Berkeley's education system moving forward at all levels

When deciding where to purchase a new home, many buyers value the community's school system above all else. A strong educational backbone is good for residents with school-age children and the area as a whole, as it helps attract more families and produces a better-educated citizenry. People considering buying one of the houses for sale in Berkeley will be encouraged to learn that the community has a strong, well-funded program for improving its educational system, and recent data suggests that this plan has been quite effective.

Improving academic culture at Berkeley High
According to the Daily Californian, a new survey shows that initiatives to improve Berkeley High School - such as reducing the presence of illegal substances and weapons - has contributed to an improved learning atmosphere for many students.

Like most high schools across the country, Berkeley High has been working diligently to produce an academic atmosphere that is free of potentially harmful, education-disrupting distractions. The school system formed a task force charged with promoting a culture of security.

"The district did engage in a number of safety measures going back to February or March of 2011," Susan Craig, Director of Student Services, told the source.

Since then, the task force and a group of committed students, teachers and parents have engaged in several initiatives to improve the school's educational atmosphere. For example, the school has started offering counseling services to students using funds from a Tobacco-Use Prevention Education program grant, the source reports.

The results of this and similar programs have been startling. According to this year's California Healthy Kids Survey, which is distributed to students throughout the state every other year, Berkeley High has undergone a dramatic reversal in terms of school safety. Substance abuse and contraband on campus has declined by as much as 33 percent. Overall, many students reported feeling safer and more able to learn at school.

"We're very pleased with the survey results all around," Craig told the source.

Higher education gains
Of course, the educational system in Berkeley extends beyond the high school. The city is also home to one of the nation's most-heralded universities, which has also been making the news for the right reasons recently.

UC Berkeley recently welcomed its new chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, a highly regarded anthropologist, researcher and author, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Coming from his current post at Columbia University, Dirks said he plans on extending UC Berkeley's reputation for academic excellence and moving the university forward in the coming years.

"This is an opportunity I embrace with both excitement and humility," the new Chancellor said in a statement. "I have immense respect for the countless accomplishments of faculty, students and staff at what I consider to be the premier public research university in the world."

Dirk's appointment has been greeted with enthusiasm and praise from many people connected to the university. After a long and involved search, many such people - including the school's outgoing Chancellor, Robert Birgeneau - publicly announced their pleasure with the decision.

"I am fully confident that [Dirks] will uphold Berkeley's deeply held values of access and excellence," Birgeneau said in a statement. "I congratulate the search committee for its outstanding work in identifying such a fine candidate."

Education and home values
Few communities have as esteemed an education system as Berkeley. With its high-performing public school system and its nationally regarded university, the city has long attracted residents who wish to be part of such a stable and inventive academic culture. This strong commitment to learning has played a large role in keeping the metro's properties valuable, even as the housing crisis of the late 2000s sapped the value from many nearby communities.

If you are hoping to move to a city that values its educational system, you may want to consider looking for your next house in Berkeley.