LearnBoost welcomes Bret Harte Middle
Bret Harte Junior High School opened its doors to students in January 1930. The school was built to serve the children of families which had moved into housing being developed in the neighborhood. It is just one of several schools in California which have been named after the writer Bret Harte, an early California literary pioneer.
In 1950, an auditorium-gymnasium was completed and is still used by Physical Education students today. In 1959, another school building was added to the campus. Twenty years later, a major wing was added to that structure. After this wing was completed, the original 1930 structure was demolished. At that time, a copper box time capsule was discovered under the 1930 cornerstone. It was never opened and, unfortunately, has since been lost.
Over the years, the school’s demographics reflect an increased racial and ethnic diversity. In 1998, the school was reconfigured from a junior high (7th, 8th and 9th grades) to a middle school (6th, 7th and 8th grades). Students at Bret Harte are 11 to 14 years old.
In the years that Bret Harte has served its community, more than 21,900 students have graduated from the school. Our most famous alumnus is actor Tom Hanks (Class of 1971). The Class of 2010 will be Bret Harte’s 81st graduating class.
The current principal, Teresa Williams, started in August 2006. The previous principal, Mary Hamadeh, retired in June 2006 after serving Bret Harte for 14 years.
The four-year university and college acceptances of Bret Harte’s Class of 2002 (Skyline High School Class of 2006) included: Alabama, Amherst College, Barnard College, Brooks Institute of Photography, Bryn Mawr College, California Polytechnic University, Pomona, San Luis Obispo, California State Universities (at Chico, Fresno, East Bay, Fullerton, Humboldt, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Sonoma), Cornell University, Dominican University, Emory University, Evergreen State College, Harvey Mudd College, Langston University, Lewis and Clark College, Linfield College, Macalester College, Mills College, Norfolk State University, Northern Arizona University, Oberlin College, Occidental College, Pitzer College, Portland State University, St. Johns University, St. Mary’s College, Scripps College, Smith College, St. Johns College, Texas Southern University, Universities of California (at Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Diego), University of Oregon, University of Pacific, University of Puget Sound, University of Southern California, Vassar College, Washington University (St. Louis), Wheaton College, Whitman College and Willamette University.
The following information was gathered from dataquest for the 2007-2008 school year.
Racial and Ethnic Enrollment: African American or Black = 40.3%, American Indian or Alaska Native = 0.1%, Asian = 20.9%, Filipino = 1.3%, Hispanic or Latino = 26.0%, Pacific Islander = 2.5%, White = 6.7%
Other Demographics: Participants in Free or Reduced-Price Lunch = 60.5%, English Learners = 17%
Total Enrollment: 832
Bret Harte Middle School is a large, traditional public middle school. Because it serves a wide range of students, the school can offer a greater variety of opportunities than smaller schools. Students are required to take six classes every day.
The school offers a limited number of classes during the "A" period before the general school day begins. This opportunity is for students who are willing to arrive at school one period earlier every day. The "A" period permits high performing students to take two Electives (both Language and Music, for instance). It also permits lower performing students the opportunity to take one Elective.
English, History, Math (Algebra and Geometry are offered to higher performing students), Science, Physical Education, Elective class (if test scores are adequate) -OR- Strategic class (if test scores are inadequate) -OR- additional English Language class (if student has limited English fluency).
Beginning Languages (these do not fulfill college entrance requirements): Spanish A/B, Beginning Japanese and Beginning Mandarin, More Advanced Languages (these will fulfill college entrance requirements): Spanish I and II, Instrumental Music: Band (beginning and advanced), Beginning strings, Orchestra and Jazz Band. Visual Art
Strategic classes are required for students who score in the lowest percentiles on the California Standards Tests. Students who score low in English-Language Arts must forfeit their elective and take a reading class. Students who score low in Math must forfeit their elective and take a Strategic Math class. If students score low in both areas, they take strategic classes for both subjects and forfeit their Science class.
Children who are GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) identified are served by cluster placement in academic classes. Children who are hearing impaired, visually impaired or have learning disabilities are served by the Special Education Program. Children who are learning English are served by the English Language Development program.
The Bret Harte Community Academy provides students with classes and other services every day until 6:15 p.m. Some of their selections are: African Dance, Club Live, Digital Moviemakers, Computer Workshop, Entrepreneurship, Bike Club and Bicycle Repair, Golf, Volleyball, Girls on the Run, Robotics Engineering Academy, Bret Harte Magic Chorus, Youth Council, and Academic Mentoring.
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