Public Schools in Alameda's East End
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Public Schools in Alameda's East End
We are on the verge of moving to Alameda from Berkeley and so are looking
into schools-public and charter-in the area. We are still hearing that,
after passing a good sized parcel tax referendum last year there are
issues with class size, diverting of students from the neighborhood
schools, and a few other eyebrow-raising things. We are happy with
whichever one we end up attending (East End, off Broadway/Central) but
are wondering if other BPNers can offer input to this situation.
We are a family with two kids and live on the east end in Alameda (kids go
to Otis). Class size is 24-25 K-3rd and 30-32 4th-5th. Because of the
parcel tax there is no threat of class size increasing further. Enrollment
at neighborhood schools is not typically a problem - occasionally
Kindergarten will be over-enrolled, but I don't believe that this happened
at either Otis or Edison this year (we have a daughter in K right now and
another in 4th). You could call the district office to hear whether they
are anticipating a problem this coming fall. The district and teacher's
union are having disputes over the teacher contract right now but we trust
that these things will be worked out amicably.
Both of these schools have VERY active parent communities and provide a
terrific range of opportunities for all kids in terms of arts, music,
science, afterschool classes, assemblies, etc. And I have to say that you
can't underestimate the value of the neighborhood school for your kids and
family - this is something we absolutely love. We have no regrets about
sending our kids to Otis - would definitely do it again if we had to make
the choice over again, even now with the various charter options in
I have heard disturbing rumors about the difficulty of registering for
schools on Alameda's East End. Rumor has it that around 80 children
apply for only
60 spaces. Does anyone know about this? How does it work? Is it first
serve? Where do kids get bumped to? Seems crazy to buy a house in such
area with good schools and then not be able to attend. Any help would
appreciated. Alameda hopeful.
Otis Elementary is on the east end of Alameda, and both my
children attend there. While there was a 45 minute wait the
first day of kindergarten registration this year, there were
still open slots left at the end of the day. I think the key
would be moving into town before January of the year you would
like your child to start kindergarten, and then making sure you
know the day of kindergarten registration. As for older kids, I
would try calling the school.
I heard the same rumor and investigated it quickly. (We
specifically bought a house in a particular school's zone - years
before we even had kids, because it was our intention to send our
eventual kids to that school.)
What I heard is: this year the school district was caught off
guard with the number of kids enrolling in kindergarten at a
particular school ... therefore not enough spaces. It was first
come first serve (as I believe it should be ... so no personal
preferences or politics intervene.) I was told the school
district did not expect that extreme of an under-counting to
It was also suggested that concerned parents do the following:
Express your concerns to the school board that A) the district do
a better job surveying the number of kids expected to enroll in
kindergarten for each school zone well in advance of actual
enrollment ... so preparations can be made in time. and B) the
district needs to do a better job making sure students they
enroll actually live in the zone for that school. I heard an
ugly rumor about an Alameda elementary school teacher that tried
to use her parent's address to get her child into a particular
school. She of all people should have known better!
Another concerned east-end mom
We live on the east end in Alameda, in the neighborhood for
Otis School. It is true that there are more kids than spots
for kindergarten, but only at Edison School. This year there
were something like 89 children signed up for 60 spots.
However, many parents sign their children up when they haven't
decided whether they are going with public or private and want
to keep their options open. I think there are not that many
families who get sent elsewhere when all is said and done. It
does seem to be crazed though - people lined up starting the
evening before and stayed in line all night long! There is
always an ''extra'' class of kindergarteners at one of the
schools for any overflow (this year it was at Otis).
This problem does not exist at any of the other schools, and
they are also very high quality! The two elementary schools on
Bay Farm, as well as Otis, Lum, Franklin (in the Gold Coast
neighborhood), and Paden (more on the West end), are all great
in their own way.
Unless you are obsessed about living in the Edison
neighborhood, which is nice but certainly not the only nice
neighborhood, you'll find that the entry for schools is
refreshingly simple and straightforward.
-happy on the east end!
It is somewhat of a challenge enrolling a new student into the Alameda
to limited space. But the flip side, should your child get in...is that
class sizes are
kept small and children are provided with more indivual attention. But
deal - You have to enroll as early as possible and show proof of
residency at time of
enrollment. First come. First Serve. If you can't enroll during the
enrollment'' period, you must wait until the school re-open in late
register. All students who register are expected to show up on the
first day of
school. Within that first month, they will assess class sizes and send
a note home to
the parents of students who were enrolled last, with a list of schools
for that grade. The parent can choose which school from the list to
student at that time. The students will then be placed on a waiting
list for their
''home'' school. When openings come up, parents will be notified and
keep their child where they're at...or transfer them back to the home
the process as it was explained to me last spring. Hope that helps.
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