Bret Harte is a vibrant middle school with a lot going for it. I have 2 kids there, 6th and 8th and they have had a great time. The school is much smaller than many of the middle schools in Oakland and with 7 periods instead of 6, the class sizes average 20-25 which has a huge impact on the quality of teaching. The teachers and staff know all the kids, and we have seen low turnover of staff. The 2 electives for all grades have given each of my kids a class which fits their interest- art and computer science. Overall it has been a great school, and it has been getting better each year.
Bret Harte Middle School in Oakland CA is a great school. I should know, I teach there! I may be biased but hear me out. Our school was featured in a video about the EducationSuperHighway, a not-for-profit dedicated to bringing better broadband services to schools. This video featured several of our dedicated teachers. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, was inspired to donate $20 million to the non-profit, and posted the video to FB. And the White House re-posted the video after that! Please go to our website, ousd.org/bretharte, and check out the video for yourself. Also, at President Obama's last State of the Union address, he stated that he wants every student to learn computer science. Next fall, Bret Harte is adding a computer science class to its schedule. How cool is that? We have a diverse campus population, including students from the surrounding neighborhood, and students from all over Oakland. We have several special education classrooms and newcomer classrooms. We have veteran teachers and new teachers sharing best practices and giving support to each other. We have a nice campus that is enhanced by beautiful murals and mosaics completed by our own students with the help of dedicated volunteers. We are petitioning for a turf field to be installed. We have a fantastic music program. Come by and visit and see the great things happening at Bret Harte Middle School, in Oakland CA!
Top 5 Reasons to Send Your Child to Bret Harte!
1) Great Teachers! Our daughter has had great teachers every year who inspired her in her studies. Has she ever had a class that was "just OK?" Yes, a couple in three years. Think back to your middle school. Did you love all six of your teachers each year, every year? If you are worried about academic rigor or test scores, we can only speak from our experience: our daughter has thrived in this environment -- her last test scores were the highest she's ever had.
2) Great Administrative Staff! We were worried when the amazing Tom Hughes left, but Principal D has picked up where he left off and is building on the amazing foundational work he did. We are convinced the school is going to soar to new heights under her dedication and innovation. At the same time, this is not a school run by a single leader. Attend a few events and you'll see it is run by a team of dedicated support staff who consistently go above and beyond their daily job description, which helps gives Bret Harte its family feel.
3) A Great Neighborhood Public School! We cannot emphasize enough how wonderful it has been to have our daughter walk to and from middle school for the past three years. Its brings down family stress, deepens our connection to the neighborhood and is healthy and good for the planet. It is also wonderful for maintaining (and strengthening) relationships from elementary school.
4) An Excellent Music Program! Mr. Worm works wonders. This last Winter Concert left us amazed at how far the absolute beginners had already come in only December, not to mention the ever impressive advanced musicians in Jazz Band and the other classes. The brand new Bret Harte Choir was also completely fabulous.
5) All The Extras Keep Getting Better! Bret Harte is really starting to hit its stride. The cross-country team, which meets after school, won its first track meet at Skyline this year and plans to participate at the Oakland Running Festival, there are improv theater classes at lunch, there is the bike club, the new choir, the Gay-Straight Alliance, the Bret Harte Pioneer newspaper and much more!
If you believe in neighborhood public schools, please channel your concerns into positive action and join us at Bret Harte!
-A Bret Harte Parent
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
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.
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.
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!
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!