This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Bret Harte Middle School5
Posted October 09, 2014
- a parent
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!
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.
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!