the top rate teachers she has higher in her tenure makes it a great place to be. Parents and caregivers are very dedicated to the school and hold many different events and fundraisers to ensure that all children have access to the wonderful services and programs that complement the CA curriculum. It is our 5th year at BAM, and we love it!

- submitted by a parent
September 22, 2013
We are so grateful to be a part of the Berkeley Arts Magnet community. BAM is a wonderful place where my child is thriving. The teachers are nurturing and dedicated to our children's academic as well as social and emotional growth. BAM is a diverse and welcoming place for all kinds of families. We've been really happy.

- submitted by a parent
February 08, 2013
BAM is wonderful! My husband and I have been so impressed with the school on many different levels. First and foremost, the academics are top-notch, but we have also been impressed with the school's sense of community and the warmth from both teachers and staffers alike. Our sensitive son has really thrived here, and we are excited for our other children to attend the school, as well. By the way, I am also a Latino parent and have been extremely happy with our child's experience in this regard at the school. This year our son did a pretty extensive unit on Day of the Dead, and last year's Cesar Chavez day celebration was wonderful. Most importantly, *all* cultures are celebrated at BAM - we love the school's diversity, and we love that our child is excited to go to school every day.

- submitted by a parent
October 11, 2012
Our family has been really happy at this school -- it is an excellent choice for elementary school and has met our high expectations so far. We have found the teachers to be smart, warm, capable of managing a classroom well, and really good at imparting enthusiasm for learning. The principal, Ms. Collins, is strong, very responsive, and highly committed to continual betterment of the school for all kids, and is well-liked by students, parents, and teachers. There are lots of extra arts, music, and P.E. options that many other schools lack, as well as an awesome, active PTA. We looked thoroughly at many private schools and the other public schools in our zone and neighboring districts, and when comparing the curricula, teacher-student ratio, student achievement, quality of teachers, leadership and responsiveness of the principal, satisfaction of current parents, and price tag, this school really shined. Is it perfect? No. There are many areas for improvement -- for instance, the playgrounds could use a lot of greening. But overall, this is a great school with a great faculty, and we have been really pleased.

- submitted by a parent
March 04, 2012
I m a Latino parent of a 2nd grader at BAM and I found the school to be less than supportive of my child s needs. I agree with most of the postings here that the school has potential to be a thriving environment for all students. To my disappointment I felt our child was consistently ignored and us the parents belittled . I want to express my frustration , since the PTA does not seem to support my community.. Physically, mentally, or spiritually.. My ethnicity is well grounded in all and the PTA just bombards us with money request but no support for our children.

- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2012
I chose this school because of all the high remarks I was told from past parents, but this school has not lived up to the experience. There is bullying going on at the school, and it seems some, bullying of teachers to do what is wanted related to how to treat parents. I am african-american and it seems that our population of students and parents are the direct target to this behavior, thus the retention rate of black parents has been consistently dropping since the top administration has come to the school. I have a fourth grader and we can not wait unitl we move to the next grade. My daughter has friends so we will wait it out. I tell any parent black or not think twice about bringing your child to this school."

- submitted by a parent
February 10, 2012
This school has the potential to be a great school. However the principal doesn't encourage parents to be involve in their child's education. According to the school policy, parents and other family members can only visit for 20 minutes. There are other Berkeley schools that welcome parents to be part of the learning environment and encourage parents to participate in their child's education.

- submitted by a parent
January 18, 2011
We came to Berkeley Arts Magnet from a highly regarded, really expensive private school and we love it here. It is one of those rare places where you enter feeling stressed about work, etc., and then you always feel better after being at BAM. We came for the diverse, positive social environment, one that wouldn't tolerate negative behavior, and we found it. What completely surprised us was that there was also a rigorous, effective academic environment. Our daughter was learning about fractions in Kindergarten, and enjoying it! Her reading and math skills just took off. Communication with the parents is excellent (weekly newsletters from principal and teachers that parents have to sign, the earlier review must be misplaced). The teachers and principal work extremely hard to make it all happen, and the PTA is absurdly professional. The kids are happy, and there is great supervision on the playground and in the afterschool programs.

- submitted by a parent
October 04, 2009
I was an Arts Magnet parent from 1981 through 1989. Now I will have been an Arts Magnet parent again, from 2004 through 10/01/09. Arts Magnet has consistently provided a diverse, safe, fun, and well rounded ediucational experience for my 2 girls.

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 03, 2009
The only school in Berkeley that retains a focus on art inclusion in the curriculum!

- submitted by a parent
December 21, 2005
Very good school, but my child is now in an independent one because teacher quality isn't consistent. Whittier has a terrific philosophy and many dedicated people working on its programs, but its challenges, particularly class size, will not change. I must rate the teacher quality on this survey, but it's really a crap shoot--some are outstanding, others only average. Most attractive to BAM are its dynamic mix of children and its music and performing arts program. Children leave BAM benefitting from and valuing the fine and performing arts programs. If one's child were able to have BAM's best teachers at least every other year, the school could be rated higher. But a child's classroom assignment is left to either chance or parent politics.

- submitted by a parent
November 15, 2005
My 10 has been at BAM since she was five and she started off great. When she reached 3rd grade her grades began to drop. BAM has the potential to be a wonderful educational environment but the classes are too large. In her 4th grade class there were 32 students to one teacher and one part time assistant. It is too easy to fall between the cracks when the class size is so large. BAM has a great staff and leadership, but they are trying to accommodate too many families and the children are failing.

- submitted by a parent
March 31, 2005
The parent community is very involved and the teachers, for the most part, are very good.

- submitted by a parent
March 26, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2005
Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM) is a typical California city school trying to reach a diverse community in the best possible way according to the current standards and with little support from the state and federal governments. This school has wonderful kids and excellent teachers but is struggling to keep its identity (arts curriculum, 6th grade class), and excellence in the face of stringent financial contstraints. Isn't this the plight of many urban schools in the current climate? The demands are high, the issues are many, and the support is limited. What happens? Something gets sacrificed. There are probably better schools in the zone and district but if you're willing to put in the time, and if your child(ren) is resilient and self directed, this public school might be just great.

- submitted by a parent
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Berkeley Arts Magnet at Whittier School
1645 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA  94709
(510) 644-6225
Last modified Berkeley Arts Magnet at Whittier School is a Public school that serves grades K-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Berkeley Arts Magnet at Whittier School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 22 reviews. Top