This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Bret Harte Middle School4
Posted November 11, 2013
- a parent
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.