Claremont School News: Enrollment Soars, Support the Auction

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The secret is out: Exciting things are happening at Claremont Middle School under the leadership of twin principals Reginald and Ronald Richardson. The resulting big bump in enrollment - from a projected 335 to 487 - is causing growing pains for the school, which needed four substitute teachers to cover academic core classes on the first day. Now, three new permanent teachers have been hired to teach math, science, and social studies to 6th and 7th graders, and the principals are working hard to find an English teacher to fill the remaining open position.

The increase in enrollment is partly due to more local Rockridge families deciding to send their kids to Claremont.

For example, 42 of this year's 6th graders came from Chabot Elementary School, as compared to 25 the year before. Families from other elementary schools are also jumping on the bandwagon, with 21 from Emerson, 18 from Peralta, 12 from Piedmont Avenue, seven from Redwood Heights, five from Kaiser, and five from Thornhill.

When asked about the reasons for the school's new popularity, Principal Reginald Richardson said, "I believe parents have been communicating with other parents and the community about how safe they feel, how positive the environment is here, how great the teachers are. I believe the parents grew trust."

PTA President Elizabeth Gessel said, "As people continue to learn about the work being done by co-Principals Ronald and Reginald Richardson, we expect student numbers will keep increasing until we reach our full capacity. We look forward to building a vibrant Claremont community with all our students and their families."

Attendance Clerk Marta Gonzalez lives in the San Leandro School District but chose to enroll her son Moises in the 6th grade at Claremont this year. Last year was her first year working at Claremont, as it was for the Richardsons. "It's not just for the convenience of bringing my son to the school where I work. I saw the changes in the school last year," she said.

With votes of confidence like that from the inside, and all the positive media reports about the school from the outside, Claremont Middle School seems well on its way to the best year yet.


Black and Orange Ball & Auction Benefits Claremont Middle School

With Claremont's increased enrollment, the pressure is on to make the 7th annual auction bigger and better than before.

Traditionally taking place the Saturday before Halloween at Uptown Body & Fender (401 26th Street), this year's auction is themed "The Black and Orange Ball." Claremont's school colors are black and orange, not to mention Halloween's. Auction co-chair Deb French said, "Come dressed in black. Come dressed in orange. Come dressed in costume. Just come!"

For the first time, Claremont will also have an online auction, starting Saturday, October 12 at 9 a.m. and ending Tuesday, October 22 at 10 p.m. Anyone with a credit card is welcome to join the fun, as participants hunt for bargains: a gift certificate at an old favorite restaurant or a new one like Bourbon & Beef; a three-month family membership at the Oakland Y; four tickets to the California Revels; and much more. See

"The Claremont Auction is our biggest community event of the year and our biggest fundraiser," said Claremont PTA President Elizabeth Gessel. "Our families look forward to gathering with staff and the larger Claremont community to eat, drink and socialize, all while dressed in fabulous costumes. At the same time, we raise money for our design, music, garden, library and technology programs, as well as for supplies for teachers, student field trips, and after school support."

Rockridge merchants along College Avenue from the J Salon near Broadway all the way north to Wood Tavern and La Farine support the auction by donating gift certificates, services, and merchandise. Donations come from all over the Bay Area and even farther afield, but Claremont is lucky to have so many fabulous and generous Rockridge neighbors.