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Students enrolled: 550
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3700 Coolidge Avenue
Oakland, CA 94602

School website
(510) 531-6400
(510) 482-7272
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Map of Bret Harte Middle School address.

November 02, 2015
I transferred my son from a private school in Berkeley to Bret Harte in the 7th grade. My son has a IEP and is and was placed in the SDC program there. Each teacher my son had, provided more than support and encouragement, which placed me at ease. Now my son has strived to general education classes and is doing well socially. This was all by the support of administration & staff! We are very happy at Bret Harte

- submitted by a parent

October 25, 2015
I have been a Bret Harte parent for 3 years, and have been really impressed with the effective and engaging teachers as well as the strong leadership from the administration. My daughter is very enthusiastic about the classes and social environment at Bret Harte, she likes her classes, (and loves a couple of them), and is growing intellectually. This is a diverse school, with students from all kinds of backgrounds, and the school works tremendously hard to make this a place that feels welcoming, supportive, and challenging for all kinds of students. I really appreciate this - it is very hard to do, and is part of the ongoing challenge facing urban public schools that serve ALL children. I am very satisfied with Bret Harte, and encourage parents and students to check it out.

- submitted by a parent

February 24, 2015
So disappointed in this school. Dress code isn't followed. It has a high truancy rating as well. Grades are inflated. There is no true way to see homework assignments, as the system they use teachers do not update and many do not use it. Its going to take a while for this school to turn around.

- submitted by a parent

October 09, 2014
We are a new Bret Harte family whose daughter entered 6th grade this year. Supporting our local middle school was important to us and as it turns out we couldn't be happier with our choice for our daughter to attend Bret Harte. Our daughter is extremely happy with her classes, her teachers and her wonderful & supportive school community. As parents, we are impressed with the experienced and innovative educators who bring blended learning, the latest teaching strategies and inspiration each day to the students at Bret Harte. With the amazing leadership of Tom Hughes, the principal, Bret Harte is in good hands to help all of our students succeed. Some highlights of our daughter's first year are the amazing Jazz Band, learning Spanish through songs and meeting many new friends! We 'heart' Bret Harte!

- submitted by a parent

September 28, 2014
My daughter is heading into her second year at Bret Harte and loves it. She has been engaged and challenged by and learned from the awesome Jazz Band, the wonderful Gay-Straight Alliance and the super cool Journalism class, and had a solid group of teachers throughout. As a veteran OUSD teacher myself, I am not only greatly impressed by the teaching staff at Bret Harte but, above all, by the principal, Tom Hughes, and what he has done over the last few years to really create a cohesive, comprehensive administrative team. He runs an incredibly tight ship, whether it's getting everyone to class on time or helping students solve problems through the Restorative Justice program. This is a very good neighborhood school on the cusp of becoming great as more parents get involved and as the effects of several years now of positive, forward-thinking, excellent leadership take root! Join us!

- submitted by a parent

September 28, 2014
My son just began school at Bret Harte in the Fall. We were committed to supporting our local public school, yet worried about it being a safe, academically challenging program for our child. So far we have been thrilled. He loves his classes, is both motivated and challenged by the work, is making friends, and looks forward to school each day. The principal is charming and always available. Kids know that they can approach him about anything. So far, Bret Harte is exceeding all my expectations. Please take a look for yourself and consider Bret Harte.

- submitted by a parent

November 11, 2013
I am a new parent to Bret Harte, and so far, I have been really impressed with what I have observed myself and heard from my daughter. The school is well-organized, well-led, academically challenging, and culturally rich. My child has been fully engaged in her classes and is learning critical skills around study habits, organization, and responsibility. The Bret Harte community seems committed to creating and maintaining a very positive and inclusive culture that empasizes their core values or respect, resilience, and hard work. My daughter is regularly bringing home interesting topics from class discussions. I have also been really impressed with the principal, who is in his 3rd year at Bret Harte. He is extremely accessible, intelligent, and committed, and speaks honestly about the school's strengths and challenges. He handles problems efficiently, and has great energy and savvy in working with middle schoolers. This is definitely an Oakland middle school that is under the radar with a lot to offer. I would recommend that Oakland parents take a closer look!

- submitted by a parent

September 25, 2013
Being new to this school (though not to the district), I have found the staff of Bret Harte to be a wonderfully motivated, inspired, and hard-working team. There is a lot of work being done to instill students with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and true scholarship. I'm very excited about the opportunities for students to engage in the development of leadership & social-emotional capacities through programs such as Restorative Justice and the Latino Men & Boys program. This is a great place for students to become well-rounded young adults.

- submitted by a teacher

September 24, 2013
We have had nothing but positive experiences at Bret Harte Middle school - My daughter is in 7th Grade. She is engaged and sufficiently challenged. She feels safe and supported by the teachers and administrative staff. We have become involved in the PTSA and SSC, School BBQs, Cleanup Workdays, etc. Most importantly my daughter has learned to interact with kids from ALL backgrounds - an extremely valuable life skill. Consider Bret Harte! Go Bobcats!

- submitted by a parent

September 24, 2013
I have one child who just started attending Bret Harte and another child who attended the school from 6th-8th Grade. My older child had a very positive experience at the school. The teachers and administrative staff are very engaged with many teachers who have taught on the campus for over 10 years. The campus is clean and I feel that my children are in a safe environment. The student body reflects the diversity of Oakland in which my children can interact and work with students off all backgrounds and cultures. The principal is proactive and excellent with the staff, student and parents in terms of empowering them to do their best and address their concerns. The music program is amazing which is one of the treasures of the school.

