My daughter has had a great experience at Jefferson -- she's been in the Chinese BiCultural program and both the kindergarten and first grade teachers have been fantastic. The other kids are also a good mix and the teachers have done a good job working with the very high energy kids, and the kids who didn't have formal preschool to help them understand how to be students. The PTA is strong, and raises a fair amount of money as well as sponsors several evening school-wide events that seem to attract most of the parents. The new principal is very hard-working and seems to be developing a good overall picture of the school and the community. I would strongly recommend Jefferson. CL
I have two children in Jefferson Elementary, a son in fourth grade, and a daughter in kindergarten. We walked in with a full awareness that we were consciously choosing a public education, with its benefits _and_ drawbacks, and we have been very happy (and very involved). The teachers are excellent. Sure, everyone has favorite teachers, and those whose styles they think might not mesh with their own kid, but all in all, terrific.
The approach taken by our son's teachers (and our daughter's teacher) has been geared around an understanding of child development. This educational approach meshed with our early childhood philosophy (largely acquired at CCC, our children's parent coop nursery school); it's not for everyone. If it will bother you that your child might not have spelling tests till 3rd or 4th grade, then you might not be happy at this school, anyway.
Our son has learned the curriculum plus loads of color theory, classroom cooperation, creativity, and "self propulsion" skills. He also did very well on his standardized tests last spring and has surprised me with how well he is doing on those spelling tests. Jefferson has a very active parent body (critical to children's success), and fosters a real sense of community and inclusiveness. Ours is a very diverse school with lots of differently-composed families. I think everyone benefits from this. Marian Altman, our long-time principal who retired 1.5 years ago used to remind us that public schools teach children how to get along in the world. I think she's absolutely right.
If you have specific questions about the controlled choice system for school assignment, or anything else about Jefferson, please don't hesitate to ask me. I've been involved long enough and deeply enough to know how most of these machinations work.
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