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Hi friends - I would love to hear from current parents at Canyon Elementary School. We live in Oakland but were recently accepted to Canyon for our incoming Kindergarten boy. We were planning on attending our local OUSD elementary school but are very drawn to all that Canyon offers as far as setting, small class size, etc for our active outdoorsy son.
Some specific questions:
- we are a mixed race family - we'd love any insight about this experience at Canyon
- the drive is DAUNTING - for us, 20-25 minutes from East Oakland. How much carpooling is realistic?
- We have concerns about the smallness of the social pool - we have a very social boy and are wondering about how the years in such a small school will work for him
- is there socio-economic diversity?
- an older review on BPN mentioned lack of flexibility around curriculum and low amounts of input available to out of district families - what is your opinion?
Thank you so much for any help! urban mama wanting trees
I also live in Oakland (Dimond district) and was worried about the drive, but it has not been bad at all. I usually allow myself 15-20 minutes to get to school and I have been able to carpool with another family that lives in the Glenview. Most families come from Oakland, so there are many carpooling opportunities, and carpooling has been VERY nice.
My son will be starting kindergarten at Canyon next year. Hopefully, he'll be meeting your son. Cambria
I currently live in Oakland and my children have always attended private schools with financial assistance. My income will increase soon and I don't believe the school will continue to provide assistance at the same level with the income change - our family won't be able to afford the school without assistance. I looked in to Oakland Unified for elementary schools and have familiarized myself with their system but am sure I will not be pleased if my daughter is not placed in a high scoring school. I have heard good things about Canyon Elementary School which is in its own district and am intrigued. Does anyone have a recommendation? Are there any difficulties/challenges with respect to an inter-district transfer? Any advice would be appreciated. Considering Public if outside of Oakland
We are trying to decide between Canyon School and Montclair Elementary. Both schools have many positive qualities, but I know a little more about Montclair and would like to know more about what it's like at Canyon so I can make a fair comparison. If you have experience with either or both schools, please share your perspective (and your recommendation, if you have one). I am especially interested in the pros and cons of each school, and the ''insider'' perspective from parents and/or staff. Thanks
We're considering Canyon School for our child, and would love to hear a bit more about people's experiences there. It seems like a really wonderful place, but I have a couple of questions: Would a child who needs a fairly structured environment be a good fit there? How do the children like having such a small group peers in their immediate grade level? Finally, are the kids generally well prepared for high school after attending Canyon? What do you love or hate about it? Thanks for any information.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for an education-minded parent like myself is the 6,7,8 grade program. I doubted that such a cozy environment could offer the curriculum needed to prepare for high school. I set out to prove it, and discovered how ignorant I was (unfortunately, uninformed opinion seems to guide many educational decisions). From government think tanks to nonprofit activists, I was told the usual middle school (or junior high) is an American experiment (a 1950s political reaction to Sputnik and America's ''coddled'' youth) gone wrong. Statistically, more kids crash academically and behaviorally in middle school than in high school. K-8 program graduates outperform their middle school counterparts. There are competing explanations that I won't elaborate. But 6th-8th grade girls may benefit especially, since their social scene has little anonymity and they remain masters of their own appearance and choices. Canyon graduates do well in high school. To summarize, Canyon offers structural advantages (multi-grade, K-8), attracts good teachers, and as an independent public school district remains intrinsically innovative. Nevertheless, the demands on inter-district transfer parents are substantial, and they face more formal constraints on core program influence than they would in their own district. Now, I didn’t mention the ecological context... Canyon School Information
