Sylvia Mendez Elementary

2241 Russell Street, Berkeley, CA 94705
Tel: 510.644.6290
Veronica Valerio, Principal
Susana Casillas, School Admin Assistant II

Sylvia Mendez First Day 2013-14At Sylvia Mendez, our vision is for students to become enthusiastic and proficient learners, mastering fundamentals, taking risks, and tackling intellectual challenges. Our positive school culture and community-building activities help develop students’ self-esteem, compassion, empathy, and problem-solving skills.

Located in southeast Berkeley near Whole Foods and the Berkeley Bowl market, Sylvia Mendez is known for several special programs, including our beloved Farm & Garden Program, which just celebrated its 31st anniversary, the popular Two-Way (Spanish/English) Immersion Program*, and a Full Inclusion Program that supports students with various learning needs in the regular classroom.

Sylvia Mendez families appreciate the small learning community of Sylvia Mendez, our ethnic and socio-economic diversity, the active PTA, and our dedicated and talented teachers and staff. Our diverse students include children from around the world, including Latin America, India, Norway, France, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, China, and West Africa.

Sylvia Mendez Videos: Three Rules around the Playground Wheel Sylvia Mendez Dances for Deborah Cohan

TWI Testimonials: Bienvenidos a Sylvia Mendez Elementary School

Sylvia Mendez’s integrated science curriculum exposes students to science concepts, theories and processes while covering the California standards mandated for each grade level. All children receive art enrichment and third through fifth grade students study vocal or instrumental music. Sports4kids provides organized sports activities during recess as well as staff training and support for physical education classes. Through our nutrition and healthy living program, children care for chickens and bunnies, grow and harvest crops in two beautiful gardens, and cook delicious, healthy food in their cooking classes.

Sylvia Mendez also offers a Spanish/English Immersion program whereby native Spanish and English speakers learn to become bilingual and bicultural. Students begin the Two Way Immersion (TWI) program in kindergarten and continue through fifth grade.* Within this program students have the opportunity to develop long lasting relationships and cultural appreciation for peers who are often separated by race and language. For students who want to further their education in Spanish, the Two Way Immersion program continues in middle school at Longfellow.

After-school classes include homework support and opportunities for students to learn drama, circus skills, sculpturing, karate, singing, chess, etc. Student support services include a Literacy Coach, who helps struggling readers become confident, fluent readers; tutors and mentors who support students with social and academic skills; and a Student Study Team that involves a student’s teachers, parents, and other professionals to help meet specific the child’s learning needs.

Older students participate in two special field trips: Sierra Outdoor Science Camp (4th and 5th grade) and the Mosaic Project (5th grade), a unique week-long human-relations outdoor school, which teaches students cultural awareness and sensitivity, and improves their ability to solve problems and understand and resolve conflicts peacefully.

We invite you to visit our school and see the wonderful ways that Sylvia Mendez nurtures and supports the social, emotional, and academic growth of our children.

Sylvia Mendez School Name Review

Hear from TWI parents in Bienvenidos a Sylvia Mendez Elementary School.


“I love the level of commitment, involvement and caring from the principal, the teaching staff and the kids. The parent community is incredible. We are the best kept secret in the district.”
– A Sylvia Mendez Parent

“All students receive enrichment classes in farm & garden, cooking, art, music, library & PE. And the after school program is wonderful with tie-ins to class curriculum. Sylvia Mendez is a school where children feel safe, excited and appreciated: just exactly the right kind of environment conducive to good learning.”
– A Sylvia Mendez Parent

“In a global climate, speaking multiple languages has obvious benefits. . .but to truly learn a second language requires you to become actively immersed in it.  Two-Way Immersion provided that.”
– TWI Alumnus

Sylvia Mendez School Plan 2017-18
SBA Spring Testing Letter 2017
Smarter Balanced Factsheet for Families:
English | Español
Family Guides to the Smarter Balanced Assessment (Bilingüe)
Sylvia Mendez PTA
School Accountability Report Card 2016-17
Family Guides To Report Cards
History of Sylvia Mendez