Mel Stenger, Principal • Erin Fields, School Secretary
2300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704 • Phone: (510) 644-6310
Because of strong academic growth for all racial and cultural student groups, Washington was honored as a Blue Ribbon Award School in 2010, one of 230 among 6,000 Title 1 California schools. Washington Elementary School is a vital and diverse student community, comprised of many cultures and 21 different languages. Washington is located in the heart of Berkeley, blocks from downtown Berkeley and across the street from Berkeley High School. This location affords the school many benefits, like being able to walk to Cal Performance events on the UC Berkeley campus, collaborations with Berkeley High and Cal students, buddy reading with seniors at the Senior Center, swim lessons for all kindergarten through third grade students at the YMCA and the help provided by many volunteers. Washington, currently a comfortable size of about 360 students, is able to house most classrooms within the main building, allowing separate classrooms in the portables for cooking, music and science.
Washington’s Enrichment Programs
While many schools in other districts have had to cut enrichment programs, Berkeley has been able to maintain these programs partially through BSEP (Berkeley Schools Excellence Project) measure money, PTA fundraising, and special grants. Class sizes are kept to twenty in grades kindergarten through third grade. Three years ago, as part of the California Nutrition Network grant, Washington created a school garden and nutrition/ecology program for all children kindergarten through fifth grade. We have full-time garden and cooking instructors who provide instruction to all students every other week. Washington also has a special artist to work with students in the classroom. All students in third grade learn about music and how to play the song flute. Fourth and Fifth graders learn a band or orchestral instrument. Kindergarten, First and Second graders have an Orff music class once a week provided by a grant with Crowden Music School. First, second, fourth and fifth grades attend special science classes each week. Kindergarten, first, second and third grade students walk to the YMCA for swim lessons. All students participate in a school sports program twice a week and during recesses.
Before and After School Programs
An excellent before and after school childcare program with collaborative staff from KidzClub (Berkeley Learns) and BEARS, serves at least1/3 of our school population. Before-school care is provided. Enrichment in the arts, cooking, and sports, as well as tutoring and homework support are provided.
Parents, Guardians, and Community PTA, African American Unity and the English Learner group, lead many projects, enrich cultural events, and strongly contribute to the equality and academic focus of the school. One of the most visible is the Whole School Outdoor Learning Project. In conjunction with architects, Berkeley Kiwanis Club, and UC Berkeley students, parents have surveyed our whole community to create an outdoor plan, and post completed projects on its first floor bulletin board. Pictures of our partners abound on bulletin boards throughout the school. As an example, look on our playground to see the new PTA, Lowe’s grant funded, Kiwanis-built Outdoor Classroom.
If you are lucky enough to visit Washington twice a month at 8:20 am, you may witness something Washington is known for; its spirit. Each Monday, the students gather for an assembly to share and learn. Common themes include cooperation, pride in accomplishment, respect and safety. Students gain confidence by presenting songs, dances, poems and other written works in front of the school. Often the students break out into a rousing round of the school theme song, “We are Washington, mighty, mighty Washington…” The smallest kindergartener to the largest fifth grader join in the song and the school clap. No matter what culture they’ve come from, or background, when these students walk in the door each morning they are proud to be at a school where the principal, teachers and staff care so much about their success.
“We’ve been at Washington for two years, and I can report that our first grader loves school, is eager to get up and go every day, and is learning at a ferocious rate. He has a wonderfully diverse set of friends, has learned reading skills we couldn’t imagine for him two years ago, and comes home with the most fantastic knowledge learned in his gardening, art, music, and many other enrichment classes. We love Washington!”
—Submitted by a parent
“I love Washington School so much because of it’s diversity and caring children, parents, and caring & dedicated staff, and principal.”
—Submitted by a parent
Washington Bell Schedule
Start time (every day): 8:15
K: 1:30 (Wed: 1:25)
1-3: 2:20 (Wed: 1:30)
4-5: 2:25 (Wed: 1:35)
Washington School Information Page
Program Improvement Letter for 2012-13 (Spanish)
Washington School Plan 2013-14
Washington School Plan 2012-13
Washington School Plan 2011-12
California Healthy Kids Survey 2012
Washington PTA Website
School Accountability Report Card 2011-12
School Accountability Report Card 2010-11
School Accountability Report Card 2009-10
API Report STAR Results
Washington Library Website
Washington Garden and Nutrition Newsletter
Family Guides To Report Cards
History of Washington