Willard Middle School: no longer under consideration for the REALM Charter School

Willard Middle School is no longer in the running as a possible location for the middle school part of the city’s new REALM Charter School — much to the relief of many Willard parents who were campaigning against the move.

After a closed meeting Wednesday, the BUSD Board announced it had decided against Willard as a home for Berkeley’s new Revolutionary Education and Learning Movement (REALM) middle school

Victor Diaz, REALM’s principal, told Berkeleyside on March 17 that he was opposed to Willard as a site. “We don’t want that solution,” he said. “We don’t want to disrupt Willard’s program. We think we’re coming close to a deal on the commercial property, and we’re still on course to announce plans by April 1.” Diaz also made clear his opposition to the BUSD Board.

At the Board meeting parent teacher Sharon Arthur spoke about the “great improvements” that had been made at Willard in the last few years, and about “the successful and growing programs that would have to be curtailed or canceled entirely if Realm were at Willard, and about the difficulty of managing two schools within one location.”

This leaves a commercial property at Addison and 8th Street as the most probable site for REALM’s middle school, and there is a “high likelihood” that its high school will be located at BUSD’s West Campus site, according to Diaz.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...