John Muir School is the smallest of the 11 elementary schools in the Berkeley Unified School District. The school was built in 1916 with funds from the 1915 bond. The original architect of the Tudor-style building was James Placheck. The first principal of John Muir was Miss Lydia Atterbury, with the original curriculum was based upon the Montessori method. In 1926, there were approximately 325 students, and by 1970, there were approximately 479 students. The classroom wing and the kindergarten area were retrofitted in 1980. In 1984, the school was reopened as a “model school” to mainstream special education students. In 1989, the Model School was chosen as one of the first schools to be made accessible to the disabled, and in 1990, the school changed its name back to the John Muir School.
Today, John Muir serves over 290 students, from Kindergarten through fifth grade. The Tudor-style building sits on more than three acres of beautiful grounds, reflective of the great man after whom the school was named. The school's mission is to achieve academic excellence, promote personal growth, and celebrate the beauty of nature, community diversity and learning.