- submitted by a parent

August 19, 2013
Bret Harte Oakland is the one of the great jewels of the OUSD system. The staff (both academically and administrative) are caring and encourage students to excell.

- submitted by a community member

November 11, 2012
Both of my daughters attended Bret Harte, and had very positive experiences. It was quite a change from their cozy neighborhood elementary school, but what they learned is that they can successfully adapt in a large economically and racially mixed environment, and thrive. Plus, they got outstanding academic preparation for high school. Bret Harte prepared them very well for their transition into high school (also large, urban, diverse) and I would say also into REAL LIFE. Bret Harte IS a slice of Oakland, which is fabulous and full of challenges at the same time. As parents, we struggle to find the balance between preparing our kids for "the real world" and also wanting them to always be safe and cared for so that nothing bad will happen to them, right? What I found at Bret Harte was a genuine combination of "real world challenges" of dealing with all kinds of kids in an environment staffed by alert, engaged, and caring adults that were prepared to intervene, but not to coddle. For us, it was a winning combination. I feel my girls are more savvy, slower to judge their peers, have a broader range of friends, and a solid academic foundation, thanks in large part to Bret Harte!

- submitted by a parent

November 04, 2012
I am a former student - and Bret Harte was a great school who cared for students and had teachers who cared!

- submitted by a community member

October 04, 2012
I am a parent of a 6th grader at Bret Harte. We love this school. Her teachers are excellent and the principal is very easy to communicate with. He met with me personally for a half hour the first week of school to help me out with concerns I had about her schedule. Positives: the teachers are excellent, have good classroom management and interesting curriculum; the campus is clean & comfortable; they wear uniforms so there is never any issue about what to wear or using clothes as status symbols (and is so inexpensive if you catch the sales in August!)-- honestly, kids might complain a little but uniforms are really nice; the music program is excellent and the practice room is available before and after school for kids to use; the ASP has tons of enrichment and quiet time for HW and is only $50 a year; there is enough space and time for lunch; it is really diverse and kids make friendships outside of their "groups." My daughter and her friends (boys & girls) are happy there. Downsides: like any public middle school, the transitions from class to class are exhausting at first; again like any public school, classes are big; PTSA works hard and are awesome, but it is small.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
April 28, 2010
We love Bret Harte Middle School because the teachers are fantastic!

- submitted by a parent

October 20, 2008
Im a current student of this school and I personally think this is a great school. The good things are: Diversity, and the teachers are veru helpful in any way, the counselor is supportive al though they do need at least 1 more counselor. The bad things: The bathrooms are great but good enough to to your business, too many fights and suspension, and it is quite dirty. Sometimes the principal can be helpful and sometimes the ooposite but in the end, Bret harte is a wondeful! school.

- submitted by a student

August 17, 2005
There are many excellent teachers. My kids have had great experiences with Cody, Grimes, Yamoto (retired), Fitzsimmons. The principal is very engaged with parents.

- submitted by a parent

July 06, 2005
This school changed my life. Teachers were very great. it was organized

- submitted by a student

November 10, 2004
Bret Harte has some hard working teachers. The administrative support staff is not helpful. The principal is often busy. There needs to be more than one counselor for the entire school.

- submitted by a parent

December 19, 2003
Bret Harte is a great school, it's a big school but surprisingly it's a family environment. The student body is diverse and the faculty reflects the diversity of the student body. The Principal and Assistant Principal offer support without being critical if you have a student struggling academically. The students are addressed in a manner to prepare them for taking control of their own destiny's and making choices good for their lives.

- submitted by a parent

November 22, 2003
Bret Harte is a great school. Our 2 children attended and experienced excellent teaching, and good foundation for high school. Bret Harte has 2 Nationally Certified Teachers in Sci/Math. There is an active PTA, SSC and Parent Center. A monthly newsletter is mailed home for more communication. Make sure to visit this school when making your decision!

- submitted by a parent
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About this school

Bret Harte has one of the most diverse programs and student bodies of any middle school in Oakland. In addition to our extensive electives department (including full-time instrumental music, and Spanish), we have an extensive program for English Language Learners, an accelerated math program that leads to Algebra in the eighth grade, and a wide variety of special education programs that serve students with disabilities. Our teachers work hard to collect information about student learning, analyze it, and plan differentiated lessons to meet the needs of all students through engaging and hands-on lessons. Outside of the classroom, we provide extensive support services including three full-time therapists, a guidance counselor, substance abuse counseling and peer education, as well as a staff-lead peer conflict resolution program, among other programs. Our goal is to meet the needs of the whole child and address issues outside of the classroom that may be interfering with learning during class time. Bret Harte has been recognized by OUSD for our reduction in suspensions and expulsions over the last few years, and teachers and administrators work closely together to maintain a positive campus climate. Our involved parent population coordinates several activities throughout the year, including various fundraisers and community clean-up days, as well as supporting our annual Bret Harte Expo in the spring and Castle Walk in the fall. Come visit "The Harte" and see what we have to offer your student!


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Last modified: November 2, 2015

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Bret Harte Middle School
3700 Coolidge Avenue, Oakland, CA  94602
(510) 531-6400
Last modified Bret Harte Middle School is a Public school that serves grades 6-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 2 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Bret Harte Middle School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 35 reviews. Top