Berkwood Hedge School

1809 Bancroft Way


Berkwood School was founded in 1946 and moved to this site in the early 1960s.  It was a racially integrated school that “emphasized small classes, academic proficiency, and the development of each student’s potential.”  In the late 1960s, former Berkwood teachers and parents organized a teacher-collective and brought the arts, music, drama, etc. to students, establishing the Hedge School.  The two schools merged in 1975 and opened on the former Berkwood campus.


Two houses on the site were demolished in the mid-1980s to make room for a considerable expansion of the school facilities.  A complete renovation of the main building was accomplished in 2004, which also included a new kitchen for the Community Room.  Berkwood Hedge School moved from a collective structure to an administrative structure in 2001 though their core philosophy remains – “a rich academic and arts program, close ties between families and school, and a strong sense of community.”  It is the first school in Alameda County to be certified as a Green Business.[1]  



St. Joseph the Worker School – A Multicultural Community of Education and Faith

2125 Jefferson Avenue


St. Joseph’s Elementary School originated as St. Peter’s Boys School in January of 1881.  The school was expanded in 1888.  Then it was moved down the lot toward Strawberry Creek in 1892 so that a new school for the Sisters of Presentation could be built on the site.  In 1909 the old school building had become inadequate.  It was later moved across the street and a second story was added.  A new St. Joseph’s School was then built in 1912 between the old school and Jefferson Street, connecting to the original building by a second floor corridor.  There was a complete rebuilding of St. Joseph’s School in 1954.


Historically, St. Joseph the Worker School was a pioneer educational institution.  It provided a good education for the Catholic families of Berkeley; however, due to declining enrollment, the school closed in 2007.  We have heard that a Charter High School may be moving into the school facilities.


Walden Center & School

2446 McKinley Avenue


“Walden Center & School offers child-centered academics that fully incorporate artistic expression within a supportive community of learners.” Founded in 1958 by parents and educators, pacifists and anarchists, Walden’s multi-grade classes (K-1, 1-2, 2-3, and 4-6) are administered by a teacher-collective.  To create a strong sense of community, parents are encouraged to commit 50 hours to work throughout the year. They also maintain the physical facility and staff the office. An extended Day Care program is offered as well.[2]



Washington Communication & Technology Magnet Elementary School          

2300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way


Bancroft Way School, a two-story brick building with four classrooms, was built on a lot on Bancroft Way extending from Grove Street (MLK Jr. Way) to McKinley Avenue in 1897.  The architects were the Cunningham Bros. and the contractor was E.J. Squire.  Miss Emelie Bergen was the first principal. The name of the school was soon changed to Longfellow and it was moved to the corner of California and Ward Streets in 1905.


In 1906 Washington School was built on the present site at a cost of $45,000 with Stone & Smith the architects, and Stockholm and Allen the contractor.  A Manual Training Building was added in 1908.  Mr. J.A. Imrie was the principal when the school opened in 1907.  In 1910 it was made one of two intermediate schools for the Berkeley community and served both elementary and intermediate students until 1916, when it became an elementary school. 


In 1952 Washington School was demolished and a new school built on the site.  The architects were Dragon, Schmidts and Hardman.  Over the years additional property was purchased and temporary structures were added and/or subtracted depending on the number of students enrolled.  In 1994 the main building was renovated and retrofitted by Baker/Vilar Architects and reopened in 1996. 


Washington is the only public school in the District.  It currently serves kindergarten through fifth grade students and the philosophy is that “the Magnet/Nutrition/Ecology programs at the school are the foundation on which all other social and academic programs can be built.”


Washington School Park features a school-age play area and four basketball courts.  It is managed and maintained by the Berkeley Unified School District and is open to the general public during non-school hours.[3]



[1]  Source:  Berkwood Hedge School (

[2]  Source:  Walden Center & School (

[3]  Sources: S. D. Waterman, History of the berkeley schools, (Berkeley Unified School District, 1918) (

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