The negatives? The classes are very small, they take six kindergartners a year so the K-1-2 classes are only 18-20 kids. If your kid doesn't click with their particular group I've heard it can be difficult. I also sensed a certain resistance to even fairly basic questions, such as when I asked if there was any flexibility for kids to work above grade level in any areas, since the classes were already mixed. The answer was a firm no, and honestly I think they were offended that I even asked, even though being able to work at your level is an essential component of Montessori and Waldorf methods, which is what their K-1-2 program is based on. Finally, I've heard that the transition from Canyon into Campolinda High School can be difficult, although on the plus side it's a chance to go to a great high school without moving to Moraga. We had also applied to private schools and when we got into our first choice private school (Black Pine Circle) we decided to do that instead. If we hadn't gotten in there however, I think we would have tried Canyon for a few years and seen how it worked out, since I have no doubt that it's far better than our neighborhood school in Oakland. an almost canyon parent
I grew up with some kids who were always restless at Canyon School, and some, like me, who are still grateful for it every single day—and I’m not sure you can ever know ahead of time exactly which it will be. But we all transitioned just fine into our high schools (a variety of them—Campolindo and Miramonte, some small private schools and Oakland Tech) and we all love each other still. I hope that, wherever you end up, your child loves their school experience as much as I did. And, by the way, those interested in Canyon School should check out Clever Scamp Camp, a summer camp run on the school grounds by two former Canyon School grads. -Best Blessings, from a Canyon Critter
Can anyone give me any current information on the K-1-2 class at Canyon School? We're in Oakland but unimpressed with our neighborhood ''good hills school.'' I've been told Canyon uses the Houghton Mifflin reading curriculum ''but not in the K-1-2'' class. I know all kids are different and there's no need to rush them, but my 5-year-old is ready and pushing to read. I'm wondering if she'll be challenged there. How is the reading program there for the little kids? I'm thrilled about the art emphasis at Canyon, I know she'd love that, and I'd love her to be in a smaller school like Canyon, but she also feels more confident in a structured setting. Also -- I hear there's a waiting list of 20 kindergartners! There are only about 20 kids in the entire K-1-2 class. Should I give up, or is there actual hope of getting her in? (Private school is not an option for us.) Thanks very much.
Re: School for Visual Spatial Learner
My son (age 11) goes to Canyon Elementary School, a K-8 public school located in woodland contiguous to Huckleberry Preserve (Tilden Park). This is a three room redwood schoolhouse, that offers multi-grade instruction in groups K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. The teachers are enthusiastic, intelligent, and demanding. All of the students get attention. Because it escapes the constraining, knee-jerk orthodoxy of many public schools, it provides an alternative for children with different kinds of intelligences. Canyon Elementary was one of the first public school districts in the east bay, back before Tilden Park existed, when people lived in cabins on the hillsides. It has weathered attempts to develop or eliminate it, and teachers, staff, and the local community are fiercely proud of its independence. The small size - there are only around 64 students in all - means parents play a large roll in the education atmosphere. But this is not an experimental or charter school - the school has been here long before me, and it will continue long after my son leaves. That means teachers and staff expect parents to respect its idiosyncratic traditions. Likewise, this is an environment where every student makes a large impact, so the decision to enroll should not be taken lightly. In other words, the school is a community, and communities need patience and support.
Many Canyon students (about half) transfer in from the Oakland area. Parents drive half an hour each way (some car pool) to take their children to and from school. During the first weeks of September, there is some churning, with new transfers in and out. Parents interested in Canyon Elementary's programs may find the upper grades have openings at that time. For those parents who follow educational reform issues, our K-8 structure will strike a chord - education research highlights middle school as the most dysfunctional segment of US education, and evidence points to the transition out of elementary into ''junior high'' as its weakest point. Canyon's 6,7,8 class provides an old- fashioned environment where boys, and especially girls, breath easy, without social pressures to grow up too fast. The 6,7,8 students learn facts, but they also learn to be themselves. If your concern is to cram as much curriculum as possible into your child, well ... Canyon School is concerned about character, spirit, groundedness, and a focus on cramming often works against those human values.
Parents and students interested in Canyon Elementary can call its office, 925-376-4671. The Principal/Superintendent/Teacher is Forrest Kan. Brian
Does anyone have any experience with the Canyon public school? I'm especially interested in hearing from anyone who has done the interdistrict transfer process from Oakland, and has any advice on the process either from the Oakland side or the Canyon side of the process. Vali
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