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Otis Elementary School (Alameda, CA)
Re: Seeking Info on Alameda Elementary Schools
My daughter is a third grader at Otis and we're quite happy with it. Class size is 25. Some grades, some years a few kids might get bumped to neighboring schools if it's overfull. If you're planning to register mid-year you could probably call the office and make sure there's currently room in your grade/s. We started in May and the next fall 6-8 kids got bumped from her grade, but she wasn't one. There's PE and music twice a week from teachers on staff, and a very organized parent volunteer program that does visual arts (not sure exactly how often). There's a very organized parent community that runs the visual arts program, a new garden program, fundraising, after school classes, etc. Happy Otis parent
My daughter will be entering Kindergarten Fall of 2009. I'm interested in hearing from parents of Otis School on the east end of Alameda. Would like to hear about teachers, classrooms, community and parent involvement, extracurricular offerings, and anything you feel stands out at this school. After touring several private schools, the reality of our finances has hit home and I'm realizing that I know next to nothing about the public school system. Have checked the archives and greatschools.net but would really appreciate current information. Thanks! alamedamama
Re: Transferring from Oakland Schools to Alameda
I would be wary of feeling certain of getting a K slot at Otis. While each of the last two years they have opened an extra classroom at Otis to absorb the increase in in-zone kids, there is no reason to except that they will do that again next year and if they do those spots are increasingly likely to be filled by island kids bumped from other high- performing schools. Both of the demographic reports done recently (one by the district and another by a group of concerned parents) indicate a huge rise in kindergarden-age kids on the east end next year and the years following--so spots at Otis will become even harder to come by. an islander
The school board recently (just 2 weeks ago) changed policy for incoming K students to give priority to siblings with students already enrolled in their home school and then if they are over- enrolled the rest of the K students will be chosen through a random drawing.
You can read more about the factors that go into how a child moves up in priority to get into an Alameda school on the AUSD website, but I think you should start researching other Island schools that don't have these capacity problems. Lum, Washington and Haight usually are where kids from Oakland get placed. Anon
We are parents of two young children and are house hunting in
Alameda. I would appreciate any comments about Otis
Elementary. I was under the impression that it is a good
school, mostly by reviews and information given on
greatschools.net. However a recent post to this BPN newsletter
mentioned Otis as one of the schools ''to avoid''. I am
surprised to hear this and would appreciate if anyone can
elaborate on this. Thanks very much - any opinions positive
or negative are very helpful.
soon to be Alamedan mom
Re: Thinking about moving from Lamorinda to Alameda
My son is entering 1st grade at Otis Elementary in Alameda. His kindergarten year the! re was great. Otis is in the east end of town and has a good reputation although it's not that one that people try to ''fake addresses'' and get their kids into (like Edison or Paden elem. on the Main Island or Earhardt and BayFarm Elem on Bay Farm Island) The administration, the teachers, his classmates, the facilities were all great at Otis elem.
Some parents may find the parental involvement to be somewhat lacking but it was just fine to us. Alameda schools have a lower per pupil expenditure because of the way property taxes were set up when Prop 13 went into effect. The community recently passed a parcel tax to help the school district but it is much lower than what nearby wealthier communities tax themselves so I assume Alameda schools have less in the way of the extras such as music, art, and sports. However, I believe that teachers and a student's home environment help kids the most. My sister's children went through Lum elem. and Wood middle school is Alameda (central part of the island). They were able to get into University High School which is a highly competitive private high school in San Francisco.
The ethnic and racial diversity that exists in Alameda schools is wonderful. So is the fact that we have neighborhood schools which means you can usually walk to the school from your house.Alameda is a great place for families. Best of luck to you. cseely
For now, I believe we have made the right decision for our daughter. My daughter loves school and is learning academically and socially. I love being able to walk my daughter to and from school each day. I am impressed by the caliber of other parents and children I have met at Otis School. Just last week I was fortunate enough to see a really spectacular assembly at Otis School. Students from San Franciscos High School of the Arts performed for the Otis students. A parent of a second grader, Carrie Zinn, has organized the assemblies. Carrie, a dancer herself, has clearly used her contacts, time, experience and knowledge to benefit all of the students at Otis School.
I know how overworked, underpaid, overwhelmed teachers are. I could find things to criticize at my daughters school but instead, I have taken the approach my parents modeled finding ways to help out at the school. When Alameda Unified School District extended the kindergarten day a few years ago, my first thought was the lunchroom. Yes, kindergartners (and their parents) can handle and may even benefit from a longer school day, but even first graders have a hard time in the lunchroom. Knowing that, I have committed myself to lunch duty at Otis School. It is not always my favorite time of day but I now know all of the kindergartners, have met many of the parents and feel I am helping out the school. I have provided my own paper, colored pencils etc. and set up an art area on the yard for the students. I also attended the Art Docent training at Otis School and go into my daughter s classroom to teach an art lesson each month.
My daughter has just started kindergarten at Otis School and we're trying to figure out if we should stay here. My daughter seems to be learning what she needs to learn-- although we're dismayed at the cookie-cutter standardized curriculum being used.We're also worried about what seems to be a glaring lack of supervision during recess and some really rough play, especially by the boys (and some girls, to be fair). Does anyone have input on this? Does anyone have anything really nice to say about this school? Seems like in Alameda, the Bay Farm Schools and Edison are considered ''really good'' and when we mention ''Otis,'' people shrug and say, ''that's fine, too.'' Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
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