I went to this school through the whole K-8 several years ago. I made a couple friends during my time there, but I found the environment to be very unwelcoming among other students; there was a lot of arrogance and pretentiousness. While this is pretty par for the course - especially during those middle school years - the teachers did nothing. The laissez-faire mindset permeated through the administration as well: My parents and I voiced our concerns to the head of school when I was being relentlessly bullied, and we were told that this matter "was a complete waste of [their] time", and I should "figure it out myself".
All of this could've been excused if the quality of education was solid...but it wasn't. The teachers would place their favorite 4-5 students into accelerated classes, and clump the rest of us together. I developed ADD which went completed unrecognized or identified by the faculty. And I never learned proper study skills; going to high school was a complete shock (and later college and grad school). It was like I was starting my entire education over at age 14.
The one thing giving my rating 2 stars instead of 1 is I'm giving the school the benefit of the doubt that it must have improved since I was there. But considering that one of my worst teachers was the Associate Head of School until June 2014, my optimism is diminished.
TL;DR: Send your kid to a public school. They'll get a better education and a more supportive faculty. And when the social scene demoralizes them, at least you can take comfort in knowing you didn't spend private school tuition money for this treatment.
Our introverted, sensitive child (one of the only children of color) was bullied relentlessly at TBS. The first year things were handled very well by two amazing and seasoned teachers. The second year, the teachers did next to nothing. We were told to work with admin because the problem escalated and our child started manifesting physical symptoms. We did. We were told to email the teachers every day when something happened. We did. A plan was initiated by admin, but never followed through on by the teachers. Months later, instead of solving the problem, we were told WE were the problem and we "did not fit into the culture". I guess we became the bad apples, potentially ruining the parent barrel. What TBS lacks in integrity and soul, they make up with the gift of creating the illusion of the perfect progressive school through the latest buzz words and telling you what you want to hear. Despite originally being a huge fan (I wrote a 5-star review earlier here), we deeply regret believing what they sold us. That mistake cost us more than money. It cost us a lot of heartache.
My daughter is in 3rd grade at TBS. This is her first year there. The teachers are loving, patient yet firm. My child comes home daily teaching me what she's learned in school. I've learned about the practices, customs of the Ohlone people, how to better garden, and so much more. She has become a voracious reader at this school. She carries a minimum of 3 books at all times. She loves reading and TBS allows the kids to read as often as possible. She's improved her math skills. When she was having problems her teacher shared a personal story about her own challenges with math and worked hard towards building my child's confidence. Now she likes math. The school culture exudes authenticity. The parents are intelligent, warm and down to earth. The head of school, Mitch, is funny, smart and approachable and so is the assistant , Zac. We love it here and feel it's the right place for our daughter.
This school had always been on my radar, and I wish I had enrolled sooner. I transferred my younger daughter (3rd grader) here in November and she couldn't be happier with the change. She feels safe, loved, understood, trusted and inspired. When there is a question or glitch, as there always will be, the staff is highly responsive, takes ownership of problem and most of all has the motivation and skill to come up with effective strategies to get things on track. Her vocabulary and mental math have flourished and most of all, she is excited by the things she is doing at school. I love The Berkeley School and encourage you to check it out.
I went to this school when it was called BMS for Kindergarden, 1st grade, and 2nd grade. The old princapal did not really take an interest in what was going on in the school, or show leadership for the school. Each year I was there you get the same teacher, and students in your class. The teachers did not teach what you needed to know in a regular public school. I left this school at the end of 2nd grade and went to a public school in 3rd grade, the public school was much better! I am still at the public school. Now BMS is TBS and has a new princapal.
Let's face it, our pre-schoolers would be safe, fine, and maybe even learn something in pretty much any Pre-K program. What you DON'T find everywhere is the perfect storm of highly competent administration, outstanding and loving teachers, and great parents. The Berkeley School has it all. And I believe its focus on expanding the Montessori basis with the judicious application of the most recent cognitive science in children's learning along with a deeply humanist approach to the childrens' personal development is EXACTLY what Maria Montessori would be doing if she were alive today.
We have been part of The Berkeley School (formerly Berkeley Montessori) community for 10 years and have been very satisfied with the quality of the academic program. While we were originally drawn to the Montessori program, the school has evolved its pedagogy to include the best of other teaching philosophies. The goal of helping to create students who are actively participants in their education, however, remains as strong as ever. TBS has a deep commitment to teacher development which is reflected in their commitment and passion. I highly recommend TBS.
Berkeley Montessori School has been an amazing place for our daughter who has thrived there for the last 3 years. The quality of teaching and staff is exceptional and we could not be any happier! There is something magical about the school and the environment is both loving and warm. The teachers are well trained and able to provide the students with an incredible experience. We feel truly blessed to have found BMS and we plan on staying there for a long time!!
We are entering our 6th year at BMS and have been very pleased with the combination of a challenging and engaging curriculum paired with a profound commitment to fostering a love of learning. The philosophy that education is not 'filling a bucket, but rather kindling a flame,' is apparent at every level at BMS, and I have been impressed with how children emerge from the program so much more than excellent academic preparation for high school and beyond. They also have a great deal of self-posession and confidentce in their ability to learn new things, as well as a truly remarkable understanding of themselves as learners. They know how they learn best, what are their own unique gifts and challenges are, and how to work effectively alone and in groups.
We have been at this school for 7 years and have been very happy. Our two (very different) boys have both found a home here. We have been particularly pleased with the middle school, it's teachers and academic rigor. Our older (now 10th grade) son got into all three private high schools he applied to. We will be very sorry to leave this caring, diverse and involved community.