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Re: Seeking feedback on Northwest Zone schools
I have a 2nd grader & Kinder at Thousand Oaks (TO). All the schools in our zone our generally really good. (Don't know much about BAM. Not in NW zone when we were looking at schools.) Because of the quality of BUSD schools, your 1, 2, 3 choices really come down to what works for your family & depends simply on your priorities/point of view. Select a school based on what you feel is good for your kids. We listed TO as our first choice mainly because of the outdoor space, big grassy field for kids to run around. We liked the campus/classrooms and that it was a big school as far as BUSD goes (which I understand for some whould be a con.) Also it was simply in a good location for us. Now 3 yrs at TO, we continue to be thrilled with our school. We've had incredibly caring, top-notch teachers. Can't say enough good things about our entire teaching staff. Our test schools continue to improve every year, but test scores as you say are not all that. We have involved parents that help in the classrooms and an active PTA (I'm a member) that organize many fun community building events as well as provide/fund extra-curricular activities/programs for our kids. Our PTA also has a solid fundraising committee. Finally, as someone who didn't consider diversity as a factor in selecting a school, I know really understand, appreciate & greatly value the diversity of our families and think TO is a great all- around school. For us a negative might be the lack of after- school activities for non after-school care kids. But I'm not really sure that's a negative for us, because I'm not into filling my kids free time up with classes/activities However, I suppose it might be nice to have some on campus after school choices should my kids seem interested in say, drama, chess or whatever. Good luck and may you get in to your 1st choice school & if you don't, know that all the NW Zone schools are great in their own ways. Extremely Proud TO Parent
Hi. My son got into Thousand Oaks Elementary and I have tried to find out more about the school via this site and the PTA site, and the information on those sites is rather sparse or out- dated. (I plan to attend the May open house.) My questions: What do parents think about the school (pros and cons)? What do parents think about the after-school program (pros and cons)? For parents whose kids ride the bus to school, what tips do you have about using the bus (I suspect I won't use the bus until my child gets into first grade)? What tips do you have to pass on to novices like me, who have no experience with the elementary school system? -Novice Mom of a soon-to-be kindergartener, YIKES!
I have several questions about Thousand Oaks:
- My child is already reading, and is also advanced in math. How well does the school serve children who are on the 'accelerated' end of the academic spectrum?
- What is the after-school program like? I know other schools have enrichment classes in addition to basic after-school childcare/homework help. What does TO have?
- How are the arts - - visual, music and performing arts -- integrated into the curriculum and/or offered as enrichment?
- Discipline -- are the classes, especially the upper grades, well managed and orderly?
- How does 'full inclusion' impact the distribution of resources in the school, and are students with disabilities served at the expense of enrichment activities or advanced academics for other students?
- How is the academic level and student focus in the upper grades when the class size jumps? How are the 3/4/5 teachers?
- How does the Spanish bilingual program interact with the English classes? How well do these two streams of students integrate with each other when they merge in the upper grades? Is there a cohesive sense of community among the students across the language barrier and separation of classes?
- What is the culture of the PTA? How much are parents involved in the school and in what capacities?
- The yard strikes me as sprawling and huge. Is it well managed and safe, especially for the little kindergarteners? Thanks for your input! Surprised to find ourselves at Thousand Oaks
Re: Looking at kindergartens
My daughter is in 2nd grade at Thousand Oaks so our kindergarten experience is stil pretty fresh! It was an absolutely wonderful year. She had Teacher Libby who is lovely, kind and so in tune with the kids. Kindergarten totally exceeded our expectations in every way. The other Thousand Oaks K teachers are also great. We did several group activities so we got a sense of their styles as well. Also, lots of parents end up wanting their younger kids to have the same teacher as the older ones--which is a terrific testimonial to how great the teachers are at Thousand Oaks. The sense community at Thousand Oaks is very strong and positive, too.
thrilled TO parent
Re: Kids of GLBT: Where do they go to School?
Sounds like you may be considering only private schools. If you are considering Berkeley public schools, then I recommend Thousand Oaks School on Colusa. My partner and I have been very happy with the gay-friendly atmosphere there, and our 3rd grade son has several friends in his current class from gay families, as has been the case since Kindergarten. I can count at least five of the teachers who are gay and out. Moreover, the teachers who have taught our kid have been excellent, in addition to being gay friendly. Please feel free to contact me if you want any more info about the school.
Re: Rosa Parks School
Look into Thousand Oaks school as well. There are bilingual classes (no immersion program), but not all kids who speak Spanish at home are placed in the bilingual classes; some are in English only. Not sure what it depends on but I've assumed it's parent choice. You would be eligible for bus transportation from near Rosa Parks, to TO. There are some really great teachers at TO, and a fairly active parent community. Check it out! Rosa Parks neighborhood; attending TO
After agonizing last year over sending our daughter to a public or private school, I just wanted to say we are really happy at Thousand Oaks (TO)Public School in Berkeley. We got into the private school of our choice and turned them down to go to TO right in the midst of all that budget crisis stuff. I worried we were making a mistake, but after almost 3 months we are really pleased.
Three things we like about TO. 1) the academics are outstanding. For example, my daughter is putting words together into sentences! and adding! and it is fun! 2) the social situation is varied and respectful. She is hanging out with kids from all walks of life AND the kids are learning how to treat each other with respect. 3) Economically, we are not stressed and can spend more time with our child versus working to pay for private school. Public schools are free AND of high quality. I'd recommend them!! Kellie
My daughter is a third-grader at Thousand Oaks, and we have been very satisfied with the school. There are lots of special programs at T.O., including the Julia Morgan/Lincoln Center performing arts program, which is wonderful. Right now the school is in its second year of a three year Magnet grant, and a lot of attention is being paid to arts and technology. The teachers are all recieving training right now in new conflict resolution skills, new literacy programs, and the afore-mentioned arts program. T.O. has after-school enrichment classes such as Spanish, chess, yoga, art, jewelry-making, karate, Indian dance, Mexican dance, drama, world percussion, etc. Once a month, the whole school gets together for community- building via singing and sign language and dance. Additionally, within the school day, each class gets drama, music, gardening and cooking/nutrition, and P.E., each with a specialist once a week. There is a science speacialist, but I'm not sure how much time each class gets with him. There are several different programs to help kids who are having problems learning to read. About the only thing I have a problem with is that so far, there are no official, school-wide programs to encourage or challenge academically gifted kids. That remains up to the individual teachers. Nina
I am thinking of sending my son to Kindergarten at our neighborhood school, Thousand Oaks Elementary School, next year. I would be interested in hearing from parents whose children are now at the school. I had heard that the previous principal was quite accessible. I would appreciate parents' impressions of the current principal and the teaching staff, particularly the Kindergarten teachers. A Berkeley Mom
My son will start Kindergarten at Thousand Oaks in the fall and he has a spot in the onsite after school program. I understand that he needs to attend every day until approximately 5 p.m. to ensure the program is fully funded. However, we really only need care three days per week, but I apparently cannot pick him up early on the other days. Does anyone have any suggestions for alternative after school care? Is there a day care in the area that cares for older children that might be able to do a pick up? What have other parents done? Anyone interested in a part-time nanny type arrangement with their school age child?
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