Antioch Middle School has made the wearing of navy and khaki bottoms with maroon, collared shirts compulsory, while Lone Tree Elementary School has told parents and students that uniforms are not mandatory, but strongly suggested.
Antioch Middle School Principal Stephanie Anello said school officials are proud that 98 percent of the student body has complied with the regulation.
"As you know, Antioch Middle was a failing school," said Anello, referring to the era preceding the beginning of her tenure last year. "But we have had an increase of 400 percent in algebra and 100 percent in seventh and eighth grade math scores.
"Our discipline problems have gone down 50 percent from last year. We have also closed the achievement scores as far as ethnicity is concerned. I hope the uniforms will just further our progress. I look at it as another notch in our improvement process.
"Students are coming to school more focused, more calm. There is less distraction and it's easy to see who our students are, in the context of where we are - in between the elementary and high school."
English teacher Mary Ann Alexeeff, who has been with the school since 1986, said, "I adore the uniforms. I commit to wearing them myself."
Teacher Karen Hampton, who has been with the school district for 20 years, said, "Uniforms have a calming effect. They also level the playing field. I don't have to waste my time policing dress codes any more. We go straight into instruction."
Sixth-grader Brian Jaime said, "I like them a lot!"
"It's easier to get up in the morning and put them on," said Katie Marshall, also in sixth grade.
"I see it as a positive change," said Anello. "I want the kids not to identify with clothing. Let us begin to understand who we really are and let more positive qualities rise to the surface."
Lone Tree Elementary Principal Essence Phillips said that in a recent survey, about 85 percent of parents supported the uniforms. Seeing the majority of students marching in with the school colors of maroon and gold makes her proud.
"They look like Lone Tree Leopards," said Phillips. "We want everyone to feel equal - no name brands. We have so many color choices, including yellows, whites, tans. We hope that the character pillars we want to instill in them will reflect what is inside, regardless of what is the outside. So far, so good."
In parent Chris McCormack's opinion, "I thought it was a good idea. I would like to see the uniform code in high school and middle school, too."
Some Lone Tree parents, though, disagree with mandating uniforms.
"I think it is absolutely wrong for my child," said Marilyn Ramseier. "I don't like them to conform, and it distracts from building self-esteem and individuality. If other parents like them, I'm not going to stop them. But we have our reasons and we signed a waiver."
Parent Lara Lindeman said, "I will have four daughters going to this school … I pass clothes down from daughter to daughter and uniforms will be expensive. Until then, I need scientific poof that uniforms really impacts learning."
Marcy Reyes, a feng shui consultant and Lone Tree volunteer-parent of two said, "Color affects you. The school colors, mustard and maroon, are earth colors that put out the fire in my daughter's sign. It limits and excludes the kids' right to express themselves and be creative.
"It does not address educational issues. It is infringing on our constitutional rights. Although it is supposedly optional, it is perceived and being presented as mandatory. I feel intimidated into choosing the uniform."
Principal Phillips is aware of parents' concerns. "I want to meet with all the parents and discuss their issues against the uniform so we can work it out," she said. "I want to think of myself as a trendsetter, not a follower. I have had many calls from several elementary schools this week asking how we got this started. I think we will see more schools in uniforms next year."
Antioch Unified School District Board Member Walter Ruehlig applauds the schools that have implemented the uniform code, adding that Bidwell Continuing High School has also implemented a uniform this year and that Dozier-Libbey Medical High School will require uniforms when it opens next year.
"If enough schools will do it, then we will have critical mass," said Ruehlig. "It's happening in a grassroots level. We need the principals, parents and kids to vest in the uniform code so it will not seem like the school district is forcing them to do it."